Santas Coming To Town
We Drive the Latest SUV from Hyundai, the Santa Fe
Now the SUV that I drove is just in its 2nd generation, initially introduced in the year 2000. Hyundai has delayed its launch here in India but now it’s finally hitting Indian roads, I am referring to the Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4. Hyundai had no car to offer as an SUV after the mighty Terracan and the Tuscon. There was a big void after both the SUVs were discontinued but now rejoice for Santas coming to town. The name Hyundai Santa Fe is taken from a town with the same name in Mexico, the Santa Fe has been selling in large numbers across the globe and more than 2 million Santa Fe`s sold so far. The 2nd Gen Hyundai Santa Fe (the one we getting here) was also awarded 2008 Consumer Reports top pick and was among the top 10 vehicles for 2008 unveiled in the magazine's issue. The magazine's annual ratings, based on road tests and predicted safety and reliability, are considered highly influential among consumers.
I drove the Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4 around some best roads and also on some of the worst roads down south and the Korean SUV impressed me for sure, read on to know exactly what the Santa Fe really is.
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The Aggressive front as seen on many Hyundai`s off late is also very much seen on the Santa Fe, a very strong face with the family grill that has the body colored slats running across. The bumper is largish and again the family looks are easily seen on it. Aggressive is the order of the day and the Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4 has loads of muscle all across. The Bumper, bonnet and side fenders are meaty and very muscular. Appearing as thou a body builder is flexing his muscles. The air dam on the front bumper is partly in black color and so as the front round fog lamp housing giving the front a distinctive two-tone feel. The perfectly shaped wrap-round headlamps give the front the rounded touch. This assembly has the Projector type xenon headlamps and a very nice strip which glows softly and is the parking light for the Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4. The side profile of the Santa Fe is taken over by large windows that include a curved quarter glass. The muscular looks continue on the sides with sharp lines on running on the doors and a high waist-line that runs across the doors and ends on the bulged tail lamps. Large 18 inches 5 spoke distinctive looking alloys with very meaty tyres add to the glamour of the Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4 side profile.
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The roof trails make the vehicle look much taller than it actually is. Body colored door handles and blacked out window frame give the much needed sporty touch to the already muscular flow. Note worth here are the large heated wing mirrors that are electrically foldable with integrated turn lights on them go a long way in enhancing the rear view once on the move, easily one of the best rear view mirrors on an SUV in this segment. Coming to the rear which is a bit more rounded with a very Hyundaish bumper that extends low and has the same two-tone black-body color effect as on the front. Low placed stop lamps in the bumper are very elegant looking also act as the rear fog lamps. A very sporty set of exhaust tip is what makes the Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4 stand out of the crowd when viewed from the rear. Very different looking tail lamps with the wrap round pressed look to it. Neat looking round brake lamps glow rather nicely and are very visible even in day light during braking. This tail lamp extends to the side body of the Santa Fe and has a bulge on it, I found this set of tail lamps the best among the current breed of SUV in this segment. The rear spoiler with integrated stop light is standard and sporty. The boot opens upwards using the handle that’s very differently placed to the right of the rear number plate. I would have loved having a Sun roof at least as an option on the Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4, maybe Hyundai has reserved that option for later. The Santa Fe is overall a very good aggressive looking SUV with impressive build quality and fit finish on the out.
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Getting into the Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4 is not a very difficult task as such; you don’t have to climb up to reach the seat. Leather upholstery in beige color is standard. The driver’s seat is electrically adjustable in 10 ways and is very comfortable giving the just right support to the human back. The front passenger seat is also electrically adjustable just for the reach and back rest tilt. The centre row seats can seat 3 large adults comfortably with enough leg room to spare. Yes there is the third row of seats too, 3 medium built people can sit here but not as comfortable as the front 2 rows, its better left for the kids. The centre row seats back rest has 4 manual settings to adjust the tilt as per the passengers needs. The unique last row seats can be folded down right into the floor giving you a flat space that can be utilized as a large boot.
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The Dash is in a two tone finish with the top half in black and the lower half in beige color and wood inserts running across in the middle. The instrument cluster has 3 dials ie the RPM, Speedo and the fuel – temperature reading. The layout is basic but very visible and suits the Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4. Its got all the much needed trip meters and the computer that tells you the mileage, average speed, KMS the car would go with the diesel in tank etc. The steering is a 4 spoke affair, perfect in size and has a very up market feel to it. Cruise control and audio control buttons are placed on the steering which also has a dash of brushed aluminum on it. The centre dash console is slightly tilted towards the driver side as in many SUVs. It houses the MP3 – Radio and a climate control. The back light is blue as in all Hyundai cars lately. The AC vents are longish and can be opened or closed individually. The centre console has a very smart looking 6 speed gear shifter which is very ergonomic to grip. USB and AUX ports are just below the climate control. The centre storage box between the two seats can be cooled as it has the AC duct in it, a very handy thing to have to store chocolates or other perishable items in it. Speaking of the climate control well the Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4 has 4 AC vents on the dash, 2 vents for the centre row on the door pillars and 2 vents with fan speed adjust for the third row. Everything inside the Santa Fe feels plush considering that this is a CBU that’s imported from South Korea from the Mother plant of Hyundai. Bins and storage compartments for sunglasses, bottles, cans, key etc are all across the cabin and you will run out of stuff filling the storage places, there are more than enough of them. There are 2 variants of the Santa Fe the first being the 4X2 (4wheel drive) and the other being the 2X4 (2wheel drive) the other features and gadgets remain identical on both the versions except the Cruise control, ESP and Neck-Pro system.
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All in all the interiors and the cabin area of the Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4 is well appointed and everything in here is made of best quality, fit and finish is top notch and comfort level is high.
The Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4 is powered by a very impressive 2190cc 4 cylinder CRDI engine that makes 197PS of peak power @ 3800 rpm and hits out 420Nm of torque between 1800-2500 rpm (there is also a 3.5litre V6 280PS that sells in some regions). This advanced engine from the Hyundai stable uses Piezo type injectors which according to Hyundai engineers help in enhancing the efficiency and refinement levels of the engine. Then there is the Electro - Variable Geometry Turbo Charger (EVGT) that propels this beast in a linear order across any tarmac. There is the on demand 4wheel drive option that can be activated below speeds of 40 KMPH to conquer the off roads when needed. This mighty engine is mated to a 6 speed manual gear box that is super slick and smooth to run through.
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On the Move the gear ratios feel well placed and there is no false shifts observed. The engine felt super silent, I am a big fan of the CRDI Diesel engines from Hyundai and according to me they make the best Diesels out there. Refinement level is super high and noise damping in the cabin is top notch. This SUV loves driven hard, power is very impressive and the Santa Fe keeps in straight line with no signs of swaying or shuttering. The steering feedback is just right with the steering feeling amply weighted at all speeds.
On our way back we had a flight to catch and that ensured some hard driving on the Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4. Well It was a sure blessing in disguise and I got a chance to explore the limits of this SUV. Easily cruising at speeds of 160-180 kmph this SUV sure knows how to remain in a straight line. The drive is re-assuring and never did we feel that we were doing speeds this high. The view from the driver’s seat is close to a bird eyes view thanks to the height adjusts on it. The rush to the airport also ensured that the Santa Fe be driven on off roads ie the rough patches off the main road to overtake others and the Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4 came shining through in this department too. Not to mention the bad patches of roads that the Santa Fe enjoyed so much to glide over and thanks to its soft suspension set up and XXL sized tyres the passengers didn’t feel a bit. The all 4 disc brake set up aided with ABS and EBD does bring the Santa Fe to halt from high speeds in a very even and safe manner. The Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4 has 6 air bags in it, 2 in the front and 4 on the sides to protect the occupants, there also is an roll over sensor and Nick-Pro which come into action in an event of a crash. The Santa Fe takes on sharp corners and bends with a smile and in an able handler as well. In gear acceleration is also note worth with the 130kmph mark being crossed in the 3nd gear itself.
Superb handling in addition to a tout dynamics are the benchmark of the Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4. Unheard mileage figures from a 2.2 Litre CRDI monster that of 14.66KMPL according to ARAI tests sway the scale in the Santa Fes favour. Superb build quality and unmatched fit finish help things further. A very able and meaty CRDI engine is the centre of attraction of this giant. Ample head room, leg room and shoulder room with enough support to the vital areas of the human back is easily felt in here. The Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4 when launched would be competing with the segment leader the Toyota Fortuner, Mitsubishi Outlander, Honda CRV and the Chevrolet Captiva. I am more than impressed with the Santa Fe and the way it tackled the tough terrain petted to it.
The Hyundai Santa Fe 4X4 may not have a long linage in history like the Prados and Pejeros but the Santa Fe is finally here and its one hell of an SUV rest assured. I am more than sure it’s going to give its competitors sleepless nights for some time.
Available in 4 colors and imported from South Korea this SUV is the one to look out for when you are hunting for your next SUV.
Things we liked
1. Very competent and refined CRDI engine
2. Superb power delivery and unmatched handling and efficiency figures.
3. Unmatched handling and drive.
4. Top in class fit finish and build quality.
5. Noiseless cabin.
6. Plush interiors.
7. Largest wheels in the segment.
8. Best steering wheel we seen in this segment.
9. Very good ergonomically designed seats.
10. Over all design factor.
Things we missed or would like to have on the Santa Fe.
1. Sun/moon roof.
2. GPS navigation system.
3. Reverse Camera (parking sensors are there but they are just audible types)
4. Head light washers (they much needed while off roading in slush).
5. Bluetooth system for phones.
Torque (Nm): 420
Compression Ratio: 16.0:1
Fuel Type: Diesel
Fuel Capacity (l): 70
Aspiration: COMMON RAIL
Transmission Type: MANUAL
Transmission Gears: 6 SPEED Manual
Length (mm): 4660
Width (mm): 1890
Height (mm): 1760
Kerb Weight (kg): 1920
Electric front/rear windows
One touch facility on driver's window
Variable front intermittent wipers
Rear Windscreen wiper defogger
Body coloured door mirrors
Electric folding door mirrors
Heated/electric door mirrors with integrated indicators
Fascia and door inserts - Carbon black
Body coloured bumpers
Chrome door handles
Mudflaps front and rear
Roof mounted aerial
Skid plate protection
Twin exhaust pipes
Automatic lights on sensor
Front fog lamps
'Childproof' rear door locks
3x3 point rear seatbelts
Active front headrests
Driver and passenger airbags
Front and rear curtain airbags
Front side airbags
Height adjustable front seatbelts
Passenger airbag deactivation system
Seatbelt pretensioners with load limiters
Seatbelt warning lamp
Body colour reverse parking sensors
Remote fuel cap release
Tailgate open warning light
Auxiliary input socket
RDS stereo radio + CD player/mp3 facility
Steering wheel mounted audio controls
Dual zone climate control
Ashtray and cigar lighter
Front and rear cup holders
Front and rear door pockets
Height/reach adjustable steering column
Leather gear knob
Leather steering wheel
Overhead console with sunglasses holder
Retractable load area cover
Two 12V accessory power outlets
Underfloor storage system in load area
Underfloor tool tray
Door courtesy lamps
Front map reading lights
Map reading lights in row 2
2nd row 60/40 split/fold
Driver seat height/lumbar adjust
Electric adjust driver's seat
Fully adjustable front head restraints
Height adjustable rear head restraints
Isofix on 2nd row rear seats
Alarm and remote central locking
Locking wheel nuts
18 alloy wheels
Alloy spare wheel
|Variants||*Ex-Showroom Price New Delhi|