Okay, before I start the review, here’s my confession. I haven’t driven any Korean cars before, only being a passenger in them. And this is my first diesel. So it’s safe to say that I dont know what to expect. After spending some quality time with the Hyundai (Inokom) Santa Fe, perhaps, this can be good.
|Name||2013 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Executive Plus|
|Segment||J-Segment / SUV|
|Engine||2,199cc CRDi Diesel (197hp, 436Nm)|
The Santa Fe I have here, is the third iteration of Hyundai’s mod-sive SUV. Back in 2001, Hyundai started offering the Santa Fe to the North American market. It was not much of a looker, but was a solid workhorse. Hyundai sold the first generation Santa Fe till 2006, then the second generation came along.
In the Malaysian market, the second generation was marketed as an Inokom. It looked sleeker than the first generation, while maintaining the signature rear door hatch handle. The third generation here, was introduced back in 2013, so it features the Korean’s latest corporate face.
From the outside, the Santa Fe displays a very muscular face, without trying too hard. To add to the modern taste, the Santa Fe is also equipped with DRLs as eyebrows, above the headlights. Foglights are standard across the range. Moving on to the rear of the SUV shows that the new Santa Fe has sharper lines than the outgoing model.
Gone were the soft curvy lines, and it has been replaced by much sharper lines the new model has. Unlike the Sonata, I’m quite fond of the Santa Fe’s rear end. Perhaps its how the lines flow in the Santa Fe, which I feel, is better than the Sonata. No fancy roofrails or sidesteps can be found on the Santa Fe, unfortunately. Executive Plus variant such as this one comes with 19-inch wheels whereas Elegance ones are with 18-inch.
The interior of the Santa Fe is a pleasant place to be, both in terms of comfort and design. The brown seats you see here, are nappa leather seats. They not only smell good, but they are very comfortable. In the past, Korean cars never had any good looking interiors, but ever since Peter Schreyer took helm, things improved a lot.
The dashboard has the usual touch screen display, which pleasantly, is of the capacitive type, has radio, GPS and USB playback functions. Upon digging into the many submenus, it seems like it supports TPMS (Tire Pressure Monitoring System) as well, but sadly, isn’t available on our local trim.
Audio quality is pretty decent, considering that it doesn’t have any audiophile branded equipment inside. Build quality on the inside is pretty good, and soft touch materials can be found throughout the Santa Fe’s interior. The steering wheel itself, has the ability to set the cruise control, audio volume, steering sensitivity and navigating through the menus. Also, it is worth noting that the Santa Fe, like the Forester before, has European-style signal and wiper stalks, meaning that the signal is on the left, while wiper is on the right.
The Santa Fe is also littered with aircon vents and power sockets. On the front, there are 2 12V sockets, while the rear also has one. In terms of aircon vents, the Santa Fe also delivers. It has aircon vents on the B-pillar to blow rear passengers, and also blows from under the front passenger seats. So on a hot afternoon, it wont be a mobile sauna in the Santa Fe.
On a side note, if you’re like the many Wazers out there, the Santa Fe might pose an issue with your GPS satellite locking. I suspect this is due to the sunroof’s 2 piece design which effectively killed off the GPS signal. Opening the sunroof did allow for a very quick GPS lock, so the main culprit is the sunroof. Just something to keep in mind.
PERFORMANCE + THE DRIVE
The Santa Fe is powered by a 2.2-liter CRDi (Common Rail Diesel Injection) 4 cylinder engine. This particular diesel engine, produces 197 hp, and 436Nm of torque. Yup, 436Nm of torque. That is even more than what the Mother Trucker (Nissan Navara) has. In fact, it has more torque than most sub-RM200k SUVs in our market.
Overtaking is effortless, and with a silky smooth 6-speed automatic gearbox developed by Hyundai themselves, you won’t feel the speed climbing. It’s until when you peek at the speedometer, and realise how fast the needle climbs. For those who prefers manual shifting, it is quite unfortunate that the Santa Fe only has manual shifting via the gear selector, and not paddle shifters. Speaking of gear selector, the blanks buttons surrounding it kinda cheapens the interior.
Also, the parking brake switch could do with a bit more feedback, like a click. Steering feedback isn’t great, since its an EPS unit. On the bright side, there are 3 modes (Normal, Comfort, Sport) to choose from, but toggling between them doesn’t seem to have any noticeable changes. But niggles aside, the Santa Fe is still pretty good. Cruising at 90km/h is pretty frugal, as the engine is only spinning at 1500rpm. But despite my absolute best efforts, I couldn’t manage to lower the average fuel consumption of 9.1L/100km.
Ride comfort of the Santa Fe is good. It can travel on some pretty rough trunk roads without making the passengers feel uncomfortable. High speed stability is also good, as travelling at 170km/h, wind noise isn’t an issue. The good part is that the EPS get progressively heavier as the speed climbs. On the flip side, the Santa Fe isn’t the SUV you would chuck into corners, as the sheer weight makes itself very noticeable. Body roll is aplenty through the corners, and the height of it doesn’t exactly encourage me to go any faster.
IS IT FOR YOU?
Looking at the price, the Hyundai Santa Fe is not cheap. It costs almost RM190k for the top spec diesel variant. That is almost RM200k for a Korean car. A very tough pill to swallow for most car buyers. But this is not an average Korean car. The Santa Fe is very refined. It has the looks, the performance, the build quality to justify the price tag. If you want a big SUV, with the presence and performance to boot, then the Santa Fe is a very good option. Resale value shouldn’t be of a concern when choosing a Korean marque.
Price wise, the Santa Fe is well above the likes of the Honda CRV and Mazda CX5. But the Santa Fe doesn’t compete in that segment, as it is much bigger than them. Who else does the Santa Fe compete against? Well, the Santa Fe is practically in a league of its own. In other markets, the Santa Fe would be going against the Mazda CX9, Ford Flex, Kia Sorento, Jeep Grand Cherokee among others. Well since the Kia Sorento is also sold in Malaysia (albeit petrol only), it can be said that sibling rivalry is at it again.
|Mazda CX-5||Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDI||Toyota Fortuner|
|Type||SKYACTIV-G 2.0 Direct Injection||4-cylinder all aluminum common rail diesel injection||4-cylinder, In-line, 16-valve, DOHC, Intercooler VNT Diesel|
|Bore x Stroke||mm||83.5 x 91.2||85.4 x 96||92 x 93.8|
|Max Power||hp/rpm||113 / 6000||197 / 3800||101 / 3400|
|Max Torque||Nm/rpm||198 / 4000||436 / 1800-2500||343 / 1600-3600|
|Carburetion System||Electronically Controlled Direct Injection||Common Rail Diesel Injection||D-4D Common Rail|
|Fuel Tank Capacity||L||58||71||80|
|Type||Electric Power Assist (EPAS)||Electric power assistance rack and pinion||Rack and Pinion|
|Transmission||SKYACTIV-Drive 6AT||6 Speed Automatic||4 Speed Auto|
|Gear Ratio||1 – 3.552|
2 – 2.022
3 – 1.452
4 – 1.000
5 – 0.708
6 – 0.599
R – 3.893
FDR – 4.624
|1 – 4.651|
2 – 2.831
3 – 1.842
4 – 1.386
5 – 1.000
6 – 0.772
R – 3.393
FDR – 4.750
|1 – 2.804|
2 – 1.531
3 – 1.000
4 – 0.753
R – 2.393
FDR – 4.555
|Type||Front– MacPherson strut|
Rear – Multilink
| Front – MacPherson strut type|
Rear – Multi-link System
|Front – Independent Double Wishbone with Coil Spring and Stabiliser|
Rear – 4-Link with Coil Spring and Lateral Control Rod
|Front||Ventilated disc brakes||Ventilated disc brakes||Ventilated disc brakes|
|Rear||Solid disc brake||Solid disc brakes||Leading-trailing Drums|
|Diameter – Front||inches||11.7||17||NA|
|Diameter – Rear||inches||11.9||16||NA|
|TYRE & WHEELS|
|Tyres||225/65 R17||235/55 R19||265/65 R17|
|DIMENSIONS & WEIGHTS|
|Max Kerb weight||kg||1,589||1,879||1,945|
|Luggage Capacity (VDA)||L||561||516||296|
|Grade||min. 95 RON||Diesel||Diesel|
|Consumption||8.4 L/100 km||8.1 L/100 km|
9.1 L/100 km as tested
|0 – 100km/h||sec||9.4||10.2||N/A|
WILL I BUY IT?
It depends. If you need the comfort and space it offers, then the Santa Fe is right up your aisle. But if resale value bothers you like mosquitoes at night, then look away. You won’t find another SUV with that amount of power for anything less. The Santa Fe is a very good effort from Hyundai, and despite the previous incarnations being pretty mediocre, the latest Santa Fe shows that the Koreans now has an ace up their sleeves.