All sizes covered: inside Hyundai's comprehensive SUV line-up
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When Hyundai New Zealand revealed its fourth-generation Santa Fe last year, it boasted the brand’s strong line-up of off-roaders, including its first electric SUV.
In 2019, the SUV market is not only dominating sales globally but here it is the top selling segment, especially the medium-sized models. For Hyundai, it has strong players in the compact, medium and large SUV segments.
The smallest member of the family is the Kona. It introduced two petrol models in 2017 with the pure electric version on sale in New Zealand last year.
The Hyundai Tuscon. Picture/File
The Kona’s two petrol engine options include either the 2-litre MPi 2WD with a six-speed automatic transmission, or the 1.6-litre Turbo GDi AWD with a seven-speed dual clutch.
The Kona Electric is the first compact electric SUV in New Zealand with more than 400km in effective, real-world driving range.
The Korean manufacturer launched the Kona with the millennial generation in mind, saying the vehicle was aimed at the needs of customers who pursue challenging, action-filled lifestyles.
It is named after a coastal region of the Big Island in Hawaii, and is available in a range of bright colours including ceramic blue, tangerine comet, pulse red, acid yellow and chalk white.
The middle child in the Hyundai family is the Tucson and Driven tested it capabilities thoroughly with a camping trip. It had to tow a caravan plus be loaded with all the paraphernalia needed for a week in the wilderness.
Hyundai reckons the twin-scroll turbo-armed Tucson 1.6T GDi AWD Limited will tow its fair share of trailer-packed treats (it has a 1600kg braked towing capacity, 750kg unbraked).
The Tucson is a peppy performer, offering 130kW of power and 265Nm peak torque if asked; the bigger 2.0-litre R-Series engine in the turbo diesel-powered Tucson CRDi AWD Diesel boosts available torque to 400Nm, giving you more pulling power at the top end of the spectrum.
Mechanically, there is nothing new about Hyundai’s fourth-generation Santa Fe. It has a stronger new platform that underpins it, a smoother eight-speed automatic gearbox that enlivens it, and a new steering system that emphatically directs it.
The Hyundai Kona EV. Picture/File.
The difference is that the latest Santa Fe comes with an extra layer of electronic features, including a Wi-Fi-independent app that’ll allow you to monitor it by remote control from your phone.
Add that to other new tricks such as rear-seat occupant alert (prevents you leaving a pet or a child in the locked car to cook), safe exit assist, front and rear collision avoidance assist, blind-spot avoidance assist, and a host of others that comprise a package Hyundai calls Smartsense, and there’s little doubt that this is a highly artificially intelligent new SUV.
Most of the 70mm stretch in the overall length of the Santa Fe pulled the front and rear wheels 65mm further apart, leaving a further 5mm to be added to the rear overhang in the interests of increasing third-row legroom.
The more upright C-pillar of the new body also adds an extra 42mm of third-row headroom so the third-row seats are more roomy and so the Santa Fe can cart seven adults for a long haul trip.