Technobok Motoring Correspondent – Date 23 April 2021 – Yan Musikingala

First introduced in 2000, the 7-seater Hyundai Santa Fe has undergone a lot of changes through four generations. we were invited to sample the new refreshed family SUV to see what it has to offer…

Exterior

Bold and distinctive design, the new Santa Fe is quite hard to miss at first glance.  standing out with its new facelift front-end, now featuring a massive cascading chrome grille flowing with T-shaped daytime running lights, and side mirror integrated turn signal lights projecting an imposing presence.

Now available in two derivatives, the Santa Fe Executive and Santa Fe Elite. Front-wheel-drive “Executive” riding on 18-inch alloy and the range-topping all-wheel-drive “Elite” model riding on standard 19-inch alloys or optional 20-inch wheels.

Interior, Tech, and Practicality

What is new inside?

Spacious, comfortable filled with a lot of premium features as standard.

The interior of the new Santa Fe Also gets a makeover, new tech, new controls, new seats, and even more safety features.

12.3 inch fully digital instrument cluster, panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated seats, smart power tailgate are all offered on the range-topping model Santa Fe Elite.

New 8-inch touch screen infotainment system, compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and just below it a new floating centre console that displays controls of the new drive-by-wire gear and drive-mode selector dial as well as the climate controls button. With a wireless phone charging slot next to the cupholder.

The infotainment system seemed a bit too restricting, not allowing any changes while driving, which means if you had to change a destination on your map, you will have to pull over and make changes while stationary or use the likes of a smart based assistant such as those contained within Google Maps or Apple Maps for instance.

In terms of practicality, the new Santa Fe feels very roomy and comfortable, with comfortable black Nappa leather seats with improved head and legroom at the back. Hyundai claims that the new Santa Fe has a luggage capacity of 634L when the 3r row seats are folded with easy access thanks to the Smart Power Tailgate.

Other very useful practical features available as standard on the new Santa Fe include remote start, remote climate control setting to 22°C.

Safety

When it comes to safety the new 7-seater family SUV comes packed with a number of features like ABS, EBD. ESP Cross-Traffic Warning, Lane keep assist, Safe Exit, electronic stability, blind-spot monitoring, and more…

The Drive and Impression

Besides the redesigned front-end and updated interior, the new Santa Fe powertrain also receives a boost. powered by a  2.2Litres four-cylinder turbo Diesel engine which is now exclusively mated to a Smartstream 8-speed wet DCT (Dual Clutch Transmission) developing 148 kW and 441Nm of torque. 3 kW and 5 Nm more powerful than that of its predecessor.

The new engine and transmission combination proved to be very engaging and very responsive both at low and high speed. The transmission shifts smoothly when left on auto and can even be more engaging when you decide to control the steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.

Smooth handling and comfortable ride quality, with soft suspension set up, soaking up bumps with ease even on gravel roads. A slight body roll was noticeable when changing direction quickly as is often common with larger SUV’s.

With most of our launch driving being around the city and some gravel roads, we managed an impressive average fuel consumption of 8.1L/100km over the 7.9L /100km claimed by Hyundai.

Pricing

Hyundai Santa Fe R2.2 Executive 8sp DCT MY21 R769 500

Hyundai Santa Fe R2.2 Elite 8sp DCT AWD  MY21. R869 500

All prices include a 7-year/200 000 km manufacturer warranty, a 6-year 90 000 service plan, and a 7-year/ 150 000 km roadside assistance.

Verdict

Having spent a limited amount of time with the Hyundai Santa Fe, I cannot say much besides my initial thought that the new Santa Fe is a very competitive product, it offers a refined with a bit of luxury and entertaining driving experience with a ton of modern tech/safety features which Is quite rare to get from its rivals. I believe consumers will highly appreciate it and should consider shortlisting it.

We are looking forward to spending more time with it for a more in-depth and thorough review.

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