The all-new Hyundai Santa Fe on sale now in UK

The all-new Hyundai Santa Fe on sale now in UK  
Filed under:
SUVs, Hyundai
on 04/13/2006

Source: Hyundai

Hyundai’s all-new Santa Fe, presented for the first time in both five and seven seat formats, is set to storm the UK SUV market.

Due to go on sale across the UK in mid-April, the launch of the all-new Santa Fe marks a further significant development in the history of Hyundai, the world’s seventh largest automotive manufacturer.

The Santa Fe was Hyundai’s first foray in the SUV segment when it was launched in 2001. Now the all-new incarnation is equipped to propel Hyundai to the forefront of the global SUV market in terms of style, performance, packaging and, crucially, quality and reliability.

The new Santa Fe marks a pivotal moment for Hyundai in its forward-looking efforts to elevate itself to become recognised as a manufacturer of high quality, desirable cars at an accessible price.

Exterior Design and Styling

Bigger all-round, the new Santa Fe clearly broadcasts Hyundai’s determination for its future models to appeal much more to the customer’s heart and soul.

At 1,725mm tall, (1,795mm including the roof rack standard on all UK Cars) new Santa Fe is 50mm taller than the outgoing model, it has grown in girth by 45mm to 1,890mm and, crucially for the clever stowable seven seat layout, it is 150mm longer at 4,650mm (CDX and CDX+ models featuring the two-tone bumper are 175mm longer overall at 4,675mm).

The greater overall length and wheelbase (increased by 175 and 80mm respectively) have enabled Hyundai to engineer a third row of seats that can easily be folded down for extra luggage space when not required.

International, contemporary styling has ensured it has grown into its new skin, with taut, attractive lines. And although engineered to be robust and rugged, its design is far from utilitarian: the bold wheel arches and coherent front and rear end treatments are strong on style and street presence.

At the front, the new grille emphasises the powerful character lines that flow down the bonnet from the A pillars. It also unifies the upper and lower body sections and brings together the dynamic angled sweep of the clear-lens light clusters, which themselves flow back neatly into the curve of the pronounced front wheelarches.

The front screen is relatively steeply raked, conveying a more car like appearance – a quality that’s also captured by the gently tapering side glass section and the angled D pillar.

The rear three-quarter view demonstrates the thinking that has refined every aspect of the exterior design. The extra length has allowed a more sweeping profile than before, with the wrap-around rear light clusters extending into the flared waistline. On higher grade models, the LED high-mounted stop light is neatly integrated into the rear spoiler, adding to the overall design harmony. The wide stance is indicative of exceptional control and road holding and the practical, deep-opening rear tailgate neatly rounds off the flowing style.

Interior Refinement and Comfort

Where the new Santa Fe is concerned, quality runs deep, emphasising the model’s sharp progress into the territory typically occupied by European premium SUV models, such as the Volkswagen Touareg, BMW X5 and Land Rover Discovery.

The cabin benefits from a modern, integrated design, finished in a tasteful combination of high quality materials. The new seating is designed for superior comfort, with additional head, shoulder and legroom for all on board.

The increased exterior dimensions translate into additional space, with, for example, 25mm extra legroom for the driver and an extra 84 litres of load space at the rear. Access is easier, too, with wider doors, a higher roofline and more space between the front and rear seats.

Keeping the cabin environment cool is no problem, thanks to dual zone climate control or air-conditioning, according to model grade. Furthermore, on models fitted with seven seats and climate control, those in the rear-most seats benefit from their own independent ventilation controls.

A high quality feel has been designed and engineered into every detail, from the location of the electric window controls, to the pleasing action of the rake adjust and telescopic steering wheel. Modern blue instrument lighting, a first for Hyundai, is easy on the eye and improves visibility while further raising the sense of refinement inside the cabin.

While style was paramount, sound ergonomics also shaped the design of the new centre console, for greater ease of use and additional storage spaces. On higher-grade models, the full leather interior creates a truly luxurious ambience, while all versions feature a fine wood grain finish on the dashboard.

A foot operated parking brake, meanwhile, as well as being practical, keeps the centre console area even tidier and less cluttered and leaves more room for storage.

Five and Seven Seats – Variable Versatility

The new Santa Fe delivers new high levels of practicality, versatility and customer choice, thanks to its ingenious interior design and the choice of a five or seven seat configuration.

Significantly, whether choosing five or seven seats, the generous increase in rear load space is identical, with 969 litres available with all seats in place (and third row stowed on seven seater). And again, in both five and seven seat models, capacity grows to a massive 2,213 litres with all rear seats folded down. This is thanks to the flush folding third row seats, which stow invisibly into the boot floor.

While seven seat Santa Fe customers will have the obvious benefit of a third row of seats, five seat customers will find a substantial storage area beneath the boot floor where the seats would otherwise be stowed.

In-line with Santa Fe’s lifestyle appeal, this under-floor area is ideal for keeping equipment and clothing out of sight. It is a space where wet or dirty outdoor gear, for example, can be placed to avoid wetting or marking the boot space or other luggage or goods being carried.

As well as having a wider and longer boot, the new Santa Fe is easier to load and unload, thanks to a wider rear hatch and optimised loading height.

‘Torque on demand’ Four-Wheel Drive

Whereas the previous Santa Fe used a fixed four-wheel drive set up, the all-new Santa Fe employs a ‘torque on demand’ system, similar to that in its smaller sibling the Tucson.

In normal conditions, drive is through the front wheels only. Electronic sensors monitor road and driving conditions and automatically engage all-wheel drive when required, to gain the best possible traction and maintain vehicle stability, working in conjunction with the vehicle’s other active safety systems, including ESP (electronic stability programme), ABS with EBD and TCR (traction control).

When conditions demand, four-wheel drive can be engaged simply by pushing the 4WD button on the front console. This locks all four wheels into permanent drive for better performance when travelling off-road or on low-grip road surfaces.

Active and Passive Safety

The new Santa Fe was designed from the outset to provide superior levels of active and passive safety. Central to this ambition was the creation of a highly robust and more rigid bodyshell, using extensive computer design techniques and crash simulations.

This has enabled strategic crumple zones and reinforcements to be built into the vehicle, which can absorb impact forces and direct them away from the passenger cabin should an accident occur.

In addition to the reassurance of four-wheel drive, the new Santa Fe comes fully equipped with the latest in on-road active safety systems, including: ESP (electronic stability programme) and ABS with EBD (electronic brakeforce distribution). Brake dimensions have also been increased, with ventilated 16 inch front discs and larger brake boosters ensuring powerful stopping power.

ESP, fitted as standard to CDX and CDX+ versions, uses a network of sensors to monitor different aspects of vehicle behaviour, such as deceleration, power input, yaw rates and wheel slippage. If it detects the driver is in danger of losing control of the vehicle, for example the onset of a skid through too much oversteer or understeer through a bend, it automatically intervenes, regulating power and braking to maintain stability.

All versions of the new Santa Fe are fitted with six airbags, (eight in the seven seat models) with driver and front passenger front airbags (the passenger airbag is now fitted with a cut-off switch), front side airbags and roof curtain airbags. On seven seat models the roof airbags extend through to the third row seats. Three point seatbelts are provided on all seats and, on higher-grade models, active head restraints are provided for enhanced protection against whiplash injuries.

Features and Equipment

Hyundai has designed an impressive equipment list for the new Santa Fe, which even from entry level provides a superb range of safety, comfort and convenience features.

Security has also been improved with all models featuring an immobiliser, deadlocks and remote central locking, with the addition of locking wheel nuts on alloys.

Worth noting, is that all UK Santa Fe models will feature roof rails with crossbars – i.e. a roof rack – as standard. This raises the overall height of the vehicle by 70mm.


Starting point is the GSI, which comes equipped with a full complement of front, side and roof curtain airbags and ABS with Electronic Brakeforce Distribution (EBD). It rides on bold 17-inch alloy wheels and has a host of quality exterior details including front fog lights, roof rails with a crossbar, body colour matched door handles and (electrically adjustable) mirrors and twin exhaust pipes. The remote central locking, alarm and immobiliser provide excellent security, while anyone suffering a puncture will be pleased to know a full size spare is provided rather than a space-saver.

Key features of the interior include air-conditioning, a factory-fit sound system with CD player, electric windows and height adjustable telescopic steering wheel. A wood grain finish on the dashboard adds to the high quality ambience.


The CDX builds on this specification with more sophisticated features that reinforce the new Santa Fe’s premium segment appeal. The comfort of all on board is addressed with dual zone climate control (with independent controls for third row passengers in the seven seat versions), 2-stage heated front seats and a full leather interior. The driver’s seat is electrically adjustable and on those frosty mornings, a front screen wiper de-icer further aids rapid clearing.

An upgraded seven-speaker sound system is standard, featuring a six-disc CD autochanger and additional audio controls on the steering wheel. Cruise control and an auto-dimming rear view mirror with compass are also provided.

Enhanced safety and handling features on the CDX models include the Electronic Stability Programme (ESP) and active head restraints. Larger, 18-inch alloys and a rear spoiler add to the Santa Fe’s bold but stylish road presence.


Owners of the top-of-the-range CDX+ versions will want for little, thanks to an all-embracing luxury specification. The on-board entertainment package provides both a premium hi-fi and a multimedia DVD package, ensuring no journey need ever be tedious again. The 10 speaker Infinity sound system features Logic 7 surround sound and an in-dash six-disc autochanger. Those in the back can enjoy the latest movies on DVD via a roof-mounted screen. The system is also compatible with Playstation and X-Box consoles.

Building on the CDX specification, the CDX+ also introduces Smartnav satellite navigation, rain-sensing windscreen wipers, a handy cool box in the centre console and electric adjustment for the passenger seat.

Incredibly these exceptional features add just £800 to the price tag, compared to equivalent CDX versions of the Santa Fe.

Engines and Transmissions

Hyundai’s advances in achieving premium quality and refinement are clearly witnessed in the powertrains engineered for the new Santa Fe. They deliver smooth performance with rugged reliability and good fuel economy.

Two power units are available: a new high-performance 148 bhp (150 PS) 2.2 litre VGT common rail diesel and a revised version of Hyundai’s renowned 2.7 litre V6 petrol engine, with power increased to a mighty 186 bhp (189 PS).

The 2.2 litre VGT common rail diesel engine is new to the Santa Fe in the UK and uses Hyundai’s cutting edge Variable Geometry Turbocharger (VGT) technology for smoother power delivery, strong fuel economy at all engine speeds and better all-round dynamic performance. The high pressure common rail injection system improves response and control and also reduces engine noise and vibration levels.

Hyundai focused on reducing friction wherever possible to raise engine efficiency and smoothness, achieving significant advances by including a new low friction balancer shaft.

The four-cylinder 2.2 litre VGT diesel delivers a maximum 148 bhp (150 PS) at 4,000 rpm, but its character is defined by its prodigious torque, with a maximum 335 Nm (247 lb ft) available all the way from 1,800 to 2,500 rpm, ensuring exceptional pulling power. In terms of performance, it makes a quantum leap from the 2.0 litre diesel unit featured in the current Santa Fe with 0-62 mph despatched in just 11.6 seconds (12.9 automatic) and a maximum speed of 111 mph.

In spite of its strong performance credentials, the new diesel engine marks only a modest increase in carbon dioxide emissions compared to its 2.0 litre predecessor, with manual versions emitting 193 g/km. Likewise, fuel consumption is very respectable, with 38.7 mpg returned by manual models on the Combined Cycle.

The 2.7 litre V6 has always been a sparkling performer, but now brings more power to the Santa Fe than ever before. Equipped with Constantly Variable Valve Technology (CVVT), it enjoys a power hike from 170 to 186 bhp (189 PS), with maximum torque of 248 Nm (183 lb ft). This translates into 0-62 mph in 11.7 seconds and a top speed of 111 mph, with combined cycle fuel consumption of 26.6 mpg and CO2 emissions cut to 252 g/km.

With the 2.2 litre diesel engine, customers can choose from five-speed manual or newly developed five-speed automatic transmissions, while the V6 petrol is offered exclusively with a four-speed automatic gearbox.

The manual transmission adopts triple cone technology, which makes the unit more compact and provides quieter and more precise gearshifts. The new five speed automatic system has an ultra-flat torque converter with computer optimised blades and operates at a pressure calculated to promote operation that’s more responsive to driving demands.

Both transmissions contribute to the new Santa Fe’s all-round improvement in performance, more positive driving feel and lower noise and vibration levels.

Perfecting the suspension system has been a key consideration in the development of the new Santa Fe. The results of Hyundai’s engineering efforts can be appreciated in improved ride, handling and all-round suspension performance.

At the front, a new MacPherson strut design is used with optimally positioned, reverse L-shaped lower arms to provide superior steering wheel sensitivity and improved dynamic control. Suspension quality and performance are further enhanced by locating new, larger bushes between the front sub-frame and the suspension. And, by widening the caster angle, both straight line stability and all-round handling have been improved.

The revised multi-link rear suspension is a significant factor in the new Santa Fe’s dynamically superior, car-like performance. Driving feel and cornering stability have both been improved by using more rigid shock absorbers and setting them lower, while road noise intrusion has been reduced and ride and handling improved by relocating the trailing arm from the body to the rear cross member. The new system is also more compact, so intrudes less on the space in the rear of the vehicle.

Self-levelling Suspension for Seven Seat Versions

Seven-seat versions of the new Santa Fe feature a new self-levelling suspension system. This ensures a constant vehicle ride height, regardless of size of load on board or its distribution. The result is smooth, predictable suspension performance and enhanced vehicle stability, whether you are travelling alone or with a full complement of seven on board. The system uses no external power source, so there is no penalty in performance or fuel efficiency.

This system is ideal for towing, at which new Santa Fe also excels, being capable of towing a braked trailer weight of up to 2,200kg (2,000kg for automatic variants).

Unquestionable Reliability Record

Hyundai already has an enviable and unquestionable record when it comes to build quality and durability.

For example, in BBC Top Gear Magazine’s own 2005 reliability survey Hyundai was placed 6th overall, with a maximum available five star result. Not only that, but Hyundai boasted the lowest average repair cost and shortest time in the garage.

Meanwhile, in What Car?’s 2005 J.D. Power and Associates Customer Satisfaction Index, current Santa Fe was placed 3rd in class, again above all European competitors.

Built in Korea for the UK market, at the world’s largest car factory, the new Santa Fe has been engineered to even higher standards, helping ensure even greater levels of refinement and reliability.

Strong Residual Values

The current Santa Fe model also already has the distinction of strong residual values. Industry monitors and RV analysts Glass’s therefore predict the new Santa Fe will perform even more strongly.

Chris Smith, Cars Editor of Glass’s Guide said: "Far from offering second-rate residuals, Hyundai has some class-leading values thanks to strong reliability records, increasing brand reputation and its unique five year warranty; and this is especially true in the SUV segment.

"Building on the foundations laid by the outgoing model, the new Santa Fe – with the advancements in technology, engineering, equipment levels and in particular the seven seat option – should achieve residual values that compete with the best in the market sector."

UK Pricing

The new Hyundai Santa Fe is launched in the UK as a 16 model range, with a choice of three trim levels, two engines and five or seven seat interiors.

Significantly in the diesel driven SUV segment, Santa Fe diesel and petrol variants are priced the same.

The 2.2 litre VGT common rail diesel is available with manual or automatic transmission, while the 2.7 litre V6 is offered exclusively as an automatic. CDX and CDX+ trim levels are available with both engines; GSI grade is available only with the 2.2 litre VGT unit.

The price structure works to a logical formula: CDX models add £1,800 (£1,825 on five-seat GSI) to the price of equivalent GSI models and CDX+ versions a further £800. Automatic transmission is an extra £1,000, while there is a £600 premium for the seven seat variants (£625 for five-seat GSI).

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