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Hyundai Santa Fe
Driven October 2010
The Santa Fe coming to India has a gem of a 2,199cc common-rail diesel unit with ramped up low-end torque for easy quick getaways. Via a six-speed ’box, it can be whipped up to speed in any gear. Torque comes in early and can take you by surprise.
The dash to 100 will take under 10 seconds, which can be incredibly quick for an SUV in India. Maybe the only downside is the steering, which is expectedly very light. You don’t mind that at low speed but at higher speed, it can make you anxious.
The Santa Fe has good ride comfort for an SUV and its ARAI efficiency figure is 14.66kpl. Even worst-case, you’re looking at a real-world figure of around 10 – decent for a car of this size and power.
The higher spec version gets leather upholstery, on-demand 4-wheel drive, integrated music system and dual climate control. The Santa Fe boasts of three rows of seats, making it a genuine seven-seater.
On paper, the Santa Fe is a great SUV. It’s not a handling gem but more than makes up with ride, comfort and a powerful diesel engine that’s reasonably frugal and amazingly refined. If its price manages to undercut the Captiva and the CR-V, it could turn Hyundai’s SUV story bright and sunny.