“STOKED” best describes how I felt during the recent days I spent at the surfing paradise of Siargao Island, Surigao del Norte, as Hyundai Asia Resources Inc. (HARI), distributor
of the Korean auto brand in the Philippines, had shown what the Hyundai Santa Fe can do.
Flown in through Sayak Airport in Siargao Island for the “Live Brilliant Test Drive Santa Fe Edition,” participants were welcomed by warm smiles that complemented the ambiance and the bright weather—in contrast to the downpour experienced in Manila.
But that was cut short, too, as rain poured the moment we boarded the vehicles. Thankfully, the Santa Fe provided cozy temperature and comfortable seats as we took on the muddy, sodden roads. After a short drive to Dedon Island Resort where we stayed, we were told to get ready for a series of activities for which the area is known for. First was the surfing competition where those who joined were taught how to do a “hang ten” and ride Siargao’s waves, which both amateur and professional surfers can enjoy.
The test drive, held the next day, tasked the Santa Fe to take us to the various destinations, which meant tackling different road conditions. Most of us, if not all, already know how good the Santa Fe’s suspension and ride quality are—it’s the vehicle’s driving-assist features that make it exceptional. These make the Santa Fe worthy of being named Best-in-Class in Euro NCAP and Mid-size Crossover Car of the Year – Philippines 2012-2013.
The activity was designed to showcase not just the vehicle’s power and torque but also the various “assistance” the vehicle could provide the driver. This includes the steer-assist function that allows drivers to choose their steering “weight” preference, and the road trip gave us enough time to experience the system’s three modes; Normal, Comfort and Sport.
In Normal, the driver is given the weight—or the level of power-assist boost—usually expected in modern cars. In comfort the power assist is increased, making for light, easy steering. In Sport, the steering becomes heavier and provides more “feel,” which should ensure stability at high speeds. Of course, the Santa Fe’s steering column is tilting/telescoping, guaranteeing a perfect position for any driver.
Besides the three steer-assistance modes, the Santa Fe also has an electronic stability program that now integrates the Hill-Start Assist Control, Downhill Brake Control and Brake Assist System to lessen the possibility of accidents caused by losing traction while going downhill or uphill. The Santa Fe can also stand still without requiring the driver to step on the brakes, thanks to its electric parking brake with Auto Vehicle Hold.
After the short but safe and educating drive, event participants then went fishing, and our second night on the island was filled with fun company and music.
On the third day most of us were beginning to get separation anxiety from the beauty of Siargao Island—and to an exhilarating experience that left me stoked to Live Brilliant.