Santa Fe… Capital of New Mexico… A name that evokes the rugged independence of the pioneers who braved the dangers of the Santa Fe trail… A city where Spanish and Indian cultures meet the legendary West… Where art and music meet under the desert sun… One which gave both inspiration and name to the Hyundai Santa Fe…
Now, with the launch of the second generation Santa Fe, the name seems even more fitting for the restless passions which have created this breakthrough SUV.
In re-developing the Santa Fe, Hyundai looked to refine an already successful and popular SUV with a view to equipping it with more quality features, improved performance, greater user friendliness and better dynamic characteristics.
To achieve the aim, the company was guided by feedback received from international markets. Implementing a theme of Assertive Grace – expressive, athletic and elegant styling coupled with more car-like driving attributes – Hyundai’s design and engineering teams set to work. The result of their efforts is the all new Santa Fe – a vehicle about which nothing has been left to chance…
Compared with outgoing models, new generation derivatives are 175mm longer, 45mm wider and 60mm higher, with the wheelbase extended by 80mm. Styling-wise the re-designed versions present to the world a contemporary face, with more luxury features in the cabin, increased ride comfort levels, more space and more versatility. Equally, Hyundai’s traditional values of quality workmanship and engineering dependability have been retained.
Four derivatives have been introduced to South Africa. Each is equipped with a state-of-the-art 2,2-litre turbocharged diesel engine that powers a choice of 4×2 or 4×4 drivetrains. The vehicles’ re-modeled cabins have been configured to offer the practicality of five or seven seats, while transmission choice extends to a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic gearboxes.
From the exterior, the new Santa Fe features dramatic, modern and flowing styling lines. The re-designed front end sports a new grille that not only helps to accentuate the elegance of the decked bonnet, but also to accommodate changes made to the bumper section to improve aerodynamic efficiency.
Sculptured to include recessed fog lamps, a lower air intake and valance, the new geometric shape also helps to underscore the visual appeal of the vehicle’s horizontally aligned, pod-type headlight clusters.
Featuring clear glass and black bezels, the projector-styled lights appear refined and efficient, lending the nose a look that gives credence to Hyundai’s assertion that the new Santa Fe is sportier than its predecessor was, with more presence, agility and strength inherent in its character.
Like the front, the flanks are elegantly proportioned – distinguished by smooth lines and balanced curves. The sweeping shoulder line is highlighted by chrome trimmed door handles and two-tone mirror housings. Clear side indicator lenses compliment the look of the wrap-around light clusters, while the colouring of the vehicle’s lower body cladding matches for form and function that of the front valance.
The Santa Fe is fitted with imposing 17-inch alloy rims and 235/65 profile tyres, the dimensions calculated to fill purposeful wheel arches as well as to heighten impressions of the vehicle’s muscular athletic ability.
At the rear, revised styling lines help to highlight the extra length and width in the body, with wrap-around tail lights echoing the clean frontal theme. A high mounted stop light with LED technology is integrated into a roof spoiler, while recessed rear fog lights are mounted low in the bumper.
The tailgate handle is chrome coated and located for easy accessibility. The bumper has been designed to incorporate a low centre sill that is useful when loading heavy items. Also chrome coated is a pair of big oval exhaust pipes that protrude in focused fashion from each corner of the rear end, their polished presence helping to reinforce the Santa Fe’s performance credentials.
Inside the cabin, a refined modular theme helps to lift comfort quality to upper-class levels. Use of wood grain finishes – as well as full leather upholstery – set the stylish tone. Instruments are lit in blue, boosting clarity of analogue and digital readouts yet remaining restful on the eye. The steering wheel rim and gear knob are leather clad, while superior-feel plastics have been used for switchgear and mouldings.
The vertical design of the centrally placed fascia console – which includes controls for a state-of-the-art audio system and a new dual-zone air-conditioner – can be easily accessed by the front seat passenger. Controls within fingertip reach enable the driver to remotely access information from a trip computer, set the automatic cruise control, or to select radio station frequencies, CD tracks and sound volume levels.
Hyundai’s ergonomic experts have ensured that all switches – including those for electrically operated windows, mirrors and an electronic driver seat on the 4×4 version – fall readily and intuitively to hand.
Increased roominess thanks to the longer body has enabled the new generation Santa Fe to be equipped with the option of seven seats as opposed to the traditional five, a defining consideration in the design of the cabin.
While all the models boast in conventional seating configuration improved leg, head and shoulder room – as well as increased luggage space – the seven-seat derivative has built into its cargo bay two fold-flat chairs that provide a third row for passengers. The seats are designed to offer 795mm of legroom, 1 369mm of shoulder room and 885mm of head room – spacious by the standards of some rivals.
In fact, seats have been one of the focal points in the Santa Fe’s re-design. The driver’s seat on the 4×4 version, for instance, is now equipped with an electronically activated lumbar support function to help provide extra comfort. Another practical refinement includes the adoption of active headrests into the front seat backs. The headrests are designed to protect occupants against whiplash, but they simultaneously contribute to the cabin’s sense of elegance.
Getting in and out of the Santa Fe has been made easier, too, thanks to wide opening doors, optimized pillar location, improved inner clearance dimensions and increased space between front and rear seats. For driver and front seat passenger there is also the benefit of 25mm of extra leg room, compared with that offered in the outgoing model. Likewise, luggage capacity is up from a capacious 847 litres to 969 liters – an increase of 122 litres.
Hyundai’s cutting edge VGT turbo technology – applied in conjunction with other mechanical refinements – means the 2,2-litre diesel fuelled engine in the new Santa Fe really performs.
The high pressure, common rail CRDi unit offers improved response and control, the incorporation of a new low friction balancer shaft adding to engine smoothness and efficiency.
The vane and plate design of the variable geometry turbocharger helps to boost power from the 2 188cc plant to 110kW at 4 000 revs/min but, importantly, also helps to produce 335Nm of torque from as low as the 1 800 revs/min mark.
The result is a superbly reactive engine that is capable of propelling the manual shift 4×2 model from 0-100km/h in 11,3 seconds, with the equivalent time for the auto shifting 4×4 variant set at 12,9 seconds.
The new five-speed manual shift gearbox is lighter, more compact and capable of handling greater torque loads than the predecessor. Built on a three axis structure, it offers improved shift feel and preciseness. Triple cone synchromesh rings operate on first, second and third gears, with a double cone mechanism incorporated on fourth, fifth and reverse.
The five-speed automatic transmission features the latest in high strength, low noise metallurgy. A new, super flat torque converter has been incorporated into the design, optimized for performance using three-dimensional flow analysis to perfect the positioning of the blades.
The result is a unit that takes up less space than the previous gearbox did, but which transmits power to the road more smoothly, quietly and efficiently.
Hyundai’s electronic four-wheel-drive system supplies torque on demand. A series of sensors monitors road and driving conditions, seamlessly engaging the all-wheel-drive system to ensure that twist effort is distributed to tyres with grip. In this way the technology improves efficiency in relation to permanent four-wheel-drive systems, distributing torque precisely and cleanly from rear axle to front without involving the driver in any extra effort.
In adverse weather conditions – or when surfaces traversed require full time four-wheel-drive – a push button locking facility on the dashboard ensures that drive is distributed to all wheels on a permanent basis. The locking feature has been up-rated to include TCB, a tight corner braking mechanism.
Hyundai has made several significant advances to the Santa Fe’s underpinnings, sparing no development effort or expense in its quest to provide the vehicle with class leading ride and handling characteristics.
Front suspension is of the MacPherson strut type with a set of optimally positioned reverse L-shaped lower arms. The system has been designed to provide superior steering feel and improved dynamic control. Further, it incorporates enlarged sub-frame bushes for reduced NVH characteristics. In addition, caster angles on the front wheels have been increased to improve straight line stability.
At the rear, a multi-link arrangement features an optimally located trailing arm that’s re-positioned from the body to the rear cross member to improve ride and handling characteristics and help to reduce NVH levels.
Enhanced shock absorber rigidity in conjunction with a lowering of locating points has helped to improve cornering stability. The new system has also been designed to save space, adding to interior roominess.
Noise, Vibration and Harshness
Class leading low levels of NVH were always part of the plan for the new Santa Fe. Innovative methods of noise control, intensive insulation solutions and minute attention to detail have helped to produce a vehicle that is exceptionally quiet on the road.
The engine features electronically controlled mounting points that continually adjust to limit vibration across the rev range. The exhaust system incorporates twin mufflers tuned to eliminate harshness while amplifying the throatiness of the engine note.
Inside, the dashboard panel has been re-designed to include curved, reinforced geometric shapes styled to diminish noise intrusion. Similarly, the floor features curved geometric and reinforced patterns that help reduce vibration levels.
Further, sandwich-like layers of foam padding, metal plates and reinforced panels have been incorporated at vulnerable points throughout the vehicle to soften the effects of road noise.
Doors feature modular shields of new insulating materials which replace the vinyl panels used previously. Even the cooling fans in the engine bay have been equipped with latest technology blades and motors developed for quiet running.
In implementing the design for the passenger cell, Hyundai’s engineers created a rigid safety structure that forms the basis for the incorporation of the latest advances in vehicle occupant safety.
Various technologies have been combined – from an upgraded ABS and EBD braking system to a state of the art Electronic Stability Programme, active headrests to high tensile cabin reinforcement, strategically sited crumple zones to new generation airbags. The result is a five-star rating in in-house tests which emulate those of EuroNCAP, assuring the Santa Fe of top class safety credentials.
The braking system’s new tandem boosters – acting on 16-inch discs at all wheels – are bigger than those of the predecessor to ensure better stopping power. The ESP system – which can be turned off at the driver’s discretion – includes TCS, an anti-skid function that prevents wheel spin in slippery or wet conditions.
Passive safety features include new generation airbags for driver and front passenger, pre-tension seat belts and active headrests, which are designed to pop up and forward in an impact to minimize chances of whiplash.
Hyundai’s new dual zone air-conditioning system is standard across the Santa Fe range. Quiet in operation but extremely powerful it is easy to use, with vents positioned to ensure that air flow to the interior is optimized for passenger comfort. In seven seat models an additional unit is positioned at the rear, with ducting for the third row of seats.
The audio system incorporates a radio and CD player, with six speakers in the cabin to ensure top notch sound quality. Audio functions can be controlled via steering wheel mounted buttons.
All models feature electrically powered windows and outside mirrors – which are also heated – central locking and a transponder immobilizer/alarm. The new Santa Fe also offers the convenience of cruise control controlled with buttons on the steering wheel.
The top of the range Santa Fe – the 4×4 derivative with automatic transmission – is equipped with an electrically adjustable driver’s seat, which includes electrically powered lumbar support for the chair.
Storage areas include under floor trays at the front and in the luggage area, with additional compartments in arm rests, seat backs, door pockets and in the rear centre console.
Tinted solar glass, extendable sun visors, ticket holders, illuminated vanity mirrors, cup-holders for all occupants, 12-volt power outlets in the cabin and cargo bay, door courtesy lamps, rear map lamps, a battery saver, and a compass in the electro chromatic rear view mirror and a sunroof on the 4×4 have been incorporated to add elements of practicality, comfort and convenience.
Warranty & Maintenance
Service intervals on the Santa Fe is every 10 000km and the Santa Fe has a 5 year/150 000km factory warranty and a 3 year/ 60 000km full maintenance plan.