What’s new with Hyundai’s newly launched 2019 Santa Fe

2018-12-13 06:02
PHOTO: quickpic

PHOTO: quickpic

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What’s new

• Friendlier, Kona-like face

• Stronger, lighter body

• More comfortable on dirt

• Eight-speed automatic transmission

• Seven colours

• Advanced features on top model — smart awd, smart child-proof locks, blind spot monitoring, cross traffic alert, and “don’t forget the kid (or dog)” feature

Hyundai maintains that, unlike most competitors, its fuel consumption estimates are real and achievable. Stanley Anderson, Hyundai Motor SA’s sales and operations director, says he checks this regularly. By driving whichever model his current company car might be, the way Joe or Joanne Average would, like they’re paying for the fuel and it isn’t tax-deductible, he reckons the numbers are realistic.

The friendly face — Design chief Luc Donckerwolke believes that the raised daytime running lights are more visible, while the lowered headlamps appear less intimidating to other road users – both approaching and followed. The new cascading grille looks good too.

Stronger and lighter body — Fifteen percent more high strength steel, wider use of hot metal stamping (forming) and bigger, stronger welds all work together to reduce weight and make the structure more rigid. That’s for tauter handling and increased passenger protection; helping it to gain European and Australian NCAP five-star ratings.

More comfortable on dirt — The short version is that the rear shocks were relocated slightly so that they’re now more upright and use all their damping length. The familiarisation drive included a fair bit of dirt road – city boys whined that it was “very rough” but Midlands’ country bumpkins loved it – and the Santa Fe did too.

Eight-speed automatic — This latest transverse-engine version of Hyundai’s A8LR1 gearbox, introduced on Genesis in 2015, could almost convince a diehard stick shift fan to switch. It’s rather like a twin-clutch except that there are five of them (four bi-directional units for the forward speeds and a single-direction one for reverse), two internal brakes and six direct control solenoid valves. Being drive-by-wire, there are no mechanical parts to break, wear themselves loose or become jerky. It needs a review all its own to do it justice but let’s just say it worked well.

Seven colours — Phantom Black, White Cream, (light) Typhoon Silver, Wild Explorer (dark grey), Earthy Bronze, Horizon Red (fairly dark) and Stormy Sea. Not really stormy, it’s the inky blue of the deep Atlantic where dolphins swim and play, keeping lonesome cargo vessels company.

Before highlighting a few of the Elite version’s advanced features, let’s see what all models have in common.

The familiar 2.2-litre commonrail diesel has been re-rated slightly to 142 kilowatts and 400 Newton metres. That’s plenty. Any more would be showing off for the sake of doing so. All versions can seat seven. The gearbox is common to all, as is a 7” touchscreen music and communications centre; six airbags; ABS with ESP, downhill brake control and hill start assist; cruise control; automatic climate control; leather seats and rear parking distance warning with camera.

As you move up to Executive and Elite levels, you naturally get more.

The smart awd is called HTrac, for Hyundai Traction, and its power allocation percentages vary according to the drive mode selected (again, Elite-only).

Smart child proof locks keep your kids secured and prevent Mom unlocking the doors, should either blind spot monitor or cross traffic alert detect an approaching vehicle.

Our personal favourite is the “don’t forget” feature. It detects weight in the back seat after the engine has been switched off. Meaning that, if you’re like those parents in the television ad, discussing their kid as if she isn’t there, the car will remind you to check for remaining passengers, human or canine, after locking up. It remains active for 24 hours but we know you won’t ever need it. Right?

The numbers

Prices range from R599 900 to R749 900

Claimed average fuel consumption: 7.8 l/100 km (front wheel drive), 8.2 l/100 km (awd)

Warranty: Five years or 150 000 km with roadside assistance

Drivetrain warranty: Additional two years or 50 000 km


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