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DRIVEN: Hyundai's flagship SUV - the new Santa Fe Elite

2018-11-28 11:45

Sean Parker

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Hyundai’s fourth-generation Santa Fe has arrived in South Africa with a new, premium design, advanced technology, more space and with comfort features.

When asked who the target market of the new Santa Fe is, Stanley Anderson, marketing director of Hyundai SA said: ‘Anyone in the market for a large seven-seater SUV’. Fair game then. 

The fourth-generation arrives in South Africa sporting a third row of seats, a 17cm housing the infotainment system and a myriad of safety equipment including a system that spies on cars in its blind-spot and temporarily locks the doors to avoid an ugly accident.  

So, what is Hyundai offering customers with the new fourth generation Santa Fe? 

Well, it’s powered by the same engine in the previous generation: a 2.2-litre turbodiesel engine with a 142Kw and 440Nm. It's mated to an in-house-developed 8-speed automatic gearbox. 

There’s more headroom and legroom in the third row of seats and a one touch button to fold the second row to make access easier. 

The flagship Elite model is the only derivative that uses an all-wheel drive system, while the entry-level Premium and mid-spec Executive are driven through the front wheels. 

The all-wheel drive system, called HTRAC, uses tech that controls the torque distribution and braking power of variably to the front and rear wheels. It’s able to determine when and where you need power when you’re off the beaten track. 

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Image: Quickpic 

What’s it like to drive? 

Serene, comforting and luxurious. Three words one wouldn’t associate with a Hyundai but I can safely say that’s what it felt like. The pews are cosseting like a friendly hug (they’re also heatable and cooled), there’s a heated steering wheel too! 

Back to the drive, which took us from the northern suburbs to Gordon's Bay and onto a gravel road before getting onto Sir Lowry’s Pass and heading back down the N1. 

The engine’s power delivery is smooth while the new 8-speed ‘box does a good job except when I tugged on the frankly unnecessary paddle shifts behind the steering wheel. Along Clarence Drive, the steering felt too artificial for my liking.

By 'dialling' in more 'feel', Hyundai has made it worse, though we really don’t expect a large SUV to handle like a hot hatch because it’s 1000mm taller and it’s also not meant for that type of driving. 

When we pushed the 4.7-metre long SUV on the twisty tarmac that hugs the Gordon’s Bay coastline, there was hardly any tyre squealing and just the right about of body roll. Impressive. 

What sort of kit do I get for R749 00? 

A lot. All models feature cruise control and leather seats, they're electrically adjustable for the Executive’s driver seat, and for both driver and passenger’s seats in the Elite. 

Climate control is standard across the range.

The Elite derivative model which I drove extensively on the launch comes to the party with a panoramic sunroof; electrically operated rear hatch door (with adjustable height and opening speed), and paddle shifts on the steering wheel for manual gearshifts.

Rear-door retractable side curtains; a push-button keyless start function and folding side mirrors form part of the standard features package for both the Elite and Executive derivatives.

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Image: Quickpic 

Anything else I need to know?

It has a 517-litre boot behind the second row of seats (duh). For rear passengers in the Santa Fe, you'll be glad to know leg room in the second row has increased by 38mm and the seat is 18mm higher.

There's a cool new one-touch walk button that allows easy entry and exit into the third row of seats. Headroom in the third row is now 22mm more.

Is the Santa Fe Elite all and more the car you'll need?

Yeah definitely, the top of the range is fitted with every conceivable feature and an array of safety systems. It felt really good to drive and that plush ride will have you gushing compliments all day. 

The Korean automaker's seven-year or 200 000km manufacturer’s warranty is included, (consisting of the standard five-year or 150 000km warranty plus the additional two-year or 50 000km drivetrain warranty extension), for peace of mind. 

Hyundai also throw in a five-year or 90 000km service plan. 

Prices for the Santa Fe range: 

• Santa Fe Premium - R599 900

• Santa Fe Executive - R659 900

• Santa Fe Elite automatic - R749 900


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Read more on:    hyundai  |  launch  |  sean parker  |  south africa  |  santa fe  |  new models

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