Nowadays, the chances are 50/50, as the Imperial family found out on their way down from Tagaytay one stormy morning in 2013. It was the height of Habagat. Thanks to safe driving savvy coupled with a reliable vehicle, the family got home safely despite the slippery slopes and poor visibility.This 40-something businessman found one more reason to love his Santa Fe.
“I learned about the Santa Fe in 2006 when the second-generation Santa Fe was first introduced in the Philippines. It offered the best value-for-money in the SUV segment during its time because of its style and features. It’s an SUV that ‘acts’ like a sedan. You don’t feel like you’re driving an SUV. The engine doesn’t feel like a diesel. You might even mistake it for a gasoline engine.”Vic is presently driving a 2013 Santa Fe, taken by its stylish new look, better engine, improved handling and reduced body roll. And because it is the only white car in his garage, the family fondly calls it “Puti.”But the Imperials were already a solid Hyundai family earlier on. It all started with the Hyundai Getz A/T that Vic bought from the Hyundai E. Rodriguez dealership. As a practical owner, his requirements were simple; a reasonably priced hatchback that’s big on fuel economy. That Getz was the last of its generation before it got a facelift. Nevertheless it didn’t disappoint its owner, who went on to purchase a Starex, and then his first Santa Fe. The enthusiasm was contagious. Vic’s father-in-law owns a Tucson.”Last year, I was considering an SUV under another brand but it was truck-based and not very comfortable. On the other hand, the 2013 Santa Fe offered better value because of its disc brakes and stronger engine. It is also higher and has adequate space and legroom for my family. I feel that I am driving a sedan, not an SUV. I have three children and I want to make sure that every time we go out as a family, I am confident that everyone’s comfortable because we are a family that loves to go to the movies and eat out practically every week.”As the Imperial family’s bonding vehicle of choice, Puti regales them with the comfiest second-row seats around. Vic’s daughter, who usually winds up in the middle seat, gets the best deal. In other vehicles, middle-seat passengers find themselves positioned uncomfortably lower than the rest in the row while having to put up with the high middle flooring. Add to this a seat belt that fastens at an awkward angle.The all-new Santa Fe, on the other hand, thoughtfully responds to the Imperial family’s need for comfort. Its second-row middle seat is contoured for sleeping in; has adequate leg room and great center air conditioning; and a comfortable three-point seatbelt.And don’t get Vic started on the power. “I would describe the Santa Fe as Beauty and Beast,” he declares. “The Storm Edge design was properly executed and gives it a stunning look. The interiors are more elegant compared to the previous generation Santa Fe. But, step on the pedal, and you let out the Beast! I think the engine is its best selling point. The Santa Fe is a well-rounded vehicle. I would recommend it as a first family car because my family and I feel confident in it under any situation. “From the tiny Getz to the proudly hefty Santa Fe, the president of the Santa Fe Club in the Philippines sure knows what the art of the drive is about. On his wish-list is a Santa Fe with a hybrid diesel. But while this may not be granted soon, a Hyundai Accent Hatch will do. “I want a small, practical and efficient car to go around Metro Manila where traffic is heavy all around.”For Vic, the Beauty and the Beast that is the Santa Fe makes for a brilliant ride, up for smooth city driving, and just as ready for longer and tougher out-of-town journeys. And he certainly wants to make sure that Puti stays that way. “I can be a bit obsessive-compulsive when she gets scratched. I make it a point to follow proper maintenance and fix problems once they arise because I believe that when you take care of your car, it will take care of you.”