1 May 2006
HYUNDAI'S second-generation SUV grew in size markedly – from a larger compact SUV into a fully-fledged mid-sized 4WD wagon – and also took big strides in comfort and refinement.
Fitted with a part-time on-demand 4WD system, alloy wheels and integrated roof racks, other gains included seven-seater versions and a 2.2-litre CRDi turbo-diesel option to the standard 2.7-litre V6 petrol powerplant.
Safety advances included standard stability control (ESP) and dual front, side and curtain airbags, while a manual gearbox became made available.
Anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution (that actuate larger four-wheel disc brakes) and traction control were also included.
Like its competition (and predecessor), the Hyundai SUV used unibody rather than the heavier ladder-frame construction, for better and easier on-road dynamics and greater fuel efficiency.
Dimensionally the 4.675 metre long CM Santa Fe was up on all counts, being 175mm longer, 45mm wider and 55mm taller than the old model.
The platform featured a revamped version of the old vehicle’s all-independent suspension (McPherson struts and anti-roll bar at the front and a multi-link and anti-roll bar set-up behind).
Petrol power was rated at 138kW at 6000rpm (previously 132kW) while torque inched up to 248Nm at 4000rpm (previously 247Nm). It delivered drive through an uprated four-speed sequential-shift automatic or a new, slick five-speed manual gearbox – a first for the V6.
The 2.2-litre CRDi turbo-diesel was a common-rail four-cylinder unit offering 335Nm of torque between 1800rpm and 2500rpm, and 110kW of power at 4000rpm.
At 10.6 litres per 100km (10.4 for the manual), the 2.7 V6 Santa Fe led its medium petrol SUV rivals in both the ADR 81/01 fuel consumption average and carbon dioxide emissions (260g per kilometre).
By way of contrast, in European tests, the 2.2 CRD turbo-diesel Santa Fe averaged between 7.3L/100km (five-seater manual) and 8.3L/100 (seven-seater automatic).
From mid 2007 Hyundai added a third variant to its Santa Fe range, with the premium 3.3-litre “Lambda” V6 engine.
The catch was that the most powerful Santa Fe was not an all-wheel drive like the other petrol and diesel models, but fed all its power through the front wheels.
The new quad-cam V6 engine meant the Santa Fe became one of the most powerful models in the class, with 180kW and 309Nm.
Paired with a standard five-speed automatic transmission, the premium six-cylinder used 10.7L/100km.
In October 2009 the Santa Fe received minor cosmetic changes to the grille and turn-indicators integrated with the door mirrors, as well as new trim colours and an upgraded audio unit with MP3/USB compatibility.
December 2009 saw the range go all-diesel, with a more economical ‘R’ series piezo electric injector-equipped 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder producing 145kW of power (up 27 per cent) at 3800rpm and 436Nm of torque at 1800rpm (421Nm for the manual).
Mated to six-speed manual and automatic transmissions in both models (the latter an all-new design developed in-house by Hyundai), it offered class-leading combined fuel consumption of 6.7 litres of diesel per 100km (7.5L/100km auto).
Correspondingly, CO2 emissions fell to 176 grams per kilometre (manual) and 197g/km (auto).