Hyundai Santa Fe, the proof – for the birthday of 20 years it becomes hybrid

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Hyundai’s European history began in 1978, with the start of sales in some markets of the Pony, presented at the Turin Motor Show in 1974. The Italian one, on the other hand, began in the autumn of 1981, again with the Pony but in version updated. The Korean brand, therefore, has a relatively short history in the Old Continent, but in a short time it has been able to reach the level of the best competitors and in some cases even beyond (the 5-year warranty with unlimited kilometers is only beaten by the 7 of its cousin Kia which however sets the limit of 150,000 km). The Santa Fe is the best example of this fast but qualitative growth, because of all Hyundai models, it is the one that has been on the European market for the longest time, to be precise in 2000. The current one is the fourth generation, of which this “20th Anniversary” version represents the restyling.

Emanuele Brambilla

The design, especially at the front, is rather bold, in the wake of what has already been seen with the Tucson, but the real innovations are found under the hood where a hybrid powertrain debuts which in Italy is also the only one available on the large Korean SUV. It is made up of a 180 hp 1.6 turbo petrol direct injection and an electric motor that delivers 44.2 kW and is connected to a 1.49 kWh lithium-ion battery. The total power available is 230 hp with 350 Nm of torque, data more than adequate for the size of the car, which is close to two tons. For acceleration from 0 to 100 km / h, in fact, it takes 9.1 seconds and the top speed is 187 km / h. Numbers aside, in everyday driving the Santa Fe is always ready to pick up speed, well supported by the 6-speed automatic transmission (of the type with torque converter). The traction is all-wheel and for the first time at Hyundai it integrates a driving mode selector that allows you to set up the vehicle’s management electronics for surfaces such as sand, snow and mud.

Emanuele Brambilla

It should be specified, however, that the Santa Fe is only suitable for light off-road vehicles, given the absence of reduced gears, blocks to the differentials and also considering the height from the ground. Returning to Terrain Mode, obviously there are also road modes – Smart, Eco, Comfort and Sport – but the difference between each step is not so marked. On the other hand, what really matters is how much you press on the accelerator pedal and consequently both the turbocharger and the electric motor are made to work. Consumption – the average homologated figure is 14.5 km / liter – varies accordingly and can even become high, given that the hybrid certainly cannot work miracles on a car of this size. By the way, the 4.78 meters in length made it possible to install a third row of seats as well, which is not only good for children but also for two adults, as long as they are not XL size and that the occupants of the middle row do not completely withdraw their sessions.

Emanuele Brambilla

The comfort on board, in any case, is of a high level and the only note can be moved to the absorption of the suspension on dry disconnections, not helped at all by the large 19-inch wheels. Apart from this, the space on board is abundant and the standard equipment is also of a high level: full LED headlights, leather interior, panoramic roof, electrically adjustable front seats, electric tailgate, 12.3-inch digital instrumentation, 10.25-inch infotainment with navigation and live services and a full suite of driver assistance systems. Among all, the image of the rear cameras stands out, which is displayed in the instrument cluster when you put the arrow on: a kind of additional digital rear-view mirror, which, however, you have to get used to, because at first it catches the eye too much. There is also the “Junction Turning” function which avoids collisions when you turn left and a car arrives in the opposite direction.

Emanuele Brambilla

Hyundai Santa Fe, the card

What is that: The restyling of the fourth generation of the large Korean SUV, which in Italy is only available with the hybrid engine

Dimensions: length 4.78 meters, width 1.90 m height 1.71 m, pitch 2.77 m

Trunk: 634 liters

Motor: hybrid powertrain, 1.6 4-cylinder 180hp turbo petrol engine, 60hp permanent magnet synchronous electric motor

Exchange: 6-speed automatic with torque converter

Traction: whole wheat

Advantages: comfort, technology on board, ADAS, guarantee

Defects: consumption, driving position not very adaptable

Production: Ulsan, South Korea

Prices: The price list of the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid starts at 57,600 euros.

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