New Hyundai Santa Fe facelift revealed

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The Hyundai Santa Fe SUV has been overhauled for 2020 with a striking new look and a new plug-in hybrid powertrain.

Hyundai has launched an updated version of its range-topping Santa Fe SUV for 2020, with a significant external redesign, a tweaked interior and a revised engine range.

The revised Hyundai Santa Fe will go on sale in Australia later this year.

Hyundai refers to the model as a facelift, but the updated Santa Fe is actually based on a completely different platform to the outgoing model, similar to Land Rover’s strategy with the latest Discovery Sport. It now shares the same third-generation underpinnings as the US- and China-only Sonata sedan, which offers support for Hyundai’s latest hybrid powertrains and chassis technology.

Due to the new platform, the Santa Fe has increased in size. It’s 15mm longer, 10mm wider and 5mm taller than the model it replaces, with dimensions of 4785mm, 1900mm and 1685mm respectively. Hyundai says this has unlocked more space in the cabin for passengers, adding an extra 34mm of legroom for rear-seat occupants.

The new underpinnings have also allowed Hyundai to fit a new plug-in hybrid powertrain. It’s due to arrive in early 2021 and will comprise a 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol engine, a 67kW electric motor and 13.9kWh lithium-ion battery pack. The system has a combined output of 195kW and 350Nm of torque.

Other drivetrains include a 169kW 1.6-litre four-cylinder petrol mild-hybrid powertrain – yet to be confirmed for Australia – and the 206kW V6 petrol and 2.2-litre four-cylinder diesel engine already available here.

Alongside lengthening the Santa Fe’s bodywork to make it fit the new platform, Hyundai has given its SUV a new look. Updates include new T-shaped LED daytime running lights, a redesigned radiator grille, a pair of subtly tweaked bumpers, wider wheel arches and a new, full-width LED tail light.

Hybrid and plug-in hybrid models will come as standard with a set of aerodynamically efficient 19-inch alloy wheels, although 20-inch alloys are an optional extra. There’s also a choice of three new paint finishes – Glacier White, Taiga Brown and Lagoon Blue – bringing the SUV’s number of colour options to nine.

Inside, there’s a new floating centre console, a new gear selector and a host of extra storage bins. Hyundai has also fitted a new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 10.25-inch infotainment screen with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – and, like the old model, a head-up display is available.

The Santa Fe’s safety technology has been given a boost, with Hyundai’s Highway Drive Assist 1.5 semi-autonomous driver aid, which can assume control of the car’s steering, throttle and brakes on the freeway. Buyers also get lane-keeping assist, blind-spot collision avoidance and an autonomous parking function with a rear collision avoidance system.

Hyundai says its upgraded underpinnings also give the new Santa Fe better handling and improved crash safety, thanks to its extensive use of high-tensile steel and its redesigned crumple zones. Refinement should also be improved, with Hyundai adding additional sound dampening in vibration-sensitive areas such as the engine bay and suspension towers.

Luke Wilkinson

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