What is it about the Hyundai Santa Fe that keeps Patrick Ng coming back for every new model?

SINGAPORE (Jan 28): To say Patrick Ng is a huge fan of the Hyundai Santa Fe would be an understatement. He has owned every one of the four generations of the popular sport utility vehicle, and rushed out to buy the latest edition when it was recently launched. The Hyundai Santa Fe is the biggest SUV in the Korean carmaker’s brand. It has seven seats and plenty of boot space, with or without the back seats folded down. This spaciousness is a major attraction for Santa Fe owners.

So what is it about the Hyundai Santa Fe that keeps Ng coming back? “The interior is really big and spacious, which is important for me. I need a big boot as I have lots of equipment to transport around, and the cabin is very big too. Over the different generations, the Santa Fe has become more and more luxurious and comfortable, so I don’t see any need to change models.”

As he owns an automotive business, Ng has to deliver bulky car batteries and other parts while carrying all his tools. So, a big boot space is a must-have. The new Hyundai Santa Fe comes with a hands-free electric tailgate, which is a major bonus for Ng, allowing him to quickly and easily load and unload cargo. He also likes the one-touch folding back seats, which give him even more boot space when collapsed.

Ng also uses the Santa Fe for leisure, transporting his wife and grandchildren during the weekends. His six grandchildren aged from five months to 14 years old live near his Tampines home and see him regularly.

In total, the 68-year-old Singaporean has owned seven Hyundai cars since the late 1980s. Ng initially drove Hyundai Sonatas before discovering the first generation of the Santa Fe in the early 2000s. Since then, he has had a love affair with the SUV and has remained loyal to the model for more than 15 years.

His father introduced him to Hyundai in the late 1950s and now he is carrying on the tradition. Ng encourages family members to buy the brand as well. His brother and brother-in-law drive a Hyundai, while his son-in-law recently bought a Hyundai Elantra.

“While it’s an Asian brand, Hyundai feels a lot like a European car in terms of luxury and comfort. Once I started driving SUVs, I didn’t want any other model. [Hyundai SUVs] have a high seating position and are very safe and solid, but [it] feels like driving a luxury car. This car is much cheaper than European ones, and cost is important to me,” Ng says.

The new Hyundai Santa Fe benefits from superior rigidity, thanks to high-strength steel, high-impact energy absorption and minimised distortion to protect passengers in the event of a collision.

So what are Ng’s thoughts on this new fourth generation of the Santa Fe? “It feels very comfortable, is quieter when driving and much smoother. It also sticks to the road really well,” he says. Hyundai’s four-wheel drive technology controls the distribution of power of the wheels, while the suspension delivers a smoother ride by reducing the impact and vibration when driving on rough roads.

Ng really likes the new safety technology inside the car. “When you get to my age, you need to rely a little more on the car’s technology features such as the blind spot sensors, and the 360-degree camera, which gives you a view of your own car from all angles. It makes parking very convenient.” He also prefers the -heads-up display, which shows the speed and other important driver information without you having to take your eyes off the road.

Ng was actually alerted to the new Hyundai Santa Fe by an online video ad. “I saw the ad on Youtube and it looked really impressive. It was really good timing, as I was thinking it was about time I upgraded my existing Santa Fe.” He likes to change his car every three to four years, selling them before their value depreciates too much.

When he bought his fourth generation Santa Fe in January, Ng opted for the 2.4-litre petrol engine. It comes with LED daytime running lights that complement a redesigned front grille. The striking-looking SUV is enhanced by a sleek roofline and a bold side character line running from the headlights to the taillights. “This is a really tough and practical SUV and I may buy the next generation too,” he jokes.

Justin Harper is a freelance journalist with a passion for all things fast