Hyundai’s new Santa Fe revealed in Korea

Big SUV gets a major makeover with styling touches from the smaller Kona


Hyundai’s new Santa Fe SUV has been revealed for the Korean market, ahead of the global debut of the new model at the Geneva motor show in March. The new Santa Fe marks a significant break with previous models, gaining much more distinctive styling. It’s clearly inspired by the looks of the smaller Kona crossover, with split-level lighting featuring high-set LED daytime running lights and dipped beam units, and high-beam units mounted lower down, next to the ‘cascading’ radiator grille.

It’s bigger than the outgoing Santa Fe too, 70mm longer and 10mm wider, and Hyundai says that it has a longer wheelbase, which may mean (at last) that someone other than very small children might fit in the third-row seats in the boot.

The current 2.2-litre diesel engine will be carried over from the outgoing car, albeit modified slightly for lower Co2 emissions, and there will be an option of a new eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Hyundai says that the Santa Fe will be tis first model to be equipped with a new electronically-controlled four-wheel drive system, called HTRAC. It’s a sophisticated system, with Land Rover-style multiple driving modes, and has previously been reserved for Hyundai’s upmarket Genesis models.

Safety is also high on Hyundai’s agenda - the Korean firm has previously announced that the new Santa Fe will come with autonomous emergency braking, lane keeping steering, and lane departure warning, and it will also get a new safety gizmo, called Safety Exit Assist, which uses small sensors in the trailing edges of the doors to warn passengers if they’re about to step out into traffic approaching from behind, or open the door on a passing cyclist. (Or you could just use the Dutch system of reaching across with your opposing arm to open the door…)

Inside, the cabin gets two-tone leather trim, a new free-standing touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and what appears to be partially digital instruments.

The Korean price for the new Santa Fe starts at 28.9-million Yuan, but we’ll have to wait till later this year to hear more about Irish prices and specifications, but it will need to be sharply priced to cope with increasing competition in the seven-seat SUV market, from Peugeot, Skoda, and VW.