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All-New Hyundai Santa Fe – Price and first drive NZ

It’s fair to say that Kiwi’s love SUVs, but it would appear that we love hybrids too (certainly more recently), so what happens when you put them together in a spacious and well-equipped family 7-seat SUV, well you get a Hyundai Santa Fe of course! Introducing the rugged yet refined all-new, 5th generation SANTA FE, designed to merge outdoor adventure with everyday life, and comes with a big booty too. 

all-new Hyundai Santa Fe NZ

With over 26,000 SANTA FEs sold in New Zealand since 2000, this 5th generation model improves in all aspects including interior and exterior design, space, technology, safety and efficiency.

The NZ launch of arguably one of Hyundai’s most important vehicles was a somewhat intimate affair, with a handful of motoring jotters ready to hear about the new improvements, and then handed the keys to explore the SUV first hand for the rest of the week!

all-new Hyundai Santa Fe NZ

According to Hyundai NZ, the All-new SANTA FE was designed around the ‘Open for More’ concept, which drew on research revealing a high level of interest in outdoor activities among Millennial and Generation-X customers.

The ‘Open for More’ concept seeks to connect the inside with the outside, to expand customers’ everyday experiences. In all-new SANTA FE, this is characterised by spacious second- and third-row seating, and a roomy, practical cargo area – all made possible by an extended wheelbase, efficient packaging, and an enlarged tailgate opening.

all-new Hyundai Santa Fe NZ

All-new SANTA FE features a Panoramic Curved Display incorporating 12.3-inch digital cluster and infotainment displays and a comprehensive SmartSense safety suite. A completely redesigned exterior also characterises the new-generation model, which now features an appearance that will ensure the SANTA FE does not go unnoticed whilst out on any expeditions in both the town and country. This new upright design language also enables the improved interior space on offer.

Highlights among the driver assistance and active safety features in all-new SANTA FE are the second-generation technologies including Highway Driving Assist (HDA2), Forward Collision Assist (FCA2), and Lane Following Assist (LFA2).

Premium comfort and convenience features in the all-new SANTA FE include a first for Hyundai Bilateral Multi-Console storage space, which is easily accessible for both front and rear occupants, an intuitive 6.6-inch climate control display, and high-speed, dual wireless smartphone charging.

all-new Hyundai Santa Fe NZ

Calligraphy variants also feature first-row Relaxation Seating with Leg Rests, power-reclining second-row captain’s chairs (6 seat option), a Digital Centre Mirror, and for those germaphobes out there, an innovative UV-C Sterilisation Tray that eliminates bacteria from personal items.

All-new SANTA FE launches in economical Hybrid form featuring HTRAC All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) as standard, enabling the SANTA FE to be the perfectly suited for New Zealand Conditions.

First impressions – With the introductions over, I grabbed the keys and headed for the door. The new Santa Fe seems far bigger than before, yet its dimensions have only increased by 45mm in length and 50mm in height. Its design is far boxier/more upright than the previous generation and to be perfectly frank, doesn’t appear to be from the same family (which some will find hard to swallow), but it’s much better looking in the flesh than in photos in my opinion.

The H-shaped head and tail lamps are a stand out feature and add a large touch of maturity, while the overall stance has a ready for business appearance. Then there’s that polarising tailgate. Hyundai seem to have made a big thing about the Santa Fe’s new tail end and although some will feel that it’s a spitting image of another, less upmarket model, its size and evident functionality is hard to ignore.

The cabin is both spacious and silent, with upmarket modernity everywhere you look. The two big features are the increase in technology (screens and apps) and a centre console that ‘swings both ways’. Both are extremely handy and functional.

I headed straight for the motorway as I wanted to test out some of the new ADAS systems, in particular the Adaptive Cruise Control and lane change assist (the Santa Fe will shift lanes with just the flick of the indicator), with the former being as good as it’s always been and the latter being something that will impress your passengers, even though it’s still probably easier to do it yourself. 

The premium SUV is as quiet as they come on the road, with the improved NVH very evident and although the off the line sprint numbers of 9.5 seconds are hardly earth-shattering, this large SUV feels like it’s doing this in a far quicker manner.

I’m looking forward to spending the rest of the week with it, that’s for sure.

All-new SANTA FE is due to arrive in dealerships in August this year. The Recommended Retail Price (RRP) for the Active model starts from $84,990 plus on-road costs however, for a limited time there is an introductory launch offer starting from $74,990 plus on-road costs. The Limited has a $96,990 price tag (launch price $86,990) and the Calligraphy is priced at $104,990 ($94,990 for a limited time). 

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