HYUNDAI HAS LAUNCHED its updated Santa Fe range in Europe and is preparing to bring the refreshed SUV range to Australia before the year is out.
Cosmetic changes are few, with new bumpers and wheels, stylised foglight housings and new jewellery for the head and tail-lights the only major revisions.
Under the bonnet though is where the big differences lie; the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe features a comprehensively re-worked range of engines and drivetrains.
The current Santa Fe's 2.2 litre CRDi diesel four-cylinder will make way for the Korean automaker's all-new 2.2 litre R turbodiesel engine, an all-alloy unit that develops 147kW of power and a peak torque figure of 422Nm between 1800rpm and 2500rpm.
A 2.0 litre variant of the 2.2 litre R engine is offered in the Santa Fe's home market of Korea, but that powerplant is unlikely to make it to our shores.
Europe-bound Santa Fes score a 130kW 2.4 litre petrol engine. At present, it's unclear whether that motor will replace the current 2.7 litre V6 in the Australian market or whether Hyundai's 206kW 3.5 litre V6 will be fitted instead.
"We will be launching the 2010 Santa Fe with the new R engine," Hyundai spokesman Ben Hershman confirmed to TMR.
"There are significant developments to suspension and steering as well as the R engine, but in terms of precise specification we'll be releasing that information closer to the car's launch"
Hyundai will also usher in its newly-developed six-speed automatic transmission in the 2010 Santa Fe range. According to Hyundai, the new transmission will cut fuel consumption by more than 12 percent compared to the current four and five-speed autos.
In Europe, a six-speed manual replaces the outgoing five-speed manual and is the standard transmission on both the 2.2 litre diesel and the 2.4 litre petrol.
When fitted with the manual, the 2.2 litre oil-burner consumes 6.6 l/100km on the combined cycle and can run from zero to 100km/h in 9.5 seconds. In manual guise, the 2.4 litre petrol requires 8.5 litres of petrol per 100km and sprints to triple digits in 10.7 seconds.
The 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe range is set to launch in Australia in the fourth quarter of this year.