Traditional car updates in the middle of the life cycle of current generations are usually boring. They will correct the lighting equipment, add all sorts of electronic gizmos, one more pattern of wheel disks, and beautiful stitching on the seats – this is an approximate list of what happens to the cars after restyling. You can write this line in the text without looking, and this is where the test ends. But the presentation of the modernized Hyundai Santa Fe has been going on for more than an hour, one slide replaces another, and the list of improvements is growing. Dear Santa, are you definitely not the next generation?
I don’t believe that this is a new generation …
And you are doing the right thing. The next-generation Hyundai Santa Fe will have to wait a few more years – while this is only a very deep modernization of the crossover. Let’s start with the most noticeable: the first thing a customer sees is, of course, design. According to the classic restyling scheme, the changes, if you just list them, do not impress with their coolness and novelty.
There are different headlights, LED “eyelashes” above them with a different flourish of turn signals and DRLs, a radiator grille, and a bumper. It seems to be not so much, but in real life, the car is perceived in a completely different way – more aggressive, muscular, “insectoid” or something. Many, I’m afraid, will not like such changes, because the design is a very specific thing. But my personal opinion is this – it looks cool.
There are even fewer chances at the back. The main feature by which you can distinguish the restyled car from its predecessor is the red stripe connecting the lights. It is not LED, does not glow, does not carry any functional load, but, as they say, first of all, it is beautiful…
Well, as they say in the fashion houses of Milan, a different bumper completes the “bow” (by the way, many did not like that the turn signals are located very low, almost at its very edge, and I hasten to upset you – they remained there) and, this twist, redesigned 18- and 19-inch rims. There are also 20 wheels, but they, however, are not available for all cars, but only for the most expensive and overdressed – the special version of Calligraphy. We will definitely get to it a little later, but for now, let’s see what has changed in the interior.
So what’s inside?
The Hyundai Santa Fe interior is both old and completely different. The shape of the upper part of the front panel remains the same: there is a 12.3-inch digital dashboard with excellent rendering and graphics, as well as a 10.25-inch screen of the multimedia complex (with different graphics and filling, as on the latest models of the brand).
Everything below the ventilation ducts is completely new. The center console has become two-story (at the bottom there is a 255 mm long niche with a USB port and a 12-volt socket), instead of the traditional transmission selector, buttons are now installed, all keys, cup holders, sections for small items, climate control and “music” control unit have changed, a round selector for the choice of driving modes, wireless charging, atmospheric illumination appeared.
At the rear, there were also several changes: the second-row seats became higher by 13 millimeters and shifted back by 15 millimeters (although this is true only for five-seater cars), and the trunk volume has increased from 625 to 634 liters.
Have you changed the technique?
Oh yeah. And here the fun begins. First, Hyundai says the changes are so big that it’s time to say that Santa Fe has moved to a new platform. A new platform after the usual restyling? Yes, when it happened!
So what has changed? Let’s go: the design of the front subframe has been changed and hydraulic supports have been added instead of the usual silent blocks (in addition, it is also reinforced), the geometry of the rear multi-link suspension and the shape of the trailing arms have been changed at the rear, the rear floor strut and the front bumper amplifier have been changed (now aluminum is replaced by steel), additional noise insulation of the engine has been added. shield, increased rigidity of the hood to reduce vibrations at idle, increased the size of the front brake discs (from 320 to 325 millimeters), and vacuum booster.
In addition, the share of high-strength steels used in the body structure was increased (from 13.4 to 14.6 percent) and the average tensile strength of parts was increased. In short, to summarize all of the above in one sentence, the new chassis is lighter, stronger, and has a lower center of gravity, while the interior of the crossover is quieter.
Secondly, after the restyling of the Hyundai Santa Fe, the range of engines has also changed. Now all the units of the model belong to the Smartstream family: two petrol engines with a volume of 2.5 (180 hp) and 3.5 liters (249 hp) are available for the crossover, as well as a 2.2-liter diesel engine that produces 199 forces of 440 Nm of torque.
You might argue that the pre-styled Santa Fe also had a 2.2 diesel. Yes, but no. This is a completely different motor: an aluminum block, a new blockhead and balancer shafts, and a more efficient injection pump (2200 bar). And now the most important thing – the “heavy fuel” unit now works not with an automatic transmission, but with an eight-speed robotized transmission with two wet clutches.
Anticipating the cries of “fu-woo!” from the audience, in Hyundai they say that they checked the modification with a robot – the unit turned out to be reliable. A car with such a transmission was tested at the NAMI test site for 30 thousand kilometers, which is equivalent to 100 thousand kilometers in ordinary life. First, the crossover was loaded to full weight, then it was driven on roads that mimic highways, a regular road, tested in sluggish traffic jams, and laboratory tests were carried out for wear of units and fluids.
The company claims that the robot withstood all the torment and only managed to kill him purposefully, specifically seeking his death (Hyundai refuses to say exactly how this was done). And it is worth noting that exactly the same diesel engine, for example, in the Kia Carnival minivan, is aggregated with a traditional eight-speed automatic.
With the rest of the units, everything is simpler: the base 2.5 engine is paired with a six-speed automatic, and the top-end one with an eight-speed one. An ordinary classic, not a robot.
And how does he go?
The first car we were able to drive was a special version of the Calligraphy with 20-inch wheels and a diesel engine. And he is lucky enough: vibrations at idle, of course, are felt, but this is more than offset by excellent traction from the bottom, quite vigorous acceleration (9.2 seconds to a hundred), and economy.
There are enough dynamics, although it cannot be said that with a large margin. But, nevertheless, there are no problems with overtaking on the track, not to mention ordinary city driving.
The gearbox is in the best tradition of transmissions: discreet operation, no delays in shifting, and no jerking when moving in dense city traffic. You don’t pay any attention to the robot’s behavior at all, it doesn’t bother you in any way. Which cannot but speak in his favor.
The second Santa Fe tested with a base 2.5 petrol engine. It is convenient to control the thrust, but the motor is sluggish “below” and in order to get closer to the meaning of the word “dynamics”, it must be turned. But even in this case, it is more likely to be suitable for a leisurely movement around the city and you should not expect anything more from it.
The six-speed automatic that this engine relies on is also fine-tuned. A very slight thoughtfulness in his work appears only in cases when you are driving very actively and quickly, accelerating from speeds that it is better not to talk about just in case because it is fraught.
It was not possible to ride on the most powerful version of Santa Fe, but eight seconds to a hundred seem to hint that it can be quite good to “heap” on such a car.
Regardless of the engine, the Santa Fe’s cabin is quiet, even at very high speeds. The steering wheel is heavy and the crossover can be controlled quite accurately, although scalpel acuity is out of the question. But there are no questions about the steering, but there are questions about the suspension settings.
On the one hand, even on 20-inch wheels, the matter does not come to discomfort, but on the other hand, I want a little more smoothness. On the largest wheels, the crossover collects all the small things, although it transfers it to the salon in a rather rounded manner (of course, living with 18-inch wheels is easier and more comfortable, but globally they do not change the situation). On a dirt road, large pits or stones, it does not come to breakdown, but sometimes the car shudders and kicks quite noticeably. Although, again, the crossover cannot be called frankly uncomfortable.