HYUNDAI Motor Company (HMC) has revealed its new facelifted Santa Fe large SUV ahead of the big seven-seater’s arrival Down Under later in the year, followed by a new hybrid version in 2021.
With power expected to come from the same line-up of engines as the current model, the new Santa Fe will usher in updated styling, enhanced safety features and more standard equipment.
In terms of styling, the new model is a far cry from the current Santa Fe, brandishing an all-new, almost full-width rectangular grille, flanked on either side by low-set headlights similar to those seen on the new Kona.
Above the headlights reside a slim set of LED daytime running lights, complemented by a second set running vertically through the headlight arrangement to make a ‘T’ shape.
Inside the cabin, HMC has tried to take the Santa Fe slightly more upmarket, swapping out the traditional dash design for a ‘floating console’ in a bid to make the interior feel more spacious.
Mounted prominently on the dashboard is a new 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system while on the top models at least, the traditional gear selector has been replaced with a Genesis-style rotary dial.
The materials used within the cabin have been upgraded too – depending on the variant – to now include Nappa leather and ‘eco-suede’ as well as some other high-end materials to be used on trim inserts.
While there have been no substantial changes to the seating layout or dimensions of the car, HMC says the new model offers an extra 14 litres of cargo space thanks to improved packaging.
On overseas models at least, the braking system has been beefed up with bigger discs all-round as well as a new high-capacity booster.
To keep everything in check, the ABS/ESC system has also been updated.
Under the bonnet of the Australian cars will reside the familiar line-up of powerplants consisting of a 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine currently good for 206kW/336Nm and a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder producing 147kW/440Nm.
That said, we expect the updated Santa Fe to boast the same updated versions of these engines as the new Kia Sorento, meaning a new aluminium block for the diesel – saving 19kg – and slightly less power (200kW/332Nm) produced by the V6 due to a new integrated thermal management system.
As with the current model, the petrol engine will send its power to the front wheels while the oil-burner will once again score all-wheel drive.
While these engines will arrive here before the end of the year, the same cannot be said for the new hybrid which has been confirmed to arrive sometime in 2021.
Based around a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, the new system will produce a combined 168kW with the electric motor drawing its power from a 1.5kWh lithium-ion battery.
Drive will be sent to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.
While the local specification and pricing are yet to be detailed, HMC have added or enhanced some features of the existing Hyundai Safety Sense safety suite – on the US versions at least – including forward collision avoidance-assist with pedestrian, cyclist and junction-turning detection, parking collision avoidance assist with reverse function, updated new highway drive assist system, lane following assist and navigation-based smart cruise control with road curve control.
So far this year ending September, Hyundai Motor Company Australia has sold 3480 Santa Fes, accounting for 5.5 per cent of the sub-$70,000 large SUV segment.