Hyundai’s released full details on the new Santa Fe, its seven-seat SUV that is now bigger and better thanks to a significant overhaul for 2021.
The mid-cycle update comes only three years since the fourth-generation Santa Fe debuted in 2018 and, unusually early in the model cycle, rides on a new platform that has unlocked more room.
Hyundai claims legroom in the second-passenger row is up 39mm, while cargo space has also grown, despite the 2021 Santa Fe growing just 15mm in length.
It’s also 5mm taller and 10mm wider.
At the same time, the Santa Fe has been restyled with a new face and bum, each introducing upgraded light styling while there’s enlargened grille upfront.
WHAT ABOUT ENGINES?
Hyundai says a hybrid Santa Fe is on track for Australia in the second half of 2021. In the meantime, it will offer two powertrain options with distinct differences.
One is based on the 3.5-litre V6 petrol engine already serving in the range and the other on a 2.2-litre diesel turbocharged four-cylinder.
The petrol V6 is two-wheel drive and pairs with an eight-speed automatic, while the diesel gains all-wheel drive and a new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.
This new auto DCT packs wet-clutch technology, referencing its operation that's claimed to smooth low-speed engagement and improve gearshift feel.
On comparison, the diesel powertrain offers more torque and better fuel efficiency, producing 148kW/440Nm next to the petrol’s 200kW/336Nm, while sipping 6.1L/100km – or 5.4L less than the petrol.
Both models are rated to tow 2500kg of braked trailer, up 500kg, while the tow-ball down weight has doubled to 200kg.
ARE THERE ANY NEW TRIM LEVELS?
The model debuts a simplified variant line-up by replacing the Santa Fe Active X with the Active name, while the entry-level is simply known as the Santa Fe.
After the Active comes the Elite and then Highlander trims, each introducing their own mix of new equipment to draw customers up the pricing structure, which starts at $44,700 and finishes at $65,200.
All trims are available on both powertrain types, with the diesel attracting a $2500 premium.
The entry-level Santa Fe scores a fair bit of kit, comprising Apple CarPlay and Andriod Auto, leather steering wheel and air conditioning in the third row.
New for 2021 are LED headlamps, an 8.0-inch multimedia screen, wireless phone charging and safety systems like forward-collision warning at junctions, lane following assist and multi-collision braking.
Another $3500 (or $3K in the diesel range) steps up to the Active, that scores a new centre console that creates a flush bridge between the centre glove box and centre HVAC.
The revised centre stack also replaces the gear lever with a button-pad, freeing up cargo space underneath and cleaning up the stack’s appearance.
Wheel sizes grow to 18 inches, the seats and dash also come in leather, while it scores power mirrors, auto wipers, push start, front parking sensors, dual-zone climate control and electronic child locks.
Above that comes the Elite, charging another $6000 for both petrol and diesels, and for the first time adding 20-inch wheels, as well as a 10.25-inch multimedia screen with digital radio, premium audio, a power driver’s seat and smart power tailgate.
At the top, for an extra $7400, the Highlander throws in body-coloured wheel arches, Nappa leather, a full 12.3-inch LCD instrument cluster, a panoramic glass sunroof, a head-up display, heated steering and rear seats, LED taillights and extra safety monitoring.
The Highlander also scores remote smart parking assist as well as ventilated power front seats.
Hyundai’s iCare program offers a five-year unlimited-kilometre warranty on all variants, including complimentary roadside assist for the first year.
Service intervals are set every 12 months or 15000km of travel. Hyundai’s fixed-price scheme sets the first five at $399 for the petrol V6 Santa Fe and $459 for the diesel version.
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
3.5 MPi V6 FWD, eight-speed automatic
- Santa Fe: $44,700
- Active: $48,300
- Elite: $54,300
- Highlander: $61,700
2.2 CRDi AWD, eight-speed DCT
- Santa Fe: $48,200
- Active: $51,800
- Elite: $57,800
- Highlander: $65,200