When you think of a premium SUV, you automatically assume it to come from a German manufacturer. I don’t blame you. After all, they dominate this sector. We were handed the baby of the Santa Fe range, the 2.2 premium, and came away rather impressed.
Firstly, the engine is a gem. It makes a rather healthy 145kw and 436nm of torque and really gives you a kick in your backside when you jump on the accelerator. Because this is a two wheel drive version, you do have a slight hint of torque steer, but that’s only a problem when you turn the traction control off. The lovely torque of the motor will make it an excellent tow vehicle and, when you are not towing, it returns great open road economy figures of just 7.5l/100km, something which is nearly unheard of in the larger SUV sector.
The interior, which is similar to that of the IX35, but obviously more upmarket, features an array of electronic gizmos and gadgets; from dual zone climate control, to Bluetooth audio streaming and hands free telephone. All good and well and, as you guessed it, should be standard on a vehicle of this calibre. But it’s the way it has all been laid out that makes it practical and easy to access. The electronic steering also has 3 modes; Comfort, Normal and Sport. The Comfort setting makes it as light as a feather, with Sport rather stiff. Normal mode seems to be the best balance between the two.
The rear seat space is impressive and will seat three. The middle passenger also has more foot room due to the centre tunnel which they have dropped. Rear seats also feature a very impressive tilt and slide feature, which will enlarge your rear space, or decrease for more legroom. Back rests can also recline should your passengers want to catch a snooze on a long trip.
The Auto box is a 6speeder and, mind you, the Santa Fe is only available in an Automatic. European versions do have a manual, but after reading mixed reviews, I believe that the auto box is the one to have.
The Santa Fe is designed with family in mind, which means that it focuses on safety. High tensile steel has been brought into areas of common impact to increase strength. The vehicle also has ABS, EBD, Traction Control and Stability Control as standard.
To me, the Sante Fe offers great value for money in terms of the vehicles performance and fuel consumption. If you consider the interior specifications and the space, this entry level Santa Fe is a no brainer.
The Santa Fe costs R484 900 and features a 5 year 150 000km warranty and a 5 year 90 000km service plan.
For more info, head over to Hyundai.co.za