Ledes from the Land of Enchantment

Hyundai adds AWD hybrid to Santa Fe SUV

HYUNDAI is playing hybrid catch up with sister brand Kia by launching the Santa Fe Hybrid later this month, competing against the popular Toyota Kluger hybrid and impressive Kia Sorento hybrid that are both established in the market.

The Santa Fe hybrid hits showroom floors priced from $63,000 plus on-road costs for the mid-spec Elite variant and $69,550 plus ORCs for the flagship Highlander, both with all-wheel drive as standard and commanding a $3000 premium over their diesel counterparts.

For comparison, the Sorento hybrid is only available in top-spec GT-Line trim as $66,750 for the FWD and $69,750 for the AWD (both plus on roads). A plug-in hybrid version of the big Kia is also offered.

Toyota by contrast offers the Kluger hybrid across all trim levels, each with all-wheel drive, starting at $54,150 + ORC for the base GX and peaking at $75,700 plus ORCs for the Grande.

A point of difference for the Santa Fe is an optional six-seater configuration for the Highlander hybrid variant that brings a pair of second-row captain’s chairs for a 2:2:2 seating arrangement.

Like the Sorento, the Santa Fe Hybrid uses a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol engine as the basis for its hybrid drive system, a unit that does duty in a range of Hyundai/Kia models including sporty smaller vehicles.

Hyundai says this is the brand’s first use of a turbo-petrol engine in a hybrid powertrain, claiming it delivers “a compelling combination of dynamic performance and fuel efficiency”.

The Santa Fe Hybrid will be offered alongside continuing front-drive 3.5-liter V6 petrol and all-wheel drive 2.2-liter turbo-diesel powertrains. Rather than the eight-speed automatic transmission used with those engines, the hybrid has a six-speed auto.

Claimed combined fuel consumption for the hybrid is 6.0L/100km, a tenth less than the diesel but without the diesel particulate filter consideration for primarily urban and suburban drivers.

A Kluger hybrid has a combined fuel consumption rating of 5.6L/100km and a Sorento hybrid AWD is 5.8L/100km.

The combination of turbo-petrol engine and 44.2kW ​​electric motor (fed by a 1.49kWh lithium-ion polymer battery) produces a healthy output of 169kW and 350Nm, which is more power than the Santa Fe diesel and more torque than the petrol V6.

Both power and torque figures match those of the related Sorento hybrid, with power lower than the 184kW of a Kluger hybrid. Toyota does not quote combined torque figures for its hybrids.

Other than that and the option of a six-seat cabin in the Highlander, the only specification difference for hybrids is the fitment of aerodynamic 19-inch alloy wheels with machined face design fitted to both trim levels (petrol and diesel versions have 20-inch alloys).

“The addition of Santa Fe Hybrid, and a new six-seater option, brings renewed appeal in this latest evolution of our ever-popular large SUV,” said Hyundai Motor Company Australia Chief Executive Officer, Ted Lee.

“A favorite of Australian families, Santa Fe continues to deliver an alluring combination of style, space, luxury and technology, now with the performance and efficiency benefits of a hybrid powertrain.”

Like its petrol and diesel equivalents, the Santa Fe hybrid comes with suite of driver assist and active safety tech along with comfort and convenience features including leather upholstery, power tailgate, rear privacy glass, drive mode selector, heated front seats, Harman Kardon premium audio , rear door curtains, power adjustable front seats and chrome exterior body hardware and garishes.

2023 Hyundai Santa Fe pricing*:

3.5 V6 FWD (a)


No change

3.5 Active V6 FWD (a)


No change

3.5 Elite V6 FWD (a)


No change

3.5 Highlander V6 FWD (a)


No change

2.2 CRDi AWD (a)


No change

2.2 CRDi Active AWD (a)


No change

2.2 CRDi Elite AWD (a)


No change

1.6 T-GDi HEV Elite AWD (a)


New variant

2.2 CRDi Highlander AWD (a)


No change

1.6 T-GDi HEV Highlander AWD (a)


New variant

*Pricing excludes on-road costs.

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