Re: Motoring – Hyundai Santa Fe

Dear Editor,
Please pass on my BIG thanks to Guilherme Marques – he’s managed to lift a considerable weight off my shoulders.
I applied for my toll transponders in September 2011 so I’d be ahead of the rush in December 2011.
Having measured up Santa Fe, I applied for a Class 2, but would you believe I received a Class 1?
After three visits to the Post Office in Praia da Luz (lady VERY helpful and on final visit even spent 20 minutes on phone to Via Verde Portimão confirming situation), the outcome has always been the same in that I was wrong! – the correct class is Class 1, not Class 2.
A couple of weeks later my wife and friend as a witness – see how brave I am sending my wife! – visited the Via Verde (then temporary office) in Portimão to tell them they were incorrect, that the Santa Fe definitely measures up to a Class 2.
Both ladies were very helpful but after much consultation between them, including checking their record books and ringing their HQ, they pronounced the Santa Fe to be a Class 1, NOT CLASS 2!
Knowing the propensity in Portugal for retrospective fines (and ignorance is no excuse even if it is by Via Verde themselves), I’ve been waiting for the tap on the shoulder and Via Verde wanting Class 2 rates for all journeys made since December 2011, with maybe a fine on top.
So I repeat, please pass on my BIG thanks to Guilherme Marques and if he’s in the Espiche area any time I’ll be more than happy to buy him a pint – or even two!
Whilst now of somewhat academic interest, why does the Santa Fe qualify for a Class 1? Or is this an unknown?
Nice article as well by the way.
By email
Editor’s note: we asked our Auto Editor Guilherme Marques to reply: “Dear Tim, I assume yours is a 4×2 Santa Fe, with a front wheel drive layout. If this is the case, and you have a Via Verde transponder installed in your car, then it is definitely Class 1 and I can assure there will be no fines coming in the future.
This happens because, a few years back, the Portuguese government needed to find a way to boost sales of cars produced within our borders. At the time, Autoeuropa, a joint venture between VW and Ford – now only VW and accounting for nearly 1% of our GDP – was producing the Volkswagen Sharan, Ford Galaxy and Seat Alhambra MPVs, which, according to the rules, were all Class 2.
Because EU countries cannot pass protectionist laws, this was the easiest way to make those three cars become Class 1. Of course, it opened the door for a lot more models to do so as well.
Currently, Class 1 vehicles are those with a vertical height at the front axle of 1.1m or less. Above that it is Class 2 or more. The exception reads that vehicles with a height between 1.1m and 1.3m are also Class 1 provided they are 4×2 and have a Via Verde transponder installed. Hope it helped. Enjoy your Santa Fe and thanks for reading.”