You might have heard of the Hyundai Santa Fe trip to Antarctica before, but even if you didn’t you might want to find out how did it go, right? This car is officially the first ever car to cross the Antarctica. The grandson of the Antarctic explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton. The balloon-tyred Santa Fe made it from Glacier Camp on the inland South American side, to McMurdo on the coastal New Zealand side, and back again. The expedition lasted for 30 days and it took place in December. This trip was arranged to commemorate Shackleton’s try on being the first explorer to reach the South Pole.
The car in the limelight was a 2.2 diesel model, with a standard interior, no roll cage or seats removed, and the standard DAB radio, which, let’s be honest, must have been about as much use on the trip as a poo-flavoured icicle. Apparently the only mods made to the car were to allow it to use the giant, low-pressure tyres. New subframes and suspension were added, and gears were added inside the wheel hubs that could better cope with all the forces involved, and that reduced the gearing effect formerly increased by the huge tyres. Other changes include cool af wheel arch extensions, a larger fuel tank and a switch to allow running on Jet A-1 fuel; the only kind available on the icy continent. A pre-heater helped keep the worst of the cold from damaging important components.
With that all sorted, the Santa Fe took on the 3600-mile journey and won. On the way it had to find a way through floating ice shelves that are constantly moving, but at least the Antarctic summer meant that the coldest temperatures it had to battle were a mere minus 28 degrees celcius. A bit nippy if you’re not dressed for it. The Hyundai averaged only 17mph on the adventure, owing to the constant need to check it wasn’t going to fall through any fissures or into the sea. Not stressful at all, then. Hyundai is hoping that the pretty awesome achievement makes people start to think differently about the brand.