A petrol V6 has returned to the Hyundai Santa Fe range as the naturally-aspirated, petrol four is retired.
Unlike the old four, the new V6 will be available across all three model grades – Active, Elite and Highlander.
Despite the more powerful base engine, the starting price for the 2020 Santa Fe range remains the same – $43,000 before on-road costs.
There’s a catch, though. Unlike the previous base model, the 2.4 Active, the new V6 Active is only available with front-wheel-drive. Hyundai blames a ‘packaging issue’ for the lack of all-wheel-drive, as V6 models are available with all-paw traction in left-hand-drive markets.
That means if you want an all-wheel-drive Santa Fe, your only choice is the carryover 2.2-litre turbo-diesel which attracts a $3,000 premium.
The Lambda-II 3.5-litre V6 produces 206kW and 336Nm, up 68kW and 95Nm over the old 2.4-litre four. The sole transmission is an eight-speed automatic, two speeds up from the discontinued 2.4-litre model.
That puts the V6 well above the diesel in power (up 59kW) albeit below it in torque (down 104Nm).
The Santa Fe V6 achieves 10.6L/100km on the ADR official combined cycle. The 2.4-litre achieved a combined 9.3L/100km while the related Kia Sorento V6 manages 10.0L/100km. The diesel shades them all, sipping just 7.3L/100km.
The V6 is, however, cheaper to service than the diesel in addition to being cheaper to buy. At each 12 month interval for the first five years of ownership, the V6 costs $330 except for a $390 bill at the 48 month mark. The diesel costs $399 each time except for a $499 bill at 48 months.
That means each V6 service is $15 more expensive than the old petrol four, albeit $30 cheaper at the 48 month service.
Even the base Active is generously equipped. It comes standard with Hyundai’s SmartSense suite, which includes autonomous emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-keeping assist and adaptive cruise control.
There’s also a 7-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, rear parking assist with camera, 17-inch alloy wheels and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter.
Moving up to the Elite costs an extra $8000 (petrol $51,000; diesel $54,000) but brings leather trim, power front seats, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone climate control, smart key access and push-button start.
Both the infotainment system and the alloy wheels are bigger by an inch for a total of 8 and 18 inches, respectively. There are also paddle shifters, front parking sensors, a power tailgate, an Infinity premium audio system and satellite navigation.
You’ll recognise the Elite by the addition of satin chrome exterior trim and a “carbon effect” grille.
The range-topping Highlander costs $57,500 in petrol guise and $60,500 with the diesel. There are heated and ventilated front seats – the driver’s seat gaining 14-way power adjustability – and heated outboard rear seats.
A panoramic glass sunroof lets more light into the cabin, while there’s also a heated steering wheel, wireless charging pad, surround view monitor and an advanced smart parking assist system.
It’s recognisable from outside through its use of 19-inch alloy wheels and LEDs for the headlights, fog lights and taillights.
Highlander models also include 12 months free of Hyundai’s Auto Link Premium, allowing drivers to remotely unlock, start and adjust the climate control of their Santa Fe via the Auto Link app.
A 5-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty is standard across the range.
A V6 engine was last seen under the bonnet of the previous-generation Santa Fe, though it was a smaller, 3.3-litre mill. That powertrain was retired with the new model changeover last year.
EDITOR'S NOTE: Images of the MY20 model are in short supply right now. Some of the images used here are MY19, but the only visual difference for the new year are refreshed wheel designs.
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe pricing
- Active V6 - $43,000
- Active diesel - $46,000
- Elite V6 - $51,000
- Elite diesel - $54,000
- Highlander V6 - $57,500
- Highlander diesel - $60,500
All prices exclude on-road costs