Conquering The Not so Daily Route with a Daily Driven SUV

Waking up on a Thursday morning as I was heading to the Santa Fe Conquering Terrain event, I clearly didn’t know what I was getting myself into. Donning my new white jeans I headed to the meeting point at the Black Pearl in Glenmarie, where 8 units of the new 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe eagerly awaited for its drivers. Two variants were available for us on this journey; the 2.2 litre turbo diesel and the 2.4 litre petrol. I felt giddy with excitement as we were briefed on safety protocols and where we will be heading on this journey. Flashes of getting my new white pants covered in mud or soaked entered my mind, but it was too late for me to go back and change.

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So after accepting my fate, we pushed off to a jungle region in Negeri Sembilan just out of Semenyih. Our journey today comprised of three sections where we got to test the new Santa Fe. The first was driving it through morning rush hour traffic where lets be honest, most people would be in if you have a car. Second, would be a twisty road in Kuala Klawang where we were able to test the handling and speed of the car. And lastly, the dreaded off road gauntlet, littered with unforgiving mud holes, treacherous rivers, and fear inducing hills and dips.

During the first leg through traffic, we were placed in the 2.4 litre petrol variant and I instantly realised how quiet the car can be even with various other vehicles around. Sitting in traffic didn’t fill me with stress as it usually does as the comfortable leather seats, good stereo system, and the soft ride, it was pleasant as we creeped in heavy traffic heading to outside the city.

At the first checkpoint before hitting the second part of the drive, we gathered at the Petronas in Semenyih as there will not be any facilities until we reached the camp site. After a quick break and some photo op, we headed to the jungles of Negeri Sembilan via Kuala Klawang. As anyone who has been on that road can tell you, it combines twisty roads with various degrees of inclines and declines. The Santa Fe, held its own during this leg of the journey even though it was a sizeable SUV. It kept itself tidy in the corners and there was no drama coming from the 18 inch wheels as we zipped through the amazing roads. I did notice some tyre noise which could have been coming from the tyres but it didn’t impact any handling performance. Mind you, we were going quite fast for an SUV but the car kept us safe and confident driving through these roads. After the amazing drive we collected ourselves and proceed to the next checkpoint at the bottom of the hill just before heading into the jungle.

The fear of getting my white jeans got real upon started our off road journey. I was also afraid that we were going to get stuck somewhere as the car was not fitted with off road tyres. However, after 15 minutes of entering the jungle, I realised that this amazing SUV can hold its own out here. We crossed rivers, navigated through thick mud, even climbing steep inclines with relative ease. Slowly, all my fears started to drift away as my confidence in the new Santa Fe grew. I started climbing out the window to get great shots of the car heading into the river and climbing the steep hills and sure enough, the Santa Fe conquered anything the jungle could throw at it. After the first session of the off road event, it was time for lunch! We were brought even deeper into the jungle where Hyundai had pitched a tent and there was even a full buffet waiting for us. This respite, gave us a chance to fill our bellies, review our footage, and get comfortable for the next event.

We were placed in the 2.2 diesel which has an all wheel drive system for the next section of the gauntlet. Upon setting off, I immediately noticed the amazing amount of torque that the car had. I felt powerful, safe, and confident as we headed even deeper into the jungle. The next section, plunged us into an even deeper river, muddier terrain, and unlevelled roads where the car was even hanging onto the ground on three wheels! But, as expected, the new Santa Fe conquered all. The combination of the diesel engine and the all wheel drive system made easy work of the challenging terrain that Hyundai put us in while providing its passengers with comfort and confidence.

As the sun started to set, we said goodbye to the jungle and headed back to Glenmarie where we got to test the diesel variant along the windy roads and rush hour traffic. With the help of more torque, the drive back was even faster as we charged through Kuala Klawang. I still felt safe and actually managed to get a quick nap as it was someone else’s turn to enjoy the car. I expected to hear some tyre noise but to my surprise the 19 inch wheels actually had less noise as we sped towards our destination. One comfortable traffic jam later, we arrived at Glenmarie where we got out of the car with big smiles on our faces and sadness in our hearts as we said goodbye to an amazing SUV. The mud covering the new Hyundai Santa Fe was proof that it indeed was able to conquer any terrain.

Written by Izzat Shaharel

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