The Civilized SUV
If people are all hyped up for the Hyundai Tucson crossover, they will be more elated with the new Hyundai Santa Fe. This mid-sized SUV offers more in terms of spaciousness and performance. Designed with 7 passengers in mind, it has more accoutrements to boot.
The 4th Generation Santa Fe is bigger and more powerful than its predecessor. Restyled headlights, Tail lights and the Hyundai trademark “Cascading” Grille make it more sporty and aggressive looking
As a luxury SUV, The Santa Fe features all leather upholstery. The front seats have generous lumbar support, with the driver seat having power control options. The dashboard however is the main attraction here. Looking more similar to an aircraft cockpit, the Santa Fe as a two-level design that has a continuous swooping line from the door panels, as well as a lower level that houses the gauges and a floating entertainment system. Gone is the dull design of yesteryears. The design also allows the dash as well as the interior to feature hand stitched two tone colors (black and brown) tastefully.
AC system also has an ionizer. Air vents are present on all seat rows, which is very welcome in mid-day traffic. Convenience features include wireless charging for the front passengers, charging port for the second row, and blower control for the third row.
The entertainment system also has 7-inch touch screen that incorporates Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for smooth smartphone pairing. Connectivity options include Bluetooth, USB, and AUX. All music connects to a 6-speaker audio system.
Interestingly, the dash gauges change color depending on drive modes. Eco Mode is green, Smart Mode is Blue and Sport mode is Red.
Another added convenience is the control for the front passenger adjustment located at the left side of the back rest. It gives easier access for the driver to adjust the other seat without reaching for the other side.
The downside here is the limited cargo area when the 3rd row seats are unfolded. Not enough space for 7 passengers with bags. Incidentally, folding the seats is easier at the press of a button!
The overall design is bigger and sleeker than its predecessor. The most striking difference is the bigger Cascading grille that extends to the lower valance panel. The thinner headlights are split-type for more illumination, now with 2 pairs of DRLs incorporated.
The body features a sharp beltline, and also evident on the lower door panels. The fenders also features semi-curved lines just above the overfenders. This continues to the back, complimenting the larger taillights. The rear also has a chrome trim and faux skid late with dual exhausts. This mash-up of lines is actually easy on the eyes, and gives the Santa Fe a crisp appearance.
The Santa Fe is lower than the usual high clearance contemporaries. This gives easier ingress and egress, especially with the third row occupants. The lower center of gravity gives it more confidence in tight turns, but gives it less clearance in dodging obstacles, and even floodwater crossing.
With all this weight, the powertrain is engineered to retain its performance. The Euro-4 rated, 2.2-liter Common-Rail Direct-injection electronically-Variable Geometry Turbo (CRDi e-VGT), produces 197 hp and 441 Nm of torque. Mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, the Santa Fe is the perfect balance power and fuel economy.
Power drives the front wheels that are equipped with meaty 235/55/19 tires and 8 in. wide 10-spoke rims. Big disc brakes are on all four corners. The suspension consists of a MacPherson strut in the front, and a Multi-link in the rear, providing the most comfort even in the most gruelling road conditions.
Other features include Parking sensors, 360º view camera (available also on command), Auto hold, downhill Assist and Cruise Control.
Price as Tested
Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi GLS 4×2 AT PHP 2,538,000
Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi GLS 4×2 AT (Mid-Variant) PHP 2,158,000
While others may desire tougher looking SUV that are 4x4s or pseudo 4×4, the Santa Fe is quite opposite of that; it’s refined, wrapped in luxury and full of amenities. It will look comfortable in formal parties as well as family outings. Even elderly persons will take a liking to the gentle SUV. Well, it is tailored for civilization.
Text and Images by Earl Manalansan