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New York show: Hyundai outs next Santa Fe

Santa is coming: Hyundai has confirmed that the new Santa Fe will arrive in Australia by the end of this year.

Hyundai reveals redesigned Santa Fe and confirms it will go on sale here this year

Hyundai logo12 Mar 2012

By MARTON PETTENDY

HYUNDAI has confirmed its redesigned mid-size crossover, which will continue to be known as the Santa Fe in Australia, will go on sale here this year.

Officially revealed here for the first time ahead of its global debut at the New York motor show on April 6, the third-generation DM-series Santa Fe will be the last in a series of additional, new or upgraded Hyundai models to reach local shores in 2012.

Fresh from launching the all-new Veloster coupe, which will be joined by a flagship Turbo variant in the third quarter, Hyundai Motor Company Australia will release the all-new i40 sedan here before the facelifted i20 and redesigned i30 hatchbacks arrive here mid-year.

HMCA spokesman Ben Hershman told GoAuto at last month’s Veloster launch that a local release date was yet to be set for the Santa Fe replacement, but has now confirmed the redesigned medium SUV will arrive in Australia before the end of this year, with more detailed launch timing “expected to crystallise over the next few months”.

Mr Hershman also confirmed the Santa Fe successor will not adopt the ix45 nameplate expected to be established in some overseas markets, but would not divulge any pricing or specification details.

“Yes, the new model will be called Santa Fe when it comes to Australia,” he said. “Details regarding specifications, pricing, etc will be announced at the local launch.” Unlike the original Santa Fe released here in November 2000, the second generation won widespread praise for its sleek European styling when launched Down Under in May 2006, before being facelifted in October 2008.

Now, Hyundai has applied its latest ‘fluidic sculpture’ design language to a model that will ride on a larger new platform – to be shared with the facelifted Sorento that will also arrive here this year from sister Korean brand Kia – giving it a distinct new family look similar to that of the smaller ix35 compact crossover.

In fact, Hyundai says the next Santa Fe wears its own design concept based on Fluidic Sculpture called ‘Storm Edge’, which “captures the strong and dynamic images created by nature during the formation of a storm” to make the new model appear both more assertive and classic than its predecessor.

As revealed by these two exterior images, the new Santa Fe wears a hexagonal grille reminiscent of Ford’s three-bar SUV grille, flanked by tapered-back headlights which – like the new foglights – feature LED detailing.

Hyundai says a voluminous two-tone lower section and wider front and rear bumpers also help create a futuristic and urban-style SUV image.

“Dynamic side character lines give a more aerodynamic feeling, while emotional details expressed on the exterior design deliver a premium image, suggesting a new design direction for Hyundai's next-generation SUVs.” No engine information has yet been revealed, but expect the new Santa Fe to be powered by a version of the lusty 2.2-litre R-Series turbo-diesel that is fitted to the outgoing model and a version of the current base model’s 3.5-litre petrol V6 – perhaps fitted with direct fuel-injection.

The diesel was the only engine available until a new entry-level front-wheel-drive petrol version joined the range last May, dropping the entry price by $1000 to $36,990 plus on-road costs. In November, HMCA released an upgraded MY12 Santa Fe in November with no change to prices.

Expect a six-speed automatic transmission to continue as standard across the new-model range.

Hyundai has sold about 2.45 million Santa Fe models globally over the last dozen or so years, including 1.95 million outside Korea.

In Australia, Hyundai sold 4442 Santa Fes last year (4.4 per cent down on 2010), making a top-six player in Australia’s medium SUV segment behind Ford’s homegrown Territory (13,866), Toyota’s Kluger (11,692) and Prado (10,849), Holden’s Captiva7 (10,324) and Mitsubishi’s Pajero (6852).

It is a key model for the burgeoning Korean in terms of profitability, if not sales volume as it accounted for less than five per cent of local volume.

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