Hyundai is one of the most go-ahead car marques on the planet at the moment, introducing new styles and technology at a rate that’s taking many competitors by surprise. Technology that was once only in the domain of the big name Europeans is now coming from South Korea’s biggest car maker.

No more is this shown than in the Hyundai Santa Fe Series II we covered in our launch story last week. While mechanical upgrades in the Santa Fe Series II are incremental, in the field of safety it makes major gains.

While you currently have to buy the top line Highlander to get the full suite of new gear you can be sure the benefits will eventually move down into the rest of the range over time.

Already with the benefit of Lane Departure Warning, the Series II Highlander takes advantage of Lane Change Assist, which helps reduce accidents caused when changing lanes in front of faster-travelling vehicles.

LCA scans the road behind for vehicles approaching rapidly from the rear. If a vehicle is detected travelling at a higher rate of speed, LCA uses the vehicle’s Blind Spot Detection warning to alert the driver of a potentially hazardous situation. BSD works at speeds above 30 km/h. Sophisticated rear sonars monitor the areas next to and diagonally behind Santa Fe Series II. When a vehicle enters this blind spot, BSD issues a visual alert in the corresponding side mirror.


If the driver proceeds to initiate the turn signal, a flashing visual warning is provided accompanied by an audible alert.

Using information relayed from the radar sensor housed in the front lower grille (including speed and distance of vehicles ahead), Highlander’s Smart Cruise Control automatically regulates the cruising speed set by the driver (30 to180 km/h), and maintains a safe distance from vehicles ahead.


The intelligent system maintains function in stop / start traffic, bringing the vehicle to a complete stop when appropriate, then automatically (if within three seconds) accelerating it back to the original set speed.

When stationary longer than three seconds, SCC prompts the driver to resume the selected cruising speed via a steering wheel switch or accelerator pedal input.

Highlander’s Autonomous Emergency Braking system interprets information received from the Smart Cruise Control radar and Lane Departure Warning camera to identify emergency situations undetected by the driver.

Hyundai_automated parking

The system functions at speeds between 8km/h and 70km/h for pedestrians and between 8km/h and 180km/h for vehicles in front. The system applies full braking power if it determines a crash is imminent.

At speeds below 80km/h, the system rapidly reduces vehicle speed and Santa Fe Series II can be automatically brought to a stop if sufficient braking distance is available.

At speeds above 80 km/h, Automatic Emergency Braking provides partial braking to reduce the severity of crashes and allow the driver to conduct a safe and controlled avoidance manoeuvre.

At all speeds, the Forward Collision Warning function of the AEB system warns the driver of potential danger ahead via audible and visual alerts.

Rear Cross Traffic Alert monitors vehicles approaching from the left and right side of Highlander when reversing at speeds below 10 km/h. If RCTA detects an approaching vehicle (travelling between 4 km/h and 36 km/h), the driver receives audible and visual alerts via a flashing light in the corresponding mirror and a warning message on the instrument panel.

In addition to the existing ‘Parallel Parking’ mode, the updated Smart Parking Assist System on Highlander introduces new ‘Reverse Parking’ (90-degree) and ‘Exit’ modes.

The new ‘Reverse Parking’ (90-degree) mode helps the driver locate and park in a 90-degree reverse-angle parking spaces. The new ‘Exit’ mode helps when driving out of a parallel parking space, where SPAS was used to previously park the vehicle.

As with the existing ‘Parallel Parking’ mode, the Highlander’s new system prompts the driver to control the backward / forward motion of the vehicle (via the accelerator / brake/gear lever), while the system controls the steering wheel to guide the vehicle in and out of the parking spot.

Impressive stuff, and you can be sure Hyundai won’t stop and rest on its laurels…

Active 2.4-litre petrol five-door AWD wagon: $38,490 (manual), $40,990 (automatic)
Active 2.2-litre diesel five-door AWD wagon: $41,490 (manual), $43,990 (automatic)
Elite 2.2-litre diesel five-door AWD wagon: $49,990 (automatic)
Highlander 2.2-litre diesel five-door AWD wagon: $43,990 (automatic)
Note: These prices do not include dealer or government charges. Contact your local Hyundai dealer for drive-away prices.

About Ewan Kennedy

Ewan Kennedy, a long-time car enthusiast, was Technical Research Librarian with the NRMA from 1970 until 1985. He worked part-time as a freelance motoring journalist from 1977 until 1985, when he took a full-time position as Technical Editor with Modern Motor magazine. Late in 1987 he left to set up a full-time business as a freelance motoring journalist. Ewan is an associate member of the Society of Automotive Engineers - International. An economy driving expert, he set the Guinness World Record for the greatest distance travelled in a standard road vehicle on a single fuel fill. He lists his hobbies as stage acting, travelling, boating and reading.
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