Hyundai Santa Fe 2,2 CRDI 4WD Elite

The fourth gen­er­a­tion of Hyundai’s sleeper-hit Santa Fe adds even more style and space

Car (South Africa) - - CONTENTS -

THE new Santa Fe wears a face quite un­like that of its pre­de­ces­sor, as well as one fairly far re­moved from any­thing else in the Korean brand’s cur­rent port­fo­lio. And this is the sort of ap­proach we can ex­pect from Hyundai from now on, with its new mod­els set to re­ceive in­di­vid­u­al­is­tic styling rather than sim­ply an adap­ta­tion of the lat­est “fam­ily” look.

In the case of this new Santa Fe, the fresh styling in­cludes a bold light­ing ar­range­ment see­ing the day­time LED lights po­si­tioned above the dual pro­jec­tor head­lamps, with the lat­ter gain­ing their own pods re­cessed into the front bumper.

There’s a sub­tle but de­fined crease that runs with­out wa­ver­ing from the nar­row lamps up front to the rear lights, while over­all the tail-end treat­ment is neat, with nar­row lenses curv­ing round the flanks.

When it comes to next-gen­er­a­tion model re­designs, the trend is al­most al­ways to go big­ger. When the size reaches its in­evitable limit, a new, smaller model range is of­ten re­leased. And so it is with the new Santa Fe. It’s longer by 70 mm and wider by 10 mm but no taller than be­fore.

More sig­nif­i­cantly, the wheel­base has been in­creased by 65 mm, al­though the over­hangs are shorter. This re­sults in im­proved off-road clear­ance as well as more in­te­rior space. Road noise, mean­while, has been re­duced thanks to floor­pan mod­i­fi­ca­tions and the use of ad­di­tional sound-ab­sorb­ing ma­te­ri­als.

The in­te­rior mir­rors the rather el­e­gant ex­ter­nal ap­pear­ance and boasts all the fea­tures you might need with­out be­ing overly fussy or com­pli­cated in its op­er­a­tion.

Rear-seat move­ment for ac­cess to the third row (the fi­nal two perches fold neatly into the floor) re­quires a mere push of a but­ton and a for­ward shove. Con­trols are log­i­cally laid out, with the ex­cep­tion of the all-wheel-drive but­ton in this model, which is sited on the fa­cia to the right of the steer­ing wheel (for right-hand drive) and there­fore not eas­ily vis­i­ble.

With the Jor­da­nian au­tumn smoth­er­ing us with tem­per­a­tures in ex­cess of 36 de­grees (with a high rel­a­tive hu­mid­ity), we ap­pre­ci­ated both the dual cli­mate con­trol and the very ef­fi­cient seat ven­ti­la­tion. Seat­ing com­fort is fine and both driver and pas­sen­ger en­joy elec­tri­cally ad­justable perches in this Elite model.

The fi­nal two seats have im­proved head­room and are thus more com­fort­able than be­fore. While not suit­able for pas­sen­gers over 1,7 metres tall, th­ese rear pews also gain ded­i­cated air-con­di­tion­ing vents.

Ap­pre­ci­ated fea­tures for the driver in­clude a com­pre­hen­sive head-up dis­play, blind-spot and lane-change warn­ings, rear­dan­ger alert (with a 360-de­gree cam­era), wire­less smart­phone charger and six airbags.

As far as en­gines go, Hyundai is stick­ing with what works. While the com­pany’s prod­uct man­ager ad­mits the firm did in­ves­ti­gate mov­ing on from the 2,2-litre tur­bod­iesel en­gine, Hyundai de­cided the best op­tion was to re­tain the ex­ist­ing lay­out. That said, re­vi­sions to the pis­ton de­sign have re­sulted in less noise when cold, while power has in­creased slightly to 147 kw. So, too, has peak torque, to 440 N.m be­tween 1 750 and 2 750 r/min.

What makes or breaks (fig­u­ra­tively, that is) a trans­mis­sion is how clev­erly it shifts gears. This is es­pe­cially im­por­tant with modern multi-ra­tio de­signs. Get it wrong and you end up play­ing a game of “guess which gear we’re in now”. Get it right and you can skip the arith­metic and let the com­puter sort it out. The new eight-speed (re­plac­ing the pre­vi­ous six-speeder) ini­tially had me rather scep­ti­cal due to the pos­si­bil­ity of con­tin­u­ous hunting up and down the range. For­tu­nately, the shift al­go­rithms

are ex­pertly judged be­cause shift­ing is al­most im­per­cep­ti­ble … which is ex­actly what you want in a ve­hi­cle such as this. Pad­dle shifters are pro­vided for those who en­joy flick­ing through the cogs man­u­ally and there is a gear read­out to let you know where you are in the oc­tave. The ra­tio spread is in­creased from be­fore for bet­ter ac­cel­er­a­tion and cruis­ing (first gear is a low 4,81:1 and the top-gear ra­tio 0,65:1).

The HTRAC all-wheel-drive sys­tem fea­tures three drive modes to ad­just the trac­tion to the wheels. In eco, the split is 100:0 front-to-back with a max­i­mum trans­fer of 80:20. In com­fort, you have an 80:20-split, with max­i­mum trans­fer of 65:35, while in sport mode it’s 65:35 with up to 50:50. Prod- ding the lock but­ton pro­vides a per­ma­nent 50:50 split. The sus­pen­sion has been stiff­ened and the travel has in­creased, while the steer­ing de­sign now has the elec­tric mo­tor mounted di­rectly onto the rack.

Most of the time, we used ei­ther sport or com­fort modes. In the eco set­ting, eighth gear could be se­lected at slower than 80 km/h where the en­gine speed was a mere 1 400 r/min (be­low the max­i­mum torque’s ar­rival at 1 750 r/min). This re­sulted in some labour­ing of the pow­er­train, with the ex­pected rough­ness. That’s not what a diesel en­gine likes, so we gen­er­ally stayed away from eco mode. The fuel con­sump­tion dur­ing our trip was around 8,0 L/100 km.

Three spec­i­fi­ca­tion lev­els will be of­fered in South Africa when

the Santa Fe de­buts here im­mi­nently. The base model will be the front-wheel-drive Pre­mium fea­tur­ing halo­gen head­lamps, a nor­mal keyed ig­ni­tion, re­mote­fold­ing sec­ond row, a 3,5-inch dis­play in the in­stru­ment clus­ter, seven-inch touch­screen in­fo­tain­ment pod (with Ap­ple Carplay and An­droid Auto) and 18-inch al­loy wheels.

The Ex­ec­u­tive model adds LED pro­jec­tor head­lamps, key­less start, an elec­tric open­ing tail­gate and 19-inch wheels (with drive again sent ex­clu­sively to the front axle).

The flag­ship Elite fur­ther­more gains heated and ven­ti­lated front seats, 19-inch al­loys in a be­spoke de­sign, a seven-inch TFT screen be­tween the di­als and, of course, the HTRAC all-wheeldrive sys­tem.

We trav­elled a mix of coastal roads and windswept moun­tain passes on our way to the his­tor­i­cal site of Pe­tra. For­tu­nately, Hyundai has sorted out its elec­tri­cally as­sisted steer­ing sys­tem in terms of feed­back. The ride qual­ity is close to cos­set­ing and bump ab­sorp­tion is ad­e­quate (al­though the larger wheels were not al­ways adept at soak­ing up small bumps ev­i­dent on the some­times poorly sur­faced roads be­tween the Dead Sea and the Red Sea).

The sun­roof is huge, with the front sec­tion open­ing and the rear glass fixed (an elec­tri­cally pow­ered screen al­lows you to block out the heat). The qual­ity of ma­te­ri­als is gen­er­ally good, al­though the leather used for the seat cov­er­ing can­not match that found in Ger­man ri­vals.

Over­all, the new Santa Fe rep­re­sents an im­pres­sive fol­low up to what was al­ready a com­pelling seven-seater SUV. Pric­ing, of course, will be key – and we went to print be­fore it was con­firmed – but Hyundai has stressed this will be largely de­pen­dent on South Africa’s wa­ver­ing ex­change rate.

from left Tack­ling a twisty pass on the way to Pe­tra; 19-inch al­loys look great (this is the Elite model’s de­sign); rear styling is par­tic­u­larly neat in the flesh.

clock­wise from above The in­te­rior is just as ac­com­plished as the ex­te­rior, with well-laid-out con­trols; the Santa Fe even of­fers a proper 220 V two-prong socket; seat­ing all-round is more spa­cious than be­fore; trans­mis­sion now has eight ra­tios in­stead of six.

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