The Hyundai Santa Fe SUV became the first passenger car to cross the coldest and driest continent on Earth.
The South Korean automaker teamed up with Patrick Bergel, a tech entrepreneur and the great-grandson of Sir Ernest Shackleton, to drive across the Antarctic. The drive through the unforgiving condition was done to celebrate the 100th anniversary of Shackleton's trans-Antarctic journey.
The 30-day trip across the planet's most inhospitable continent, Hyundai stands victorious, having crossed the unforgiving landscape with a lightly modified Santa Fe SUV.
During the 30-day journey, Hyundai along with Bergel traversed a total distance of 3,604 miles (5,800 km), surviving temperatures as low as -30ºC and probably below.
To make the trip, the Santa Fe had to be modified, Hyundai fixed a portal gear by reconstructing and re-engineering the suspension, suspension links, mounts and axle shafts to make driving in soft snow environment achievable.
The gearing ratio was decreased to 1.5:1 to gain the best performance in Antarctica. To deal with the freezing temperatures, Hyundai installed an engine heater to guarantee the car could start in the cold climate. Apart from these changes, no other upgrades were made to the engine or ECU.
The company also removed the standard fuel tank and replaced it with a 60.8-gallon (230-litre) aluminium fuel tank for the journey. And, of course, large snow tires were utilised. Also, the body and fenders were extended and pruned to fit the tires.