The Hyundai Santa Fe competes within a hotly contested midsize SUV market. For almost a decade now, these vehicles have supplanted minivans as the de facto family hauler. They provide plenty of space for cargo and passengers, and offer added capability of all-wheel drive and raised ground clearance.
The Santa Fe is all new for 2019, and it’s a big departure from the model it will replace this summer. Here are five key things to know about the new Santa Fe.
1. You might not recognize it.
The previous Santa Fe was attractive enough, but it didn’t feature a standout design. The Santa Fe’s bold new styling will most likely turn a few more heads. It incorporates the Hyundai family grille found on the Sonata, and it’s braced by a large chrome strip that frames up the thin-slit LED running lights. The headlights and high beams are located below in augmented fog lights, a look made popular by the Jeep Cherokee.
2. The Sport distinction is no more.
The Santa Fe is available in five-passenger and three-row, seven-passenger variants. In past years, the five-passenger model was called the Santa Fe Sport, and the seven-passenger model was simply called Santa Fe. This made for a bit of confusion, with some folks thinking the Sport was a different model.
To simplify things, the five-passenger model is now called the Santa Fe, while the long wheelbase, seven-passenger version will be called the Santa Fe XL. An even larger eight-passenger model is in development and will have a different name.
3. A diesel engine joints the line-up.
The Santa Fe will be available with a new 2.2-liter turbodiesel four-cylinder engine making 200 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque.
It joins the gas engine offerings, which include the 2.4-liter inline-four that’s standard across the line-up. The upgraded gas engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four making an estimated 232 horsepower.
No matter the engine, power is sent through a new eight-speed automatic transmission. It is sent to standard front-wheel drive or available all-wheel drive. The AWD system features Normal, Sport, and Smart modes.
4. The interior is bigger and more spacious.
The new Santa Fe features a larger interior for both models, including more passenger volume and more cargo space. With the rear seats folded, the Santa Fe features 71.3 cubic feet of cargo space, or 70.7 in the Santa Fe XL. The interior blends form with function, and it’s been completely updated to feature an attractive-yet-functional layout.
5. Updated tech offerings include Alexa.
A 7-inch central touchscreen is among the new standard interior features, outfitted with the latest infotainment platform. It comes standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for enhanced smartphone connectivity.
Available features include a wireless charging pad, a 630-watt, 12-speaker Infinity sound system, and a heads-up display that projects critical vehicle information onto the windshield, so the driver does not have to look away from the road to stay informed.
The available BlueLink system works with a smartphone app. It allows you to locate your car, remotely start it, set the climate control, and lock and unlock the doors. BlueLink also connects to Amazon Alexa Skill, allowing you to tell Alexa to remotely start and set the climate control on the Santa Fe while you’re still inside.
6. There’s innovative safety technology.
The Santa Fe features two new safety innovations: Safe Exit Assist and Rear Seat Occupant Alert. The former scans the road outside the vehicle and won’t unlock the doors if it senses an approaching bicyclist or motorcyclist. The latter senses whether children or pets are occupying rear seats and reminds the driver not to leave the car without them.
Santa Fe models SE and higher come standard with Hyundai Smart Sense, a suite of safety features including forward-collision warning with pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, lane-departure warning, blind-spot warning, adaptive cruise control, 360-degree camera, and parking sensors.