By on February 22, 2018

2019SantaFe

Hyundai apparently deemed that a thorough restyle of its popular Santa Fe crossover wasn’t enough, so it went ahead and mixed up the model names. Debuting today in Seoul, the new Santa Fe and Santa Fe XL are the latest push by the Korean automaker to offer more product to a crossover-hungry marketplace.

Oh yeah, and they added a diesel option, too.

The five-passenger Santa Fe Sport will now be called Santa Fe. The current long-wheelbase, three-row, seven-passenger model called Santa Fe will be renamed Santa Fe XL for the 2019 model year. An all-new three-row, eight-passenger SUV is currently under development with an all-new name.

The diesel version of the 2019 Santa Fe will also get an occasional-use third-row seat with one-touch folding second-row seats for entry into the third row by children. This particular third-row seat will only be available on the Santa Fe diesel.

To sum up, the three-row Santa Fe XL takes the place of the old three-row Santa Fe, with that name migrating to the smaller machine, which is only available as a two-row unit unless you opt for the diesel, in which case it’s a three-row, but not an XL. Got that?

2019SantaFe

The 2019 Santa Fe line-up offers a choice of three powertrains. There are the familiar 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with an estimated 185 horsepower and the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with 232 horsepower. But we know you didn’t click on the link to learn about those.

A major surprise, the 2.2-liter CRDi turbodiesel engine is the 2019 Santa Fe’s biggest play, with around 200 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and 320 lb-ft of torque at 1,750 rpm (estimated). All engines are mated to a brand new eight-speed automatic transmission.

Let’s walk this back a bit. Thanks to a couple of other automakers, diesel-powered engines (particularly in the passenger car market) don’t exactly have the best rep at the moment. Other competitors in the Santa Fe and Santa Fe XL’s segment – Edge, CR-V, RAV, et al – are notably devoid of oil-burning mills. It’ll be interesting to see how it does in the American market and, while this author applauds Hyundai for making the gamble, I’d wager the diesel take rate will be infinitesimally small.

2019SantaFe

The face of the new Santa Fe is highlighted by Hyundai’s cascading grille and a composite light design comprising LED daytime running lights positioned on top of the LED headlights. The narrowed lamp design makes the crossover look as if it’s about to sneeze. A neat character line runs the length of the machine.

In terms of total interior volume, the new two-row Santa Fe is said to measure 147.3 cubic feet, four more cubes than the old Santa Fe Sport and 14 more than the current Tucson. The three-row unit is listed as having 150.7 cubic feet of space. Three cubes isn’t a lot between the two trucklets. Cargo space behind the second row of the XL is actually less than its smaller brother (36.6 cubes vs 35.9), underscoring the XL’s mission as a people hauler and not necessarily a stuff mover.

2019SantaFe

Official photos depict a handsome interior, complete with a prominent infotainment tablet perched atop the dash and a snazzy set of gauges peering out from behind the Hyundai corporate steering wheel. A host of safety tech will pop up on high-zoot models, including a Rear Seat Occupant Alert that will apparently send owners a notification to their smartphone if a youngster is left in the back seat. I weep for humanity.

2019SantaFe

All-wheel drive will be available, of course, branded as Hyundai’s HTRAC system. There will be driver selectable modes, including Sport and Smart. Sport mode will fiddle with throttle response, but details are scanty on what Smart mode will do. Perhaps it will complete my son’s math homework.

We’ve contacted the Hyundai Canada rep to learn if the new naming scheme will be extended to the Great White North and will update this story upon reply. This fourth-gen Santa Fe will find its way to North American dealers this summer.

(Update: Hyundai Canada confirms the replacement of the Santa Fe Sport with the 2019 Santa Fe you see above. Like in the U.S., the existing long-wheelbase Santa Fe — which is already called the Santa Fe XL in Canada — will continue on as the Santa Fe XL until its replacement arrives.)

[Images: Hyundai]

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48 Comments on “2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Drops the Sport, Adds a Diesel...”


  • avatar
    legacygt

    The use of the word “Sport” on car models/trims is one of my pet peeves, mostly because the word is used to mean just about everything and sometimes even nothing. So bravo Hyundai for getting rid of the “Sport.” But you killed the sport and made it the regular Santa Fe but added an XL. “XL” at least means something real in this case. But these cars are different enough to be given different names. Why confuse the issue?

    And the smaller version gets a third row but only with a diesel? What? Do the diesel emissions stunt the growth of kids’ legs, enabling them to fit in a tiny third row?

    • 0 avatar
      Add Lightness

      The ‘S’ is gradually getting replaced by ‘C’ as they try to make vehicles that push less air.
      The only ‘S’ part of 95% of SUVs is what is in the back or trailer.
      There is absolutely nothing ‘U’ about a $50,000 SUV or CUV. Too expensive/cute/pretty to get used for anything in the ‘U’ spectrum (at least for the first 2 or 3 owners)

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      The “sport” in models like Mazda3 Sport, Jeep Renegade Sport actually means “good sport”. You bought a base model and you are not complaining about it, hence “good sport”

    • 0 avatar
      ACCvsBig10

      so does that mean the “sport” sante fe is getting the 3.3v6 like the sorento

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The new (larger) 3-row replacement will be getting a new nameplate; can’t exactly just change the name of the current 3-row (aside from adding the XL).

      Think it’s a mistake for Hyundai to offer the 3rd row only in the diesel; not everyone wants a CUV the like of Hyundai’s upcoming new 7 passenger CUV (or the Explorer, Traverse/Enclave, Pilot, Pathfinder, etc.) but want the availability of added seating from time to time (like the Sorento).

      @ACCvsBig10

      Not going to offer the V6 in the SF, esp. as the the new Theta III 4-cylinder engines will get a bump up in power to 280 HP in FWD application (which should be arriving in a couple of years).

      Just wish the hybrid version (even if just a mild hybrid) was slated to launch sooner than planned.

  • avatar
    FreedMike

    Well, at least it has some style.

  • avatar
    HEOJ

    All Canada has to do is drop the sport name, the 3 row version is has been called the XL since the 3rd gen went on sale.

  • avatar
    JohnTaurus

    I think it looks fine. The front pulls off the look better than Kona, Cherokee or Juke. The rest is handsome, if a bit derivative in the rear.

    • 0 avatar
      N8iveVA

      I was trying to figure out why the lighting set up on this vehicle is more agreeable to me than with the Kona or Cherokee, which I hate. I think it’s because the DRL’s are big enough and low enough to be fooled into thinking they’re narrow headlights while the actual headlights are small enough to look like fog lights. So as a whole it looks more like a regular set up with narrow headlights. Just my thoughts.

      • 0 avatar
        N8iveVA

        On a further look I think it’s the DRL’s connected to the grill by the chrome strip that makes the look more acceptable to me. Instead of the DRL’s sitting high and isolated.

      • 0 avatar
        bd2

        That’s the trick – Hyundai designers made the DRLs on the SF look like slim, aggressive headlights.

        Those on the Kona are not as well done, but still are better than the goofy ones on the pre-facelift Cherokee (even Citroen does them better than what Jeep did).

  • avatar
    Fighter835

    I like it, the interior seems pretty nice, especially for the price point. Love that the XL actually has meaning. Hyundai will do well with this one.

    • 0 avatar
      slavuta

      I liked so many cars before I drove them. I hope, the test drive will not turn excitement into disappointment.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Regardless, the interior needed an upgrade over the current model, but apparently the new SF got the level of upgrade it received b/c Hyundai wanted the SF to be more appealing to the European market.

      While both the Tucson and Sportage have sold well over in Europe, the Sportage actually sells better due to having the nicer interior.

  • avatar
    Sub-600

    They should keep naming cars after towns in AZ and NM. The Hyundai Lake Havasu would appeal to outdoorsy college kids or septuagenarians who like the ease of access and egress. The Kia Clovis 4X4 could get to those hard to reach archaeological digs or to Walmart for a box of Cap’n Crunch. These things are all starting to look the same, the names and prices are all that’s different. There’s only so many ways to style them, part of the problem is that there’s no real “retro” platforms to go back to. Bronco and Ramcharger can’t get here fast enough.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    Too much Genesis in Hyundai’s grilles lately.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Actually started with Hyundai and the designers have been trying to differentiate the 2 hexagonal shaped design language.

      For Hyundai, they have added a curvature along the 2 bottom sides (which looks awful in models where it is more pronounced) and Genesis has gone with top sides being perpendicular which more changes to come if the grille on the GV80 concept is any indication (hope they don’t use that as think it’s not an appealing look either).

  • avatar
    ThomasSchiffer

    Diesel and SUV go together like bacon and eggs.

    I specifically sought out a diesel-powered SUV and was not the least bit interested in the gasoline (thirstier, less range) models.

  • avatar
    arach

    I think its a smart move.

    In an unofficial, improperly done research study called “reading posts on forums”, it seems that many diesel owners aren’t anti-diesel, they are anti-VW. So if Hyundai can come to the party and literally start stealing these customers, there could be something there.

    I also noticed a little strategic play here that kind of bothers me.

    The Hyundai + sorta-3-row-SUV thing tells me Hyundai is doing one thing specifically: Going for the 3 row fuel economy crown, knowing that they can advertise the most efficient 3 row SUV without any plans to well, sell any of them. Buyers will choose the XL or the old sport depending on their needs, so maybe the take rate is intended to be low? They’ll have the 3 row fuel economy crown, and the naming confusion will be used to their benefit.

    these types of things kind of drive me nuts though.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      I agree, with VW out, there is potential. I think the VW fiasco opens up the field to a lot of players that wouldn’t have had much of a presence with VW dominating the (non-truck) diesel market.

      GM is giving it a go with its trucks, Equinox, Silverado and Cruze. Ford is “hitting them where they ain’t” with the diesel Transit Connect (much like how that model did when it first arrived, filling a niche nobody considered open), as well as the F-150, which of course isn’t quite as segment-busting, since the Ram EcoDiesel has already paved the way. I hope the I-4 diesel will also find its way into Focus, EcoSport and Escape as well. The I-5 PowerStroke from the Transit needs to be under the Ranger’s hood eventually. I believe it will in order to spur interest once the truck has been on the market a while. The V-6 Diesel from the F-150 would work well in the new RWD Explorer, giving it an incredible towing capacity and mileage/range.

      In short, bring on the clack-clack-clack. VW shot itself in the foot, but that doesn’t mean nobody else can try, and be successful with it.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Well, Kia is also adding the diesel powertrain to the Sorento and the Sorento will offer a 3rd row in both gas and diesel form.

      Plus, the fuel economy crown will likely be held by the hybrid version.

  • avatar
    arach

    I read another article from a main stream automotive company that states that the santa Fe XL is a “carryover” of the current santa fe until a newly announced 8 row SUV is released.

    Does that mean the Santa fe XL is the same as the CURRENT (like what ram is doing with the current rams for standard cab configurations?) Or does this mean they are coming out with a NEW santa fe XL that might just have a short life?

    If its the prior, then it makes a lot more sense whats going on with that 3 row gig on the santa fe.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnTaurus

      8 passenger, not 8 row I’m sure you meant. Lol don’t give them any ideas.

      “Introducing the new Yukon XXXXXXL, starting at a reasonable $120k. Take the whole team to football practice. Available in yellow with optional retractable stop sign.”+

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      The XL is just a renaming of the current 3-row Santa Fe and its new, larger replacement will be getting a new nameplate.

      So, in the future, there will only be the Santa Fe and whatever the new 3-row will be called.

  • avatar
    brettc

    I’m surprised by these sneaky diesel announcements. First the Transit Connect, and now the Santa Fe.

    I guess Hyundai figured they’d offer it to compete with the Equinox diesel offering and the upcoming CX-5 diesel (haha!)

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    I am quite interested to see how the well the diesel model sells or does not for that matter. I love the idea of a diesel, have had 4, but don’t love the repair and maintenance costs associated with the modern diesel.

    I know nothing about H/K’s diesel program or offerings around the planet. Do they have a large proven in house program? Or, are they buying the motor from another firm?

    With the emissions compliance issues, I would not be real excited to be an early adopter of a new entrant into the space. I would want a track record of success…

    • 0 avatar
      Carrera

      87 Morgan, Hyundai Motor Company makes great diesel engines…well, at least the one I’ve seen in Europe. My father-in-law has a 2008 Accent with a 1,5l, 105HP CRDi and has been a great car. He bought it new and has about 40,000 miles on it without any issues whatsoever. He constantly gets 60 mpg. I would like to mention that at least at that time, in 2008, none of their engines had urea/ad blue/etc. Also they used to cost only a few hundred Euros more than their gasoline counterparts but that’s only because the gasoline engines were not selling at all and they had rebates. I was with him when he bought it. He paid 10.800 Euros at that time. AC came standard and also PW and PD. Also standard, a CD player with 4 speakers. His Accent was made in Turkey.
      Most Hyundai/Kia cars in 2008 came with diesel engines. Sonata and Santa Fe shared the same 2.0 CRDi engine. I believe it was a 140HP engine, but I could be wrong. The Accent had the 1.5 105HP engine which was a lot of engine for that little car.
      What will make the US version unsellable will be the price. If it is $3-5,000 more than the gas version, it will be DOA.

    • 0 avatar
      arach

      This is where Hyundai Shines. I’m ready to be an early adopter.

      10 year warranty? I wouldn’t keep it longer than that anyway….

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      87 Morgan,
      The Santa Fe and Sorento in Australia have used the 2.2R diesel for nearly a decade now. Its German designed and about 190hp and the same 320ftlb of torque.

      So far it appears reliable. Its a good size diesel for the Santa Fe and works well.

      Just Google “Santa Fe Diesel Reviews Australia” to get a rough idea on how it will perform. I hope this helps.

    • 0 avatar
      bd2

      Hyundai and Kia have been offering diesels in Korea, Europe, Australia and other markets for some time now.

      Generally have been proven to be quite reliable (hence, H and K’s high rankings in European reliability reports), but the family of diesel engines are starting to show their age.

      Starting in about a year or so, H/K will be revamping their engines – starting with the 4 cylinder Theta (going from the Theta II to the Theta III).

  • avatar
    MeJ

    Very nice machine. Great styling for the segment and the interior is simple and classy looking.
    I dig it.

  • avatar
    Wunsch

    This didn’t seem like much of a name change to me, and now I realize why. They were mostly already using these names in Canada.

  • avatar
    Pricha33

    Just acquired 2018 CX-5 , and so wish they had the diesel option as offered in other markets. I like the features , and the driving dynamics , I just miss my TDI mileage.

  • avatar
    SuperCarEnthusiast

    The 2.2-liter CRDi turbodiesel engine is attractive engine option with around 200 horsepower at 3,000 rpm and 320 lb-ft of torque at 1,750 rpm (estimated) for the 2019 Santa Fe. I may buy it depending on the diesel model reviews.

  • avatar
    Chetter

    Former JSW TDI and Touareg TDI owner here with 3 kids. I would never consider a Hyundai product but the diesel intrigues me. Does it take DEF?

  • avatar
    darex

    All of these cars already exist as diesel variants in Europe, and always have. Hyundai merely decided to take a chance on it for North America this time around.

  • avatar
    donk1

    We Aussie’s have been lucky, with the Santa Fe being available here with a diesel engine since 2007. The new one will only have 144kw & 436nm torque, which is down on the outgoing models 147kw & 440nm . Biggest news is the addition of Hyundai’s Smartsense safety gear, plus Hyundai Link already on i30,Elantra & Sonata & the new for Australia only Hyundai Smartconnect in car connectivity system with Wi-Fi hot-spot, & a raft of concierge, booking services, regular 3D mapping updates with Google overlays, Smart Connect via a mobile direct to the vehicles hard drive to download apps/mapping data or poi’s , auto dial to emergency services if airbags are deployed plus FIND ME services giving GPS coordinates in an accident or if the SOS button is hit. & a range other features. utilising our current 4GX mobile system & our new 5G mobile network starting early in 2019. 5G won’t be available in the US or Europe until early 2022

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