2021 Hyundai Santa Fe: Refresh Time Already
Hyundai apparently feels that boasting the freshest faces in the industry will help it woo the American buying public. With a full stable of crossovers now realized, it’s not a terrible strategy.
Just two model years after its debut, the midsize Santa Fe crossover (which replaced the Santa Fe Sport and necessitated a name change for the existing, larger Santa Fe to Santa Fe XL before that model’s metamorphosis into the less confusingly named Palisade) stands to gain a fairly radical new front end design.
Teased in a head-on photo by the manufacturer, the 2021 Santa Fe — which was no slouch in the looks department, in this writer’s opinion — gains T-shaped daytime running lights, plus a reshaped grille and front fascia. The current model is shown below for comparison.
It’s not an inconsequential refresh. The Santa Fe’s new face, which likely previews the visage of the upcoming 2021 Tucson to some degree, takes the CUV in a styling direction well removed from the brand’s safe-but-bland strategy of the mid-2010s. It’s aggressive, it’s sporty, and yet it remains affixed to a midsize family hauler.
Hyundai prefers to call the new look “rugged yet refined,” which is its prerogative. Were it not for the generously sized lower air openings, one could be fooled into thinking this face came with a sport coupe body in tow. Far from it. Still, the ’21 Santa Fe maintains the over/under headlight arrangement seen elsewhere in the brand’s crossover stable. A rear view was not provided (and would surely be less interesting had one been available).
The Santa Fe proved a hit when it landed for the 2019 model year, with sales rising markedly, despite the removal of the Santa Fe XL mid-year.
Clearly, Hyundai was counting on a June Detroit Auto Show at which to reveal the made-over midsizer. The coronavirus kiboshed those plans, leaving the automaker no choice but to debut its latest product online. More details, and presumably a full reveal, will occur over the coming weeks, Hyundai says.
The automaker didn’t offer up any details regarding powertrain changes for ’21; the model’s two four-cylinder engines are expected to carry over, though Hyundai did speak of “technological enhancements” inbound for the coming model year.
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