The latest version of the Santa Fe has been launched, and despite the fact that it’s officially just a face-lifted version of the existing model, Hyundai’s popular SUV has received a few major changes. Most significantly, it now has a more powerful engine and a more sophisticated transmission
Text: GG van Rooyen
In addition to being face-lifted, the Santa Fe range has been simplified. Unlike the previous iteration, which was available in 4×2 and 4×4, the 2010 Santa Fe is available in all-wheel drive only. Just two models are now offered and both have a new 2 199cc turbodiesel engine, a six-speed automatic transmission and permanent 4×4 system with centre diff lock.
Comfort and safety features are also the same. In fact, the only differences between the two models are the number of seats and the price. The first has five seats and costs R399 900, while the second model has seven seats and costs R409 900.
The new powerplant is a 2,2-litre oilburner that ups power by 35 kW. While the old engine offered 110 kW of power, the new one generates a robust 145 kW. Torque has also
been increased from 335 Nm to 436 Nm. Additionally, the old five-speed gearbox has been replaced by a six-speed version with sequential mode. According to Hyundai, this not only translates into improved fuel consumption but better off-road ability as well, since it allows the vehicle to climb steeper hills and offers better engine braking on steep descents. The exterior has received a few changes, albeit minor ones. In the front, the bumper has been restyled and the grille has been modified slightly. In the rear, the bumper has also been altered and the exhaust outlet’s shape has been changed. Perhaps most noticeably, however, wheel size has increased to 18 inches, which gives the Santa Fe a more aggressive profile, and body-coloured mirrors with integrated turn signals have been added.
The interior hasn’t changed much, but that doesn’t really matter because the Santa Fe’s cabin was already very impressive. It boasts climate control, active headrests, six-speaker audio system, cruise control and six airbags. There are a couple of new additions, however. The 2010 model has a reverse camera with 3,5-inch screen and keyless entry with a stop/ start button.
The Santa Fe was already a great SUV. It had great looks, good build quality and a plush interior. But if one had to point to a weakness, the relatively modest power delivery was an obvious factor. Now that’s no longer an issue.