Hyundai designers continue to play around with funky new styling cues, and the next-generation Santa Fe is one recipient.
As we can see in these spy photographs, the 2024 Santa Fe features LED daytime running lights in the shape of the letter ‘H’. These also incorporate the indicators.
The tail lights may feature a similar motif, although they’re partially concealed on this prototype.
This prototype also features yet another different wheel design from previously spied examples, with five thicker spokes separating various thinner ones.
Hyundai’s next-generation Santa Fe is set to be revealed this year ahead of a likely 2024 launch in Australia.
Most spied prototypes have featured extensive boxy camouflage to mask the boxy rear-end, but a more lightly camouflaged example spied recently has revealed just how upright the rear is.
The new Santa Fe’s styling is dramatically different from any previous generation of Hyundai’s large crossover, with looks more reminiscent of the Land Rover Defender.
Indeed, the Defender’s influence is spreading, as evinced by the upcoming Lexus GX and a raft of Chinese SUVs.
A recent image of a spied Santa Fe prototype, published by Korean Car Blog, shows the Santa Fe’s interior has an angled climate control array like the Defender, as well as a chunky four-spoke steering wheel with square button clusters.
These elements include a dual screen setup inside a curved housing, a column-mounted gear selector, and matte plastics on the centre tunnel.
It’s unclear if the changes beneath the skin on the new Santa Fe will be quite as dramatic as its new look.
The Santa Fe moved to a new platform shared with the Kia Sorento in 2021, giving it access to hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrains. Only the hybrid 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. These powertrains are shared with the Kia Sorento Hybrid and PHEV.
The non-electrified Santa Fe range is currently available in Australia with a choice of 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder and 3.5-litre naturally aspirated petrol V6 engines. The latter has been largely phased out outside our market.
Markets like Korea and North America get a turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder petrol 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 model.
But with the Santa Fe losing ground in Australia and Korea to its pricer 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.