Hyundai Sante Fe MY10 ‘R’ series

The Hyundai Sante Fe has long been a favourite of ours and the new MY10 version only endears the vehicle to us more with significant improvements to the power through the new ‘R’ series diesel and cosmetic improvements. They have lifted the bar for mid size SUV’s again.

Already well equipped for the price the MY10 adds enhanced safety features, including improved crash and rollover protection, resulting in a five star ANCAP rating, new styling cues, upgraded interior design and comfort and suspension which has been dynamically optimised for Australian road conditions.

The really cool improvements though centre on the technologically advanced 2.2L ‘R’ series diesel with an all-new 6 speed automatic or manual transmission. The new motor produces dramatic gains in performance alongside significantly reduced fuel consumption. Power and torque climb a massive 27% to 145kW and 436Nm respectively (421Nm on manual),

What you end up with is a seven seat economical SUV with a heap of features all packaged in a really good-looking vehicle.

What has been Released

The main focus is on the new powerful ‘R’ series 2.2L diesel with 6-speed automatic or manual transmission.

Hyundai has also reconfigured the specifications of the Santa Fe’s three trim levels, in the process sharpening the competiveness of its value offering: SLX (from $37,990 MLP*), Elite ($43,990 MLP*) and Highlander ($48,490 MLP*).

The new car made its Australian debut in the Global Green Challenge, a gruelling six day drive over 3,000km between Darwin and Adelaide, during which the Santa Fe ‘R’ 6-speed manual proved easily capable of undercutting its official fuel consumption figure of 6.7 L/100km (7.5 l/100km for automatic)+.

What’s it’s Purpose

Lets hear from the marketing gurus at Hyundai for their own particular market speak….

“The latest Santa Fe builds on its renowned practicality and economy,” said Hyundai Motor Company Australia’s Sales and Marketing Director, Kevin McCann. “Packed with features that encompass the gamut of driving desirables – performance, efficiency, comfort and five star safety – it undoubtedly sets new standards for value as an all-purpose 7-seat family SUV.”

What’s it Like

In its latest form since its introduction in 2006 the Sante Fe has always been a favourite of ours. It has excellent build quality, reasonably stylish, comfortable, seats seven, full of features, fantastic value and comes with Hyundai’s 5-year warranty.

In short it’s pretty bloody good. Now with the MY10 updates and the awesome new motor transmission combination it should be at the top of buyer’s lists for a practical family 7 seat AWD SUV.


The Santa Fe ‘R’ series is distinguished by several external styling enhancements. A new radiator grille with a flying chrome wing (also featured on the i30) replaces the two-slat matt black grille of the predecessor. Front and rear bumpers, headlamps, fog lamps and rear combination lights have also been revised.

New wheel designs mean 17” alloy wheels on the SLX and Elite, and 18” alloys are standard on the Highlander. Revised side sill mouldings, sportier exhaust tips and streamlined roof racks provide the finishing touches.


Hyundai have improved on an already well thought out, comfortable and practical interior. For the MY10 update there are carbon graphite style accents and aluminium effect finishes throughout the cabin plus a new ‘supervision’ instrument cluster on Elite and Highlander models. Black leather trim is standard on the Highlander model.

All Santa Fe ‘R’ models feature a USB audio input with iPod® compatibility, cruise control and steering wheel mounted controls and heated outside mirrors.

The Elite version adds push button start and proximity key, driver’s side power seat adjustment, a fold-down conversation mirror as well as auto dusk sensing headlights and dual zone climate control air conditioning. Passengers in the third row also get their own air conditioning vents and fan speed control.

In addition, the Highlander accommodates both front seat occupants with electric seats, and also adds electro-chromatic rear view mirror, rain sensing wipers, power seats for both driver and passenger and an electric glass sunroof as standard.

Seven seats are fitted on all grades of the Santa Fe making flexibility a key feature, as the second row of seats has a 60/40 split fold function and the third row a 50/50 split fold. The second row ‘kerbside’ seat can also tumble forward to allow easier access to the third row.

A great feature for the family road trip is the air-conditioned cool box on Elite and Highlander and there is also a convenient storage recess in the rear cargo area.


The Santa Fe comes complete with a full suite of safety features, both active and passive, which have lifted its crash performance to the maximum 5* rating in the ANCAP assessment program. Standard on all models is ESP Stability Control, which includes Hyundai’s Traction Control System (TCS).

Driver and front passenger airbags, dual side front (thorax) airbags and front and rear passenger side curtain airbags (which extend to the third row) are standard across all three grades of the new Santa Fe.

Rollover sensors are a new feature on all models, which should the vehicle be at risk of overturning, trigger the side and curtain airbags, and seatbelt pretensioners.

Other standard safety features include Rear Park Assist, front active headrests and 3-point retractable seat belts for all occupants, including the third row. The Santa Fe also features a driver’s side safety window that retracts if an obstacle is detected.

A reversing camera, built into the rear garnish with the image displayed on an LCD colour display integrated into the driver’s rear-view mirror, also comes standard on the top-of-the-range Highland

Engine, Transmission, Suspension etc

Developed by a team of 150 engineers at an investment cost of AUD$227 million, the all-new R-2.2 turbo diesel engine is the latest generation of Kia/Hyundai’s famously fuel-efficient range of Diesels.

In 6-speed manual form it produces 145kW of peak power and 421Nm of torque, while maximum torque of 436Nm from just 1,800 rpm for the automatic version provides more than enough ‘grunt’ to tackle what is asked of it.

Technologically advanced some outstanding features of the R2.2 engine include all-aluminium construction, an electronic variable geometry turbocharger (VGT), an advanced ECU (engine control unit) with a 32-bit microprocessor, a new high-efficiency exhaust gas recirculation system (EGR) with cooler and bypass valve, a chain-driven DOHC 16-valve intake/exhaust system with hydraulic lash adjusters, and a balancer shaft.

The new diesel also features numerous weight-saving plastic components such as the intake manifold with swirl control valves, cylinder head cover and cartridge-type oil filter housing.

The MY10 Sante Fe introduces Hyundai’s all-new, innovative six-speed automatic transmission with sport Tiptronic. It features a unique layout, which enables it to be smaller, more compact and lighter than any other six-speed automatic on the market today.

Like the six-speed manual, the new automatic transmission is a ‘filled for life’ maintenance-free unit requiring no servicing during its lifetime. The down side of this is that if something goes wrong it is a throwaway.

Compared with the 5-speed transmission it replaces, fuel economy is improved and so is performance – seemingly contradictory goals. This is a result of closer spacings between gear ratios, made possible by the extra sixth gear.

The real benefits come in terms of fuel efficiency. For the manual, the averaged figure over city and country combined driving is 6.7L/100km, with 7.5L/100km for the automatic+. On the open road extra cycle, this can drop to 5.7L/100km (manual) and 6.3L/100km (automatic)+.

Fuel economy has also been maximised with the addition of a new alternator management system, eliminating drag on the engine. The engine computer modulating the alternator field coil current under certain operating conditions controls the ‘Power Regulation’.

With the 6-speed manual gearbox, the ‘ECO’ coach is a new feature designed to promote fuel-saving driving habits. An icon on the LCD tripmeter screen begins to flash when the optimum gearshift point is reached. Other fuel-saving innovations include the fitment of a rear spoiler for improved aerodynamics.


Owners can opt to further tailor the Santa Fe to their needs with a wide range of Genuine Hyundai Accessories to keep connected, entertained and protected.

Roof-mounted DVD entertainment is available to keep the kids engaged on road trips. It also plays audio CDs or MP3 compilation CDRs and is also Sony PlayStation® and Nintendo console-compatible. The Bluetooth® Phone Kit enables the driver to connect a Bluetooth® enabled phone, and at the touch of a button, talk to family and friends wirelessly, through the car’s audio system.

There is also a direct connection for iPod® that allows you to plays all music directly from an iPod® through the vehicle’s sound systems, adjustable through either steering wheel or conventional controls.

To help parking in tight spaces, Front Park Assist is available, emitting an ultrasonic signal to alert the driver of approaching objects – which may be outside the field of vision.

And when you need to carry a range of lifestyle equipment, such as a snowboard, skis, bikes or kayak, there are the Whispbar™ Quiet roof racks, which are quick and easy to fit and remove.

Model Comparison

SLX: R-series engine, ESP Stability Control + TCS, Front, side and curtain airbags, Active front headrests, Back warning sensors, 6 speed transmissions, Cruise control, Electric heated outside mirrors, iPod® and USB connectivity

Steering wheel audio controls, Rear map lamps, Rear spoiler, 17” alloy wheels, front fog lamps, Tweeter speakers

Elite: Has the following features over and above the SLX trim – Cool box, Conversation mirror, Autolight control, Driver’s power seat, Roof rails, 3rd row air con & heating, Supervision cluster, Push button smart key, Leather steering wheel & TGS, Full auto climate control, Chrome door handles

Highlander: Has the following features over and above the SLX trim- Rear parking camera, Leather seats, Front passenger power seat, In-dash 6 stacker CD / MP3, 18” alloy wheels, Rain sensing wipers, Sunroof, Electro-chromatic mirror, Electric folding mirrors, Deluxe door scuffs.

New Santa Fe range – manufacturer’s list prices:

New Santa Fe 7 seat SLX R-2.2 turbo Diesel 6-speed manual $37,990 MLP*

New Santa Fe 7 seat SLX R-2.2 turbo Diesel 6-speed auto $39,990 MLP*

New Santa Fe 7 seat Elite R-2.2 turbo Diesel 6-speed auto $43,990 MLP*

New Santa Fe 7 seat Highlander 2.2 R turbo Diesel 6-speed auto $48,490 MLP*

Optional metallic/mica paint $375 MLP*

Note: *MLP includes GST, but excludes dealer delivery and statutory charges. On-sale date is December 1, 2009.

You may have guessed that we are particularly keen on the Sante Fe. It is an honest practical, seven-seat family AWD SUV.

The ‘R’ 2.2L CRDi motor combined with the 6-speed automatic is only matched by the new Kia Sorento, which uses the same configuration. It is a magic combination.

The MY10 updates have only made a good vehicle even better.