New Hyundai Santa Fe Embraces Its Inner Mercedes-Benz

Spy Shots / 19 Comments

It looks completely different from the previous model.

Earlier this year, rumors emerged that the next-generation Hyundai Santa Fe SUV would grow in size and adopt greatly different styling. Not long after, a test mule was spotted in South Korea sporting a boxy shape that looks reminiscent of a Mercedes-Benz GLB or Land Rover Defender. Hyundai is now testing the vehicle in Europe, and our spy photographers managed to snap some more detailed pictures of it.

Right off the bat, the new Santa Fe does look larger than the vehicle it replaces. Since this new model is longer, it will have enough space for a third row, a feature that was dropped when Hyundai discontinued the Santa Fe XL. It's worth noting that the Santa Fe's corporate sibling, the Kia Sorento, already has a third row.

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The body cladding on this test mule doesn't look any lighter than the last time it was spotted, but seeing it out on the road gives us more angles to get a better impression of the updated styling. We can't see much of the rear, but judging by what's visible up front, the Santa Fe will ditch its split headlight design in favor of single units. Most of the upper area is uncovered, revealing a taller greenhouse that should let more light into the cabin. Integrated roof racks provide additional storage and add a more rugged look. This boxy styling should lend itself well to an off-road-focused version like the XRT.

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The powertrain choices are still a mystery but we expect Hyundai to offer gasoline, hybrid, and plug-in hybrid versions. These setups will likely be similar to those currently on offer in the existing Santa Fe range but with slight improvements to power, fuel economy, and range claims. Hyundai has reportedly sped up the timing for this new Santa Fe, meaning a reveal could come as soon as August 2023, with the new arrival set to hit showrooms as a 2024 model. We'll continue to look for more prototypes as they drop more camo, and hopefully, we'll get a better idea of what Hyundai is planning for the future of its SUV designs.

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