Hyundai Motor Company, South Korea's largest car manufacturer, has staged the world premiere of the all-new Santa Fe at the 2012 New York International Auto Show, held at the New York Jacob Javits Convention Center.
In its latest form, the popular D-segment SUV is re-styled inside and out, fitted with enhanced features and new technology, and powered by re-tuned engines with improved efficiency - ensuring that it will offer European buyers a visually-appealing, sophisticated lifestyle vehicle when it goes on sale in late summer.
Hyundai is keeping the name, Santa Fe, continuing the heritage of the car manufacturer's well-established SUV model as it enters its third generation. The Hyundai Santa Fe has achieved worldwide cumulative sales of almost 2,56 million units, and more than 350.000 in Europe, since its 2000 debut.
Hyundai expects this new-generation model to continue the company's strong performance in the SUV market, and to capture more than 5% share of its market segment in Europe during its first full year on sale in 2013.
Influenced by Hyundai's form language, Fluidic Sculpture, the third-generation Hyundai Santa Fe adopts its own design concept called 'Storm Edge', which captures the strong and dynamic images created by nature during the formation of a storm.
Featuring sophisticated and refined lines, which are in harmony with its bold and voluminous surfaces, New Generation Santa Fe presents a more masculine, more aggressive and more characterful SUV appearance than its predecessor.
Three powertrain options will be available to European buyers, including a new, super-efficient, Euro 6 compliant 2,0-litre 'R' VGT diesel engine. Producing 150ps, this powerplant emits just 155g/km of CO2. The 2,2-litre diesel unit has been tuned for greater efficiency, making it one of the cleanest offerings in the segment with CO2 emissions of only 145 g/km.
To ensure the newcomer is best suited to the tastes of European drivers, extensive development work has been completed for the European-specification model. This includes modifications to the steering, suspension and brakes, as well as changes to the car's set-up to aid to high-speed stability and towing ability.
As with all newly-launched models in Europe, the New Generation Santa Fe will come with Hyundai's industry-best customer care package, Five Year Triple Care - comprising a five-year unlimited warranty, five years of roadside assistance, and five years of vehicle health checks.
Senior Vice President and COO of Hyundai Motor Europe, Allan Rushforth, commented, "The original Santa Fe has maintained strong sales year-on-year across Europe, thanks to its combination of quality, practicality and value. Now, New Generation Santa Fe retains the earlier model's key strengths - practicality, roominess and dependability - while also offering consumers much more.
"With its fresh exterior styling, more efficient engines, greater comfort and improved quality, New Generation Santa Fe is a truly attractive proposition that will build on the successes of the previous model by broadening its emotional appeal."
The company expects the New Generation Hyundai Santa Fe to appeal to new consumers from a wider demographic range - including some owners of premium-brand SUVs.
STYLING & DESIGN
With its modern, urban style, the New Generation Santa Fe looks strong, dynamic and refined, with the vehicle's body shape making a clear promise that this vehicle is safe and practical, but also sophisticated.
The new model's designers drew inspiration from the shapes created by nature during the formation of a storm - a creative approach referred to as 'Storm Edge'. Evidence of the significance of Santa Fe to Hyundai's product portfolio, it is the first model to have its own interpretation of the Fluidic Sculpture design language which has modernised the appearance of the Hyundai range in recent years.
In line with the full Hyundai product range, the latest Hyundai Santa Fe features the hexagonal-shaped grille, finished on Santa Fe in sophisticated dark chrome. Large, tear-drop headlights above the bumper are matched in shape by fog lights below. The deep, two-tone underbody offers generous ground clearance, and the silver underbody panel visible at the front smoothes the vehicle's aerodynamics and provides reassuring under-floor protection.
Longer, lower and wider than its predecessor, with the same 2700 mm wheelbase, the New Generation Santa Fe has a stronger presence. The conventional two-box SUV architecture is spaciously accommodating but, more than that, the new body shape also suggests great strength, with an imposing front-end and muscular upper flanks. The vehicle's profile is complemented by the dark chrome finish of the alloy wheels - now offered as factory equipment up to 19-inch in diameter, for the first time on a Hyundai SUV. The deep doors cover the side sills, ensuring the sills stay clean and that dirt is not transferred to occupants' clothes on entry or exit.
A dynamic stance is achieved by the lowered roofline, swept-back windshield, upswept lower edges to the rear side windows, and rakish rear windshield angle.
A sharp crease in the new Hyundai Santa Fe's side panels sweeps along the car from the front wheel arches to the trunk, setting the level of the front and rear door handles and sharply defining the upper edge of the wrap-around tail-lamps. Above the lamps, the rear windshield is set beneath a small roof-level spoiler, further enhancing the dynamic stance of the new Santa Fe. Twin tailpipes and a hexagonal mesh set into the lower sections of the front and rear bumpers, add a sporty finishing touch.
Both the front and rear wheel arches are deep-set, so that the tyres are visible almost to their uppermost edges, the swelling of the bodywork over the wheels adding to the car's muscular sense of purpose.
COMFORT & CONVENIENCE
New Generation Hyundai Santa Fe will come with a host of intelligent features that enhance the comfort and convenience of driver and passengers, providing a stress-free experience for all occupants.
To improve the driving experience, Hyundai has fitted the third-generation Santa Fe with driver aids, such as radar-controlled, adaptive cruise control. Light- and rain-detecting lights and wipers, which turn on when the conditions require, allow the driver to concentrate fully on the road ahead.
New Generation Santa Fe will be fitted with the Smart Parking Assist System to help drivers access even the tightest of spaces.
To improve comfort, the front seats are electronically powered and the driver's seat has a memory function to adapt to different drivers' preferred positions. The second row of seats slides and folds with a one-touch control, giving passengers quick and easy access to the optional third-row seats (where fitted).
Front- and second-row legroom have been increased - by 38mm and 45mm respectively - over the last-generation car, while a long, wide, single-frame panoramic sunroof allows high levels of natural light into the cabin. Luggage space in the trunk has been increased by 37mm in depth over the previous generation model, yielding a class-best luggage capacity of 534 litres with the front five seats upright.
When reversing, the tailgate-mounted camera automatically displays a clear, convex view of the area behind the car on the 7-inch screen. The wide-angle view is low enough to enable the driver to avoid low obstacles and small pedestrians.
An optional 220 Volt power socket can provide direct power to appliances including laptops, printers and vacuum cleaners. Located in the trunk, the socket can power equipment rated up to 200 Watts without a specific invertor.
The new Hyundai Santa Fe also has intelligent design features such as puddle lamps fitted within the exterior mirrors to illuminate the ground alongside the vehicle, and privacy glass for comfort and security.
The New Generation Santa Fe's powertrain line-up has been developed to suit the demands of European customers, with three engines at launch covering 80% of demand in the region's D-SUV segment. Delivering a broad spread of power and torque, the three engines offer drivers performance across multiple terrains, without compromising class-leading fuel efficiency and emissions.
The powertrain line-up features one petrol and two diesel engines, with outputs between 150ps and 200ps. All of these engines combine excellent power with improved efficiency and class-leading emissions figures.
The range-topping diesel engine remains Hyundai's 2,2-litre 'R' diesel engine featuring a variable geometry turbo (VGT). This all-aluminium, powerplant generates 200ps and 431Nm of torque, and Hyundai's engineers have reduced the CO2 emissions to 145 g/km - among the lowest in the segment.
With this powerful engine, the new Santa Fe delivers strong performance, accelerating from 0 to 100 kph in 9,4 seconds (manual transmission, 2WD).
Hyundai will also offer a smaller, 2,0-litre 'R' diesel engine with VGT which completes the diesel line-up. Developing 150ps and delivering 382Nm of torque, this refined powerplant emits just 155g/km of CO2 emissions when applied to the Hyundai Santa Fe.
Thanks to the variable geometry turbocharger fitted to both diesel engines, New Generation Santa Fe offers 100% of torque from low revs - just 2.000 rpm - which makes the car well suited to both off-road terrains and dynamic on-road driving.
A 'Theta II' 2,4-litre GDI engine will offer European customers a petrol alternative. Its maximum power (193ps) and modest CO2 emissions of 197 g/km again set the New Generation Hyundai Santa Fe apart as a segment leader.
New Generation Santa Fe is available with six-speed manual and six-speed automatic transmissions, which have been tuned to suit the power delivery of the three-strong engine line-up.
The 'Theta II' 2,4-litre GDI petrol and 2,2-litre 'R' VGT diesel engine are available with either the manual or automatic transmission. The 2,0-litre 'R' VGT engine is fitted with the six-speed manual as standard.
The six-speed transmissions feature high top-gear ratios and were chosen to reduce fuel consumption and lower CO2 emissions when cruising at speed, while also enabling drivers to fully exploit the available performance on road or over rougher terrain.
The automatic transmission features two operating modes - fully automatic or 'Sport'. For city driving, fully automatic mode is ideal, while 'Sport' mode allows for clutch-less manual sequential gear changes for greater driver involvement. Although this transmission is a regular 'torque converter' automatic, it incorporates a unique 'flat' torque converter and an innovative layout makes it the most compact six-speed unit currently available anywhere in the world - weighing 12 kilos less and can boost fuel economy by up to 12%, compared to a conventional automatic.
When the 2WD 2,2-litre 'R' VGT diesel engine is mated to the six-speed manual transmission, it emits just 145 g/km of CO2.