Hyundai’s new Santa Fe

A step forward in design, performance and innovation

23 September 2021 | Motors

Staff reporter

Stanley Anderson, Hyundai Automotive South Africa - “We believe the Santa Fe offers great value and easily passes the test in its market segment, where the bar is set very high in terms of quality, luxury, an outstanding driving experience and innovative features.”

Totally transformed, the new Santa Fe is much more than a mere facelift. With the interior upgrades, it creates an aura of luxury and prestige, and the updating and finetuning of its 2,2-liter turbodiesel engine, in combination with a smooth 8-speed Dual Clutch Transmission, offers a dynamic driving performance that belies the size of this SUV.

“The Santa Fe was Hyundai’s first SUV, and it still is the flagship model in our local model line-up. The continuing improvements the Santa Fe has undergone over the past two decades demonstrate Hyundai’s commitment to developing quality products with the latest features for its customers, as is evident from this latest upgrade,” says Stanley Anderson, sales and operations director of Hyundai Automotive South Africa.

“We believe the Santa Fe offers great value and easily passes the test in its market segment, where the bar is set very high in terms of quality, luxury, an outstanding driving experience and innovative features.”

The new Santa Fe is available in two derivatives in South Africa – the R2.2 Executive with an upgraded turbodiesel engine and new 8-speed Dual Clutch Transmission (DCT); and the R2.2 Elite, also with the 2,2-liter turbodiesel and 8-speed DCT, but with All-Wheel Drive and several more luxury features. Both derivatives are 7-seaters, with the two seats in the third row that fold away in the floor of the large cargo compartment.

Striking exterior with a bold new grille

The Santa Fe has been redesigned to convey a look of strength, magnificence and highly redefined luxury. It stands out thanks to its bold exterior and the front section with its striking new grille, brings out a fresh and more modern look compared to its predecessors.

The eye-catching cascading grille has been improved, with its signature geometric patterned inlay integrated with the headlights. The T-shaped daytime running lights, along with the sculpted front bumper, offer a highly distinctive presence and completes the edgy and powerful appearance.

New 18-inch alloy wheels enhances the side view of the Santa Fe Executive, while the Elite derivative comes with 19- or 20-inch wheels with a different design.

Interior exudes an air of luxury, innovation

A spacious interior with full leather seats and a new floating centre console which is equipped with shift-by-wire transmission buttons provides an ambience of luxury and operational convenience.

Apart from the buttons for the transmission, the centre console also contains the buttons for the automatic climate control and selector knob for the drive modes and, in the Elite derivative, terrain modes for the all-wheel drive system. Next to the cup holder in the console is a neat, almost hidden wireless charging slot for a cell phone.

Rear window curtains and heating and ventilation for the front seats are also on the list of convenience features, as well as Remote Start, which allows one to start the vehicle remotely with the smart key, automatically switching on the air conditioner and setting the temperature at 22°C.

On both derivatives a Smart Power Tailgate opens and closes the back door at the touch of a button on the remote key fob, or by touching the respective buttons on the tailgate.

The driver and front passenger can adjust their seats electrically in the Elite derivative, and the driver can lower or raise his or her seat position. The Elite also comes with a 12.3-inch LCD Super Vision Instrument Cluster for the driver, for which illumination can be altered by a rheostat. Both derivates have paddle gear shift levers on the steering wheel for manual shifting, because the transmission controls on the centre console are push buttons.

Upgraded turbodiesel engine, new 8-speed DCT transmission

The new Santa Fe is the first Hyundai model to be fitted with the next-generation powertrain Smartstream R2.2 turbodiesel engine which has a maximum output of 148 kW (vs 145 kW of the previous R2.2 turbodiesel) and maximum torque of 441 Nm (an increase of 5 Nm from the old engine).

It is also the first Hyundai SUV to be equipped with the newly developed Smartstream Wet 8DCT, a dual clutch transmission delivering quick eight-speed shifting and acceleration performance. It employs two clutches, one coupled to a shaft for odd-number and the other to the shaft for even-number gears.

The 8DCT offers the smooth shifting characteristics of a conventional automatic transmission while enhancing efficiency over dry dual clutch transmissions.

All-wheel drive and terrain modes

In the Elite derivative, the new Santa Fe features Hyundai’s signature HTRAC four-wheel drive technology. HTRAC is a combination of the words “Hyundai” and “traction,” and the technology is intended to enable agile handling and better torque application depending on wheel grip and vehicle speed.

The drive modes Comfort, Sport, Eco and Smart are also standard features in the Executive derivative.

State-of-the-art safety features

One of the active safety features in the new Santa Fe is the Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist (PCA), which uses a rear-view camera and rear ultrasonic sensors to detect obstacles when reversing, providing a warning and applying the brakes, if necessary, to avoid a collision. It also features Rear Cross-Traffic Warning and Safe Exit Assist Should issues a warning and keeps the door locked to ensure child safety when a rear occupant attempts to open the rear door while the Santa Fe is standing still and a vehicle is approaching from the rear.

An Anti-Lock Braking System (ABS); Electronic Brake Force Distribution (EBD); Electronic Stability Program (ESP); and Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) are also on the list of active safety features of the new Santa Fe, including Downhill Brake Control, and Hill Start Assist Control.

Passive safety features include front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger, as well as a curtain airbag that also provides protection for other occupants of the car.


The pricing of the new Santa Fe range is:

Santa Fe R2.2 Executive 8sp DCT – N$ 780 540 Santa Fe R2.2 Elite 8sp DCT AWD – N$ 880 540

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