A modified and slightly upgraded Hyundai Santa Fe conquered the icy terrain of the Antarctic piloted by the great-grandson of explorer Sir Edward Shackleton, Patrick Bergel. This seemingly unexpected vehicle was able to travel from Union Camp to McMurdo and back again.
The automaker has recently released a short film documenting the expedition into the Antarctic of the "soccer mom" vehicle. In fact, the South Korean automaker claims that this slightly modified Santa Fe is the first passenger vehicle to have crossed Antarctica.
The Antarctic expedition happened last December 2016 and they covered around 3,600 miles of "icy terrain in bitter conditions." The beefed up Hyundai Santa Fe had to endure extreme distances at minus 28 degrees Celsius. Not only that, the vehicle also had to "plot new paths on floating ice caps that have never been travelled by wheeled vehicle before."
But the Hyundai Santa Fe that traversed the Antarctic received improvements fit for the terrain. The Icelandic firm Arctic Trucks did the modifications for the Santa Fe.
"It was a pretty standard Santa Fe. The engine, management system, the transmission, the front differential and driveshaft were all completely standard," said Gisli Jónsson of Arctic Trucks in a Hyundai press release.
Its 2.2-liter diesel engine was modified to run on A-1 jet fuel as this was available and its fuel tank was altered to accommodate a heater and increase its capacity. Other obvious modifications are a raised body with subframes and snow-terrain tires. The rest are completely standard.
The Antarctic expedition of Hyundai Santa Fe was well-timed to commemorate the 100th anniversary of Shackleton's Trans-Antarctic expedition from 1914 to 1916. The South Korean vehicle's expedition took 30 days with an average speed of 17 miles per hour.
"We were aware of Sir Ernest Shackleton's story and as a Company felt a resonance with his courage and pioneering spirit... Our film celebrates this spirit and through Patrick, his Great Grandson, completes his dream to cross Antarctica - just a hundred years later. We hope that it showcases Hyundai as brand that that is more than just a means of transportation," commented Scott Noh, Head of Overseas Marketing Group at Hyundai.
Perhaps, how you view the South Korean automaker and its Hyundai Santa Fe might slightly, or massively, change thanks to its impressive accomplishment. Maybe one day, other vehicles will get to also travel the icy and harsh terrain of the Antarctic. Don't forget to watch the main film below.