Powerful and efficient

Hyundai Santa Fe' Elite Driving impressions are mostly subjective. Everyone has a different perspective on what a great vehicle is. Seldom do most agree on the status of a vehicle in the global automotive hierarchy. Sometimes, however, looks can deceive.

At first glance the Santa Fe' appears stylish enough on the surface - but it is a big SUV and my initial thoughts were that I would need a Wonga loan just to keep the tank full enough to make it to the next fuel station.

Many SUVs have similar issues in that a sturdy, large and heavy body requires a large and fuel-hungry power plant to keep it in forward momentum. So much for appearances.

The Sante Fe has a modern common-rail 2.2Lt turbo diesel engine that produces a handy 145Kw of power and as much grunt as you need for any off-road escapade with 436Nm of power.

It has a six-speed automatic transmission set-up with a step-change performance, resulting in improvements in acceleration, durability and fuel efficiency.

This relatively small power plant and the lightweight construction of the vehicle results in a surprisingly low fuel consumption of only 8.5Lt/100km.

Not bad for a big old SUV. From a driver's perspective this vehicle has it all.

Cruise control and ergonomically designed controls that make for easy driving both on and off road.

It is a luxury SUV and the finishing and layout comply with modern luxury expectations.

The seating provides for seven with limited boot space, or five with masses of rear luggage room.

Off road the vehicle is quite capable and at the press of a button, the diff-lock is activated forcing a 50/50 power split, front to rear.

This allows optimal driving power during off-road or challenging driving conditions.

The system automatically switches to auto mode when vehicle speed exceeds 40km/h, and automatically re-locks when vehicle speed falls below 40km/h.

Assisting its off-road capabilities is the downhill brake control system.

This automatically controls the Santa Fe’s speed on steep declines to control braking.

It also has features such as Electronic Stability Control and a Vehicle Stability Management System that improves driving stability in all conditions, including skidding.

The Hyundai SUV has a newly designed McPherson strut front suspension.

This enables the vehicle to deliver a better ride and greater stability while driving and braking.

A multi-link rear suspension makes it possible to create a more spacious rear compartment than in-wheel suspension vehicles, delivering a more comfortable ride.

Added value features include: Heated front seats, smart key (key less) engine start, IMS (integrated memory system) - allows the driver to recall up to two profiles for automatic seat and outside mirror adjustment.

USB & Aux input jacks, glove box cooling (the glove box cooling area is large enough to store and cool drinks during hot weather), EPB (electronic parking brake), rear-view camera display, panoramic sunroof.

The Santa Fe's audio system produces superb quality audio, made possible by a six-speaker virtual surround sound system, which includes an LCD monitor.

An additional and rather unique feature is the Flexi Steer control that allows the driver to select between different driving modes according to their preference.

You can choose between Normal, Comfort or Sport.

This is activated by a switch on the steering wheel.

There is no doubt in my mind that Hyundai have produced an SUV that few automotive fans would find fault with and one that rightfully claims a spot well up in the SUV Hierarchy.

Fact File:

Price New - R575 000

Demo Test model – R489 000

Warranty 5 Year / 150 000km

Manufacturer’s Warranty Anti-Perforation Warranty:

5 Year / 160 000km

Roadside Assistance:

5 year / 150 000km

Service Plan 5 year / 90 000km

Service Intervals: 15 000km

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