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Car reviews - Hyundai - Santa Fe - CRDi 5-dr wagon range

Launch Story

3 Nov 2006

HYUNDAI'S Santa Fe CRDi should hit the Ford Territory, Toyota Kluger and Holden Captiva hard as one of Australia's few car-based diesel-powered SUVs priced at under $45,000.

Compared to its continuing 2.7-litre V6 petrol sibling, the diesel offers significantly more torque, 30 per cent better fuel economy, and over one-quarter fewer carbon dioxide emissions.

It also consumes up to 4.7, 4.2 and 3.4 litres per 100km less than the equivalent Territory, Kluger and Captiva competition respectively.

But buyers must pay for the diesel privilege the CRDi adds as much as $4000 to the price of the corresponding petrol-powered Santa Fe.

To offset this, Hyundai Motor Corporation of Australia (HMCA) has released a stripped-out diesel version, the SX CRDi.

From $36,990 for the manual, it dispenses with the stability control (ESP), traction control (TCS), thorax side airbags, curtain airbags, trip computer, and fog lights, among other items, that are standard on the rest of the Santa Fe range.

In fact all are included in the base $35,990 V6 petrol manual, which costs $1000 less than the cheapest CRDi.

To match the petrol specification in the diesel, buyers need to spend $6500 beyond the SX CRDi, for the $43,490 SLX CRDi – although this does also net them an auto and seven seats. HMCA says this is likely to be the most popular diesel model.

In comparison, the SLX V6 petrol auto seven-seater costs $3500 less, at $39,990, although it must do with one less gear ratio.

HMCA also charges $39,990 for the SX CRDi five-seater auto, by the way, without any of the safety and convenience fruit, while the top-line Elite CRDi costs $46,990 against the Elite petrol's $42,990.

Another SX CRDi downside is that Hyundai can no longer crow that ESP and TCS are standard across the Santa Fe range.

Nevertheless, it believes that the diesel may account for up to 60 per cent of Santa Fe sales, bumping up the monthly unit tally to 300.

Aiding this is the CRDi's impressive technological credentials, which – according to HMCA – easily surpasses "some popular European cars."

A transverse-mounted 2.2-litre, single-overhead cam, 16-valve, four-cylinder, intercooled turbo-diesel engine, with common-rail direct-injection design, is at the heart (and the initials) of the CRDi.

Hyundai says that it is among the world's most advanced turbo-diesel applications, highlighted by the efficient and lag-reducing variable-vane geometry air-to-air intercooled turbo-charger, Euro IV emission calibration and noise-reducing balance-shaft module in the crankcase.

The CRDi develops 114kW of power at 4000rpm and 343Nm of torque from 1800 to 2500rpm.

More importantly, it delivers the SUV-segment leading fuel consumption.

The ADR 81/01 fuel consumption average for the standard five-speed manual model is 7.3L/100km, rising to 8.1 and 8.2L/100km if the auto is specified in five-seater and seven-seater guises respectively.

In contrast the V6 petrol manual returns 10.4L/100km, and the auto 10.6.

Similarly, the carbon dioxide emissions for the CRDi are 191gm/km for the SX manual, and 217 and 218 for the SLX auto five and seven-seaters respectively – as opposed to 252 for the V6 petrol auto and 256 for the manual.

Speaking of gearboxes, the CRDi introduces a five-speed automatic – called Selectronic in Hyundai-speak – to the CM Santa Fe series.

Fitted with a sequential-shift mechanism and driver-adaptive software, this transmission will feature when the 175kW/305Nm 3.3-litre Lambda V6 models debut in February.

The five-speed auto is also destined for the 2.7-litre V6 petrol versions by August next year, finally dispensing with the ageing four-speed device currently in service.

As with all Santa Fes, the CRDi transmits torque to the front wheels via a part-time on-demand 4WD system, until sensors detect slippage and send drive to whichever of the four wheels it determines has the best grip.

The driver can also select a dash-mounted dial for 50/50 front/rear drive up to 30km/h for more demanding 4WD situations, and can rely on Hyundai’s TCB Tight Corner Braking function to aid turns on hard grippy surfaces.

To recap, this second-generation, CM series Santa Fe was released in May this year, and – being 175mm longer, 45mm wider and 55mm taller than before, is significantly bigger than its SM predecessor.

Unibody, rather than the heavier ladder-frame construction, is employed, for more car-like on-road dynamics, greater fuel efficiency and reduced weight.

Underlining this is all-independent suspension, consisting of MacPherson struts and anti-roll bar at the front and a multi-link and anti-roll bar set-up behind.

It is encompassed in a 2700mm (80mm-longer than before) wheelbase, boasting 15mm-wider front and 20mm-wider rear tracks, along with 203mm of ground clearance.

Yet the CM's turning circle, at 10.9 metres, is smaller than the old car's.

The Santa Fe also has a higher standard braked-trailer tow capacity, 2000kg versus Territory's 1600kg and Kluger's 1500kg.

All models include anti-whiplash active front head restraints, anti-submarining front seats, lap-sash seatbelts all round, cruise control, pollen-filtering air-conditioning, power windows and mirrors, remote central locking with alarm, a trip computer, CD/MP3/radio audio with steering-wheel sited controls, face-level ventilation for all outboard occupants and alloy wheels with a full-sized spare.

Cargo volume is rated between 969 and 2213 litres.

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