Locally assembled Hyundai Santa Fe costs close to Fortuner

Hyundai Santa Fe

ISLAMABAD: Sports and Crossover Utility Vehicles (SUVs) have taken over the automotive market for around a decade now, and it is no wonder we come across a new version or model globally every few months.

Hyundai Global recently introduced an all-new 5th-generation model, which will be available for sale in North America, Korea, and Europe later this year.

Hyundai Pakistan also offered a 3-row model, “Santa Fe,” but in the form of CBU/ Imported units back in 2019, but at a sale price of almost Rs. 20 million, it was a hard sell. The CBU was also a pre-facelift model. Now a 4th generation model, a facelifted version, will be introduced in Pakistan, and the launch is scheduled for October 1, 2023.

As per available information, Hyundai will offer Santa FE in two versions for the Pakistani market: an AWD and an FWD. As in typical fashion, these will also define the number of features each variant will get. We are unsure of any specific naming scheme for these variants, but these might be EX & LS.

The facelift model of Santa Fe, which we will also welcome soon in Pakistan, got a major makeover on the front, and the design came from the Hyundai design studio in Germany. The new face gives it a more modern and luxurious look, and as per Hyundai, it followed the brand’s “Sensuous Sportiness” design philosophy. The model got a new cascading wide chrome grill with new headlights integrated into the grill & this provides a wider and sporty character.

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The PKDM version will come equipped with aero-type alloys and are 235/55 R19 and possibly with imported tires. Typical roof rails will be available, while chrome garnish around the windows will be in typical fashion. Unlike the overseas model, where the rear side and back screen get a privacy screen, we would not get that option. On the rear, LED taillights will be standard, with an LED high-mount stop lamp and a rear screen wiper. Overall, the exterior is modern and appealing, although it’s now a model that will be phased out in the international market.

The 4th gen Santa FE facelift is available in multiple configurations, but we would witness a GF4 Gamma/1.6L Turbo GDI hybrid engine in Pakistan as the sole version.

Santa Fe has ABS brakes (ventilated on front and solid on rear) on all 4 wheels with electronic brakeforce distribution and brake assist function. There is rack-mounted motor-driven power steering with a turning radius of 18.7 feet—a MacPherson strut front while multilink rear suspension. The hybrid models use a 6-speed automatic with paddle shifters.

Hyundai HTRAC system, which is basically the AWD, will be available in locally assembled Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid. Also, it has multiple drive modes, which you can select using a rotary dial, and adjusts the power delivery between front and rear axles. Under Drive mode select, there is Smart, Eco (100% front, 0% rear) and Sport (50% front, 50% rear) function. The smart automatically adjusts between Eco & Sport to deliver optimal performance depending on driving style and road conditions.

The current auto policy, effective from 2021 to 2016, has provided incentives for hybrid and electric vehicles in the form of reduced duty/customs on the import of parts. Toyota wanted to win the race by introducing the first hybrid model in the country in the form of the Corolla Cross, but it failed as Haval had already revealed a locally assembled H6 hybrid. We are hearing that Honda Atlas is working on a hybrid version of HR-V, but we currently have locally assembled Hyundai Santa Fe in the pipeline, and the official reveal is just a few days away.

Now, the next question would be the price of locally assembled Hyundai Santa Fe, and it’s challenging to guess that when the dollar exchange rate is still very high, although it has receded in recent weeks. Hopefully, Pakistan domestic model Santa Fe this coming Sunday, October 1 will not be a sticker shock, although we have been hearing various rumors in this regard, like Rs. 13 to 14 million and, more recently, even Rs. 15 Million plus. We may see an introductory price at launch and then an increase in the near future, which is again typical for Hyundai Nishat.

Hyundai should not target and go close to Toyota Fortuner pricing, which currently starts at around Rs. 16 Million. I do agree that Fortuner is a less featured vehicle and overpriced, but a typical Fortuner buyer might not cross-shop Santa FE because of the stereotypical attention attached to Fortuner. Additionally, locally assembled Hyundai Santa Fe is not as capable as Fortuner if we talk about the off-road capabilities being body-on-frame characteristics.

Hyundai Santa Fe will be an equipped vehicle compared to any other 3-row in the market, and with attractive pricing, it can be a success, although we do know that the buying power of people is at rock bottom as of now.

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