Hyundai’s latest Santa Fe 4×4 has arrived. Although the styling updates are limited to new bumpers, a new grille and new 18-inch alloy wheels, it’s under the skin and in the cabin that the big oooh’s and aaah’s preside. And, as before, the face-lifted Santa Fe is a lot more 4×4 than you may think it is
Picture the scene.
You are camping in the Savuti Chobe Enclave, in Botswana. A lovely place, the Savuti Chobe Enclave. Far from civilisation, in the middle of the grammadoelas. Like really in the middle of the African bush. While sitting in your comfortable camping chair, sipping some chilled Van Loveren Sauvignon Blanc, observing the eating habits of the Mirafra africanoides (fawn-coloured lark) you see – in the far distance – a 4×4 convoy approaching. That’s interesting, as you haven’t seen other human beings for about a week. Ah, there are the customary Land Rover Defenders, the Toyota Land Cruisers and the Nissan Patrol, all with the customary roof-top tents, et al. But what is that vehicle in the middle of the convoy? Surely it can’t be… a Hyundai Santa Fe? This is the bush, the grammadoelas. It’s no place for a Santa Fe! It must be all the fresh air, playing tricks on your eyesight. But as the convoy draws closer, it becomes clear as day: That is definitely a snazzy Santa Fe, all covered in mud! You never thought you’d live to see the day! Sound far-fetched?
It’s not. In December 2007 Leisure Wheels managing editor Jannie Herbst took a Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2CRDi 4×4 to the Savuti Chobe Enclave, on an adventurous 4×4 route. Most members of the touring party were just waiting for the call over the radio that the Hyundai had broken down, or was stuck. That call never came, and the Santa Fe completed all the 4×4 challenges in its path. These included lots of mud and water, badly rutted tracks, and sand.
Fast forward to October, 2010. The latest version of the Hyundai Santa Fe lands in South Africa – and it features a host of improvements to make it an even better all-rounder. In front, the latest Santa Fe features restyled bumpers and grille, and there are new 18-inch alloy rims. But that’s only the tip of the proverbial iceberg – it’s under the skin and in the cabin that the major improvements can be found. The new DOHC four-cylinder turbodiesel engine, still displacing 2,2-litres, boasts 145 kW of power and a meaty 436 Nm of torque from as low as 1800r/min. The Newtons remain at this level all the way to 2500r/min. However, this doesn’t mean the 2199cc engine runs out of breath at higher revolutions. On the contrary, this is one oilburner that doesn’t mind spinning close to its 4500r/min peak. Running on a strict diet of 50 particles per million (ppm) diesel, the Hyundai can sprint from 0-100km/h in 9,5 seconds and easily reach its limited top speed of 185km/h – yet it drinks an average of only 8,3 litres/100km.
The powerful engine also allows the Hyundai to tow 750kg of unbraked trailer, and up to 2000kg of braked trailer. The power and torque are delivered to the driven wheels by a new six-speed automatic transmission. The gearbox also features a sequential “sport” mode, for drivers who prefer to go manual. Talking about driven wheels… As before, the Santa Fe is equipped with Hyundai’s Full Time AWD system. Drive is normally sent only to the front wheels, for enhanced fuel economy. As soon as wheel slip is detected, the electronics divert drive to the rear wheels as
well. For tougher 4×4 challenges, such as the Savuti Chobe Enclave in Botswana, the centre differential can be locked (via a dash-mounted button) for 50/50 power distribution between the front and rear axles. Ground clearance is pegged at 200mm, while traction is further enhanced by a stability and traction control system. So although it still won’t be happy clambering up Mount Kilimanjaro, the Santa Fe is surprisingly capable in average overlanding conditions.
Right, to the interior – and here a lot of upgrades can be found. The Santa Fe now features a keyless entry system, along with a fashionable stop/start button for the engine. A reverse camera (with a 3,5-inch LCD display in the rear-view mirror), a sunroof, electric front seats and dual-zone climate control are all standard fare. Also on the standard list are: A six-disc entertainment system with an amplifier, cruise control, satellite controls for the entertainment system on the steering wheel and full leather trim. On the safety front the Hyundai gets no less than six airbags as well
as ABS brakes, working in conjunction with disc brakes at all four corners. The ABS also features EBD and a brake assist system (BAS). The Hyundai’s handbrake has been moved to the driver’s footwell, so the centre console now has more storage space. The interior trimmings have also been updated, with the facia, centre console and doors highlighted in a contemporary carbon fibre-style trim, and the instruments now have chrome bezels surrounds.
There is a lot of space in the Santa Fe’s cabin. With the second row of seats in place, luggage capacity is 969 litres. Fold these seats flat, and the capacity increases to an impressive 2247 litres. There is even a full-size spare wheel, which is stored under the rear cargo area. Available in both five and seven-seat configuration, the new Santa Fe comes with Hyundai’s now legendary five-year/150 000km warranty, as well as a five-year/90 000km service plan. The five-seater retails for R399 900, while the seven-seat versions costs R409 900.
More information: www.hyundai.co.za