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Santa claws at Honda CR-V

Car-like construction: The Santa Fe comes with permanent four-wheel drive, all-independent suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels and car-style monocoque construction.

Hyundai takes aim at Honda's CR-V with its new Santa Fe

5 Nov 2000

HYUNDAI has taken direct aim at the wildly popular Honda CR-V with the pricing of its new Santa Fe light duty all-wheel drive, which goes on sale mid-November.

The Santa Fe will be available as a GL 2.4-litre four-cylinder or 2.7-litre V6, or GLS V6. The GL 2.4 is available only with a five-speed manual, the V6 models only with a four-speed tiptronic-style transmission.

The GL debuts at $29,990, lining up exactly against the base model CR-V. The GL V6 is 33,990, an identical price to the CR-V Sport with manual transmission. The GLS is $36,990, $1000 more than the automatic version of the CR-V Sport.

Hyundai Automotive Distributors Australia managing director Mr Doug Croker rated the Santa Fe as the most significant Hyundai to go on sale since the original Excel in 1986.

"More than any other of Hyundai's raft of recent nameplates launched, Santa Fe will change the perception of the Hyundai brand to one of a broad range of quality, individual cars still all offered at benchmark value for money in each of their market segments," he said.

The Santa Fe is launched at the Sydney Motor Show but the four-cylinder version will not go on sale until January.

Because of supply constraints, only 800 Santa Fes will land on Aussie shores before the end of 2000. With production only slowly ramping up from a current estimate of 40,000 per annum, HADA expects demand to outstrip supply.

The Santa Fe is built on a new platform, comes with permanent four-wheel drive, all-independent suspension, 16-inch alloy wheels and car-style monocoque construction.

While it qualifies for the 4WD vehicle tax concessions, it does not have low-range gearing. Its minimum ground clearance is 207mm.

The four-cylinder engine produces 106kW at 5500rpm and 201Nm at 4000rpm. The quad cam "Delta" V6 is good for 132kW at 6000rpm and 247Nm at 4000rpm.

Luxury equipment includes air-conditioning, CD player, power windows and mirrors, DC power outlets front and rear, remote central locking with alarm, engine immobiliser, rear fog lights, overhead console, height-adjustable driver's seat, 60/40 split-fold rear seats and roof rails.

Safety equipment standard across the range includes driver airbag and pretensioning and load-limiting front seatbelts.

The GLS adds anti-lock brakes with electronic brake force distribution and rear discs, front passenger airbag, leather steering wheel rim and gearshift knob, front fog lights, driver seat lumbar adjustment, lit ignition switch, door step lamps and body-colour door handles and rear garnish.

Hyundai claims the Santa Fe is bigger and roomier than the CR-V, Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester and LandRover Freelander, as well as the upcoming Mazda Tribute and Ford Escape.

But it is also significantly heavier than most of its rivals, weighing in at minimum of 1662kg for the GL and topping out at a hefty 1778kg for the V6 GLS.

Hyundai product explosion

A NEW mini people-mover codenamed FC will spearhead Hyundai's continued product explosion, which will see 10 new and thoroughly revised vehicles hit the Australian market over the next two years.

Here's what you can expect to see: 2001
Mini people-mover based on the Accent platform which has five-seats and, depending on currency fluctuations, a 1.8-litre engine. Aim is to price it under $20,000 and have it on sale by end of the third quarter.

Sonata facelift: Described as a "heavy" facelift, the new Sonata is expected to feature the 2.7-litre Delta V6. Due early in the third quarter.

Coupe: All new styling said to take inspiration from the Audi TT. Possible V6 and roadster version. Fourth-quarter arrival.

Highlander 4WD: Bigger brother to the Santa Fe with more serious off-road credentials. Due in the fourth quarter.

The new entry level Hyundai developed in conjunction with Mitsubishi and DaimlerChrysler. Matiz-size, the intention is for this to be the new $13,990 car.

Accent turbo: A hot hatch that "goes, handles and stops" and costs less than $20,000.

Accent facelift.

Grandeur facelift:

Possibly includes an upgrade to a 3.5-litre V6.

MAV: A 4WD liftback based on the Elantra platform, which fits into the growing cross-over bracket.

Elantra wagon: Could take the form of a traditional wagon or compact people-mover.

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