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Hyundai’s seven-seat SUV has been given a major overhaul.

Where most mid-life updates are subtle tweaks to the formula, or small changes to styling and spec, the 2021 Santa Fe is essentially an all-new car compared to the model launched in 2018.

Under the skin it shares its technology with the latest Kia Sorento, and packs a broader array of active safety features than before.

Although its engines look similar on paper to those of its predecessor, Hyundai claims the turbo-diesel is up to 19 per cent more efficient than before thanks in part to a new dual-clutch transmission.

It also claims the petrol packs more mid-range punch than before, although it’ll arrive in showrooms slightly later than the diesel.

Inside, the cabin has been given a more button-heavy overhaul in keeping with the larger Palisade, and gains a new digital instrument display and Hyundai’s latest infotainment screens.

It’s also 15mm longer, 10mm wider, and 5mm taller than the car it replaces, and Hyundai claims there’s 39mm more rear legroom.

Pricing is up across the range. The entry-level model, now simply know as Santa Fe, kicks off at $44,700 before on-road costs, while the range-topping Santa Fe Highlander turbo-diesel tops out at $65,200 before on-roads.


  • 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe 3.5 FWD: $44,700
  • 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 AWD: $48,200
  • 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Active 3.5 FWD: $48,300
  • 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Active 2.2 AWD: $51,800
  • 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Elite 3.5 FWD: $54,300
  • 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Elite 2.2 AWD: $57,800
  • 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander 3.5 FWD: $61,700
  • 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander 2.2 AWD: $65,200

All prices exclude on-road costs.


The base engine in the 2021 Santa Fe is still a 3.5-litre petrol V6, mated with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s front-wheel drive, and has 200kW of power and 331Nm of torque.

The range-topper is a 2.2-litre turbo-diesel with 148kW of power and 440Nm of torque. Although its displacement is the same as before, the engine has been heavily revised for 2021 and is now combined with an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission and all-wheel drive.

Fuel Economy

The 2021 Santa Fe with a petrol engine uses 10.5L/100km on the combined cycle, an improvement of 0.1L/100km.

Meanwhile, the reworked turbo-diesel uses 6.1L/100km instead of the 7.5L/100km its predecessor promised.


The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe measures 4785mm long, 1900mm wide and 1685mm tall, with a 2765mm wheelbase.

That makes it 15mm longer, 10mm wider, and 5mm taller than its predecessor.

Boot space is between 571L and 782L with the rear seats in place, depending on how far forward they’re slid. That expands to 1649L with the second row folded flat, and contracts to 130L with the third row in place.

Braked towing capacity is 2500kg, with a 200kg downball


When the Hyundai Santa Fe was tested by ANCAP in 2018, it received a rating of five stars.

That rating was based on an adult occupant protection score of 94 per cent, child occupant protection of 86 per cent, pedestrian protection of 67 per cent and safety assist of 78 per cent.

The new Santa Fe won’t be re-tested.

The base 2021 Santa Fe will come standard with the following active safety features:

  • Autonomous emergency braking
  • Turn assist at junctions
  • Multi-collision brake assistance
  • Blind-spot monitoring and assist
  • Lane-keeping assist
  • Lane following assist
  • Rear cross-traffic assist
  • Adaptive cruise control

The range-topping Highlander adds to that a blind-spot camera view in the digital instrument binnacle, reverse autonomous emergency braking, and remote smart parking.

There are also front, front-side and curtain airbags for the first row, as well as curtain airbags for the second row.

Servicing and Warranty

Like the wider Hyundai range, the Santa Fe will pack a five-year, unlimited-kilometre warranty.

The petrol V6 engine has its first five services capped at $399, while the turbo-diesel engine will set you back $459 per visit.

Standard Equipment

The base Santa Fe packs the following standard features:

  • 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wireless Apple CarPlay and wireless Android Auto
  • 4.2-inch digital trip computer
  • Reversing camera and rear parking sensors
  • LED headlights and daytime running lights
  • Wireless phone charging
  • Black grille inserts
  • 17-inch alloy wheels
  • Electronic parking brake

The Santa Fe Active gains:

  • Leather upholstery
  • Dual-zone climate control
  • 18-inch alloy wheels
  • Keyless entry and start
  • Rain-sensing wipers
  • Rear privacy glass
  • Front parking sensors
  • Power-folding exterior mirrors with puddle lamps
  • Push-button gear selector with paddle shifters
  • Keyless entry and start

Next rung up is the Santa Fe Elite, which adds:

  • 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment system with wired Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, DAB+ radio and satellite navigation
  • Harman/Kardon 10-speaker premium sound system
  • Power tailgate
  • 10-way power driver’s seat and eight-way power passenger’s seat
  • Auto-dimming rear-view mirror
  • 20-inch alloy wheels
  • Second-row sun shades
  • Third-row USB charge ports

The range-topping Santa Fe Highlander adds the following features:

  • 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster
  • Panoramic glass sunroof
  • Head-up display
  • Remote Smart Park
  • 360-degree camera
  • Heated and ventilated front seats
  • 14-way powered front seats
  • Heated second-row seats
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Nappa leather upholstery
  • Ambient lighting
  • Aluminium interior trim

Premium paint is a $695 option range-wide, while the Elite is offered with a Cognac Brown leather interior for $295. The Highlander offers a Camel Beige finish leather interior for $295.

MORE: Hyundai Santa Fe news and reviews
MORE: Hyundai news and reviews

Scott Collie

Scott Collie is an automotive journalist based in Melbourne, Australia. Scott studied journalism at RMIT University and, after a lifelong obsession with everything automotive, started covering the car industry shortly afterwards. He has a passion for travel, and is an avid Melbourne Demons supporter.

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