December 25 might have long gone but it seems that for Hyundai Motor India, the real Christmas is about to arrive. With all-new Santa-Fe just debuted in the local market and Xcent compact sedan around the corner, Korean major is clearly leaving no stone unturned to grab hold of the major chunk of the market pie chart. This ain’t the first time when Hyundai is competing in the SUV segment of India. It has a fair share of experience from the past by selling Terracan (2003 – 2007) and Tucson (2005 – 2010), both of which ironically met with twist of the fate. Taking a lesson from earlier, the company brought home an entirely new product in 2010 that we today call Santa-Fe.
Named after a city in New Mexico, this SUV was introduced to the world in 2000 and is based on Sonata’s platform. It has been a runaway success in the United States. While the second generation model (codenamed CM) when initially launched in India, could not manage to replicate exact response but it certainly served Hyundai as a foundation stone to prepare for serious new innings. In its overhauled avatar, the third generation Santa-Fe is much of a high evolution.
For once, it is hard to believe at first look that it is the same car which we are used to of calling a Santa-Fe. Unlike the second generation model which Hyundai silently slipped into the showrooms back on October 14, 2010, the third generation version (codenamed DM) made a grand premiere at the recent Auto Expo 2014 with an equally strong marketing as well through TV commercials. Now the key question arises that in a segment ruled by brand value more than anything else (read à la Toyota Fortuner), what unique Hyundai has to offer at a starting price tag of INR 26,30,000 to turn those ‘fortunes’ in its favor? We flew to scenic hills of Kochi to find out.