It seems Hyundai wants to distance the Santa Fe from the more expressive Tucson.
With the arrival of the current generation Hyundai Tucson, the South Korean brand has somewhat hamstrung its Santa Fe. Not only is the new Tucson larger than before, slightly blurring the lines between its bigger sibling, but it also sports some of the manufacturer's most modern kit both inside and out. Couple this with a more attractive price, and it's no wonder the Santa Fe is struggling here and in other markets.
As of Hyundai's January 2022 sales figures, the Sante Fe's performance in the market is down 16% year-on-year while the Tucson saw a 64% increase over the previous generation model that was sold one year prior. This is an unfortunate case when you consider that the Santa Fe was handed a pretty conclusive update in the late months of 2021 and accentuated with a more rugged XRT trim.
This wasn't just a set of visual revisions, as the SUV benefited from new engine options, including an efficient plug-hybrid alternative. However, these powertrains are the same as what you would find in the Tucson, including the available HTRAC all-wheel drive system.
A new report from The Korean Car Blog sources information from insiders of the company who suggest that Hyundai acknowledges the situation and has plans to restructure the Santa Fe model line altogether. The next-generation model, comically codenamed MX5, is already deep into its development process and will be revealed eight to 10 months earlier than the company initially planned.
There's not much information regarding the technical details of the upcoming generation but the insiders confirm that it will grow in size. Based on Korean segment standards, it is said to evolve from the semi-large to large SUV market which could see it clash with the soon-to-be-updated Palisade.
In the USA, both the Santa Fe and Palisade fall under the mid-size SUV, and considering Hyundai doesn't have a platform that can fit into the full-size segment, it's quite unlikely that it will ever try to gun for the likes of the Chevrolet Tahoe or Ford Expedition.