Hyundai has introduced a subtle mid-life facelift for the Santa Fe. It has been a huge success for Hyundai, offering a premium product that can stand toe-to-toe with the best the German manufacturers have to offer, but at a better price.
In the UK, the Sante Fe is a fairly popular vehicle, and sales there are a significant contributor to a 1,2 million global figure for the brand.
The Sante Fe was lacking a few of the advanced features that some of its competitors can brag about, but Hyundai has remedied this.
On the design front, the new model has been brought in line with the rest of the Hyundai family. The hexagonal front grille is finished in chrome, while its road presence has been enhanced by the addition of redesigned fog lights and LED daytime running lights framed in silver trim. The layout of the xenon lights has changed, while the rear light clusters feature a new LED graphic.
To further enhance the elegant status at the top of the Hyundai SUV pile, the alloy wheels have also been redesigned.
Move inside and you’ll note new fabrics and subtle upgrades to the centre console. The infotainment system has been upgraded and features every kind of connection one could possibly want. As this is a luxury vehicle, Hyundai has included a host of comfort and convenience features, including a power tailgate that will open automatically when you stand behind the boot lid for three seconds. No need to shuffle your foot underneath the boot lid and falling over in a crowded mall parking lot.
The redesigned centre console houses an all-new audio and navigation system, which Hyundai developed locally to make it as user-friendly to South Africans.
Passengers in the second row will have sliding seats, which benefit from an extra 15mm of travel, bringing the total adjustment to 270mm.
The big news is the addition of some active safety systems. The pre-facelift Santa Fe already boasted a five-star Euro NCAP rating but even so, the new model can be bought with “Autonomous Emergency Braking”, which works automatically if a potential crash is anticipated, Blind Spot Detection, Rear-Cross Traffic Alert and a new Smart Cruise Control function that follows a set distance from the car in front.
For the first time in a Hyundai, a 360-degree around-view monitor is included to make parking as easy as possible. It uses a number of cameras to achieve the all-round view. We have used the system in other cars, and it is a boon in tight spaces. And when you don’t feel like parking the car yourself, you can leave it to Parking Assist, which now supports both bay and parallel parking.
The 2,2-litre CRDi turbocharged diesel engine has been retuned slightly to increase power and decrease fuel consumption and emissions. It now pushes out 150kW and 440Nm of torque, and Hyundai claims it will need only 6,7l/100km on the combined cycle.
In SA, this engine can be mated only to a six-speed automatic transmission, which is fine by us. We have extensive experience of this engine/transmission combination, and it is very good.
The entry-level five-seat Elite Auto retails for R649 900 and is available with front-wheel drive only. This model offers customers a nice entry-point to the Santa Fe range and will likely find favour with those people who want the space and elevated driving position, but don’t need all-wheel drive.
The seven-seat Elite Auto comes standard with all-wheel drive, which provides optimal traction in tricky conditions. The centre differential can be locked to provide a 50/50 power split between the front and rear axles. This should be particularly handy on loose surfaces. This model comes as standard with all the latest safety and convenience features. Considering the price has only gone up by 6% to R699 900, it represents exceptional value for money.
The Santa Fe is sold with a five-year/100 000km warranty and a five-year/90 000km service plan. Service intervals are set at 15 000km.