Hyundai Santa Fe

New Santa Fe from Hyundai

13 April 2018

HYUNDAI has yet to announce whether or not there will be a petrol option for its new Santa Fe SUV model, which will be here before the end of the year.

The most prestigious model in its large line-up, this latest incarnation of the company’s premium-class SUV moves even more upmarket.

Bigger and better than the current car, it is also expected to be more expensive although prices have yet to be revealed.

Among the largest seven-seat SUVs currently available, it will be significantly more luxurious inside and will boast a staggering array of advanced technology features covering convenience and safety.

These will include warnings if the driver is about to exit the vehicle and accidentally leave a youngster on the back seat, or a mobile phone in its automatic charging cradle.

It will sound an alarm and prevent a door opening if a vehicle is approaching from behind, and in theory it will be impossible to hit a pedestrian or indeed another vehicle due to its radars and automatic braking systems.

However, one hugely important question is whether the new Sante Fe will be offered with a petrol engine.

The current car comes with a diesel option only, despite the significant fall in diesel sales and the availability of a two-litre turbo petrol option in the new Kia Sportage, which is a sister-company vehicle.

There is also to be a new petrol engine option in the smaller Hyundai Tucson range.

Hyundai says that the new Santa Fe will go into production in its native South Korea from June and will reach us before the end of the year.

It gets a striking honeycomb grille and loses the swept-up rear side lines of the current car, which increases visibility out of the rear side windows by almost half.

There is a longer wheelbase, which means more occupant leg room inside, and the rear seats are higher, which together with the bigger windows make it less claustrophobic.

It also boasts an even bigger boot than that of the current vehicle, which is already massive.

The rear end takes its sculpted design cues from the smaller Hyundai Tucson model, whilst at the front one of the most distinctive features is the remarkably narrow horizontal headlamp arrangement.

There is a much more luxurious feel to the interior, with an abundance of quilted and stitched leather, plus electrically-operated heated seats with a dozen different positions.

The innovative Rear Occupant Alert monitors the rear seats to alert the driver if there are still passengers there when leaving the car.

The Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist is also a Hyundai first. When reversing out of areas with low visibility, the system not only warns the driver if vehicles are approaching from the rear side, it also applies the brakes automatically.

The Safety Exit Assist prevents accidents by sensing when vehicles approach from behind by temporarily locking the doors before being opened, so that passengers can exit the car safely.

Although the vehicle has four wheel drive, it is used only when necessary, with power going mainly to the front wheels for most of the time.

The 2.2-litre diesel engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

There is a new stiffer self-levelling suspension system, different-style wheels, new colours and an extensive array of safety features.

Among them are Blind-Spot Collision Warning, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist with pedestrian detection, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Keeping Assist, Rear Occupant Alert, Safety Exit Assist and Speed Limit Info Function.

Inside there is a head-up windscreen display for the first time, plus an eight-inch screen infotainment system that integrates all navigation, media and connectivity features, supporting both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Hyundai is not saying when prices will be announced, although the current car costs up to £40,000.