Saturday, October 27, 2007

Santa Fe perks up







MIDSIZE crossover SUVs are becoming popular among car owners here and Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors Sdn Bhd is well aware of the fact.


To tap the market, Sime Darby has started to assemble the Hyundai Santa Fe locally.
So what is the difference between the Santa Fe CKD and CBU units?
Well, at a glance, the radiator grille styling badge now has an Inokom icon and there are a number of improvements.


The locally assembled Santa Fe is a little bigger and comes in petrol and diesel versions. But let's go on to the best news first. The Santa Fe prices are now lower by S$10K - S$15K depending on the specification levels,


The locally assembled Santa Fe comes in two models – a 2.7 V6 DOHC petrol and 2.2 CRDi diesel. Both are fitted with automatic transmission.
The Santa Fe models marry the styling and functionality of the traditional SUV with a sportier ride.


Its strong masculine and smooth lines gives the vehicles a more upmarket look.
The high waistline, neat body matching and tough yet elegant bumpers with wraparound protection and dual exhaust pipe outlets add some aggression, as do the large alloy wheels.
The CKD Santa Fe is now a little longer and taller and this translates into better legroom and headroom inside.


The interior exudes a sedan-like atmosphere. The up-market fabrics, the leather seats, and the mixture of metallic and wood trimmings used for its dashboard provide a contemporary feel in a vehicle with a sedan-like atmosphere.


But what I like most about the two models are the air outlets mounted on the B-pillar for the comfort of rear passengers.


For extra comfort of rear occupants, the Santa Fe also comes with reclining rear seats with a centre armrest.


If you have even more passengers, the Santa Fe has optional third-row twin seats that fold neatly into the luggage floor area.


Talk about cargo space, both the cars have nice concealed multi-trays and compartments for easy and neat storage of goods in the rear compartment.


And like most new vehicles these days, airbags are provided for the front passenger and driver.
The driver and front passenger seats give a comfortable ride on long-distance shunts.
Definite plus: Dual exhaust pipes, a high waistline and tough yet elegant bumpers confer an aggressive stance. The Santa Fe is a 4WD vehicle and has an easy one-touch 4WD lock button option while on the move for this function on its dashboard.


However, when it comes to the performance between these two models, my pick is the 2.2-litre diesel engine, which is sold at RM160,358, compared with the 2.7-litre petrol engine, which is priced at RM158,827.


In road tests – on the road and light off-roading - both vehicles handled well in most situations.
But the diesel, which is fitted with the Variable Geometry Turbo technology, seems to give better running power, engine performance and fuel consumption over long distances.
This new Santa Fe also comes with better soundproofing.


And new Santa Fe owners will also have the option to fit a GPS navigation system and a camera view for the reverse sensor.


Whatever it is, this locally assembled Santa Fe, going by the price for its class, is a steal to own.

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