Hyundai has debuted the updated Santa Fe, with a bigger, bolder grille and a Palisade-influenced interior.
The latest Hyundai Santa Fe just showed up for the 2019 model year, but the Korean automaker has seen fit to give it a revision already. Say hello to the 2021 Santa Fe—doesn’t it look happy to see you?
It’s hard to miss the new look up front, that’s for sure. The narrow headlights remain close in shape to the current units, but the grille is completely transformed. It’s wider and curvier than before, joining with the redesigned foglights to stretch across the entire front end. A geometric insert adds some brightwork, mirrored by a silver lower air intake element. LED daytime running lights form T-shapes through the head- and foglights. Around back there’s a thin LED strip connecting redesigned taillights. Available 20-inch, multi-spoke wheels round out the exterior upgrades.
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Inside the new Santa Fe, Hyundai has taken cues from its larger three-row Palisade crossover. The 10.25-inch touchscreen sheds some of the current model’s physical buttons, looking like the same item found in the 2020 Sonata. The center console is larger and taller, with Hyundai promising more storage room.
A traditional shifter is absent: in its place is a push-button system, and on AWD-equipped models, a Terrain Mode selector. The rotary dial allows drivers to pick from sand, snow and mud modes, all of which change the all-wheel drive system’s settings. There’s also eco, sport, comfort and smart modes; the latter selects one of the others based on the driver’s habits.
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Hyundai hasn’t released engine details for the Santa Fe yet, though we expect the current 2.4-liter and 2.0-liter turbo engines to continue. In other markets the Santa Fe will offer both series and plug-in hybrid versions, but Hyundai hasn’t confirmed American availability yet. That should align it more closely as a competitor for the upcoming 2021 Toyota Venza.
Expect more on the 2021 Santa Fe later this summer, as we expect it to go on sale before the end of the year.