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Road Tests

Hyundai Santa Fe

What is it?

This third generation Santa Fe is Hyundai’s flagship SUV and in turn their flagship vehicle, topping the Korean manufacturer’s price list. But it’s more than just a price tag – Hyundai has launched a torpedo right into the side of the so-called premium SUV market with a vehicle that looks the part, ticks all the features boxes and offers good value to boot.

On the outside

Previous Santa Fe’s haven’t been particularly easy on the eye. But that’s not something you can say about the newcomer as you’d be hard pressed to pick holes in Hyundai’s bold styling. They’ve played with the Santa Fe’s dimensions to give it a more dynamic appeal, leaving it longer by 30mm, while width is down by 10mm and the height is reduced too.

On the inside

You’d imagine that the decrease in height means a loss of headroom, but you’d be wrong. Thanks to some clever packaging there’s more room in every department, most importantly greater leg room through all three rows of seats.

Speaking of, you have the option of five or seven seats, with the latter boasting easy-to-fold rear seats. The only downside is that visibility from the last row is compromised by the high shoulder line, but otherwise the R30 000 premium is in my opinion a no-brainer in this segment. Equipment levels are, as expected, exceptionally good.

When Hyundai first popped on the scene things like material quality and finish were a major concern to consumers. However those days are long gone, even the little ‘chrome’ plastic inserts manage to lift the overall appearance rather than detract from it – and in fact we shouldn’t expect anything less these days from the Hyundai/Kia stable. Further to their credit, Hyundai has retained the simple, logical and functional layout to their instrumentation that was so refreshing in previous models.

Driving

The Santa Fe has only one engine option, a 2.2 litre turbo diesel that produces 145kW and 436Nm and just one gearbox, a six speed automatic with front -or on-demand four-wheel drive running gear. It’s a good engine, proving smooth, willing and more than up to the challenge of hauling nearly two tonnes of SUV. Torque is what makes something like this relaxing on the move, and pleasingly, the Santa Fe has plenty.

The Santa Fe won’t often find itself bashing around the South African country side – nor would it handle such a thing. Hyundai has specifically set this big SUV up for tarmac use, so it rides and handles much like a high-riding sedan. It’s far from dynamically exciting (which you’d be forgiven for expecting when you look at the styling), however its comfortable to drive on a daily basis; and in fact feels most accomplished when four up with luggage on board making it perfect for those family holidays.

Overall

Hyundai are offering up a great value, near premium SUV in the Santa Fe. Yes, the price isn’t quite as low as you’d expect and in some cases is surprisingly more than the competition – but you’re really getting a lot of car here and that’s not something you can say for the rest.

Price: R 502,900
Engine: 2199cc turbo charged diesel
Power: 145 kW
Torque: 436 Nm
Acceleration (0-100km/h): 10
Top Speed (km/h): 190
Consumption (l/100km): 8.3 (claimed)

Hyundai Santa Fe was last modified: March 27th, 2014 by Miles Downard

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