High-tech Santa Fe

High-tech Santa Fe

Compared with its predecessor, Hyundai’s fourth-generation Santa Fe is larger in all dimensions, with more comfort features packed into a cabin that’s now extremely spacious and airy.


Representative of what chief architect Luc Donckerwolke describes as an ambassador for the brand’s new design language, the restyled model – a seven seater – incorporates a lot more technology to complement its positioning as the Korean manufacturer’s flagship in South Africa.


Three derivatives are on offer – front-wheel-drive Premium and Executive variants and the top-of-the-range, all-wheel-drive Elite version. 




Each of the models is propelled by a turbocharged, diesel-fed engine similar to that which powered the forerunner – a 2,2-litre unit that produces 142kW and 440Nm – with transmission through a recently developed, eight-speed automatic gearbox which is said to offer fuel economy benefits of between three and four percent.


Safety items include Rear Occupant Alert – a standard feature in the Elite version – which monitors rear seats to detect passengers, alerting the driver their presence when he or she exits the vehicle.








There’s also Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist – a standard feature in Executive and Elite derivatives – which warns the driver of vehicles approaching from either side of the rear, automatically applying brakes if necessary. The models also incorporate Safety Exit Assist – a system which prevents the rear doors from opening if vehicles are approaching from behind – and blind spot monitors.


All derivatives are equipped with anti-lock brakes, an electronic stability programme, downhill brake control and hill start assist, as well as six airbags – two at the front; one on each side for driver and front passenger; and two curtain airbags along the flanks.


The infotainment system – which utilises a seven-inch touchscreen – has been designed to integrate all media and connectivity features. The system is compatible with Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. 






Overall, the cabin has a refined feel to it, characterised by premium-quality trim levels that include quilted seat embellishments, thick, soft carpets and plenty of light from large windows fore, aft and on the sides


In the second row of seats, leg room has been increased by 38mm compared with that of the predecessor – with the squab set 18mm higher. In the third row, headroom has been improved by 22mm 







Standard luggage capacity has been increased by 31 litres to 547 litres – but the vehicle will accommodate up to 1 625 litres of cargo with both the second and third rows folded flat.


On the road the model feels lively but comfortable, offering confidence-inspiring grip levels whether in two-wheel-drive Premium guise, or all-wheel-drive Elite configuration. Power assisted steering is light but accurate; the engine quiet for a diesel plant, yet responsive.


Suspension, consisting of MacPherson struts at the front and a multi-link setup at the rear, delivers a smooth ride, with damping parameters well considered. According to Hyundai’s spokesmen, road noise has been reduced compared with the forerunner thanks to a reinforced floor that incorporates additional sound-deadening material.






Though large, the Santa Fe is easy to drive. Whether in town or country, on tar or on gravel, the vehicle is a pleasure to pilot – a family sized adventure wagon that rewards for the comfort – and perceived quality – it offers.


Incidentally, the model scored five stars in latest Euro-NCAP safety tests despite suffering a tear in a side airbag curtain during one of the assessments, the result of slight obstruction on deployment caused by an attachment fixture in a model with a panoramic roof.







The company has changed the design of the fixture for vehicles in production, and has issued a recall for those that have already been distributed. A Euro-NCAP spokesman says in a statement that a follow-up test of a vehicle with a changed fitting saw no tearing of the airbag, and he praised Hyundai for the prompt action the company took to remedy the fault.



2,2 Premium    R599 900

2,2 Executive    R659 900

2,2 Elite    R749 900


All prices include Hyundai Automotive SA’s seven-year/200 000km manufacturer's warranty (consisting of the standard 5-year/150 000 km warranty plus an additional two-year/50 000km drivetrain warranty). An additional part of the package is a five-year/90 000km service plan, with roadside assistance for five years or 150 000km.