Hyundai recently released a short film of its Antarctic expedition, which featured a near-standard Santa Fe as well as Patrick Bergel, the great grandson of legendary polar explorer, Sir Ernest Shackleton.

Shackleton’s heroic Trans-Antarctic expedition of 1914-16 has been regarded as an epic feat of endurance, and the journey is meant to commemorate just that. The goal? Attempt to make the first land crossing of the Antarctic continent, something that the expedition failed to accomplish.

This involved driving the Santa Fe from Union Camp to McMurdo and back again, which meant some modifications had to be done to the SUV. Gisli Jonsson from Arctic Trucks was tasked with preparing the vehicle for the expedition, which surprisingly involved minimal alterations being required.

“It was a pretty standard Santa Fe. The engine, the management system, the transmission, front differential and driveshaft were all completely standard. We did have to fit big, low-pressure tyres though – they are important as it’s all about getting the vehicle up on top of the snow rather than ploughing through it.

“We were running on one-tenth of a normal road tyre pressure – it’s so soft you can drive over someone’s hand and it won’t hurt them! The car ‘trod’ so lightly that all our tyre tracks were gone by the time we came back,” he said.

Other mods include a larger fuel tank; converting the car to run on Jet A-1 fuel, the only fuel available on the continent; and to install a pre-heater for the cold. The modified Santa Fe had to survive the 30-day expedition, covering a total of 5,800 km of icy terrain where temperatures feel to minus 28-degrees Celsius.

“The journey was incredible and the car was a pleasure to drive. Sometimes it felt less like driving and more like sailing across the snow. It was a proper expedition with a challenge to accomplish that nobody else had done before,” said Patrick Bergel.