New Hyundai Santa Fe with more power, tech lands in NZ

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Words: Matthew Hansen
19 Nov 2020

Hyundai’s newly updated challenger in the competitive seven-seater SUV market, the Santa Fe, has landed on local shores in time to arrive in local dealerships this week — the firm subsequently confirming pricing and spec for the model simultaneously.

This year represents the 20th Anniversary of the nameplate in New Zealand. Over two decades it has morphed from a slightly unorthodox but no doubt ambitious SUV to being one of the leaders of the segment, holding the torch for the rest of the brand. These days Hyundai serves up a small but well formed SUV line-up, consisting of the Santa Fe, Tucson, Kona, Kona Electric, and Venue.

Hyundai offers three different engines with the Santa Fe; an entry level 2.5-litre petrol four producing 132kW/232Nm, a 3.5-litre twin overhead cam V6 producing 200kW/331Nm, and the range-topping familiar 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four producing 148kW/440Nm.

All models are all-wheel drive with exception to the V6, which is exclusively front-wheel drive. The three different engines also come with three different transmissions; the 2.5-litre paired to a six-speed auto, the 3.5-litre an eight-speed auto, and the 2.2-litre diesel an eight-speed dual clutch.

Hyundai claims it’s worked hard to reduce the weight and moving-part friction under the bonnet of the Santa Fe in order to improve efficiency, NVH refinement, and day-to-day driving experience. Larger brakes are said to improve its stopping abilities, too.

Pricing starts at $62,990 for the AWD 2.5-litre petrol and goes all the way up to $89,990 for the flagship 2.2-litre Limited diesel. Those prices make it a little pricier than the $55,490–$69,990 Toyota Highlander, while also making it nearly line-ball with the car it shares its platform with; the $63,990–$76,990 Kia Sorento. It’s worth noting that a new Highlander (available exclusively as a hybrid) lands in New Zealand next year.

The updated Santa Fe can be most quickly identified by the diamond-cut-look 20-inch wheels fitted to higher trims, and by its new-look grille. It deletes the big chrome frame that previously sat atop the main grille and integrated it into the headlights; going instead for more chrome in the grille’s honeycomb mesh, a more aggressive front splitter treatment, and ice-pick-shaped day-time running lights that follow the same path from the external slit-like top headlights into the main headlights underneath.

While the last Santa Fe was no slouch when it came to tech, Hyundai found a few ways to improve things for the update. The model now comes with forward collision avoidance, lane-following assist, safe exit assist and rear occupant alert as standard safety features across the range.

Limited models get a blind-spot view monitor, while the 3.5-litre and 2.2-litre Limited get reverse parking collision avoidance assist (curiously the 2.5-litre Limited misses out on this). Wireless phone charging and remote smart parking is also available on some models; the latter making it a bit easier to get into your car if Karen and her old minivan block in the driver’s side during your next supermarket run.

“New Zealand’s favourite family SUV, the Santa Fe just got better,” says Hyundai New Zealand general manager, Andy Sinclair. “What better way to celebrate 20 years of the Santa Fe than with the safest and most powerful model yet.

“The Santa Fe is one of the most capable SUVs on the market, which is reflected in it being the number one selling large SUV for the last two years. We are confident that will long continue with the introduction of this new model.”




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