Hyundai will introduce its first electrified SUV to Australia when a hybrid version of the Santa Fe large SUV arrives in 2021, bringing a new performance-focused option to the freshly updated model.
Speaking at the launch of the 2021 Santa Fe, Hyundai product general manager Andrew Tuitahi revealed the hybrid will be joining the family alongside the petrol and diesel offerings in the second half of next year.
But more excitingly, the hybrid will not only offer the efficiency benefits of a hybrid drivetrain but will also represent a new high-performance hero of the line-up, said Tuitahi.
“The biggest opportunity being a high-performance version of the Santa Fe,” he said. “It’s a level of performance we’ve never had in Santa Fe.”
Full details will have to wait until closer to its Australian debut but, it’s a fair bet the variant will share most if not all the key features of the drivetrain that has already been confirmed for the model in other markets, as well as its Kia Sorento mechanically related sibling.
That means a healthy 169kW and 350Nm for the Santa Fe and while those figures don’t obliterate the 200kW of the current 3.5-litre V6 petrol or 440Nm of the 2.2-litre diesel, the combined effect is expected to elevate the new hybrid as the most performance-focused version.
Tuitahi did not confirm if the most involving version of the model would also mark the introduction of an N-Line version, but reiterated the company’s desire to offer at least one N-branded option of each model.
“Our hope is that there will be an N or N Line for every model,” he said.
The hybrid combines a version of the company’s 1.6-litre turbo four-cylinder petrol engine and 132kW – as found under the bonnet of the i30 N-Line and Tucson, but bolts a 44kW electric motor for power, torque and efficiency upgrades.
Behind it is a torque-converter type automatic transmission in place of Hyundai’s dual-clutch offering and will be slotted into all-wheel-drive versions.
Pricing is speculation at this stage but expect the new hybrid addition to be positioned at the pointier end of the range and close to the existing flagship – the $65,200 Highlander diesel.
Arch rival Toyota will also introduce a hybrid version of its large SUV at about the same time but Tuitahi said the Hyundai will “do well against the Kluger”.