New Santa Fe more than a mere facelift

Hyundai’s new Santa Fe arrived in South Africa and although it is a facelift of the current model, the Korean manufacturer says it is much more with significant changes and tweaks all round.

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The Santa Fe is available in two derivatives locally – the R2.2 Executive with an upgraded turbodiesel engine and a new 8-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT) and the R2.2 Elite, also with the 2.2-litre turbodiesel and 8-speed DCT, but with All-Wheel Drive and several additional luxury features.

From the outside

From the outside, the Santa Fe now boasts a new face with an improved cascading grille, with its signature geometric patterned inlay integrated with the headlights. The T-shaped daytime running lights, along with a new sculpted front bumper completes the frontal view.

At the back, the new rear bumper displays a low and wide look with a flat line of the reflectors and lights instead of the outgoing model’s triangular-shaped clusters at the bottom at the back.

At 4 785 mm (exterior, length), 1 900 mm (width) and 1 710 mm (height), the Santa Fe is bigger than the previous model. With Hyundai’s new Gen 3 platform, second-row passengers can enjoy more legroom (1 060 mm) as well as benefitting from increased cargo space.

On the inside

The leather interior has a new floating centre console, which is equipped with shift-by-wire transmission buttons. Apart from this, the centre console also contains the buttons for the automatic climate control and selector knob for the drive modes and, in the Elite derivative, terrain modes for the all-wheel drive system.

Rear window curtains and heating and ventilation for the front seats are also on the list of convenience features, as well as Remote Start, which allows one to start the vehicle remotely with the smart key, automatically switching on the air conditioner and setting the temperature at 22°C.

The Elite model now comes with a 12.3-inch LCD Super Vision Instrument Cluster for the driver, for which illumination can be altered by a rheostat. Both derivates have paddle gear shift levers on the steering wheel for manual shifting because the transmission controls on the centre console are push buttons.

Under the bonnet

The Santa Fe is the first Hyundai model to be fitted with the next-generation powertrain Smartstream R2.2 turbodiesel engine, which has a maximum output of 148 kW (vs the 145 kW of the previous R2.2 turbodiesel) and maximum torque of 441 Nm (an increase of 5 Nm from the old engine).

Compared to the previous engine generation, the new engine block is cast in aluminium instead of iron, ensuring a weight reduction of 19.5 kg. Different parts of the engine have been improved, including, for example, the camshaft to reduce internal friction and improve overall fuel efficiency.

It is also the first Hyundai SUV to be equipped with the newly developed Smartstream Wet 8DCT, a dual clutch transmission delivering quick eight-speed shifting and acceleration performance.

All-wheel drive

For the first time, the Santa Fe Elite derivative comes with a Terrain Mode selector: a control knob located in the centre console to conveniently switch between different drive modes. The different drive modes optimise driving performance and vehicle settings for a variety of situations. This feature includes unique driving modes for sand, snow and mud, as well as the driving modes Comfort, Sport and Eco.

The drive modes Comfort, Sport, Eco and Smart are also standard features in the Executive derivative.

Stronger chassis, steady handling

A stronger steel chassis with higher average tensile strength increases rigidity and minimises chassis deformation in the new Santa Fe, while a changed structure of sub-frame to a new multi-frame design results in improved front collision safety as well as better ride & handling.

Pricing (April 2021)

2.2 Executive (R769 500) and the 2.2 Elite AWD – (R869 500).

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