Hyundai's Santa Fe is even newer than it looks


This is the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe and while the vehicle manufacturer has yet to announce all specifications for the SUV, it has showcased the new design in full. "Besides, we've added numerous features and functions to create a truly family-focused SUV that is a pleasure to drive", said SangYup Lee, senior VP and head of Hyundai's Global Design Center.

The grille, with its signature geometric patterned inlay, also integrates the headlamps, a signature style found on many Hyundai cars.

When will the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe come to Australia?

A large front grille is flanked with quad headlights, split down the middle by the T-shaped daytime running lights.

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The Australian Santa Fe range expanded previous year to include a front-wheel drive petrol 3.5-litre V6 powertrain, replacing the existing naturally-aspirated petrol four-pot. The increased width on wheel arches accentuate the SUV's rugged and powerful character, which is also emphasised by 20-inch wheels.

Sales of the new and updated Hyundai Santa Fe will commence in September this year. With buttons in place of a gear shift stick, the central console certainly looks like it belongs on a vehicle several classes above, with Hyundai also promising soft-touch materials around the cabin. There's also a new 10.25-inch infotainment system with pre-loaded maps and satellite-based voice-guided navigation.

For the first time, the Santa Fe features a Terrain Mode selector, allowing options - such as sand, snow and mud, as well as eco, sport, comfort and smart modes - to be selected via the rotary dial on the right-hand side of the console. Hyundai claims "significant improvements in performance, handling, fuel efficiency and safety" thanks to a lower centre of gravity, better air-flow/aero management, much-improved NVH, as well as a "multi-load path structure" and "super high-tensile steel plate" for better impact absorption. The shift-by-wire system allowed the designers to put buttons instead of the conventional shift knob. The centre console sits high, giving the driver and front passenger the feeling of sitting in an armchair.

The 7-seater uses Hyundai's "third-generation" architecture, which already underpins the Sonata sedan on sale in the United States market. The meter panel is now a 12.3-inch digital cluster. Its cargo capacity hasn't been published yet; for context, the Santa Fe now found in showrooms offers 35.9 cubic feet of space behind the second row and 71.3 cubes with the rear seats folded. Refinement should also be improved, with Hyundai adding additional sound dampening in vibration-sensitive areas such as the engine bay and suspension towers.