Home / Reviews / Road Test / Demand and supply – Hyundai Santa Fe

 

Hyundai had been missing all the action in India’s booming SUV segment as both the Tucson and Terracan received lukewarm response and eventually had to be phased out. Being the second largest player in the country, Hyundai cannot seem to resist the potential of the segment and have finally launched the Santa Fé to claim their share of the SUV pie. A couple of months ago we gave you an exclusive first drive of the SUV, which grabbed a lot of attention. The Korean automobile manufacturer is importing the vehicle as a completely built unit (CBU) and had initially planned to sell about 500 units per year. However, they had to revise their plan within just two weeks, because they received 535 bookings in just 12 days! Need one say more?
The Santa Fé is actually a softroader based on the Sonata platform and this is evident from its suspension set-up. It has a monocoque chassis with McPherson strut with coil spring suspension in front while a multi-link type with an anti-roll stabiliser bar does the duty on the rear. The set-up is more suited for urban use and can handle occasional off-roading trips, though it is not equipped to take serious thrashing. The SUV comes in two-wheel and four-wheel drive versions and the latter is not an all-time four-wheel drive. So you can turn on the 4×4 with the press of a button and the centre differential gets engaged, which further enhances its capability as an off-roader. Furthermore, the 200 mm of ground clearance is a big boost. Unfortunately, there is no ‘low-ratio’, which means that more serious terrain is better left off for other full-fledged SUVs. I felt the suspension to be on the firmer side, which allowed the impact of bumps and ditches to filter through to the cabin. But these vehicles are mostly used for urban use and so the ride has purposely been kept this way.
However, it is Hyundai’s 2.2-litre motor that is like a gem in the Santa Fé’s crown. 
The CRDI (common rail direct injection) engine comes with a six-speed manual transmission and can churn out a decent 197 PS and an amazing 422 Nm of torque.
 The motor can be revved all the way up to 4,000 rpm and the torque surges in right from 1,800 rpm. One can sense a slight lag, but it does not hamper the driveability and the lag is a lot less than other diesel mills of this size. Even at 1,987 kg it is hardly lethargic. With its good torque the Santa Fé shines in the city and its driving dynamics make it more fun on the highway. The gear shifts seem a little rigid at times and the clutch is surprisingly hard, leaving you with a throbbing left leg after a long drive. We hope Hyundai introduce a six-speed automatic transmission soon, which is already available in the international market. 

The performance figures remove all doubts about this Hyundai. We reached from 0 to 100 km/h in just 9.4 seconds and attained a top speed of 170 km/h. The roll-on figures also endorse its driveability and will ensure hassle-free overtaking in city.

 

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