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Hyundai Santa Fe Dropped: Hyundai has discontinued its slow-selling Grandeur sedan flagship, with no replacement model in sight.

Dropped: Hyundai has discontinued its slow-selling Grandeur sedan flagship, with no replacement model in sight.

Hyundai Santa Fe joins 2WD ranks with V6 power, as Elantra nears and Grandeur goes

HYUNDAI has introduced a new entry-level front-wheel drive petrol version of the Santa Fe, lowering the base price of its previously all-diesel, all-AWD mid-size SUV range by $1000 to $36,990 plus on-road costs.

At the same time, Hyundai’s slow-selling Grandeur sedan flagship has been officially discontinued and, as we’ve reported, will not be replaced by the all-new and much sleeker model already on sale in Korea.

Fresh from releasing a new entry-level 2.0-litre version of its mid-size i45 sedan to $26,990 plus ORCs earlier this month, Hyundai next month will launch its new MD-series Elantra, powered by a 110kW 1.8-litre petrol engine with both six-speed manual and automatic transmissions.

Hyundai’s redesigned small sedan will be followed in August by the new RB-series Accent light sedan, the all-new VF-series i40 wagon in November and the all-new FS-series Veloster coupe in December, while Hyundai is also considering the i40 sedan for local release next year.

For now, however, the Santa Fe 2WD arrives in three all-auto specification grades, with base SLX, mid-range Elite and flagship Highlander variants mirroring the facelifted 2.2-litre R-Series diesel line-up released here in December 2009.

Priced from under $37,000, the first petrol-powered and first two-wheel drive variants of the latest Santa Fe do not match the cheapest front-drive versions of sister company Kia’s Sorento ($36,490) or equivalent versions of Holden’s recently facelifted Captiva seven-seater ($32,490).

HyundaiSanta Fe center imageFrom top: Hyundai Elantra, Accent, i40 and Veloster.

Unlike its fellow Korean-built rivals, however, the new Santa Fe 2WD models offer six cylinders instead of four – in this case a 3.5-litre 32-valve DOHC ‘Lambda’ petrol V6 that delivers 204kW at 6300rpm and 335Nm at 5000rpm.

All three V6 models significantly undercut Australia’s top-selling six-cylinder medium SUV competitors in Ford’s heavily upgraded homegrown Territory and Toyota’s Kluger, both of which are priced from $39,990 in base 2WD TX 4.0 auto and 2WD KX-R 3.5 auto guises respectively.

Like all Santa Fe models, the new 3.5 comes as standard with seven seats and the same new Hyundai six-speed automatic transmission that debuted with the model’s beefy new 2.2 CRDi diesel engine – with the exception of the cheapest diesel variant (the $37,990 SLX 2.2 AWD, which is being offered with a free automatic transmission until the end of June).

Officially, however, while the new Santa Fe 2WD petrol auto is $1000 more affordable than its AWD diesel manual equivalent at base level, the mid-range 2WD 3.5 Elite auto ($40,990) and top-shelf 2WD 3.5 Highlander auto ($45,490) undercut their otherwise identically specified AWD diesel counterparts by $3000.

Shedding the diesel’s AWD system in part reduces the V6 Santa Fe’s kerb weight from 1988 to 1862kg, resulting in combined fuel consumption of 9.6L/100km (up from 6.7L/100km for the diesel manual and 7.5L/100km for the diesel auto) and CO2 emissions of 230g/km – up from a respective 176 and 197g/km.

Towing capacities are yet to be announced (and are likely to fall short of the AWD diesel’s 750/2000kg braked/unbraked figures), but the Santa Fe V6 is otherwise mechanically identical to the diesel auto, including internal gearbox and final drive ratios.

The belated replacement for the previously discontinued 3.3-litre V6 version – as forecast by GoAuto 18 months ago – should provide the Santa Fe with a welcome lift in sales, which are 18.3 per cent down at 1370 to April this year.

That represents 5.5 per cent of a medium SUV segment dominated by Toyota’s hard-core Prado (19.1 per cent), which leads the Kluger (16.4), Territory (11.8), Captiva 7 (11.2) and Mitsubishi’s Pajero (7.2)

2011 Hyundai Santa Fe pricing:
3.5 V6 SLX 2WD $36,990 (new)
2.2 CRDi SLX AWD $37,990
3.5 V6 Elite 2WD (a) $40,990 (new)
2.2 CRDi Elite AWD (a) $43,990
3.5 V6 Highlander 2WD (a) $45,490 (new)
2.2 CRDi Highlander AWD (a) $48,490


Hyundai Santa Fe Dropped: Hyundai has discontinued its slow-selling Grandeur sedan flagship, with no replacement model in sight.


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