A new world-beating engine, more equipment and a stylish new look – all at a lower price. The 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe looks too good to be true. But buyers looking for a big, efficient family car can stop pinching themselves, as Hyundai has affirmed the amazing news that its 2010 Santa Fe will actually be cheaper than the car it replaces, despite a raft of changes.
The headline news is the Santa Fe’s world-class new powertrain, offering an unique combination of performance and economy. It means that the Santa Fe is now comparable on price and emissions with MPVs and estate cars, and comfortably powers ahead of SUV rivals.
Revisions to the design of the Santa Fe are concentrated on the finer details. At the front, the black two bar grille is replaced by chrome-edged three bar version, while revised headlight clusters sit above a new, more sculpted bumper which also houses new fog lights in a black surround. The rear gains a new bumper that curves neatly into more distinctive light clusters, while trapezoidal exhaust pipes and new alloy wheel designs improve the car’s stance and presence on the road.
On the inside carbon black trim replaces the previous wood finishes to highlight the Santa Fe’s modern feel, and the standard single CD/RDS radio now comes with an AUX/USB link with full iPod control.
The range has been simplified, with a two-model range now comprising of entry-level Style and higher spec Premium. Style models are packed with standard equipment: 17-inch alloy wheels, reversing sensors, ESP and air conditioning are among the standard features while moving up to Premium adds 18-inch wheels, dual climate control, heated leather seats with electric adjustment for the driver and automated lights and wipers.
The Santa Fe retains its outstanding MPV-rivalling practicality, with the even more versatile seven-seat option available for a modest £750 on both Style and Premium models. In either version it offers a huge 969 liters of load space in a five-seat configuration – double that of some its rivals – rising to a van-like 2,247 with all the seats folded. This is an increase of 34 liters over the previous model. Seven-seat versions are also fitted with a self-leveling rear suspension set up and rear privacy glass as standard, while five-seat versions get a substantial under-floor storage area.
Powerful, slimmer and more elegant
At the heart of the rejuvenated Santa Fe is a new 2.2-liter direct injection ‘R’ diesel engine that demonstrates major improvements over the already-impressive outgoing version. This new all-aluminum 2,199cc powerplant offers up a class-leading 194bhp – more than the six-cylinder units offered in some rival vehicles – backed by a mighty 311lb.ft of torque (322lb.ft when specified with an automatic gearbox) which amounts to advances of 26% and 27% respectively on the previous engine.
These huge strides in power and efficiency give the Santa Fe an advantage over a wide range of competitors. With the six-speed manual transmission fitted, the Santa Fe can sprint to 62mph from rest in 9.8 seconds, giving it hot-hatch-like acceleration. Although final performance is not usually top of family 4x4 buyers’ priorities it is nice to know that it is the fastest seven-seat SUV you can buy for under £35,000.
That doesn’t come at the expense of economy however, as the combined cycle figure now breaks the 40mpg barrier and emissions have fallen significantly to 176g/km, moving it down on the Vehicle Excise Duty to Band I. These figures also put the Santa Fe ahead of the competition, with no seven-seat SUV or MPV coming close to its combination of economy and performance. In fact, the Santa Fe can even beat the economy figures of the entry-level Vauxhall Zafira and diesel Ford Galaxy while producing more torque than a Porsche 911!
These impressive figures are helped by a number of clever engineering developments, including the sophisticated six-speed manual and automatic gearboxes and an alternator management system that disengages when not required in order to save fuel. Drivers looking to maximize the efficiency benefits are helped by the ‘Eco-Drive Indicator’ on automatic versions to monitor fuel efficiency, while manual versions have an optimum gear shift point indicator built into the trip computer display.
Another advantage of the new engine is an increased towing capacity, with a maximum braked towing weight of 2,500kg, up 300kg on the outgoing model.
Santa Fe proves that exceptional performance and a high spec need not come at the expense of running costs or a sky-high purchase price. Despite the improvements in equipment levels and drivability, prices are actually lower compared with the outgoing model.
The entry-level five-seat manual 2.2 CRDi Santa Fe Style starts at £21,495 (at the higher 17.5% VAT rate).
Significant improvements in economy and emissions have pulled back running costs for the Santa Fe and service intervals have been doubled to 20,000 miles, helping to slash maintenance bills. Company car drivers with P11Ds to consider will find the lower price and CO2 levels reduces their contribution further still, with the Santa Fe dropping from 29% to 26% tax rates – saving company car drivers hundreds in tax every year. Indeed the Santa Fe is not just more efficient at tax avoidance than other 4x4 rivals; it can also now be a real alternative to MPVs and estate cars.
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