THE NEW Sante Fe continues to build on its solid foundation, driving the Korean manufacturer to the top of many buyers’ shopping lists.
Upon taking delivery of this SUV for our weekly road test, I couldn’t help but admire the vehicle’s styling. The contemporary looks are very much in line with Hyundai’s “fluidic design language” and while there’s no escaping the fact that the Sante Fe is a big SUV, the design team have done a good job at masking the car’s bulky undertone.
The restyling in the new-generation Sante Fe isn’t the only thing to like. Under the hood, it’s packing a lot of bite. Powering the all-new model is a smooth and efficient 2.2-litre turbo-diesel that delivers 145kW of power and 436Nm of torque.
Quality engine and performance
The power delivery is smooth across the rev range, while the slick six-speed autobox makes changing gears effortless. Some clever driving and you might be able to get close to the claimed fuel consumption figure of around 8.3 litres/100km in the AWD Elite derivative we tested.
Behind the wheel, the driver will enjoy the confident road-holding ability of the Hyundai, thanks to the accurate steering feel. The higher ride means you always have a commanding view of the road.
Admittedly, there are signs of body roll, but this is largely due to its SUV body style. The engineers have, however, done a stellar job in suppressing it.
The additional introduction of the Flex Steer system means that drivers will be able to adjust to three steering modes according to the various road conditions.
Provides stiff competition
The Sante Fe is clearly capable of commanding a strong following in its segment and I do believe its competitors have grown wary of Hyundai. However, while I have grown to like the Sante Fe thanks to its superb road handling and spacious interior (that is also well setup), it’s still mind-boggling that a vehicle at this price doesn’t have Bluetooth fitted, while the entry level Hyundais do.
Beyond this, the Sante Fe is difficult to fault as it embodies everything the Koreas have worked to create with this brand - a premium-feeling vehicle that’s loaded with handy creature comforts as standard.