With its boxy new design that appears to have taken some inspiration from the Land Rover Defender, the fifth-generation Hyundai Santa Fe is a radical departure from its curvier predecessor.
After releasing the first official images back in July, Hyundai has now divulged more details about the new midsize SUV, which is expected to make landfall in South Africa during the second quarter of 2024.
With a length of 4,830mm, the new Hyundai Santa Fe is 45mm longer than the current model, while the wheelbase grows by 50mm to 2,815 to procure more legroom for the second and third-row occupants.
But what Hyundai really likes to boast about is the veranda-like flat floor space that is created when the back seating rows are folded down, and the extra-wide tailgate is opened.
Hyundai mentions four powertrain options that will be available in various global markets, but there’s no mention of a diesel variant as yet, which means that South African buyers may have to switch to petrol or hybrid.
Most global markets will receive a 1.6-litre turbo petrol-electric hybrid option, which offers outputs of 132kW and 265Nm, paired with a six-speed automatic gearbox, while in addition Europe will receive a plug-in hybrid version with 118kW.
Some global markets will also get a 2.5-litre normally aspirated petrol engine option, with 143kW and 246Nm, and eight-speed automatic transmission.
North America and Korea will also get to enjoy a turbocharged version of this 2.5-litre engine, with a wholesome 207kW and 422Nm on tap, paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox.
Moving inside, the new Hyundai Santa Fe debuts a ‘Panoramic Curved Display’ that combines the 12.3-inch (31.2cm) digital instrument cluster and infotainment systems into one unit.
Below the H-shaped full-length air vents you’ll find a 6.6-inch climate control screen that combines digital and analogue controls, while the new ‘floating’ centre console has dual wireless phone charging trays.
Another interesting feature - given that this vehicle would have been designed during the pandemic - is a UV-C Sterilisation Tray in the glovebox.
Hyundai has put considerable effort into the seating too. For instance, the first-row Relaxation Seat with Leg Rest was designed to allow occupants to relax in a comfortable position that aims to simulate a weightless experience. In Korea Hyundai will also offer an Ergo Motion driver’s seat, which uses air bladders to improve comfort and support.
The Hyundai Santa Fe will be available in seven-seat and six-seat configurations, with the latter treating its middle row occupants to individual power-reclining chairs with armrests.
A long list of driver assist features are also on offer, allowing for semi-autonomous highway driving and assisted lane changes, through features like the navigation-based Smart Cruise Control 2 system and Highway Driving Assist 2.
“The original Santa Fe was our very first SUV in the US. Today, we have a well-recognised and respected portfolio of 14 SUV models that include internal combustion engine, electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and hydrogen fuel cell models,” said Hyundai President José Muñoz.
“With the 2024 Santa Fe, we continue our impressive transformation of the Hyundai brand and the broader SUV landscape. The all-new Santa Fe is the perfect companion for everyday adventures with a modern, premium touch.”
The South African engine line-up, specifications and pricing will be announced at launch.