Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Safer SUV Power Play

Newspaper article Sunshine Coast Daily (Maroochydore, Australia)

Safer SUV Power Play

Article excerpt

Nothing like some old-school grunt to rekindle fond memories.

Most manufacturers are travelling down the road of smaller capacity turbocharged powertrains, while the short-term future looks to be hybrid power... electric motors powered by battery packs and supplemented by combustion engines.

Hyundai is also treading that path, but it's been refreshing to get back behind the wheel of something with V6 power.

Earlier this year the South Korean carmaker added V6 grunt to it's seven-seat Santa Fe line-up and has just included an array of excellent safety equipment without changing the bottom line. Pricing starts from $40,990 which makes it the least expensive in the range, undercutting the 2.4-litre petrol all-wheel drive by $860.

Those not phased by the safety upgrades can also pick-up a bargain on the outgoing MY17 variants.

VALUE

Belying its position at the bottom of the Santa Fe tree, the Series II Active X has an excellent equipment list.

Comfortable trim is a combination of faux and real leather, while you also get dark grey 19-inch alloys, rain-sensing wipers, automatic lights, heated front seats, dual zone air con, seven-inch touch-screen with six speakers as well as smartphone mirroring capability through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

While this is the second series, there are a few things missing.

There are no steering wheel mounted controls for your phone or voice control. Not big absences, but the functionality is commonplace on the circa $22,000 i30 hatch nowadays.

Shock horror, you also have to turn a key rather than a push button start.

Servicing won't break the bank, with capped price maintenance at $1595 over five years if you return to the dealer where they include the check, lubricants, filters, plugs and labour. That's about as good as it gets. Intervals are annual or 15,000km.

DRIVING

Gaining bigger wheels than the four-cylinder sibling, the Santa Fe V6 is quiet and refined with a hairy-chested response.

It's surprisingly quick, too. Jump on the accelerator and it moves with rapid intent, sometimes accompanied with tyre squeal, although it all feels predictable and well-sorted with seamless changes from the auto shifter.

Braking feels strong and robust, which collectively makes the large SUV feel remarkably lithe. Parking is easy despite the dimensions.

Average fuel consumption is a heavy 10.5 litres for every 100km. It will, however, run on regular unleaded.

The driver has a concise instrument structure courtesy of a now larger 4.2-inch colour screen sitting between the analogue speedo and tacho.

With the third row of seats folded there is 516 litres of space in the boot (bigger than a Holden Commodore), and with the second row folded it expands to 1615 litres. In the back are some handy hooks to stop the shopping bags sliding. …

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