Hyundai has launched a new 4WD 6-speed AT (Automatic Transmission) variant of its premium SUV Santa Fe at Rs. 24.36 lakh (ex-showroom, Delhi). Hyundai already offers the Santa Fe seven-seater SUV, in two MT (manual transmission) variants priced at Rs. 20.95 lakh for the 2WD (4×2 version) and Rs. 22.95 lakh for the 4WD (4×4 version).
Hyundai has sold about 1,100 units of the Santa Fe in India since its launch in October 2010.
The Santa Fe automatic variant comes with three new features: a push start button, smart key with one-touch operation and supervision instrument cluster, besides offering a six-speed automatic transmission with an on-demand four-wheel drive system. This makes this SUV easy to drive in the city as well as capable enough to take off-road.
In terms of acceleration and top speed, the performance of the automatic transmission version is slightly lower than the manual transmission version. However, customers who prefer the convenience of an automatic transmission won’t see this as a deal breaker. The additional Rs. 1.41 lakh for the automatic transmission will make urban drivability hassle-free. The Santa Fe automatic is powered by the same 2.2 litre CRDi diesel engine that powers the manual variants and makes 194.3 bhp of power and 420.8 Nm of torque.
The Santa Fe AT returns an ARAI-certified mileage of 11.72 kmpl which is 20% lower than the MT (Manual Transmission) variants that have an ARAI-certified mileage figure of 14.66 kmpl. Mileage is par for the course for SUVs in this price segment, considering the segment leader, the Toyota Fortuner has a claimed mileage of 13 kmpl, while the Ford Endeavour automatic 4×4 gives 11 kmpl.
In addition to the new features (push start button, smart key with one-touch operation and supervision instrument cluster), the Santa Fe 4WD AT comes with 8-way adjustable power driver seats & lumbar support, 4-way power adjustable front passenger seat, 2&3 row A/C vents with independent 3rd row controls, 6-speaker system with amplifier, woofer and tweeters.
With regard to safety, the Santa Fe is loaded with six airbags – dual front airbags, front side airbags and curtain airbags, ESP, rollover sensor, ABS with EBD, parking sensors, engine immobilizer and keyless entry.
The Santa Fe automatic looks the same as the manual variants except for the automatic badge. This Korean SUV has a subtle style with European design cues that cleverly hide its huge size. The side profile has boat shaped curves running from the front to the rear, which gives it that tall stance and brute look. The SUV stands on 18-inch alloy wheels (standard) with a high ground clearance of 200 mm.
The Santa Fe is currently available in four colors – Phantom Black, Sleek Silver, Steel Blue and Vanilla White.
Hyundai Santa Fe AT (Rs. 24.36 lakh) competes with seven-seater SUVs such as the Ford Endeavour 4×4 AT (Rs. 19.70 lakh), Chevrolet Captiva 4×4 AT (Rs. 19.71 lakh), and five-seater SUVs such as Nissan X-Trail 6-speed AT (Rs. 26.40 lakh) and the recently launched Renault Koleos 6-speed AT (Rs. 22.90 lakh). Compared to the competition, the Santa Fe is expensive. However, it offers the most power compared to all the other SUVs in this segment, and that may appeal to power-hungry SUV buyers.
What we think
The most-preferred SUV in this segment is the hot-selling, Toyota Fortuner that so far has no automatic transmission variant. For the moment, buyers looking for a brute SUV that’s easy to drive due to the convenience of an automatic, may look at the Hyundai Santa Fe. The Korean SUV is likely to attract buyers who are looking for an urban-friendly diesel automatic premium SUV.
However, since many premium SUV buyers in India don’t go on off-roading adventures, a two-wheel drive automatic variant also makes more sense for a potential buyer. This will allow Hyundai to price it cheaper and more competitively as well.