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Fashion fads in the eye of the buyer

Hyundai Santa Fe has a bold new design

Your Life

Fashion fads in the eye of the buyer

Fashion is in the eye of the buyer and, observes BRUCE McMAHON, some vehicle designs may attract, some may offend.

The unfortunate Ford Taurus of the 1990s was a most strange collection of curves, the Pontiac Aztec of the early 2000s was deemed “the world’s ugliest car” yet had its day as Walter White’s daily transport in Breaking Bad.

All that while a HQ Holden or Chrysler Charger will be forever chic.

There remain handsome machines on today’s market, from all over the world.

Jaguar’s E-Pace remains one of the best-looking of Sport Utility Vehicles, most Ferraris and Lamborghinis still turn heads.

Mazda’s MX-5 is a handsome roadster with body lines designed to last through decades of fads and a Porsche 911 Carrera’s style is timeless.

Land Rover’s current generation Defender stands out among the four-wheel drive mob and, sorry, but some of those bully-boy pickups out of the US, such as the Dodge Ram, do look fit for purpose.

Among the more common of cars, it has been the Koreans – Hyundai and sister company Kia – producing some of today’s better-looking vehicles.

Mucking up the shopping centre car parks are the ubiquitous SUVs for there is not a lot to be done with a two-box shape but add curves and body creases and strange, sometimes distinctly odd – looking at you here Mitsubishi Outlander – front ends.

Once these SUVs were unadorned, practical, and square-edged body shapes.

The first Range Rover of 1970 is still one of the most handsome of 20th century machines; a top-class fashion statement.

The trouble was every family and their dog wanted SUVs and so designers took to trying to differentiate makes and models with aforementioned body swoops and such. Until now …

Hard on the wheels of suggestions that Toyota’s next Prado wagon will arrive with simpler, boxier style (and we hope without that ugly face of the current model) comes Hyundai’s reveal of next year’s Santa Fe models.

Guess what? It too will be all squared off.

The current Santa Fe is a very good SUV. While there are two-wheel drive versions from $46,000, see if the bank can stretch another $20,000 for the all-wheel drive hybrid version with turbocharged 1.6 litre petrol motor plus 44.2kW electric motor supplied by a 1.49kWh lithium-ion battery.

That makes for a combined 169kW and 350Nm of torque, more power than the diesel and more torque than petrol versions, and delivered by a smooth six-speed automatic transmission.

Best of all this full-sized, seven-seater’s fuel consumption comes in around seven litres per 100km; and better still on highway runs.

It is a most competent machine under all types of conditions – always nice to drive –and packed with premium comforts and plenty of safety aids.

Anyhow, while there’s this new and better-looking Santa Fe to arrive in 2024, the underpinnings and mechanical for the hybrids are likely to remain much the same.

And a driver shouldn’t lose the next generation Santa Fe in the Bunnings car park. This one, going by the official pictures, is a looker. Let’s hope it stands the test of fashion fads.

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