A powerful & luxurious Hyundai Santa FE

Published on November 18th, 2010

Hyundai Santa Fe, one of the most popular SUVs in the world, is now even better. Sporting high tech engines and general upgrades, the latest Hyundai Santa Fe is expected to rejuvenate local interest in the top selling Korean vehicle. The updated features are to comply with the latest international regulations on exhaust emission, fuel consumption and safety aspects.

Power train and performance

The most significant updating exercise on the Hyundai Santa Fe is the introduction of two high tech engines. The 2.4-litre Theta II series petrol engine, now lightened by some 10kgs., is able to churn out a very respectable 174PS (128kW) of maximum power and a just as impressive 23.2kgm (228Nm) of maximum torque – very close to the old 2.7-litre V6 engine it replaces.

Some of the contributory factors for the impressive engine performance are the use of dual continuous variable valve timing (D-CVVT) system that ensures both the inlet and exhaust valves operate at optimum level at any engine speed. A slippery DLC coating is now applied on the top of the valve tappets in addition to a revised engine lubricating system to reduce friction. Another new feature is the variable intake system (VIS) that controls the flow of fresh air to the combustion chambers, thus ensuring excellent delivery of engine power, torque, exhaust emission and fuel consumption.

The Theta-II 2.4 with 4WD mated to the new six-speed automatic transmission produces just 210g/km of CO2, significantly better than the 252g emitted by the previous generation V6 2.7, which equates to a 17% reduction.

The most impressive is the new “R” 2.2 CRDi diesel engine in terms of power, torque and fuel consumption. Now using the zero maintenance steel timing chain to drive the dual overhead camshafts (DOHC) with 16 valves, the “R” engine also gets the all-new electronic variable geometry turbocharger (e-VGT) for exhilarating instantaneous engine response at any speed. Maximum power has been boosted from 150PS (110kW) of the old engine to 197PS (144kW) while maximum torque is significantly improved from 34.2kgm (353Nm) to 44.5kgm (442Nm) at the same engine rpm range. This is the top of range torque output in its segment compares to its competitors in the Malaysian market which perform maximum torque of about 320Nm.

Other contributing factors to the impressive diesel engine performance is the use of a single piston high pressure, highly efficient third generation common rail system with electric piezo-type fuel injectors and the relocation of the enlarged inter-cooler unit to the front of the engine compartment behind the front grille for better cooling efficiency.

For reduced vibration and lower booming noise, the “R” engine gets a lower balance shaft which is encased in stiffened crankcase housing for increased rigidity. Weight-saving features include serpentine belt with isolation pulley, a plastic head cover, plastic intake manifold and plastic oil filter housing.

Developed by a 150-man team at an investment cost of 140 Million € (RM731M), the “R” engine harnesses Hyundai’s newest and most advanced development tools. Computational flow dynamics, structural and thermal analysis were used to optimise its design while computerised simulation of the die casting process was employed to achieve the optimal balance of strength and low weight.

Over 500 prototype engines were built during the 42 month-long development period which encompassed a wide variety of performance and emissions tests, endurance assessment, as well as NVH, cooling and lubrication studies. Finally, the engine was installed in vehicles and subjected to exhaustive testing under all imaginable environmental conditions.

To ensure the most efficient transfer of drive to the wheels, a new 6-speed maintenance-free automatic transmission ( under normal driving condition ) is fitted in addition to the electronically actuated 4-wheel drive system that changes from two to four wheel drive in an instant or 4-wheel lock at the touch of a button. The silky-smooth 6-speed automatic transmission unit, developed and produced by Hyundai Motor Company in-house, is believed to be the world’s lightest, smallest and most compact unit in production today. Mated to an ultra-slim torque converter, the whole transaxle unit reduces front vehicle weight for optimum overall vehicle balance and stability. The six speeds allow for a set of close ratios for smoother transitions and at the same time, the lower and higher end ratios to match a wider range of terrains closely. Driving this diesel-powered Hyundai Santa Fe will certainly be a great pleasure.

Both 2.4 petrol and 2.2 diesel engine come with new smart charging management system (SCMS) ensures maximum fuel consumption, minimum exhaust emission and full engine power delivery to the wheels by controlling the alternator load and charge to the battery. During hard acceleration or when the battery is in a fully charged state, the engine control module will cut off the alternator so that there is no additional load on the engine.

Ride and handling

The ride comfort and excellent road holding abilities of the Santa Fe stem from the well tested all-round coil spring suspension system that soaks up the road shocks efficiently. Ride comfort is more akin to a luxurious sedan and in an SUV. Large air cond vents on the dashboard (with rear air cond outlets) ensure cool comfort to all the occupants even in the hottest tropical day. Concealed third row seats turn the Santa Fe into a 7-seater MPV within a jiffy.

Comfort and Convenience

From the exterior, the updated Hyundai Santa Fe receives some new features such as new design bumpers, front and rear lamps, front grille, driving lamps, rear spoiler, exhaust tail piece and roof racks now without the cross bars. The eagle-eyed vehicle enthusiasts will also notice the new style alloy wheels, new rear spoiler with the high mounted stop lamp (HMSL) and front lower lip treatment. There is smart key system with complementing keyless activated door handles which facilitates entry without having to take your key out of pocket or handbags. In addition to that, turn signal lamps on the retractable door mirrors, and a one-touch operation sunroof are equipped too.

The latest Hyundai Santa Fe gets a new feel of luxury and comfort. The four-spoke steering wheel with flush-fitting audio controls, electrically adjustable driver’s seat, GPS system, reverse camera and premium Nappa leather seats impress everybody. The new “Supervision” instrument panel is more refined with a large information display panel for at least seven items.

Subtle yet noticeable new interior features include carbon-fibre paneling. Main switches are relocated for better driver convenience. The air condition system adjustment knobs and the master control panel on the driver’s door receive some chrome treatment to enhance their looks.

Driving the latest Hyundai Santa Fe is even more enjoyable, thanks to significant changes to the driving position and some of the controls. The accelerator pedal is now organ type (bottom hinged) to match the movement of the right foot accurately for a very comfortable and natural action. Electric-powered driver’s seat ensures a perfect position setting for the greatest driving pleasure.


There is no compromise on the safety aspects, especially so in the Hyundai Santa Fe. The vehicle receives a 5-star NCAP (NHTSA) for both the front and side impact tests. Extensive use of high tensile steel, reinforcements and other forms of protection ensures a very safe and strong passenger compartment to reduce injuries to the occupants. Four- wheel drive with an electronically actuated transfer of power to the front or all four wheels simply means that the most slippery road can be driven over with absolute confidence and ease. A touch of a button actuates the four-wheel lock mode to ensure maximum traction in adverse conditions. Otherwise, just leave the normal driving to the truly dependable electronic stability programme (ESP) that activates the anti-lock braking system (ABS) and traction control (TC) to keep the vehicle safely on the road at all times of the journey.

The Santa Fe was voted as the Most Reliable Car at the recent Consumer Reports 2010 Annual Auto Reliability Survey in the US. The requisites for winning the ‘most reliable care’ category include:

• Vehicle has to perform well for 10 years

• Scores are based on the percentage of respondents who reported problems in each of the 17 trouble spots

• Any serious problems they have had with their vehicles during the past 12 months in relation to cost, failure to perform, safety or       downtime, in any of the trouble spots

Apart from the excellent performance of the car, it is also the people’s choice for the ‘most reliable car’ because of its immense comfort and controlled ride while equipped with electronic stability programme. The Santa Fe is roomy and quiet with reasonably quick steering response, making it fairly agile. The seats are comfortable with nicely finished interior.

For more information, please call HSDM Customer Care Line at 1-300-13-2000 during office hours or check out the details on its website at: www.hyundai.com.my.

words & pix: HSDM


  1. Posted by Sarah on November 19th, 2010, 02:25

    Yo Traffic (dawg), I heard you liked blog posts, so I wrote a blog post about your (very interesting) blog post! – cars2scrap


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