Hyundai’s next seven-seat Santa Fe SUV will look very different to what we’ve come to expect.

    New images posted on Korean website Autospy give us a closer look at the next-generation Santa Fe and its upright, almost Land Rover Defender-like body.

    It’s unclear when during 2023 the next Santa Fe will debut, though the presence of finished-looking, albeit camouflaged, prototypes would suggest a reveal is not too far away.

    While it’s still covered in a great deal of camouflage, we can see the D-pillar appears to sit bolt upright, in contrast to the slanted pillar of the Palisade, giving the Santa Fe an even bluffer look than the flagship crossover.

    These images offer our best look yet at the new LED light signature that will feature up front, with a prominent “H” motif we haven’t seen from Hyundai before. It’s a drastic departure from the current model and its twin-headlight design.

    The rear end is covered in even more camouflage, though it appears the Santa Fe may have a particularly upright tailgate.

    As is becoming common with the latest Hyundai Motor Group products, there are eye-catching wheel designs.

    It’s unclear how much if the changes beneath the skin with the next Santa Fe will be quite as dramatic as its new look.

    The Santa Fe moved to a new platform in 2021, giving it access to hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrains. Only the hybird has ended up coming to Australia.

    Both electrified Santa Fe models use a turbocharged 1.6-litre four-cylinder engine paired with an electric motor, lithium-ion battery and a six-speed automatic transmission, shared with hybrid and PHEV versions of the Kia Sorento.

    The Santa Fe is currently available in Australia only with a choice of 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder and 3.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol V6 engines, though the latter has been largely phased out outside of our market.

    Markets like Korea and North America get a turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine in lieu of the V6, while a naturally aspirated version is also offered in some markets.

    Hyundai played it extremely safe with the current Santa Fe’s styling, which despite the new platform looks almost identical to the previous generation.

    Likewise, the first four generations – although more distinguished from each other – represented a clear design evolution.

    But with the Santa Fe losing ground in Australia and Korea to its pricier Palisade stablemate and its Kia Sorento corporate cousin, Hyundai’s designers appear to have been given the go-ahead to pen a more radical design.

    MORE: Everything Hyundai Santa Fe

    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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