2021 Hyundai Santa Fe crossover SUV revealed: Five-seater faces up against competitors

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe five-seat crossover that made its debut Tuesday is more than just a pretty face, according to the automaker.

The heavily revised 2021 Santa Fe sports a nicer, more comfortable interior and will boast more interior tech, according to Hyundai. Perhaps that’s why it has a toothy grin.

Aside from the exterior and interior changes to the Santa Fe, Hyundai provided scant information about the updated crossover. A plug-in hybrid Santa Fe has been confirmed for other places around the world, but not yet the U.S. A spokesman for Hyundai didn’t immediately comment on this story.

The new face is an abrupt turn for the Santa Fe, which was overhauled by the automaker just two years ago. The name Santa Fe has historically applied to several crossovers in the Hyundai lineup, ranging from large three-row family haulers to the smaller Santa Fe Sport. The current Santa Fe is a five-seat mid-size crossover that is smaller than the three-row Palisade but larger than the Tucson.

Hyundai’s new-look Santa Fe borrows broad themes from the larger Palisade, but spins them in a different direction. The Santa Fe’s vertical headlight and daytime running lights are T-shaped, and drop into a grille that spans the width of the front end. The grille sits high on the crossover’s face, above a lower intake that spans the Santa Fe’s track.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe

Along the sides, the 2021 Santa Fe is more identifiable with its predecessor. The wheel wells are punctuated with stamped creases that rise higher to elevate the car’s profile. Chrome around the windows in upper trims dresses the Santa Fe for tonier crowds; it’s clear Hyundai has more luxurious intentions for the new crossover. Around back, the Santa Fe has continental flair with taillights that are connected via a thin strip across the liftgate.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe

Inside, the Santa Fe features a redesigned center console and 10.3-inch touchscreen for infotainment. The push-button shifter and terrain selection knob are pages straight from the Palisade playbook, and Hyundai promises softer-touch materials for the 2021 Santa Fe.

The Santa Fe is likely to sport the same dimensions as the outgoing model—perhaps massaged a little for more comfort. The current Santa Fe seats up to five with more than 40 inches of rear seat leg room and nearly 36 cubic feet for cargo with the rear seats up. A mixture of cloth or leather upholstery is likely on the menu for the new Santa Fe, as are new powertrain options.

The current Santa Fe is powered by a 2.4-liter inline-4 that makes 185 horsepower and drives an 8-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive is standard on all models and all-wheel drive is available. A more powerful 2.0-liter turbo-4 that makes 235 hp is available with the same 8-speed automatic and front- or all-wheel drive.

It’s unclear if one, both, or none of those engines makes it into the 2021 Santa Fe, but we expect a hybrid version to arrive in the U.S. along with gas-only engines. A turbodiesel was planned for the Santa Fe in 2019, and is available around the world, but was scrapped for the U.S. and isn’t likely for the 2021 version.

Hyundai hasn’t said yet how much the 2021 Santa Fe will cost when it goes on sale later this year.

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