Hyundai drives in the Santa Fe to India

Another day, and yet another crossover (SUV for many) has been launched in the Indian market. Following the launch of Tata Aria on October-11, Hyundai launched its much-awaited and much-delayed Santa Fe on October-13. While Tata is venturing into that price segment for the first time with a brand-new model in a brand-new platform with no heritage to speak of, Hyundai in India has already tried and burnt their fingers, not once, but twice and is hoping to be third time lucky with the Santa Fe, a model which can boast of a 10 year history and 2 million customers across the globe. To say that the Santa Fe is one of Hyundai’s most successful nameplates ever would be an understatement.

So, unlike the Terracan and Tucson, what is new in the Santa Fe that makes Hyundai so confident of success in the crowded SUV space where Toyota Fortuner reigns supreme and other models like Honda CR-V, Ford Endeavour, Chevrolet Captiva, Mitsubishi Pajero and Outlander are also doing modest numbers? The Santa Fe’s trump card undoubtedly would be the ‘popularized-by-Hyundai’ term - CRDi. The 2.2L common rail engine, with a maximum power of 194 bhp @ 4000 rpm and a torque of 42.9 kgm @ 1800~2500 rpm is the most powerful amongst all its rivals, the Fortuner included. It has also managed a surprising 14.66 kmpl in ARAI trials, though how much of it will be delivered on road still remains to be seen.

The Santa Fe also has the show to match its go. The clean, rounded lines are a hit the world over and the Santa Fe comes across as a stylish yet subtle vehicle, similar to the CR-V and Captiva. Those who prefer the aggressive, in-your-face looks of the Fortuner and Endeavour would not like the Santa Fe, though. The massive 18-inch alloys, twin exhausts and rear spoiler adds to the sporty nature of the vehicle.

When it comes to occupant’s safety, the Santa Fe simply crushes the competition. Armed with Electronic Stability Control, which combines the functions of ABS, EBD and TCS, six airbags (driver, passenger, side and curtain) and roll-over sensors, the Santa Fe has been awarded a 5 star safety rating by NCAP, quite unmatched by many of its rivals. All the other regular goodies to be found on a vehicle at this price point and some more are available as standard in the Santa Fe. The two versions, 2WD and 4WD are priced at approximately Rs 21 and 23 lakhs, making it even more expensive than the Fortuner. Let’s see if Hyundai, with its small car maker image manages to hit the jackpot this time around.

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