2019 Hyundai Santa Fe: Revamped Range-topper Slinks Into Reality
As part of its sales-stimulating crossover offensive, Hyundai’s upcoming Santa Fe will drop the safe styling act that’s carried the model since its inception. The first official images of the 2019 model are out, revealing a three-row vehicle that mimics Hyundai’s smallest crossover, the Kona.
Like that bottom-rung sibling, the 2019 Santa Fe, due for a full reveal ahead of March’s Geneva Motor Show, adopts the brand’s now signature “cascading grille” and a quartet of headlamps — narrow running lights above, driving lights below. Get used to the new face, as you’ll be seeing it on plenty of Hyundai rigs in the coming years.
While we don’t have a full range of specs, we can tell you the next Santa Fe shrinks in overall length (down from 193.1 inches to 187.8 inches), while growing two-tenths of an inch in width. Hyundai promises a wheelbase stretch, which should make for easier loading of rear-seat passengers.
Overall, the new design is miles removed from the current generation. Bland flanks are out, “bold” and “aggressive” is in. In addition to a strong character line bridging the headlights and taillights, the Santa Fe’s flanks see a pronounced lower body ridge, generously swathed in chrome (which never stops screaming “luxury!”) Interesting scalloped arches enliven the boring space around each wheel.
Out back, mystery reigns. That’s because Hyundai’s keeping the Santa Fe’s tail a secret for now, though recent renderings give us a good idea of what to expect.
The most notable change in the vehicle’s cabin is the stand-up multimedia touchscreen, no longer buried in the center stack. We’ve seen this feature crop up on recent Hyundai passenger cars.
Overseas, power comes by way of a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (plus a four-banger diesel) in Hyundai’s home country, but U.S. details aren’t forthcoming just yet. Expect the 3.3-liter V6 to make an appearance on uplevel trims, at the very least. In keeping with the times (and its competition), the Santa Fe will need to pay more attention to fuel economy; this could show itself in the form of a smaller base engine or a transmission with more than six cogs.
While styling can carry the day in many segments, Hyundai knows the typical Santa Fe buyer is not a gregarious fratboy in his early 20s. Hence the added safety features. For 2019, Hyundai adds Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist and Safety Exit Assist to its SmartSence suite of driver’s aids.
The first feature automatically stops the vehicle if it detects an obstruction while backing up; the latter locks the vehicle’s doors when it senses another vehicle approaching from the rear.
A full list of features and specifications should drop later this month.
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