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Driven: Refreshed Hyundai Santa Fe rolls in

New and improved: While exterior tweaks to the Santa Fe are limited to a different grille, LED running lights and corning headlights, the big changes come in the form of fresh technology and refined suspension.

Hyundai has added more features to the new 2015 Santa Fe to keep sales growing

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Hyundai logo16 Oct 2014

By RICHARD BERRY

HYUNDAI’S 2015 Santa Fe has arrived with subtle styling changes, new features and improved suspension and steering, which the Korean car-maker hopes will keep Australian buyers interested in the family friendly SUV.

Speaking at the launch of the 2015 update this week, Hyundai Motor Co Australia (HMCA) chief operating officer John Elsworth said the SUV segment in Australia was doing well despite the overall market being down and he was pleased with Santa Fe’s performance.

“Santa Fe from our point (of view) has been a magnificent success story since introduction,” he said.

“We are up 2.6 per cent for the year and I would have to tell you one of the most pleasing parts of Santa Fe’s performance is how strong our variant mix is at the top end with the Highlander.” With the base Active accounting for 19 per cent of sales and the mid-spec Elite making up 32 per cent, half all Santa Fes sold are range-topping Highlanders, which HMCA senior manager of product planning Andrew Tuitahi said is significant as it shows buyers are willing to outlay this much on a Hyundai.

“We’re extremely proud to have 49 per cent of Santa Fe customers spending more that $50,000 on their Hyundai,” he said.

“We believe this demonstrates more than a simple value for money equation – it indicates to us that Santa Fe now passes the family barbecue debates, and the keys on the bar at the pub test.

“So in the interest of maintaining this trend we’ve introduced a raft of new features for 2015.” Styling tweaks for the updated model include daytime running lights and cornering headlights across the range and a new chrome-effect grille with a darker tint.

The base Active gains these enhancement while retaining its previous price of $38,490, plus on-road costs in manual form and $40,990 with an automatic transmission for the petrol variants, while the diesels stay at $41,490 and $43,990 for the manual and auto respectively.

The Elite’s price is up by $500 to $48,490 but gains Hyundai’s Hands-free Smart Tailgate which opens when it detects the key in close proximity.

At $53,240 the range topping Highlander’s price is up $1250 but it gains the new tailgate along with a lane departure warning system, automatic parking, front parking sensors, plus heated and ventilated front seats.

The engine line-up stays the same with the buyers of the Active able to choose from the 141kW/242Nm 2.4-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol or the 145kW/421Nm 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo-diesel engine with a six-speed manual gearbox or six-speed automatic transmission (which makes 436Nm when mated to the diesel).

Elite and Highlander variants are available with the diesel engine and automatic transmission only, but all-wheel drive is standard across the Santa Fe range.

Hyundai’s Australian engineering team has further refined the Santa Fe’s suspension package. New dampers and a stiffer rear spring improve body control, different front wheel bearings and redesigned front knuckles and lower arm bushes help lateral stability and decrease impact harshness.

Understeer has been reduced, too, with changes to the new rear upper arm.

A faster 32-bit power steering processor has been introduced which improves feel and results in smoother torque build-up.

Standard features for all variants carry across from the 2014 model with the Active’s list including keyless entry, 4.3-inch touch screen, reversing camera, rear parking sensors, leather steering wheel, roof rails, 17-inch alloy wheels and full sized spare.

The Elite adds leather upholstery, 7.0-inch screen with satellite navigation, premium audio system, power driver’s seat, rain-sensing wipers, heated wing mirrors, LCD centre display, dual-zone climate control and 18-inch wheels.

The Highlander brings a panoramic sunroof, HDI headlights and 19-inch alloy wheels.

As previously reported, an SR variant will take its place at the top of the Santa Fe line-up at the start of 2015, with prices believed to start from less than $60,000. Powered by the same diesel engine that serves the rest of the range, the SR will arrive with upgraded brakes and sports suspension for better dynamics and a sportier body kit.

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe pricing*
2.4L GDi petrol Active $38,490
2.4L GDi petrol Active (a) $40,990
2.2L CRDi diesel Active $41,490
2.2L CRDi diesel Active (a) $43,990
2.2L CRDi diesel Elite $48,490
2.2L CRDi diesel Highlander $53,240
*Excludes on-road costs.

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