Hyundai's practical family SUV offers more space than before and plenty of clever features, too.
When Hyundai revealed the fifth-generation Santa Fe a few weeks ago, it instantly divided opinion with its fresh design. While some think it's too much, most applauded Hyundai for its new take on the stale family SUV segment.
The automaker has revealed new details about the three-row SUV, including engine specifications and interior dimensions. In North America, the Santa Fe will arrive with two engine options. A hybrid 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with 178 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque, mated to a six-speed automatic transmission.
Those seeking more power will gravitate towards the gas-powered 2.5-liter turbocharged engine that produces 277 hp and 311 lb-ft. This more powerful model uses an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and can reach 62 mph in eight seconds.
In other markets, the new Santa Fe will be powered by a 1.6-liter plug-in hybrid with 158 hp or a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter offering 191 hp.
While performance figures are important, prospective Santa Fe owners will be more interested in the interior dimensions. Compared to the previous generation, second-row legroom has increased by 1.37 inches, for a total of 42.3 inches. The hybrid model is slightly less roomy, with second-row occupants treated to 41.5 inches of legroom.
And it's good news for those seated in the third row. Hyundai claims the new Santa Fe offers "best-in-class" third-row headroom, with 37.7 inches. Passengers in the rear-most row benefit from an acceptable 30 inches of legroom. The backrest now reclines 10 degrees, another improvement over the outgoing model.
A six-seater configuration is also offered, with power-reclining captain's chairs further adding to passenger comfort.
The front row hasn't been forgotten, either. A Relaxation Seat with a leg rest simulates a "weightless experience for its occupants," says the automaker. Sadly, the Ergo Motion Seat - which uses air bladders to enhance passenger comfort - is only being offered to the Korean market.
On the convenience front, the new Santa Fe features a Bilateral Multi-Console storage bin that can be utilized by front and rear passengers. A digital rearview mirror lets the driver see what's happening behind the vehicle, even if the trunk is loaded to the brim.
The glove compartment even gets a UV-C sterilization tray that sterilizes any items you may store on the upper tray. Naturally, there's a dual wireless device charger and a USB-C terminal. A radar-based Rear Occupant Alert system alerts the driver if any rear occupants remain in the car after the ignition has been turned off.
Hyundai's new Santa Fe also receives the brand's Digital Key 2, allowing the owner to access the car through their smartphone. The engine can also be switched on via the smartphone-based function.
As you'd expect, the SUV is loaded with safety features and driver assist systems. For the first time in a North American-spec Hyundai, the Santa Fe will offer a Driver Monitoring System, which measures a driver's vital signs to keep things as safe as possible.
We've touched on the exterior styling before, but Hyundai has shared that US-bound models will be available in 11 colors: Phantom Black, Serenity White Pearl, Curated Silver Metallic, Ecotronic Gray Pearl, Ecotronic Gray Matte, Ultimate Red Metallic, Earthy Brass Metallic Matte, Atlantis Blue Pearl, Hampton Gray, Terracotta Orange, and Rockwood Green Pearl.
"The original Santa Fe was our very first SUV in the US. Today, we have a well-recognized and respected portfolio of 14 SUV models that include internal combustion engine, electric, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and hydrogen fuel cell models," said Jose Munoz, President and Global Chief Operating Officer of Hyundai Motor Company.
"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," concluded Munoz.
Hyundai has also revealed a new XRT Concept, a design study created for adventure-minded customers. With more ground clearance and a bevy of rugged accessories, the XRT Concept is aimed at those "seeking the thrill of the wild."
As a homage to its namesake, Hyundai has decided to host the global launch event and world premiere video (watch above) in Santa Fe, New Mexico, which Hyundai says has served as an inspiration for the Santa Fe since the first model appeared in 2001.
Hyundai is yet to announce pricing for the 2024 model, but we wouldn't be surprised if it exceeds the $28,750 starting price of the current model, especially with the new premium pretensions.
Expect it to go on sale in the first half of 2024.