Hyundai Motor Company, South Korea's largest car manufacturer, has staged the world premiere of the all-new Santa Fe at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, held at the New York Jacob Javits Convention Center.
In its latest form, the popular D-segment SUV is re-styled inside and out, fitted with enhanced features and new technology, and powered by re-tuned engines with improved efficiency - ensuring that it will offer European buyers a visually-appealing, sophisticated lifestyle vehicle when it goes on sale in late summer.
Hyundai is keeping the name, Santa Fe, continuing the heritage of the car manufacturer's well-established SUV model as it enters its third generation. The Hyundai Santa Fe has achieved worldwide cumulative sales of almost 2,56 million units, and more than 350.000 in Europe, since its 2000 debut.
Hyundai expects this new-generation model to continue the company's strong performance in the SUV market, and to capture more than 5% share of its market segment in Europe during its first full year on sale in 2013.
Influenced by Hyundai's form language, Fluidic Sculpture, the third-generation Hyundai Santa Fe adopts its own design concept called 'Storm Edge', which captures the strong and dynamic images created by nature during the formation of a storm.
Featuring sophisticated and refined lines, which are in harmony with its bold and voluminous surfaces, New Generation Santa Fe presents a more masculine, more aggressive and more characterful SUV appearance than its predecessor.
Three powertrain options will be available to European buyers, including a new, super-efficient, Euro 6 compliant 2,0-litre 'R' VGT diesel engine. Producing 150ps, this powerplant emits just 155g/km of CO2. The 2,2-litre diesel unit has been tuned for greater efficiency, making it one of the cleanest offerings in the segment with CO2 emissions of only 145 g/km.
To ensure the newcomer is best suited to the tastes of European drivers, extensive development work has been completed for the European-specification model. This includes modifications to the steering, suspension and brakes, as well as changes to the car's set-up to aid to high-speed stability and towing ability.
As with all newly-launched models in Europe, the New Generation Santa Fe will come with Hyundai's industry-best customer care package, Five Year Triple Care - comprising a five-year unlimited warranty, five years of roadside assistance, and five years of vehicle health checks.
Senior Vice President and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe, Allan Rushforth, commented, "The original Santa Fe has maintained strong sales year-on-year across Europe, thanks to its combination of quality, practicality and value. Now, New Generation Santa Fe retains the earlier model's key strengths - practicality, roominess and dependability - while also offering consumers much more.
"With its fresh exterior styling, more efficient engines, greater comfort and improved quality, New Generation Santa Fe is a truly attractive proposition that will build on the successes of the previous model by broadening its emotional appeal."
The company expects the New Generation Hyundai Santa Fe to appeal to new consumers from a wider demographic range - including some owners of premium-brand SUVs.
STYLING & DESIGN
With its modern, urban style, the New Generation Santa Fe looks strong, dynamic and refined, with the vehicle's body shape making a clear promise that this vehicle is safe and practical, but also sophisticated.
The new model's designers drew inspiration from the shapes created by nature during the formation of a storm - a creative approach referred to as 'Storm Edge'. Evidence of the significance of Santa Fe to Hyundai's product portfolio, it is the first model to have its own interpretation of the Fluidic Sculpture design language which has modernised the appearance of the Hyundai range in recent years.
In line with the full Hyundai product range, the latest Hyundai Santa Fe features the hexagonal-shaped grille, finished on Santa Fe in sophisticated dark chrome. Large, tear-drop headlights above the bumper are matched in shape by fog lights below. The deep, two-tone underbody offers generous ground clearance, and the silver underbody panel visible at the front smoothes the vehicle's aerodynamics and provides reassuring under-floor protection.
Longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, with the same 2700 mm wheelbase, the New Generation Santa Fe has a stronger presence. The conventional two-box SUV architecture is spaciously accommodating but, more than that, the new body shape also suggests great strength, with an imposing front-end and muscular upper flanks. The vehicle's profile is complemented by the dark chrome finish of the alloy wheels - now offered as factory equipment up to 19-inch in diameter, for the first time on a Hyundai SUV. The deep doors cover the side sills, ensuring the sills stay clean and that dirt is not transferred to occupants' clothes on entry or exit.
A dynamic stance is achieved by the lowered roofline, swept-back windshield, upswept lower edges to the rear side windows, and rakish rear windshield angle.
A sharp crease in the new Hyundai Santa Fe's side panels sweeps along the car from the front wheel arches to the trunk, setting the level of the front and rear door handles and sharply defining the upper edge of the wrap-around tail-lamps. Above the lamps, the rear windshield is set beneath a small roof-level spoiler, further enhancing the dynamic stance of the new Santa Fe. Twin tailpipes and a hexagonal mesh set into the lower sections of the front and rear bumpers, add a sporty finishing touch.
Both the front and rear wheel arches are deep-set, so that the tyres are visible almost to their uppermost edges, the swelling of the bodywork over the wheels adding to the car's muscular sense of purpose.
COMFORT & CONVENIENCE
New Generation Hyundai Santa Fe will come with a host of intelligent features that enhance the comfort and convenience of driver and passengers, providing a stress-free experience for all occupants.
To improve the driving experience, Hyundai has fitted the third-generation Santa Fe with driver aids, such as radar-controlled, adaptive cruise control. Light- and rain-detecting lights and wipers, which turn on when the conditions require, allow the driver to concentrate fully on the road ahead.
New Generation Santa Fe will be fitted with the Smart Parking Assist System to help drivers access even the tightest of spaces.
To improve comfort, the front seats are electronically powered and the driver's seat has a memory function to adapt to different drivers' preferred positions. The second row of seats slides and folds with a one-touch control, giving passengers quick and easy access to the optional third-row seats (where fitted).
Front- and second-row legroom have been increased - by 38mm and 45mm respectively - over the last-generation car, while a long, wide, single-frame panoramic sunroof allows high levels of natural light into the cabin. Luggage space in the trunk has been increased by 37mm in depth over the previous generation model, yielding a class-best luggage capacity of 534 litres with the front five seats upright.
When reversing, the tailgate-mounted camera automatically displays a clear, convex view of the area behind the car on the 7-inch screen. The wide-angle view is low enough to enable the driver to avoid low obstacles and small pedestrians.
An optional 220 Volt power socket can provide direct power to appliances including laptops, printers and vacuum cleaners. Located in the trunk, the socket can power equipment rated up to 200 Watts without a specific invertor.
The new Hyundai Santa Fe also has intelligent design features such as puddle lamps fitted within the exterior mirrors to illuminate the ground alongside the vehicle, and privacy glass for comfort and security.
The New Generation Santa Fe's powertrain line-up has been developed to suit the demands of European customers, with three engines at launch covering 80% of demand in the region's D-SUV segment. Delivering a broad spread of power and torque, the three engines offer drivers performance across multiple terrains, without compromising class-leading fuel efficiency and emissions.
The powertrain line-up features one petrol and two diesel engines, with outputs between 150ps and 200ps. All of these engines combine excellent power with improved efficiency and class-leading emissions figures.
The range-topping diesel engine remains Hyundai's 2,2-litre 'R' diesel engine featuring a variable geometry turbo (VGT). This all-aluminium, powerplant generates 200ps and 431Nm of torque, and Hyundai's engineers have reduced the CO2 emissions to 145 g/km - among the lowest in the segment.
With this powerful engine, the new Santa Fe delivers strong performance, accelerating from 0 to 100 kph in 9,4 seconds (manual transmission, 2WD).
Hyundai will also offer a smaller, 2,0-litre 'R' diesel engine with VGT which completes the diesel line-up. Developing 150ps and delivering 382Nm of torque, this refined powerplant emits just 155g/km of CO2 emissions when applied to the Hyundai Santa Fe.
Thanks to the variable geometry turbocharger fitted to both diesel engines, New Generation Santa Fe offers 100% of torque from low revs - just 2.000 rpm - which makes the car well suited to both off-road terrains and dynamic on-road driving.
A 'Theta II' 2,4-litre GDI engine will offer European customers a petrol alternative. Its maximum power (193ps) and modest CO2 emissions of 197 g/km again set the New Generation Hyundai Santa Fe apart as a segment leader.
New Generation Santa Fe is available with six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions, which have been tuned to suit the power delivery of the three-strong engine line-up.
The 'Theta II' 2,4-litre GDI petrol and 2,2-litre 'R' VGT diesel engine are available with either the manual or automatic transmission. The 2,0-litre 'R' VGT engine is fitted with the six-speed manual as standard.
The six-speed transmissions feature high top-gear ratios and were chosen to reduce fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions when cruising at speed, while also enabling drivers to fully exploit the available performance on road or over rougher terrain.
The automatic transmission features two operating modes - fully automatic or 'Sport'. For city driving, fully automatic mode is ideal, while 'Sport' mode allows for clutch-less manual sequential gear changes for greater driver involvement. Although this transmission is a regular 'torque converter' automatic, it incorporates a unique 'flat' torque converter and an innovative layout makes it the most compact six-speed unit currently available anywhere in the world - weighing 12 kilos less and can boost fuel economy by up to 12%, compared to a conventional automatic.
When the 2WD 2,2-litre 'R' VGT diesel engine is mated to the six-speed manual transmission, it emits just 145 g/km of CO2.
The New Generation Hyundai Santa Fe offers impressive road holding, as well as genuine comfort on-road and off-road, providing a car-like ride in normal driving conditions but switching automatically to four-wheel-drive whenever it is needed.
Hyundai's FLEX STEER system is fitted to an SUV for the first time, providing three different settings for the steering to match customer preference and driving requirement. The selected mode - normal, sport and comfort - is displayed on the 4,2-inch LCD screen integrated into the instrument cluster.
The new Santa Fe's suspension has been precisely calibrated to provide a well damped ride and reassuring responsiveness to driver inputs. The MacPherson strut front suspension uses reverse L-shaped lower arms for accurate camber control and steering sensitivity. The front subframe mounting bushes are calibrated to reduce unwanted vibrations, while preserving a confidence-inspiring connection with the road surface.
Multi-link suspension is employed at the rear, with the trailing arm connected to a chassis cross-member to ensure optimum ride refinement without intruding on the trunk space. Self-leveling rear suspension is fitted as standard, preserving ride refinement and balanced handling even when carrying a full complement of passengers or a heavy cargo load.
All-wheel-drive is delivered by an on-demand system which overrides the usual front-wheel-drive only when truly necessary. When sensors detect a loss of grip at the front wheels, power is automatically redistributed between the front and rear axles. The default power distribution is 100% to the front wheels, with automatic and continuous variation when slippery conditions are encountered up to 50% front / 50% rear.
For especially slippery conditions, such as muddy off-roading or driving on snow or ice, four-wheel-drive can be selected with the push of the 'lock' button, delivering a 50/50 power split at speeds up to 40kph.
Supplementing the high levels of traction and grip, New Generation Hyundai Santa Fe is equipped with ABS (anti-lock braking), ESP (electronic stability programme), VSM (vehicle stability management), DBC (downhill brake control), plus hill-holding and HAC (hill-assist control).
Maximum towing capacity (for a fully laden vehicle) with a braked trailer is 2500 kg (manual transmission).
In creating the New Generation Santa Fe, Hyundai has retained the car's SUV heritage, but has also improved its on-road abilities.
A front subframe, which supports the engine, transmission and suspension, is mounted using specially designed bushes to minimise unwanted noise and vibrations reaching the cabin, while allowing the steering to provide excellent feedback to the driver in all conditions.
The all-new bodyshell of the third-generation Santa Fe uses the same technologies that were incorporated into the i40, which won the Euro Car Body award in 2011. A complex mixture of lightweight, high-strength steel and aluminium components increases bending strength and torsional rigidity compared to the previous model. The steel is sourced from the company's own plant - Hyundai Steel -in Korea.
Hyundai has optimised the powertrains in the third-generation Hyundai Santa Fe to be as refined as possible, using lighter materials, damped engine mounts and increased levels of sound insulation to create a quiet, cosseting interior.
These measures combine to reduce the NVH compared to the previous generation vehicle, making it a comfortable environment in which to travel - on or off road.
In line with the rest of Hyundai's European vehicle range, the New Generation Santa Fe will feature high-tech active and passive safety features to ensure exceptional occupant safety and improved protection for pedestrians.
Active safety systems give Santa Fe drivers the best chance of avoiding an accident. These include ABS (anti-lock braking system), ESP (electronic stability programme), VSM (vehicle stability management), DBC (downhill brake control) and a hill-holder system.
A lane-departure warning system alerts the driver should the car drift into the adjacent lane without the side indicator being activated. An audible chime is sounded in the cabin, to draw attention to the situation.
An automatic cruise control system uses radar to monitor traffic ahead and ensure that Santa Fe will not get too close to the car in front. This increases convenience for the driver and also reduces the chance of a collision.
Good driver visibility is a key factor for safety, and the New Generation Hyundai Santa Fe has several features that enhance day and night time vision. HID Xenon headlights offer high-intensity, far-reaching illumination of the road ahead, giving the driver the best possible vision. To further aid vision and safety, the headlights switch on automatically if conditions require them, and daytime running lights are fitted as standard.
In terms of passive safety, the New Generation Santa Fe is built using a lightweight, high-tensile steel and aluminium structure which provides excellent bodyshell rigidity and strength, protecting occupants in the event of a collision.
New Generation Santa Fe is fitted with seven airbags as standard, including driver, passenger, side, curtain and driver's knee units, providing exceptional levels of safety to buyers across the range.
With pedestrians in mind, Hyundai has equipped the new model with an active hood - the first such application in a Hyundai, and an important contributor to greater pedestrian safety in the event of a collision. Upon impact, the hood rises to reduce the force of the collision and, thus, reduce the risk of injury.
These features ensure new Hyundai Santa Fe has outstanding levels of safety, and reinforce Hyundai's commitment to providing its customers with class-leading cars in this crucial area. It is expected that, in line with recent Hyundai models, the New Generation Santa Fe will attain a five-star Euro NCAP safety rating - even meeting the demands of the new, more rigorous 2012 test procedure.