As previewed in a series of sketches last week, the new Santa Fe adopts the Korean carmaker’s new SUV design language, which debuted on the Kona, with a separate headlight system featuring narrow daytime running lights sitting above and main headlights embedded in recesses either side of a raised trapezoid grille.
While real thing isn’t quite as audacious as it appeared on paper, it’s bolder than the current model and only the badge betrays the fact it shares DNA with the dour-looking second-gen Santa Fe that hauled pre-teen millennials around a decade ago.
It’s bigger too. At 4770mm it’s 70mmm longer than the current model resulting in a longer wheelbase. Hyundai promises extra rear legroom, but is yet to reveal details about third-row spacing.
A premium-look interior, with uncluttered dashboard and floating touchscreen, echoes Kona and i30.
Technology also takes a generational leap, with autonomous emergency braking and lane keeping assist standard across the range. Other active safety features include Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, which warns the driver if vehicles approach from the side while reversing and automatically applies the brakes if a collision is imminent. And blind spot monitoring is taken an extra step with Safety Exit Assist, which temporary locks the door if a vehicle is approaching from behind to prevent passengers stepping out into their path.
The 2018 Santa Fe also brings Hyundai TRACtion (HTRAC) electronic four-wheel-drive system, which has so far been exclusive to Hyundai’s Genesis premium sub-brand. HTRAC provides multiple driving modes, which suggests a boost to the Santa Fe’s off-road credentials.
New 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol and diesel engines are expected to be added to the Santa Fe, joining the current 2.2-litre turbo diesel, with each powertrain to include an eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Further details of new generation Santa Fe will be disclosed at the world premiere in February, with Australian pricing and specifications revealed closer to its local launch in the middle of the year.