Associate Contributor: Jeremy Maqasa – Date: 03 Dec 2018

When a gigantic vehicle from Asia (Japan/South Korea/ China) is upon to be launched, one often ponders or wonders about what is it there to expect in LOOKS, DRIVE, PERFORMANCE, PRICE and most noticeably, will it survive the torrent markets that we know are biased towards most German brands.

Then on November 23rd 2018 I had the pleasure to meet up and drive the new Hyundai Santa-Fe(not Santa Claus) up in Pretoria on that searing heat and was welcomed by an SUV that looked very bold and with an attitude of COME look at ME.

There were two derivatives on the Launch; the Premium spec(entry) and the Elite spec (Top level). The middle spec(Executive) was not available at the time.



The front grille area looks very futuristic with its wide grille going as far as towards the LED running lights along them, and just below them is the LED headlights.

The Santa-Fe looks very bulgy from the side showing intent that you dealing with a bigger car here from Hyundai. Contains very prominent wheel arches that sit well with tyres sized between 18’ and 19’ inches.

The Premium spec wears the 18’’ dark and diamond cutting wheel, the Executive wears the 19’’ dark hyper silver wheel and last but not least Elite spec has the 19’’ dark metal and diamond cutting wheel.

In terms of how it compares with the current car it replaces, it has grown substantially in Overall Length, width and mostly the Wheelbase as it attempts to be roomy and also to make the drive better. But the Height still compares similarly with the current car it tries to displace.

The rear make-up is catchier if you compare it to the front, as the LED tail-lights look very tucked and neat on one line. Has twin exhaust that is solvently visible attached neatly around the diffuser. If you are unsure about the Drivetrain, look at the Tailgate, the AWD version will have an HTRAC writing next to the 2.2D marker. While the FWD won’t have the HTRAC.


The plush effect was the leather interior that could match up any of the Top German marquee brands. The blatant leather silhouette covering on the dashboard extending to the doors is stuff of giving attention to detailing and leaving nothing to ask, it is to notch. Even the glim plastic presence sits right at the depth of the leather mesh and goes hand in glove with the design cue. As much as Peter Schreyer is no longer in the design department, but he has left his presence amongst the women and men in the Design Room.

The cabin feels fresh and big enough for driver and passenger, either you in the front, 2nd row or the 3rd row of this South Korean SUV. Don’t forget, this is a 7 seater car and ideal for the whole family.

dscf7814_1800x1800There are USB ports, charging points and air vents for rear passengers, equally with ISOfix at critical seats between 2nd row and 3rd row, always ready for any eventuality from passenger sides.

If you need to run the car like a 5 seater one, you will end up with enormous litres of space at the rear approximately 625 Litres when 3rd row is lowered. The cherry on top is that the Santa-Fe come with a full-size spare wheel which is located on the floor of the boot.

The 7-inch infotainment touchscreen unit which incorporates your Android Auto and Apple Car Play is a breeze to play out with, as it mirrors one’s handset. Bluetooth connectivity, USB connection, and CD and Radio are encompassed in that delicately made interior.

There is an absence of the Navigational System, as I fiddled countlessly searching for it. Turns out isn’t part of the package, however, in the modern world most people use their smartphones in any event, and the likes of Apple CarPlay or Android Auto provide the perfect platform for this.


There are two drivetrains (FWD and AWD) all sharing the same 2.2L Turbo diesel 4 cylinder engine with an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The power is 142kw attained at 3800rpm with Torque sitting at 440Nm readily available at a low band from 1750 rpm to 2750 rpm.


We were fortunate to drive to different derivatives (FWD, AWD), and the routes that were selected were for drivers to feel how the Santa Fe responds on such terrain.

I drove both versions on a gravel road not less than 25km each, and the AWD came into prominence with its ability to adapt its power on each wheel whenever it was losing traction. More fascinating was its adept to throw the power to the rear wheels when you throw it immensely on the tar, you could feel the rear at work which made sure you don’t lose sight of the tar.

dscf7776_1800x1800The FWD was wonderful as it felt more agile and more playful than the AWD, you could feel a bit of understeer as you aggressively play In and Out of gravel at speeds around 100kph.

Did not play much with the Safety aspects of it, more so that World Cup advert of Kids (Safety Exit Assist) when they attempt to open doors while the other car is coming, and system Automatically locks due to it unleashing Sensors for a mobile object.

The Hyundai Santa-Fe will definitely ruffle the furthers in the market, more so to those who need a fully-fledged car without being worried by a badge conscious society.

SA Pricing  

Santa-Fe 2.2 Premium AT                               R599 900

Santa-Fe 2.2 Executive AT                             R659 900

Santa-Fe 2.2 Elite AT H Trac                          R749 900

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