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OFF-ROAD TEST

Hyundai Santa Fe R2.2 Elite FWD AT





1 June 2016


Santa Fe – the flashy choice?

Hyundai’s Santa Fe was hardly in need of a facelift – it has aged remarkably well. But it nevertheless received a nip here and a tuck there. It lost some wrinkles around the eyes and received a newly sculpted nose. We took it for a spin.

Will it stand out in the parking lot?
Probably not, but it certainly is no ugly duckling either. However, if you swap your Santa Fe for the facelifted one, the neighbours might not even notice the difference. The facelifted version has received the now familiar chrome hexagonal grille, features redesigned LED daytime running lights, 19-inch wheels and new headlights.

Is the interior comfy?
It is indeed, so much so that it is a really cool place to spend lots of time. The electrically adjustable front seats (with a handy memory function) offer good levels of both comfort and sporty lumbar support. Build quality and attention to detail on the inside of the cabin is right up there with the best of them. It has all the mod cons you’d expect, such as climate control, electric almost-everything and a high-end infotainment system.

The dash and centre console is a combination of soft-touch plastics, faux carbon fibre inserts around the outer air vents (this might not be to everyone’s liking), brushed chrome accents and our favourite the criss-cross textured plastic cladding. It’s all very refined and plush, we dare say.

Behind the wheel…
The refinement is not exclusively reserved for the interior. The ride quality completely defies the strips of rubber stretched around the 19-inch rims, as the suspension is constantly working at ironing out road imperfections. The four-cylinder turbodiesel engine has 145kW and 436Nm (from 1 800r/min) available, and is plenty powerful enough.

The six-speed auto-matic gearbox is a smooth, efficient operator, and it forms a good partnership with the torquey oil burner. Cruising on the open road, you can activate the radar-based Smart Cruise Control function. This system automatically maintains the following distance between the Hyundai and vehicles in front of it.

Is it safe?
The Hyundai Santa Fe boasts impressive safety credentials with six airbags, an anti-lock braking system (ABS), electronic brakeforce distribution (EBD) and cross-traffic alert. It also features a reverse camera with a display integrated in the rear-view mirror and blind spot detection. So yes, you can tick that box.

Model line-up
There are two Santa Fe derivatives: The R684 900 five-seater FWD option, on test here, and the seven-seater AWD option, which retails for R724 900. Both models use the same 2.2CRDi engine. The six-speed auto shifter is standard in both models, with no option of a manual gearbox.

Summary
The Hyundai Santa Fe is an excellent all-rounder – equally at home on the school run or chasing the horizon on extended family vacations. It’s also economical: we achieved an average consumption of nine litres/100km. Pricing of the imported Hyundai is a stumbling block though, and this is primarily because of the exchange rate and a weakening rand.

It does have an excellent infotainment system, plenty of safety, top-notch finishes, cool looks and a powerful, yet economical, engine, though. Let’s hold thumbs the rand strengthens against international currencies – if it gets much worse, the Santa Fe will really be up against it. And that will be a great pity because it really is a great all-rounder.

Engine 2 199cc four-cylinder turbodiesel
Power 145kW @ 3 800r/min
Torque 436Nm @ 1 800r/min
Gearbox Six-speed AT
Drivetrain FWD
Driving aids Traction and stability control
Ground clearance 185mm
Fuel tank 64 litres
Average consumption Nine litres/100km
Range 711km
Warranty Five-year/150 000km
Service plan Five-year/90 000km
Price R699 900