Hyundai has released the first official pictures and details of the daringly designed new Santa Fe SUV.

Along with cutting-edge new infotainment and safety technologies, the fourth-generation mid-sized SUV adopts a bold new look, partially inspired by the Kona compact SUV and likely to be seen on other forthcoming Hyundai SUVs. Particularly striking is the front end with its split level headlights and large ‘cascading’ grille that replaces the signature hexagonal-shaped one.

Hyundai has yet to release a proper image of the Santa Fe's back end, but an official design sketch released last week shows a more aggressive interpretation of current Hyundai design language.

Hyundai has announced that the new Santa Fe will be available in three engine derivatives: a 2.0 turbodiesel, a 2.2 turbodiesel, and a 2.0 turbo petrol. Power outputs are still to be confirmed but all versions get eight-speed automatic transmissions.

The new Santa Fe is the first Hyundai to be equipped with an electronic four-wheel drive system. Dubbed HTRAC, it actively controls the driving force according to the drive mode, maximising traction during bad weather and rough road driving.

The new Santa Fe is stuffed with advanced safety features including frontal collision avoidance, lane departure warning and a lane-holding function. There's a feature which suggests that the driver take a rest stop if the car detects they're getting tired by adopting a different driving pattern than usual, and also a Safe Exit Assist that warns if a passenger is about to open a rear door into the path of an approaching vehicle, and locks the door. 

The Santa Fe's redesigned interior adopts higher quality materials in a bid to move the Korean SUV upmarket.

It also acquires the latest state-of-the art infotainment including enhanced voice recognition technology for improved navigation convenience and accuracy. Pressing the voice recognition button on the steering wheel and speaking "route guidance and business name" provides a quick and easy method of getting directions to restaurants or places of interest, and you can ask for phone text messages to be displayed on the infotainment screen.

A 'Voice Memo' function also allows you to record spoken words while driving, if you need to record a phone number or your next grand idea.

Additional new tech in the Santa Fe is a smart phone wireless charging system and Apple car play and mirror link.

Hyundai has yet to confirm local plans for the new Santa Fe but it's likely to be launched in South Africa later this year or early in 2019.

Drive360