Hyundai’s seven-seater Santa Fe SUV has been revised for 2015, with upgrades to exterior, handling as well as the addition of new features and technology.
The 2015 Santa Fe brings a darker chrome grille, together with new Daytime Running Lights and Cornering Lights across the three-level Santa Fe range. These subtle new features further enhance the Santa Fe’s refined Fluidic Sculpture design.
The updated Santa Fe retains the 17-inch (Active), 18-inch (Elite) and 19-inch (Highlander) alloy wheels. All three equipment levels still come as standard with a full-sized alloy spare wheel.
Adding value to the Santa Fe’s already sharp pricing, both mid-spec Elite and range-flagship Highlander now come standard with Hyundai’s Smart Tailgate, with hands-free operation. Rather than requiring a foot-sweep under the rear bumper, as used by other such systems in this class, the Santa Fe’s tailgate is operated by the sensor in the vehicle’s proximity key. Stand near the back of the car for three seconds and the boot opens automatically.
The top-spec 2015 Santa Fe Highlander ups the technology ante even further with standard Lane Departure Warning and – perhaps most convenient of all – Hyundai Smart Parking Assist (SPAS), which parks the vehicle automatically. The Santa Fe Highlander now also comes with Front Parking Sensors.
The revised model’s hardware changes have given Hyundai’s Australian Product Planning and Engineering team an opportunity to fine-tune the Sante Fe further for local conditions.
The SUV now features new front wheel bearings, redesigned front knuckles, stiffer rear spring rates to improve load-carrying ability, and changes to various suspension bushes and dampers throughout.
“Those fundamental changes to the chassis gave us a chance to revisit the Santa Fe for Australian conditions,” says Andrew Tuitahi, Hyundai Motor Company Australia’s Senior Manager Product Planning. “And we’re confident that the results speak for themselves.”
Tuitahi says 2015 Santa Fe’s chassis changes affected its lateral stiffness, steering response and resistance to understeer. All of which gave HMCA’s team ample opportunity to apply its expertise to further improve the vehicle’s dynamics.
The team was also able to take advantage of a newly revised MDPS (motor driven power steering) system. The upgraded Santa Fe incorporates both a new steering ‘gearbox’ and a switch to quicker 32-bit computer processing – rather than the predecessor model’s 16-bit system. The steering changes allow for greater weight and feel differences between the three modes.
Powertrain options, unchanged for 2015, comprise of a 2.4-litre GDi four-cylinder petrol unit producing 141kW and 242Nm or a 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel rated at 145kW and 421Nm (436Nm for automatic).
Both engines can be paired with either a six-speed manual transmission (Active equipment level only) or a six-speed automatic with electronic sequential manual mode (available in Active, Elite and Highlander levels) driving all four wheels through Hyundai’s Active On-Demand 4WD system
Hyundai Santa Fe SR: The New Sport Flagship
From the first quarter of next year, the 2015 Santa Fe lineup will include a sporty SR version, which joins the Veloster SR Turbo, i30 SR and Accent SR in the Hyundai range. Featuring a sports bodykit, Brembo brakes, H&R performance springs, matte-black Oz Racing wheels and Michelin Latitude Tour high-performance tyres, the Santa Fe SR will be the range topper for Hyundai’s sporting SR sub-brand.
Using the Santa Fe sports package formulated by Hyundai’s Customising Team in Korea as a base, the new SR flagship of Hyundai’s top of the line SUV also came in for some Australia-focused development work.
The SR’s Brembo brakes feature four-piston monobloc front calipers and two-piston rears. Overall disc diameter and thickness also have been increased. The result is a marked improvement in stopping power over the standard car’s braking performance.
Dimensions of the Sport Pack’s new 19” Oz Racing Versilia performance alloy wheels are unchanged over those available on the top-spec 2015 Santa Fe Highlander. However, the new wheels offer better caliper clearance than the standard wheels.
“Plus they look great,” says Andrew Tuitahi. “The matte finish and distinctive styling really makes the red Brembo calipers ‘pop’.”
The new Santa Fe SR also features high-performance 235/55 R19 Michelin Latitude Tour tyres.
“For the Santa Fe SR we’re sticking with the standard engine while offering unique, sportier styling, improved braking performance and higher-specification tyres,” says Tuitahi. “Combined, these attributes make a significant difference in terms of lateral grip and cornering, and so too do the springs in terms of feel and response.
“I think we’ve ticked a lot of the right boxes. In terms of sports SUVs, at our pricepoint I don’t think there are any direct competitors for this vehicle.”
Pricing for the 2015 Santa Fe SR will be announced closer to launch in first quarter of 2015.