Hyundai has been going strong on its current portfolio in India, and possibly the only mass car maker that is doing well, even in the D segment too. The Eon, i10, Grand i10, i20, Verna and even the Elantra are strong competitors or market leaders. The Santa Fe is another segment that Hyundai will be looking to dominate as this new third-generation has done well in the US and UK market. We get our hands on this new SUV from Hyundai and tell you if it is worth the buck.
The Santa Fe carries forward the Fluidic Design on this SUV as well. The design of the third-generation is bold and aggressive. It gets a trapezoidal front grille with horizontal chrome slats. The crowned hood has prominent slats and even the head-lamp design is aggressive as it has hawk-eye shape. The fascia of the Santa Fe is bold and it does look stylish.
The silhouette of this new SUV has a crisp swage line that runs across till the tail lamp. The DLO has a chrome surround and the greenhouse area is shallow. The Santa Fe gets the diamond-cut alloy wheels that contribute to the glam. It even has silver roof rails and the Santa Fe doesn’t look or feel large from the side. The rear of the Santa Fe is very European and it does resemble the Audi Q range to some extent. It has a skid-plat at the bottom and it also an integrated spoiler. It is the tail lamp that is again hawk-eye and somewhat resembles the Audi Q7. The size of the rear glass is also big enough with a good view.
If you are comparing the Santa Fe to the Fortuner, than let us remind you that both are different segments. The Santa Fe is a monocoque design with car-like driving dynamics and the Fortuner and other SUVs are ladder-frame based, very old-school style. One needs to decide his/her priorities.
The interiors of the Santa Fe are stylish and trendy. It has high-quality materials used with high levels of plastic and great finish too. The design of the instrument panel is highly sophisticated and the buttons and knobs are ergonomically placed too. The centre console flows to the armrest and there is a division between the driver’s side and that of the co-driver’s. There is an infotainment system, which has touchscreen and it has reverse parking camera, Bluetooth connectivity. The screen size is small, but the usability is fairly easy. The Santa Fe has climate control, cruise control and even steering mounted audio controls. It misses out on the seat AC and sunroof like that on the
The seats on the Santa Fe are large and comfortable for long distance journeys. The first two rows are spacious with sufficient head room and knee room even for tall passengers. The second row can be adjusted to increase the knee-room in the third row. There is an extended wheelbase Santa Fe available in the US market, unfortunately it doesn’t make its way into India. The knee room and even the head room is tight in the third row, it is perfect for kids and not fully grown adults. The boot isn’t very large when all the three rows of seating are upright. The third row and the second row can be folded making a flat bed. The seating and loading area of the Santa Fe is very flexible.
Engine and Transmission:
Hyundai has plonked the Santa Fe with the same 2.2-litre diesel engine that already powered the previous generation Santa Fe. This four-cylinder diesel engine produces 194bhp of power and for the automatic transmission, it produces a torque of 436Nm and for the manual it reduces to 420Nm. Despite being a diesel, the NVH levels are extremely low. The engine of this SUV is quiet and it produces sufficient power to drive in the city or the highway. This engine has some amount of turbo lag and it has a strong mid-range. The turbo lag isn’t prominent in automatics, however one will notice it in the manual mode. The engine gets noisy as it inches closer to the redline.
The automatic transmission on the Santa Fe is a six-speed one. It has different modes to be driven in. One is drive and other is tiptronic. It doesn’t get the sport mode or even paddle shifts. The tip tronic upshifts as it redlines and doesn’t hold it in the same gear.
The driving dynamics of the Santa Fe is good. It has a supple ride, and the suspension does a good job of soaking up all the jolts on rough surfaces. We wish the suspension were a tad stiffer as it would have meant better ride on bumpy roads. Even at high speeds the ride is sorted and supple.
The handling of the Santa Fe is good. It isn’t fantastic, but the best of all Hyundais. The vehicle has good driving dynamics and it has an all-wheel drive. If you go off-the-road, then there is also the differential lock for that purpose. The Santa Fe also has the option to make your steering wheel heavier by choosing the sport mode for the steering wheel.
The Santa Fe is a good crossover that is spacious and has high-quality materials with a good reliability. The Santa Fe is definitely a great buy in this segment however the price tag is a bit higher vis-à-vis features. If you want a crossover with seven-seats, the Santa Fe is a good buy to consider.