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Driven: Hyundai introduces ‘30’ Special Edition pair

Snow joke: The exclusive Hyundai Tucson ‘30’ Special Edition has grippy four-wheel drive for tackling challenging surfaces such as mud and snow.

Limited-edition Hyundai Santa Fe could herald permanent V6-powered 2WD version


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2 Sep 2016

HYUNDAI is celebrating its 30-year anniversary in Australia with exclusive ‘30’ Limited Edition versions of the Santa Fe large SUV and its smaller Tucson stablemate, which introduces styling tweaks and the possibility of a permanent V6-powered Santa Fe in the range.

Until now, the Santa Fe range has been limited to a 2.4-litre four-cylinder petrol or top-spec 2.2-litre diesel, but the arrival of the 3.3-litre special edition could herald an unlimited version in the line-up if it is well received.

The special also pioneers front-wheel drive for the Santa Fe range, with all existing versions offered with traction boosting four-wheel drive.

Just 300 of each ‘30’ Special Edition will be offered Down Under priced from $37,750 before on-road costs for the Tucson version and $40,790 for the Santa Fe.

Speaking at the launch of the rare pair, Hyundai Motor Company Australia (HMCA) chief operating officer Scott Grant told GoAuto that the limited editions were a good opportunity to highlight the brand’s history in Australia, but also to test the water for a potential permanent V6 petrol variant.

“Since the current Santa Fe was launched, we’ve had a V6 version of it (globally), we’ve just never chosen to adopt it in Australia, so this is an interesting test and opportunity for us,” he said.

If the V6 is offered as a staple variant in the Santa Fe range, Mr Grant said it would not be marketed as a more sporty offering to sit at the higher end of the line-up, but would be priced similarly to the ‘30’ Special Edition, with positioning akin to the Tucson ActiveX, which is one above the entry-level Active.

“We thought – how do we test it, let’s give it a go. So we created the one model off the ActiveX so it’s a pretty good value package because the ActiveX works really well for us.”“It’s got a similar spec to the ActiveX model but with a couple of other differences as a limited-edition model. So somewhere in that price point we think it’s a good value proposition.”

If the V6 exceeded expectations, Mr Grant said it was possible that more six-cylinder variants could join the initial pioneer, including a Highlander version to sit alongside the current diesel equivalent.

“If it was an absolute home-run and an absolute success there’s no reason we couldn’t have a fully loaded Highlander optioned-up version if there was a market for that as well.”

Mr Scott explained that he had championed the cause of a V6 petrol Santa Fe and had faith that its smoother engine and boosted grunt would appeal to customers in affluent suburbs who use their vehicles predominantly in metropolitan areas.

“There are a few traditional Hyundai people who are bit nervous about it but I can sense there are people in Mosman, Sydney or Toorak. They never go anywhere except to and from school and around the shops.”

Its 199kW and 318Nm is sent to the road via Hyundai’s own six-speed automatic transmission and official fuel use is 9.6 litres per 100km on the combined cycle.

The 30 is based on the Santa Fe Active which normally retails for $42,350 in diesel guise, representing a saving of $1560 for customers opting for the limited-edition version, however, the regular version has four-wheel drive as standard, while the 30 is front drive.

For the Tucson ‘30’ Special Edition, the reverse is applied. While ActiveX variants on which the special is based are two-wheel drive, the ‘30’ gains all-paw traction. Standard versions are priced from $31,150 representing a $6600 premium for the limited Tucson.

A unique blue hue is applied to each special edition to set them apart from less exclusive versions – Ash Blue for the Tucson and Mineral Blue in the case of the Sante Fe.

The paintwork is contrasted with matte black 19-inch Rays alloy wheels, while the Santa Fe rolls on 19-inch rims finished in dark grey. In both cases the Hyundai SUVs are capped off with 30 badging.

For the Tucson, its unique wheels match the additional matte grey side steps, and the exterior enhancements are completed by a new twin exhaust, which is integrated into a rear diffuser for a sportier effect.

Santa Fe ‘30’ Special Edition aesthetic tweaks include chrome-effect door handles and tinted privacy glass for the rear windows.

In addition to the visual tweaks, the Santa Fe is also treated to some tech upgrades as well, including tyre pressure monitoring and heated exterior mirrors.

On the inside, the enhancements continue with seats upholstered in a combination of synthetic and natural leather, as well as an upgrade to dual-zone climate control and a chilled glovebox.

Like the ActiveX on which it is based, the Tucson gets a 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder GDi engine with 130kW and 265Nm of torque, sent to all four corners via a seven-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Mr Grant advises customers interested in one of the more exclusive Hyundai models to act fast as the 600 examples are expected to be snapped up quickly.

“These limited-edition versions of our standout medium and large SUV contenders really live up to their ‘30’ Special Edition status. They combine real value, unique looks, features and enhanced performance. I honestly expect they’ll sell quickly.”

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