As promised, Hyundai yesterday celebrated the world premiere of the fourth-generation 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe in Seoul, South Korea. It will make its auto show debut in Geneva early next month before going on sale this summer.
There is so much to talk about this vehicle. Where to start?
First, you must know that the five-passenger Santa Fe Sport will now be called Santa Fe, while the current long-wheelbase, seven-passenger model known as Santa Fe XL in Canada will keep its name for 2019. Hyundai also said that an all-new three-row, eight-passenger SUV is currently under development with a brand new name.
Hyundai’s new face
Up front, the new 2019 Santa Fe is highlighted by Hyundai's signature Cascading Grille and a Composite Light design comprising LED Daytime Running Lights positioned on top of the LED headlights. The lines were refined and the stance was enlarged to reinforce its status in Hyundai's SUV lineup. Consider the dynamic character line that goes all the way from the headlights to the taillights, plus the available diamond-cut 19-inch wheels that convey strength.
Inside, the new Santa Fe interior combines premium quality with a horizontal and roomy layout as well as enhanced visibility. Stitching around the instrument panel and colour-contrasted seat piping ensures a high level of luxury within the cabin. The driver enjoys more legroom and elbow room, while the infotainment display was tilted and positioned to reduce glare. Moreover, engineers incorporated one-touch folding second-row seats. Cargo capacity is increased, too.
In order to improve visibility for the driver, the outside mirrors were mounted lower and further rearward and the A-pillars were reduced in size. Additionally, the rear quarter glass is now 40% larger.
Two familiar engines… and a diesel!
The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe lineup offers a choice of three powertrains. You know the 2.4L inline four-cylinder GDI engine producing 185 horsepower and the 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder rated for 2019 at 232 horsepower, but the big surprise is the all-new 2.2L turbo-diesel option with around 200 horsepower and 320 lb-ft of torque. Its availability in Canada has yet to be confirmed, but all engines will be mated to a brand new eight-speed automatic transmission with available column-mounted paddles for quick shifts. This unit is lighter than the outgoing six-speed box and will inevitably improve fuel economy.
Hyundai's HTRAC all-wheel drive system comes with driver-selectable Normal, Sport and Smart modes and supposedly has a wider range of torque distribution variability than many competitive systems.
What to expect on the road
Improved ride comfort, handling and stability are achieved through key developments in the suspension geometry of the 2019 Santa Fe, Hyundai claims. The biggest change sees the rear shock moved upright from an angled position, improving the ride and handling no matter the driving conditions. We’re also excited about the optional self-load-leveling suspension that provides the Santa Fe with a continuous ride height regardless of cargo or trailer tongue weight.
Those preoccupied about safety will welcome the new suite of advanced technologies called Smart Sense: Smart Cruise Control with Stop & Go, High Beam Assist, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Safe Exit Assist, Driver Attention Warning, Lane Keeping Assist, Rear View Monitor with Parking Guidance, Around View Monitor, Parking Distance Warning Reverse, and Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist. That last one uses the Blind Spot Detection system's radar sensors when backing up to not only warn the driver if vehicles approach from the side, but also apply the brakes automatically.
An available Heads-Up Display (HUD) projects an 8.5-inch virtual image onto the windshield. The system features adjustable brightness to ensure both excellent daytime and nighttime visibility.
And kudos for the new Rear Seat Occupant Alert system, which Hyundai is debuting with the Santa Fe. First, it reminds drivers to check the rear seats when exiting the vehicle with a message on the centre instrument cluster display. If the system detects movement in the rear seats after the driver leaves the vehicle it will honk the horn, flash the lights and send a Blue Link alert to the driver's smartphone via Hyundai's Blue Link connected car system. This will prevent children and pets from being forgotten in the car
The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe includes the brand’s latest AVN 5.0 navigation system offered with higher-level trims. The base trim gets a standard 7-inch user interface. All are equipped with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility. And to eliminate the need for a charging cord, there's an available Qi wireless charging pad for compatible Android devices, as well as Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
Finally, similar to other recent Hyundai models, Blue Link-equipped Santa Fes include multiple years of complimentary Blue Link services, with enhanced safety, diagnostic, remote and voice guidance services.
This has all the signs of a winning SUV. Hopefully we’ll get a chance to test drive the new 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe soon. Stay tuned!