And strangely, we want it.
Convertible SUVs are an oddity in the automotive world. Aside from the Jeep Wrangler, few SUVs are available with any form of removable roof. These types of vehicles don't typically sell well - just ask Nissan how many Murano Cross Cabriolets it sold. Land Rover still persists with the Range Rover Evoque Convertible, but it exists as the lone exception. Even Top Gear attempted to build a convertible Renault Espace and failed miserably in the process. Around three years ago, Hyundai took a crack at building a convertible SUV for the pope, and now, the Korean automaker has given it a second go.
Once again, Hyundai has chopped the roof off its Santa Fe SUV, this time the all-new 2019 model. Unsurprisingly, the Santa Fe Convertible isn't going into production but was instead created as a one-off for promotional purposes. It started life as a pre-production Santa Fe, which later had its roof removed to take better pictures of the interior. The car was going to be crushed at a later time, meaning it wasn't exactly built with everyday driving in mind. Still, the one-off does have a working 2.2-liter turbocharged diesel engine under the hood, so it does run and drive.
Hyundai was gracious enough to let Australian outlet Car Advice drive the one-off before it is likely crushed or stored away in a collection. As you may expect, the car doesn't drive too differently from a standard Santa Fe, but it does lose a significant amount of body rigidity through corners without a roof. Car Advice says Hyundai focused on strengthening the overall rigidity during secret, late-night testing sessions of the Nurburgring with the company's chief engineer, Albert Biermann.
Hyundai has no plans to ever put this into production, although a seven-seat convertible SUV would be the only one of its kind. This one-off doesn't even feature a roof, and we imagine it would be difficult to create one that could cover so much space and still look normal. Even though the idea of a seven-seat convertible sounds crazy and may never happen, we'd love to have a go just to see how fun it is to drive.
You can also check out 8-passenger SUV.