Beefed-up Hyundai Santa Fe crosses Antarctica [with Video]


In an epic recreation of explorer Ernest Shackleton’s planned crossing of the Antarctica, Hyundai created a beefy Santa Fe to do the job.

A hundred years ago, Shackleton set out to be the first person to cross Antarctica. Unfortunately, his ship sank and he was forced to turn the expedition into a survival mission that lasted 2 years. All 27 people in the Englishman's party returned home safely having not crossed Antarctica; at least they'd survived the region's harsh conditions and lived to tell the tale.

Hyundai and Shackleton’s great-grandson, Patrick Bergel recently completed the journey in 30 days; the Korean marque built a specially-modified Santa Fe to get the job done.

Among the modifications to its lifestyle SUV, Hyundai included a crawl gear (extremely low ratio gear) for snow driving, this lowers the gear ratio to 1.5:1. In order to do this, they had to re-engineer the suspension, links and axles.

An engine heater was installed to help with cold starts. It heats the engine coolant up to 79C so that the engine can fire up and then restarts when the coolant temperature drops below 65C.

Given the lack of fuel stations in Antarctica, Hyundai had to install a 230-litre aluminium fuel tank in the rear. It also ran on JET1A, a fuel that has a particularly low freezing point.

The specialised tyres forced much of the bodywork to be redesigned. Not only did the rubber compound and tread need to be able to cope with snow, it ran at just 0.14 bar of pressure.

Watch the video below to check out the expedition details and the heart-warming story: