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New transmission stars in Santa Fe redesign


PARK CITY, Utah — A new eight-speed transmission is a key element of the redesigned 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe crossover.

All Santa Fes, either with the 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine or 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, will have the new gearbox. Previously, the Santa Fe, formerly known as Santa Fe Sport, had a six-speed transmission.

“A tremendous amount has been done with this all-new transmission to improve friction reduction and therefore improve efficiency and fuel economy,” said Mike O’Brien, Hyundai Motor America’s vice president of product, corporate and digital planning, during the vehicle’s media introduction here last month.

One example he cited was reducing the number of valves in the valve body.

A valve body is filled with spool valves that move as the gears shift. The valves naturally leak internally a little, O’Brien said, but fewer valves means less leaking.

“You want to minimize leakage because that’s waste,” he said. “We went from 20 valves to 12 and therefore reduced the potential for leaking.”

An eight-speed also means the Santa Fe has a wider gear ratio than before.

Said O’Brien: “The overall ratio of the transmission from the first gear to eighth gear is now greater than the old transmission it replaces. That gives better freeway fuel economy and improved takeoff characteristics from a stop sign.”