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Old 27th October 2014, 16:47   #1
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Default 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms

Having used Team-BHP for 6 years. I feel my contribution is well over due. I recently purchased the Hyundai Santa Fe. As this is not a popular car, I am sharing my initial ownership experience.
As this is my first post ever on any website, suggestions and feedback will be appreciated.

Background
Been in the market for a new car for a good part of two years.

In the past I have always preferred petrol sedans. On good highways where speeds are high I found fuel consumption of petrol cars to be too high. Many pumps provide only diesel so I was forced, on many occasions, to divert into a city to tank up. This forced me to look towards diesel cars.

Also I believe the sole purpose of a car is to make the owner feel good.

Cars considered:
VW Jetta: Wife was in the market for a small car. I was very keen on the Polo. So called up Volkswagen at Jubilee Hills (Hyderabad). He brought the car over to my wife’s office. First thing she noticed is the excess noise and vibration (we have always had petrol cars). Sales rep response “ This is how the Polo sounds”.

At around the same time I called up the showroom and told the sales rep that I am interested in buying the Polo and a Jetta together. When the conversation came to financing he said “NRI sir! Please go get your own money!!” I was still willing to forgive the Sales Rep. Then came all the horror stories about my friends Vento. The more times it went to the service centre, the worse it got. I was very disappointed. I worked for VW (Emden, Germany) for a few months. I love their cars.

Skoda Octavia:- Reliability concerns ensured I stayed far away from the Skoda Showroom.

Hyundai Elantra: This is a beautiful looking car. On paper it is fully loaded, so went for a test drive. Half an hour with the car and it did not feel like an upgrade from my SX4. It felt more like lateral move.

BMW X1: For the price, no features. Also the suspension was way too hard.

Audi A3: Saw this car in Germany in January 2014. Found it too low. Also dashboard is similar to the A1

Mercedes GLA:- Got to see this car during my time with Daimler in March 2014. It’s a great car. Unfortunately due to the price in India, I would prefer the Q3, which has superior machanatronics.

The Decision
My wife and I both decided on the Q3. Even booked the Premium+ variant. Due to family commitments in June and worsening roads in the Niligiris, we had to pull out of the Q3 booking. We decided to put off the car purchase for another year.

One day, whilst passing the Hyundai showroom, I decided to just take a look at the Santa Fe. When I got into the car, it just brought a smile to my face. During the test drive my smile turned into a grin. This is one powerful car! In my book, if the car makes you smile. It’s the right one. So went back home to discuss with family if we can go in for a 34 Lakh car, which is a Hyundai!

Decided it was worth it and started the negotiation process.

The Purchase
My experience with Talwar Hyundai Banjara Hills (Hyderabad) has been good. One executive, Surender, is dedicated for Santa Fe customers. He brought the test car (2WD Auto) over to my house as requested. He could answer most of my questions and doubts I had after reading the official review. He was courteous at all times and answered my questions with confidence. I felt the 2WD variants were just not worth the money. Interestingly most of the features stripped from the 2WD variants are Safety Features!! Eventually managed to stretch my budget by another 4 Lakhs for the 4WD. The total cost came to 34 Lakh OTR (Hyderabad) with comprehensive insurance.

My negotiating skills are as bad as it gets. No discounts. As the car comes with basic accessories like floor mats and cargo nets, could not even bargain for that.

As this is the first car on my name, did not get much discount on insurance outside. So just went with what Talwar offered.

As an NRI, getting a bank loan is a bit more difficult. I just went with Axis bank as I already have a home loan with them. Finance was done in a few days and I was promised delivery in one month. He however delivered the car within two weeks!

Surender accepted my request to perform a PDI at the company shed a few days before actual delivery. Unfortunately as I was busy, I went through the TBHP pre-delivery checklist and took delivery of the car after all formalities were complete on the same day.

Car was properly washed. Hairline scratches that caught my eye were immediately dealt with. Only 52Km on the ODO and the Vin number showed manufacturing date as July 2014.

So overall I am satisfied with the sales and delivery process.

Before going home, stopped at a temple and completed the puja. Once I reached home, it was dark. I tried to rub off the haldi and the entire bonnet turned yellow!! Next day, in the morning it was back to TBHP and found that the stains fade away when exposed to the sun. Leaving the car in the sun for a few hours solved the problem!

Initial Impression
From the outside the car is definitely attractive. In terms of styling Hyundai as come a long way. Design, especially from the rear is very similar to the German SUVs. This is not a bad thing. The Audi Qs, are all good looking cars. So having similar design language is good.

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-rear.jpg

Quality of interiors is as good as the Germans. However the same cannot be said about the exterior. There are large and inconsistent panel gaps all around.

When it comes to the feel-good factor in owning a car, the Santa Fe scores high. On 4WD only, when you approach the car with the key, ORVMs open up, the puddle light and “Pocket Light” come on. It’s almost as if the car acknowledges your presence. This feature doesn’t use any ground braking technology. However is a nice touch and definitely adds value to the ownership experience. It is probably the best feature I like in the car.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-puddle-light.jpg

As we had three cars at home, the new car was not used for daily running. Every few days I would take the car into the service lane of the Ring Road. (Hyderabad). Got varied driving conditions including steep slopes.

I found the car to be a bit wide and the brakes a bit spongy. The car dimensions takes getting used to. Brakes are good considering it is a SUV. In my opinion, same as the Volvo XC60 not as good as the Q5. I am used to the sharp brakes of the SX4 so had to ensure I was on a lower and more comfortable speed in city traffic.

Initially I had the eco mode on. This increases the engine noise for some reason. (Its normal according to the user manual). Now I keep the eco mode permanently off.

Down Hill Break Control feature is not practical. The 10 Kmph is too fast for an off-road steep incline and too slow for a normal road incline. Also it activated sometimes when the car is going at normal city speed if it senses an incline. This can be dangerous.

Hill Start Assist Control (Hill Hold) is useful in hilly areas. Most automatic cars have it. The Auto 2WD version doesn’t have it!

Dual zone climate control is effective. It comes with an air ioniser (Clean air logo above the A/C controls). I have kept the fan of rear A/C on and vents pointed forwards. I can switch on this A/C by pressing a button given in front. On a really hot day, this helps cool the centre seat passengers and front A/C fan can be kept at minimum.

For a premium SUV, the sound system is just average.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-audio-screen.jpg

Almost every car sold at this price range has a better sound system. The screen is small and does not have the option of Navigation. Buttons have a premium feel and reduce the need to use the touchscreen. Sound from the six speakers is clear, however there is no bass. I have managed to tweak the settings to increase the depth of sound. Still looking for any one who can remove the storage compartment on the top of the dashboard and install a sub.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-dashboard-storage.jpg

The blue ambient LED in the night only works if the A/C and Music System LCD lights are dimmed. Under normal conditions the light from the LCD screens is sufficient.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-led-ambient.jpg

The digital instrument cluster is only available in 4WD variant. (Its called Supervision Cluster). The 2WD models get a very basic instrument cluster.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-supervision.jpg

Keyless start is now standard on most Hyundai cars. Surprisingly the 2WD versions of Santa Fe don’t get it. With only accessories mode on, the windows don’t work
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-keyless-button.jpg

Cruise control is useful during highway runs. Speed is maintained even when going up or down inclines. I have noticed that whilst going down the Cruise Control maintains speed by using engine braking. You can increase and decrease the set speed with the toggle switch.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-cruse-control.jpg

When the driver side seat is moved forward to my seating position (I’m short at 5’5’’), the centre arm rest is too far back.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-arm-rest.jpg

Electronic seat control does not come with memory function. This means every time the driver changes it takes a good 10 minutes to get the seat and ORVMs positioned.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-electronic-seat-control.jpg

Headrest for front seats moves up-down as well as front-back for better positioning.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-seat-headrest.jpg

The rear bench is better suited for two. The middle seat is hard and uncomfortable. IsoFix for child car seat is standard.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-rear-bench.jpg

Part of the rear wheel mudguard is on the rear door! If the rubber beading of the rear door starts leaking, there will be a lot of mud inside the car.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-rear-door.jpg

Nexen tyres have good grip. Markings on the side show they are made for Mud and Snow. At high speeds there is a lot of tyre noise in the cabin.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-tyre-nexen.jpg

Probably the most surprising cost cutting feature of the car is the Inside Rear View Mirror. It’s as basic as they come.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-rear-view-mirror.jpg

Got PPF by 3M. The Highway Package and additionally requested PPF on the wheel arches.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-ppf-wheel.jpg

They could not do the rust protection as the car came with its own under body protection. (This substance is still sticky even after 6 weeks)

Servicing
This was typical Hyundai. Went to the service centre myself once the car had completed 1200Km. First servicing is very basic. They just checked if all the parts were working. Adjusted the parking brake and gave it a good wash. Zero charge as labour is free and not parts replaced.

I am told that the 50k servicing and beyond is expensive for the previous generation Santa Fe. I expect this generation to be the same as the engine and gearbox are the same.

City Driving
Once I got used to the larger dimensions of the car, moving around in the city was effortless. Steering in “Comfort Mode” is light and it doesn’t feel like you are handling a SUV. In fact I routinely change back to “Sport Mode” even in city to ensure I don’t get used to the feather light steering. After all I have other cars in my garage with much heaver steering systems. Engine and gearbox are well suited for heavy traffic. There is no turbo lag as long as you have a light foot and gearshifts are at RPM 2200. However push the accelerator down completely and gearshifts only take place at RPM 4000. Here, past RPM 2000 there is a sudden surge of power. This comes in handy when overtaking

Fuel efficiency in city with “Eco” mode was 13Km/L. With the “Eco” mode off, it dropped to 10Km/L. The MID shows fuel efficiency in Litre/100Km, which is irritating. A simple software patch is all that is required and Hyundai did not bother changing it for India.

Highway (Hyderabad to Ooty)
In terms of practicality of space, this is the best car I have owned. (Even beats the station wagon designed Indigo Marina). Unfortunately I don’t have pictures of the load we carried from Hyderabad to Ooty. The list is as follows: 4 Large Suitcase, 3 Strollers, 3 Duff bags, 2 Backpacks, 1 Eleven fin Oil Heater, 3 Large plastic bags and one large infant pram. This load was carried with the rear and middle rows down! (Although we were looking more like a truck, we were not stopped at the Karnataka, Tamil Nadu border. Phew! Thanks to a large sticker on my front windscreen)

Once we offloaded this luggage, we put up all the seats and used it to carry two families. (4 adults and 2 children)

The highway drive from Hyderabad to Bangalore has always been fun. With this car it was even better.
I never felt the need to use the manual shift. Depending on how heavy your right foot is, the gearbox shifts at RPM 2200, 2500, 3100, 3500 and 4000. If you want to downshift for any reason e.g. overtaking, just depress the accelerator beyond 80%. (Given in the user manual)

Fuel Efficiency on the highway was 14Km/L. On the hills I am getting 7.5 Km/L

Ride at triple digit speeds is smooth and high speed cornering is good. On the highway I wish the suspension were a bit harder. The soft suspension starts bouncing on certain types of roads. This bounce, for some reason, was very evident on the “Nice Road” in Bangalore. The soft suspension shines through on bad roads. Ride on potholed roads is comfortable.

The steering feels disconnected. On highways it gets difficult to stay within the marked lanes. Also, on turns, it takes some work on the steering to keep the car on the line. It is a small price to pay for the effortless turning in the city and in the hills.

The drive from Bangalore to Ooty was a completely new experience. I generally don’t enjoy the drive till the forest. On this car, overtaking was effortless and after a speed breaker she goes back to speed in no time.

The drive up Sighur Ghat was also effortless. With 436 NM of torque, climbing up the 36 hairpin bends was a breeze. Whenever more power is required, just press the accelerator beyond 80% and the gearbox downshifts to a lower gear. Ease off the pedal to remain in the lower gear.

Overall the Engine is a tried and tested one. It is smooth and Rev happy. It has loads of power and torque, matted to a tried and tested CVT gearbox. It is great fun to drive. In a City, on good Highways and also on the Hills.

4WD
Below is a picture of the road going up to my house near Ooty.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-road-up.jpg
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-road-down.jpg

The first time I climbed this, I engaged the 4WD system. Later I found that the Magna AWD fitted in the car can do a better job of transferring torque to the correct wheel.

Modifications
As I did not want to have panels pulled out for wiring, I did not go for ICE upgrade.
Got Steelmate tyre pressure monitor from rogermotors.com
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-tpms-display.jpg
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-tpms-sensor.jpg

DRLs are also from rogermotors.com

Fixed the lights myself. More on that in different post.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-drl-off.jpg
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-drl-.jpg

Summary:
Till now, I have not had any problems with the car. No Rattles even after taking it on some dirt tracks. Some owners have reported steering issues. Personally, I can live with the shortcomings of the steering.
The car definitely has a premium feel. Auto Wipers, Keyless Entry and Start help keep the car in line with current generation Hyundai. (This car was originally launched in other markets in 2012).
I have recently driven the latest generation Volvo XC60 extensively in the UK. The Santa Fe is definitely comparable to the Volvo.

What I do miss on such a premium car is a sunroof. Also the completely inadequate ICE with no navigation. It feels like Hyundai is trying to be better than the sub 30Lakh SUVs. No auto headlights, no auto dimming IRVM and no DRLs! I sincerely hope they can think bigger and realise that with I bit of improvement this car can actually take on the likes of Volvo XC60.

I am very happy with my purchase.

All those who feel you can get a German brand for this price, please remember, only base variants of most of them are available.

Do I recommend this car? Hell Yes. If you are ok with the price and can live with an average sound system.

This is a smart looking car. Ending the post with the two best angles.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-exterior-1.jpg
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-exterior-2.jpg

Last edited by GTO : 5th November 2014 at 16:53. Reason: Adding line spacing :)
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Old 5th November 2014, 16:55   #2
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Default Re: 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms

Thread moved from the Assembly Line (The "Assembly Line" Forum section) to the Initial Ownership Section. Thanks for sharing!
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Old 5th November 2014, 17:32   #3
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Nice review, especially about the highway drive. Steelmate tyre pressure monitor is an useful addition.

Btw, you missed to hide the front sticker in one of your pictures.
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Old 5th November 2014, 20:34   #4
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I actually saw a Sante Fe on the road today and it immediately caught my eye. Same color as yours too! What a wonderful looking machine, really.

Great review, thanks for this!
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Old 5th November 2014, 21:07   #5
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Default Re: 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms

Congratulations on your new drive !! and great review indeed. Atleast I see someone not going the European way. Otherwise these days a person with your kind of budget ends up putting up a review of X1, 3 Series, A4, Q3 and so on. Having said so, even I would have ended up with a BMW if had a similar budget

Happy mile crunching and keep your thread updated.
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Old 5th November 2014, 22:20   #6
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Congrats on your purchase and what a coincidence that I saw a Santa Fe today morning. It had AWD badging at the rear. The Santa Fe sure has good road presence.

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-imageuploadedbyteambhp1415206153.644711.jpg
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Old 6th November 2014, 00:25   #7
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Nice review. Here's wishing you many more fuss-free miles of motoring !! Just one query - Is the low ground clearance an issue while going off road ? Did you face any problems ?
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Old 6th November 2014, 00:41   #8
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Default Re: 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms

Quote:
Originally Posted by gungax View Post
What I do miss on such a premium car is a sunroof. Also the completely inadequate ICE with no navigation. Do I recommend this car? Hell Yes. If you are ok with the price and can live with an average sound system.

This is a smart looking car. Ending the post with the two best angles.
Congrats on the new purchase!
The Santa Fe is a really nice car to drive and does look great, especially at night with the Xenon's on.
I have been following almost all the Santa Fe threads since I plan to purchase one next year.
At nearly 35 lakhs, one expects the car to be loaded to the gills upholding Hyundai's reputation and even the slightest omission like the manual IRVM does stick out like a sore thumb.

Also about the ICE in your car, I saw a post on facebook today about an Android based Touchscreen music system with Navigation.

If you are interested in this system, please ask them to provide you with a video of its basic features/functions as some of these China made retrofits are known to have bad User Interface/Touchscreens.

Here is the link to the dealer: https://www.facebook.com/automarc also attaching a picture for reference.
Name:  10436247_10152842355078142_1011766418471433506_n.jpg
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Last edited by Jag4 : 6th November 2014 at 00:58.
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Old 6th November 2014, 14:36   #9
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Default Re: 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms

Congratulations on your new Santa Fe. This according to me is the best looking car Hyundai has offered in India till date. The styling is eye catching, proportionate, modern and not overdone.

Very unusual for a company like Hyundai that is known for packing its cars with features to skip things like DRLs, Sunroof and a good AVN unit for what is their most expensive offering in India. Maybe they are not looking for numbers with car.

Quote:
Originally Posted by gungax View Post
The rear bench is better suited for two. The middle seat is hard and uncomfortable. IsoFix for child car seat is standard.

Poor rear seat design I must say. The middle (5th) passenger cannot even rest his back properly. And to speak of this is a seven seater!!!


Quote:
Originally Posted by gungax View Post
(Although we were looking more like a truck, we were not stopped at the Karnataka, Tamil Nadu border. Phew! Thanks to a large sticker on my front windscreen)
You mean the Indian Air Force sticker?
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Old 6th November 2014, 16:20   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FAIAAA View Post
Nice review. Here's wishing you many more fuss-free miles of motoring !! Just one query - Is the low ground clearance an issue while going off road ? Did you face any problems ?
Hi FAIAAA, Ground clearance has not been an issue. In any case Santa Fe is a soft roader and is not designed to take abuse like the Scorpio or Innova. I am very carful with my car over rough roads. (No change in driving style, before this only had sedans.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jag4 View Post
Also about the ICE in your car, I saw a post on facebook today about an Android based Touchscreen music system with Navigation.

If you are interested in this system, please ask them to provide you with a video of its basic features/functions as some of these China made retrofits are known to have bad User Interface/Touchscreens.
Hi Jag4, I will be in South Korea some time in December, will check if Hyundai have an OEM head unit. Any case its sound quality that I want to improve. For navigation, loaded “Sygic Maps” on and old android phone. Sygic also has HUD mode, which can be used at night.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Santoshbhat View Post
You mean the Indian Air Force sticker?
Hi Santoshbhat, Yes. Sticker belongs to my Dad who accompanied me. He is co-owner of the car. He will be using the car once I leave the country next week.
The wife finds the car too big.
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Old 6th November 2014, 17:22   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gungax View Post
Hi Jag4, I will be in South Korea some time in December, will check if Hyundai have an OEM head unit. Any case its sound quality that I want to improve. For navigation, loaded “Sygic Maps” on and old android phone. Sygic also has HUD mode, which can be used at night.
If you do get an OEM that is great.
As far as the Sound Quality is concerned, you can always upgrade to speakers from Rainbow, Focal etc and add an amplifier.
A good installer may be able to sort out your apprehensions regarding the removal of door panels so choose one from the one's listed on the forums.
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Old 7th November 2014, 10:27   #12
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Congratulations on your new ride. Wish you many more happy miles ahead.

Although I absolutely love the Santa FE ' s look , I may still not go for it mainly because of the price and lack of features in the Indian model. Wonder why Hyundai has to give it a step motherly treatment compared to the international models ?. My guess is they may add these features as an update to keep the model refreshed which is bad as all the early buyers won't get them.
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Old 7th November 2014, 17:53   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Jag4 View Post
If you do get an OEM that is great.
As far as the Sound Quality is concerned, you can always upgrade to speakers from Rainbow, Focal etc and add an amplifier.
A good installer may be able to sort out your apprehensions regarding the removal of door panels so choose one from the one's listed on the forums.
Hi Jag4,
Will not change any thing for the next six months. I have started the research. I am looking at any one in Coimbatore, Bangalore or Hyderabad.
If I get any information regarding OEMs I will definitely post it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanjohn123 View Post
Although I absolutely love the Santa FE ' s look , I may still not go for it mainly because of the price and lack of features in the Indian model. Wonder why Hyundai has to give it a step motherly treatment compared to the international models ?. My guess is they may add these features as an update to keep the model refreshed which is bad as all the early buyers won't get them.
Hi stanjohn123,
Gizmos can always be installed as after market fittings. I agree that more features will be added in the update.

However, there is the matter of safety. The car gets 5 star by Euro NCAP. That version has 8 Airbags, and pedestrian safety system installed in the front bumper. With 6 airbags and no pedestrian safety I was still ok with the safety kit (Long, Long list), which is well within standards for this price of car.
After purchasing the car, I noticed the roof has been strengthened. Now internationally that bit is made almost entirely of glass. So now, if Hyundai has to strengthen the roof of the Indian version, which section of the chassis have they made weak.

Just hoping that Mpg figures are the only thing that Hyundai overstate.
http://www.team-bhp.com/forum/intern...ratings-3.html (EPA finds Hyundai & Kia overstated gas mileage ratings)

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms-roof.jpg
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Old 7th November 2014, 20:16   #14
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Default Re: 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe @ 2000 kms

Quote:
Originally Posted by stanjohn123 View Post
Although I absolutely love the Santa FE ' s look , I may still not go for it mainly because of the price and lack of features in the Indian model.
What features do you think are really lacking, besides the manual rear view mirror, memory seats?

Quote:
Originally Posted by gungax View Post
After purchasing the car, I noticed the roof has been strengthened. Now internationally that bit is made almost entirely of glass. So now, if Hyundai has to strengthen the roof of the Indian version, which section of the chassis have they made weak.
Congratulations on the car. Was seriously considering this car earlier in the year, it really impressed me.

How did you figure out the roof has been strengthened? If you are talking about those lines running along, I believe those are for aerodynamics.
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Old 7th November 2014, 21:20   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by akshay1234 View Post
Congratulations on the car. Was seriously considering this car earlier in the year, it really impressed me.
How did you figure out the roof has been strengthened? If you are talking about those lines running along, I believe those are for aerodynamics.
Hi akshay1234,
Corrugated metal surface is used for strengthening of boxes. So thinner sheet metal can be used to bring down the weight of the box, whilst maintaining the same structural strength.
If it purely for aerodynamics, then nothing to worry about.
May I ask why you did not go in for this car?

Considering that Fortuner is now edging towards 30L on-road Hyderabad, price of the SF should no longer be a deterrent factor for those considering a SUV at this price point.

Monthly sales figures show a constant decline in sales. I know 3 people (1 who is a relative) who sold their 2WD SFs after few weeks of purchase! They were seriously unhappy with the car. One of the points I want to bring across in my review is the huge gap in features between 2WD and 4WD variants. Unfortunately I don’t have any pictures of the 2WD variants.
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