Santa Fe packing the power
Before the Palisade took over as Hyundai’s ultra premium model, the Santa Fe was holding down the fort for the automaker. With production starting over two decades ago, this SUV has always been a ‘do-it-all’ vehicle, that had the perfect combination of features for both city and rural life.
Now in its fourth generation, which started production in 2018, the Santa Fe has stuck to its mantra as a multifaceted vehicle that can cater to families and adventure lovers. I remember driving the previous model and enjoying the ride, as well as the compact look, which was in keeping with the standard design language at the time.
For this model, the character lines are sharper and the vehicle has got more toned, as though it had gone to an automotive gym. Hyundia has abandoned the plain sheet metal for a more defined look, starting with the radiation grille which takes up more than 80 per cent of the front fascia.
The light configuration has also seen an overhaul, with the thinning of the daytime run lights and an additional set of Dynamic Bending Headlights, which is housed in a separate panel. The vehicle still has a compact appearance with proportionate dimensions, that gives it an aggressive appearance.
The interior is laid out in a sleek manner with a design style that reflects European influences, much similar to that of the Mazda SUVs. The A/C vents are outlined with chrome accents to provide a rich contrast to the leather finish that is used throughout the vehicle. There are also additional carbon fibre-style accents that run along surfaces of the dashboard to further cement the message of class. Another thing that stood out to me was the quilted texture of the door speakers; it doesn’t do anything for the sound quality, but it looks good. On the topic of sound, the Santa Fe packs over 10 speakers, which help to provide a good audio experience for all seven occupants.
Mounted on the centre of the dashboard is an eight-inch display radio with bluetooth and voice recognition, which is relatively simple to navigate.
The driver’s seat comes with a four-way mechanical lumbar support, and to further assist the driver, there is a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, which is leather wrapped. One gripe of mine is that the door wells are a bit narrow, so they can’t fit a standard one-litre water bottle.
Nonetheless, the Santa Fe shines in many other areas. For example, when the trunk is opened, there are two buttons in arms reach to fold down the second row of seats. This is incredibly convenient if you are carrying a large item and need more space, because you misjudged its size. The alternative to these buttons is to walk around to the second row of doors and manually fold them down.
The manufacturer also used the space very creatively, with A/C vents for the second row of passengers and another set of vents mounted on the side panels, with climate control, for the third-row passengers. This will be appreciated by the smaller-framed people sitting in this section, as access to cool air is important in a tropical country. Another creature comfort is the reclinable second-row seats, which can adjust to an impressive gradient, if passengers are trying to sleep.
Equipped with a 2.2 tried-and-tested turbo-diesel engine, this machine is packed with torque for days. This means, the driver has to temper his acceleration, as it can cause torque steer, due to the excess power going to the front wheels.
With that being said, I have always been impressed with this 2.2 turbo-diesel engine, as it is used in a range of models for both Kia and Hyundia. Every vehicle that carries it performs exceptionally well, whether it is the Kia Carnival, Sorento or the Santa Fe.
Where this SUV is concerned, it brings on a speed that very few, if any, in its class can match, especially with a turbo that pushes you back in your seat. This also means that you will have to rotate your tires frequently to get the best use out of them.
There are four driving options to complement the eight-speed transmission: comfort, eco, smart, sport. I kept the vehicle in smart mode, and allowed the Santa Fe’s computer to make adjustments according to my driving patterns. From the jump, this was one of the most fun SUVs I have driven in a while, due to the aggressive acceleration.
In the centre of the gauge cluster is a 4.2-inch display for all the relevant driving information, such as petrol usage or driving mode.
I drove one of these in 2018 and I am still impressed with the Santa Fe, as it packs style, power and utilitarianism in a fluid manner. Plus, I prefer diesel engines because they give better mileage in traffic.
Magna Motors Dealership LTD, 630-1511 / 577-3607 www.hyundaijamaica.com
Price Range/ Options: $ 8.7M (Diesel) and $8.3M (Gas)
Engine: 2199 cc
Torque: 440 Nm/1,750-2,750 rpm
Transmission: FWD, 8 – Speed Automatic Transmission
Fuel tank: 85.5 litre
Gas consumption: 10.5 L/ 100 KM
Body Type: Compact SUV
Competition: VW Tiguan, Honda CR-V, Subaru Forester, Mazda CX-5, Kia Sorento