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Date: 03 Dec 2018 Author Type: Press Release
Author: Julian Lurie edited by Liam Mothilall
Source: Julian Lurie
Hyundai Motor's SUV, pioneer, Santa Fe was first launched in South Africa about eight years ago and have sold 5 331 since then. Now in its fourth generation, Hyundai’s flagship model has just arrived in South Africa with a new, premium design, advanced technology, more space, comfort and convenience features, best-in-class safety packages that makes it worthy of the model's flagship status in the brand's local vehicle range.

Three derivatives are available; the Santa Fe R2.2 Premium automatic with front-wheel drive, the Santa Fe R 2.2 Executive automatic with front-wheel drive, and the Santa Fe R 2.2 Elite automatic with HTRAC all-wheel drive.

The design of the fourth-generation Santa Fe connects with the new SUV-family look. It displays a modern and elegant appearance complimented by eye-catching composite lights and the cascading grille, Hyundai's SUV-family identity. The exterior design is characterized by a powerful wide stance and an athletic, bold look. Its refined lines reinforce the car's status at the top of Hyundai's SUV line-up.

Inside the Santa Fe Elite derivative is equipped with a panoramic sunroof, electrically operated rear hatch door, driver and passenger seats with the option of heating or ventilation, and paddle shifts on the steering wheel for manual gearshifts. Rear-door retractable side curtains; a push-button keyless start function and folding side mirrors form part of the standard features package for both the Elite and Executive derivatives.

All derivatives have cruise control and leather seats, with electrical adjustment for the Executive's driver seat, and for both driver and passenger's seats in the Elite. The Premium derivative's seat is adjusted manually. Climate control is standard across the range. The new-generation Santa Fe features an advanced four-wheel drive system in the Elite derivative with an enhanced torque application depending on wheel grip and the speed of vehicle, called HTRAC. Hyundai's next generation all-wheel-drive technology controls the torque distribution and braking power of the front and rear wheels variably. It supports drivers in all kinds of driving situations, whether on slippery roads or in regular road conditions, and enhances stability in cornering.

The new Santa Fe is powered by the proven 2.2-litre CRDi engine that delivers 145 KW at 3 800 RPM and 440 NM of torque from 1 800 RPM. Linked to the newly developed 8-speed automatic gearbox, which is engineered with a transversal layout, it delivers enhanced fuel efficiency of 3 to 4%. Fuel consumption is said to be about 8.3 litres / 100 km for the All-Wheel Drive Elite, but he trip recorder showed that we had averaged 9.9 litres per 100 km on the test route, but apparently it could be as low as 7.2 litres / 100 km cruising on the freeways at around 120 km/h. The new gearbox layout offers a more compact set-up and an increased gear span for enhanced performance and reduced fuel consumption. The gear ratio is widened by 18.3 %, resulting in an improved engine response during start and acceleration. During braking, the engine response is improved due to a higher downshifting point. The higher gear ratio width ensures greater differentiation of the drive modes.

The exterior design of the new Santa Fe is characterized by a powerful wide stance and an athletic, bold look with refined lines that reinforce the car's status at the top of Hyundai's SUV line-up. The Santa Fe's front adopts the Hyundai's new SUV family appearance and introduces the Cascading Grille that is complemented by the Composite Light, a design comprising LED Daytime Running Lights positioned on top of the headlights. The Elite and Executive have full LED headlights, while the Premium derivative is equipped with halogen lights. The Elite's headlights have dynamic bending into a corner as an added feature. The side view is enhanced by a sleek roof line and the bold side character line running from the headlights to the taillights to form a fluid design. Viewed from the rear, the Santa Fe creates a confident and stable stance with unique tail lights, a striking bumper design and twin exhaust pipe outlets, while the Elite comes with LED tail lights. Three-wheel designs are used - an 18-inch wheel for the Premium, and two different 19-inch wheels for the Executive and Elite versions respectively. The Executive and Elite also get a chrome bezel around the side windows.

Safety is very well taken care of and the Santa Fe was awarded a 5-star certification in the Euro NCAP crash test. The Santa Fe comes standard with six airbags; two front airbags, two side and two curtain airbags from first to second row, protecting both driver and passengers. Electronic safety equipment includes Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, and Blind-Spot Collision Warning. All derivatives have ABS Anti-Lock Braking System, ESP Electronic Stability Program, DBC Downhill Brake Control and Hill start Assist. The Safety Exit Assist, also standard in the Executive and Elite derivatives, prevents accidents when vehicles approach from behind by temporarily locking the doors before being opened, so that passengers will exit the car safely.

For most of the driving, I just left the autobox in Drive Normal mode, and the gearbox was really good in selecting the right gear for the right conditions. On the open road, the new turbo-diesel engine is quiet, refined, responsive to kick down changes and with the windows closed, noise levels are well controlled, and no diesel clatter was to be heard in the cab, even at idle. In acceleration tests, slotting the gear lever into drive mode at standstill, floor the accelerator, hold it down and the 2.2 litre diesel Santa Fe pulled away smoothly, crossed the 100 km mark in 4th gear in 9.5 seconds on its way to a top speed of approaching 185 km/h.

The launch was based in Salt Rock up the KZN North Coast and inland through the sugarcane’s poorly surfaced roads. We started the drive in the Santa Fe R 2.2 Elite automatic with the HTRAC all-wheel drive. Firstly, as you open the driver’s door to get into the new Hyundai Santa Fe 4x4 Elite model, you are immediately impressed by the up-market well-appointed interior. After adjusting the seat to a comfortable driving position, the all-round view is very good, and all the buttons and levers fall nicely to hand. Driving on the freeways is quite relaxed and although the improvements have a small effect on driving behavior, the ride is comfortable, the car stays nicely composed, and there is reasonable feedback from the power steering.

Ride and handling are well above average for this class of SUV and although the ride is a little on the firm side, the revised suspension does a very good job of smoothing out the potholed surfaces on poorly kept tar roads.Driving briskly on winding sweeps, the Santa Fe feels fairly light and sporty and although there is some body lean in fast corners, the 4-wheel drive system provides very good grip and good handling for a large SUV.Driving on a few of the gravel roads, inland of the KZN north coast, the Santa Fe gave an excellent ride even on the bad sections, so with drive going to all four wheels, the handling was good. For most of the driving, I just left the autobox in Drive mode, and the gearbox was really good in selecting the right gear for the right conditions.

The set route then took us down the Glendale Valley on one of the roughest and toughest gravel roads, and on some sections the road was so poor that we had to slow to idling speeds in order to get safely through and with its 180 mm ground clearance, the Santa Fe 4x4 proved how good it was when the going gets tough. On the better gravel roads, the Santa Fe gave an excellent ride so with drive going to all four wheels, the handling was good. Even if you go a bit wide on the twisty sections, the electronics will step in and help keep the vehicle on track. On the way back, we stopped at Prince Grant for a coffee break then switched to the Premium model for the drive back to base. The Premium model also sports a luxury interior and although it may lack a few of the luxury and convenient goodies as in the more expensive versions, it still offers the same good looks, comfortable driving, plenty of power and well worth its price.

The retail selling prices for the new Hyundai Santa Fe range start at R599 900 for the Santa Fe R 2.2 Premium automatic, R659 900 for the Santa Fe R 2.2 Executive automatic and R749 900 for the flagship Santa Fe R 2.2 Elite automatic. Prices include; Hyundai Automotive SA's 7-year / 200 000 km manufacturer's warranty (consisting of the standard 5-year / 150 000 km warranty plus the additional 2-year / 50 000 km drivetrain warranty extension). An additional part of the package is a 5-year / 90 000 km service plan, and roadside assistance for 5 years or 150 000 km.
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