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5 things you need to know about the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

Practical Motoring logo Practical Motoring 3 days ago Isaac Bober
a car parked in a parking lot © image/jpeg

The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe was launched recently and besides reading our first drive test, here are the 5 things you need to know about it.

THE ALL-NEW Hyundai Santa Fe was launched in June (read our first drive HERE) borrowing its new front-end from other Hyundai SUVs (read: Kona). It also saw the popular Active X entry model with its V6 engine dropped from the line-up, a package that accounted for around 17% of sales across the last 12 months.

Initially, the new fourth-generation Santa Fe is only being offered with an AWD drivetrain, and a choice of four-cylinder petrol or diesel engines. The line-up is Active Petrol ($43,000+ORC), Active Diesel ($46,000+ORC), Elite Diesel ($54,000+ORC) and Highlander Diesel ($60,500+ORC).

What engines are available?

The base-spec 2019 Santa Fe Active is the only variant to be offered with a choice of petrol or diesel engines. The 2.4-litre four-cylinder Gasoline Direct injection petrol engine makes a claimed 138kW of power at 6000rpm and 241Nm of torque at 4000rpm. The 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel makes 147kW of power at 3800rpm and 440Nm of torque from 1750-2750rpm. And while the petrol engine is mated to a six-speed auto, the turbo-diesel scores Hyundai’s in-house developed eight-speed auto.

Both the mid-spec Elite and the top-spec Highlander are exclusively turbo-diesel/eight-speed auto propositions, and all models at this stage feature Hyundai’s mode-selectable HTRAC active on-demand 4WD system, which includes a 50:50 front:rear (speed dependent) lock mode.

What does each variant get?

The Active comes with a 7.0-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, a 3.5-inch TFT LCD with trip computer and digital speedometer, adjustable Head Up Display, climate control air conditioning with controls and vents for second-row occupants, dusk-sensing headlights, fog lights, LED DRLs, 17-inch alloy wheels and roof rails. It also has Hyundai Auto Link, which allows an overview of vehicle data on a Bluetooth connected smartphone.

The Elite offers a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen, Digital radio, premium audio with 10 speakers, satnav with live traffic updates, leather trim, 10-way power adjustable driver’s seat and eight-way power adjustable passenger’s seat, heated and ventilated front seats and heated outboard rear seats, dual-zone climate control air conditioning, glovebox cooling, rear door window screens, a power tailgate and 18-inch alloy wheels

The top-spec Highlander adds LED Bi-function headlights with dynamic bending, LED fog lights, surround view monitor, wireless inductive smartphone charging, a seven-inch colour TFT LCD supervision cluster, 14-way power adjustable driver’s seat, heated steering wheel, wood-effect trim, suede roof lining, panoramic glass sunroof and 19-inch alloy wheels. Highlander customers also get Hyundai’s Auto Link Premium, which allows phone control of engine start and stop, door locks, hazard lights, hazard and horn, interior temperature and defroster.

Tweaked for Australia?

Like all Hyundai cars sold in Australia, the Santa Fe benefits from local steering and suspension tuning, undertaken by the Hyundai Australia Chassis Development and Product Planning teams, in conjunction with an engineer from damper supplier ZF SACHS, and an engineer from HMC in South Korea. Thousands of kilometres of local testing over a variety of surfaces saw the team evaluate 27 front damper builds and 22 rear damper builds, and two front and three rear spring rates, to attain the desired result.

The suspension has been stiffened and mounted vertically to improve travel and ride comfort, while road noise suppression has been improved by reinforcing the floor panel and beefing up the carpet and its underlay. There is also cost-optional self-load-levelling suspension to keep the vehicle when it’s loaded.

“Steering response is good and the electric power assistance is well weighted on the open road, with body roll nicely controlled when the vehicle is thrown into a corner with some gusto. But the suspension isn’t firm at the expense of comfort, and it does a good job of soaking up potholes and bumps, even on the top-spec Highlander which is fitted with low-profile Continental 235/55R19 rubber,” said our Dean Mellor after driving it at the local launch.

How does the all-wheel drive work?

Depending on the driving mode selected (both petrol and diesel): Eco, Comfort and Sport, the Santa Fe moves from being either a, predominantly, front-wheel drive vehicle to one that can send up to 50% of drive to the rear wheels.

In Eco mode, torque is mostly apportioned to the front wheels, in Comfort mode up to 35 per cent is directed to the rear wheels and in Sport up to 50 per cent is sent to the rear wheels; the latter Sport mode is the pick for brisk runs on gravel roads, allowing the vehicle to turn into corners responsively and then accelerate out with a touch of oversteer. There’s also a lock mode to ensure a 50:50 torque split for very slippery conditions.

What about safety?

All model variants of the Santa Fe are packed with active and passive safety features. Standard gear across the range includes six airbags, three top-tether child seat points, two ISOFIX points, ABS, Brake Assist, EBD, TCS, stability control, hill-start assist, downhill brake control, Blind-Spot Collision-Avoidance Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Forward Collision Avoidance Assist (car, pedestrian and cyclist), high-beam assist, lane-keep assist, Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, speed limiter and TPMS.

The Elite gains front parking sensors, Rear Occupant Alert (ROA) and Safety Exit Asist (SEA). The ROA monitors the rear seats and alerts the driver if there are still occupants in the vehicle when exiting; the initial warning consists a message on the instrument cluster and then, if ignored and the vehicle is locked, the horn will sound and the lights will flash. The SEA is designed to prevent accidents when a door is opened while another vehicle is approaching from behind; it warns the driver of the impending danger and also prevents child lock doors form being unlocked if an approaching vehicle is detected.

In addition to the safety features on Active and Elite, the Highlander also has Advanced Smart Parking Assist System (ASPAS), Surround View Monitor and additional front and rear parking sensors.

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