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Hyundai Santa Fe line-up expands with SR flagship

Brake dancing: Hyundai’s Brembo-equipped Santa Fe SR can stop more quickly, but not go faster, than other variants.

Sporty $59,990 Santa Fe SR sprinkled with go-faster bits, tops Hyundai SUV range


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22 Jun 2015

BREMBO brakes, 19-inch OZ Racing alloy wheels, H&R Performance springs and a rear diffuser housing meaty exhaust tips might not be typically associated with a Hyundai large SUV, but are all standard on the new SR-badged flagship of the Santa Fe range.

Priced at $59,990 plus on-road costs, the Santa Fe SR is $6750 upstream of the former range-topping Highlander and just $10 less expensive than Hyundai’s Genesis luxury sedan, meaning it limbo-dances under the $60,316 Luxury Car Tax threshold.

Despite the addition of big-name go-faster parts, purposeful sports bodykit and Michelin tyres, the Santa Fe SR’s 145kW/436Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel engine and six-speed automatic transmission are carried over unchanged from more prosaic Active, Elite and Highlander variants.

Hyundai’s Australian chassis and suspension tuning division made tweaks to suit local conditions and tastes, with the H&R Performance springs stiffened by eight per cent at the front and 11 per cent at the rear, matched with Mando dampers.

Although the SR’s 19-inch OZ Racing wheels are the same diameter and width (eight inches) as those fitted to the Highlander variant, they provide additional clearance for the bigger Brembo four-piston callipers and 340mm front discs (rear: 302mm).

Hyundai Australia senior product planning manager Andrew Tuitahi explained that fitting bigger wheels to the Santa Fe SR was not the priority.

“For us, it wasn’t about the wheels being bigger and wider, or having a different offset, but about spoke design and the required calliper clearance,” he said.

Compared with other Santa Fe variants, the SR’s Brembo anchors reduce stopping distance from 60km/h by eight per cent.

Taking over from the Highlander as flagship of the Santa Fe range, the SR has a long standard equipment list including a 7.0-inch touchscreen providing access to satellite navigation with SUNA traffic alerts and three years’ free map updates, the reversing camera display and controls for the 10-speaker sound system with Bluetooth audio streaming.

Upholstery is black leather, with heating and ventilation for front passengers, a heated second row and 12-way electric adjustment including lumbar support for the driver, who also gets automatic Xenon headlights and wipers, front and rear parking sensors, keyless entry and start and hands-free powered tailgate access to the boot, which contains an underfloor storage compartment.

All three rows receive vents for the dual-zone climate-control air-conditioning, the rear doors have built-in sunshades and there is an openable twin-panel panoramic glass roof.

As reported when the SR was confirmed at the facelifted Santa Fe launch last October, Hyundai expects the SR to account for up to 10 per cent of Santa Fe sales, with almost half of all Santa Fe buyers currently opting for the highly specified $53,240 Highlander.

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