This is NOT your neighbor’s Hyundai Santa Fe

The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is probably not the first SUV people would think of as full-fledged off-road marauder. It’s not the SUV’s fault for having that image. It is what it is. But what if there was a way to turn the Santa Fe Sport into precisely the kind of SUV that can plow through the outdoors with relative ease? It’s a fascinating idea, one that Hyundai is bringing to life with the Hyundai Rockstar Energy Moab Extreme Off-Roader Santa Fe Sport Concept.

It’s got an obscenely long name, but make no mistake, this Santa Fe Sport Concept is more than just a grocery hauler. On the contrary, it’s been designed to handle any kind of terrain and withstand all the conditions that Mother Nature can throw its way. Even at first glance, the Rockstar Energy Moab Extreme Off-Roader Santa Fe Sport Concept looks nothing like its standard Santa Fe counterpart. For one, it sits so far off the ground that it can fit those massive Mickey Thompson 35x12.50R17 Baja MTZ off-road tires. Then there’s the matter of the SUV getting dressed up in sick camo, not to mention all the extra accessories it gets that allow it to perform its function as a legitimate beast of the outdoors. Rest assured, this is one Santa Fe that you wouldn’t want to see in your rear-view mirrors.

Continue after the jump more about the Hyundai Rockstar Energy Moab Extreme Off-Roader Santa Fe Sport Concept

Exterior

2017 Hyundai Rockstar Energy Moab Extreme Off-Roader Santa Fe Sport Concept
- image 736085

Where do you even start with something like this? I suppose we can begin with the aesthetics, where the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport received plenty of changes. The most notable of them is the camouflaged body wrap, which on its own gives the Santa Fe Sport a more rugged appearance. The wrap isn’t the only major upgrade too. On the functional side, the SUV also received upgraded headlights and taillights, new bumpers that come equipped with a winch, and a custom roof rack with its own LED lighting. The bumpers and roof rack come by way of Rockstar Performance Garage. There’s also a Bedliner protection from Bullet Liner, tents from Cascadia, and a thermal heat protection from Tintman. The Santa Fe Sport also receives a set of 17-inch KMX Machete off-road bead-lock wheels, all of which are wrapped in Mickey Thompson 35x12.50R17 Baja MTZ off-road tires. Sitting just behind the wheels is a big brake kit from R1 Concepts, made up six-piston varieties in the front and four-piston at the back.

In terms of volume, the Hyundai Rockstar Energy Moab Extreme Off-Roader Santa Fe Sport Concept is dripping with off-road equipment. The only qualm is that as far as overall appearance is concerned, we’ve seen something like this from Hyundai and Rockstar before.

Remember last year’s Hyundai Santa Fe Rockstar Concept?

2016 Hyundai Rockstar Santa Fe Concept High Resolution Exterior
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Last year, Hyundai and Rockstar worked on a similar collaboration, and the result was this. Looks familiar? Granted, it’s not as imposing as this year’s offering, but a lot of the elements found in the Moab Extreme Off-Roader Santa Fe Sport Concept are there. There’s the camouflage wrap, which admittedly only covers the bottom half of the Santa Fe. There are the LED light bars in the front, the custom headlights and taillamps, and even the roof rack. Last year’s concept even had a similar self-recovery winch, and - surprise, surprise - a set of 17-inch off-road KMC XD 301 Turbine bead-lock wheels wrapped in 35-inch Mickey Thompson Baja Claw off-road tires.

Interior

There are no photos of the interior at the moment, but Hyundai’s press release reveals a number of upgrades given to the Moab Extreme Off-Roader Santa Fe Sport Concept. One of the most prominent changes is the addition of a custom leather interior that Hyundai was able to source from Roadwire. There’s also a KICKER audio sound system, Scoche magic mounts, Bluetooth speakers, and plenty of other lifestyle accessories. That’s the extent of what we know was done on the interior of the custom Santa Fe.

Drivetrain

2017 Hyundai Rockstar Energy Moab Extreme Off-Roader Santa Fe Sport Concept
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There doesn’t appear to be any direct modifications done to the Santa Fe Sport’s engine so assuming that this concept carries the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, it should still be good for 240 horsepower. That said, other components of the whole powertrain received upgrades, most notably the intercooler and the downpipes. The intercooler, in particular, now comes from aftermarket firm Mishimoto. A catch can from Rockstar and a coolant overflow reservoir add to the list of powertrain improvements while the presence of a wet system from Nitrous Express and a portable tank from Powertank that refills tires on the trail does make me wonder if there’s more to this concept’s power and performance capabilities than what Hyundai and Rockstar Energy are letting on. It does seem like 240 ponies isn’t enough to really put a stamp on the concept’s new-found off-road abilities so I’m curious to see if there’s more to the concept than meets the eye.

On the chassis and suspension end of things, the big upgrades are the obvious lift kit that helps the Santa Fe Concept increase its ride height, the coilover suspension system from KING, and the 2.5-inch Internal Bypass shocks with that have their own reservoirs.

Conclusion

2017 Hyundai Rockstar Energy Moab Extreme Off-Roader Santa Fe Sport Concept Exterior
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For the record, I own a Hyundai Santa Fe Sport and, while I have no qualms about how it’s treated me in the few years that I’ve had it, I do find myself wondering what the SUV would be like had Hyundai paid more attention to giving it some form of off-road capability. Not that it’s ill-equipped for that kind of task because I’ve used it on the outdoors and have had no issues with it. But a Jeep it is not. This new off-road interpretation by Hyundai and Rockstar is interesting though because it’s probably as good a makeover as the Santa Fe Sport is going to get if the objective was to turn it into a full-scale off-road marauder. I’m not a fan of some of the aspects of the build, chief among them the notion that it’s a recycled version of last year’s Rockstar Santa Fe Concept. But overall, it’s still a solid build that puts a bright spotlight on the aftermarket potential of the Santa Fe Sport.

  • Leave it
    • Definitely not for everyone
    • Massive tuning work means massive attached costs
    • Could be pricey if actually built

References

Hyundai Santa Fe

2016 Hyundai Rockstar Santa Fe Concept High Resolution Exterior
- image 694116

Read our full review on the 2016 Hyundai Rockstar Santa Fe Concept.

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe
- image 665174

Read our full review on the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe.

Press release

Hyundai has released its first tuner concept for the 2017 SEMA show: the Rockstar Energy Moab Extreme Off-roader Santa Fe Sport Concept. Rockstar designed the concept to be able to withstand the ultimate demands of extreme off-roading in Moab, Utah, considered one of the world’s most challenging off-road regions.

“The Rockstar Energy Moab Extreme Concept was specifically designed to withstand the extraordinary demands of Moab off-road terrain,” said Nic Ashby, Rockstar Marketing. “Leveraging the outstanding Santa Fe Sport platform and powertrain, we definitely pushed its capabilities to new limits to conquer the pinnacle of challenges at Moab.”

ROCKSTAR ENERGY MOAB CONCEPT MODIFICATIONS

R1 Concepts, 6-piston front and 4-piston rear big brake kit
KING, Coil-over Suspension and 2.5” Internal Bypass shocks with reservoirs
KMC 17-inch Machete off-road bead-lock wheels
Mickey Thompson 35x12.50R17 Baja MTZ off-road tires
HID Projectors OEM upgraded headlights and taillights
Mishimoto Intercooler, Downpipe, Rockstar Energy Catch Can, Coolant Overflow Reservoir
Yukon Gear and Axle Drive train Accessories
AEM Intake
KICKER audio sound system,
Roadwire custom leather interior
Odyssey battery Dry Cell
Rockstar Performance Garage Skid plates, Bumpers with Warn® winch & Factor 55 Link
Rockstar Performance Garage Custom roof rack with Bulldog LED lighting
sPOD, Bantam 12v source
Heatshield Products heat protection
MagnaFlow exhaust
Scosche Magic Mounts, Bluetooth Speakers and Lifestyle Accessories
Nitrous Express wet system
Bulletliner Bedliner protection
Casacadia Tents
Tintman, Thermal Heat protection
Powertank Portable Tank for refilling tires on the trail

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