SEOUL – Aiming to grab a bigger piece of the exploding CUV and SUV market, Korean automaker Hyundai unveils its bigger, more aggressively styled ’19 Santa Fe CUV at the Hyundai Motorstudio in Goyang to international press.
The new Santa Fe will be offered in the U.S. with three powertrains, including a 2.2L turbodiesel producing about 200 hp and 320 lb.-ft. (434 Nm) of torque, making it Hyundai’s first U.S. diesel.
More popular will be the direct-injected gasoline offerings: a 2.4L 4-cyl. with an estimated 185 hp, as well as a 232-hp turbocharged 2.0L I-4. All engines are mated to a new 8-speed automatic transmission.
Company officials acknowledge the previous-generation Santa Fe did not have a lot of personality and was considered a slightly larger version of its popular car-based Tucson CUV. They wanted the new fourth-generation Santa Fe to have a more aggressive off-road spirit like that of a Jeep or Ford Explorer.
The Santa Fe’s smooth, sculpted lines have been replaced with blocky, muscular lines, pronounced fender flares and a more SUV-like stance.
The new design features a bolder, upright grille and a headlamp design with LED daytime running lamps positioned on top of the LED headlights.
In profile, the Santa Fe has a dynamic character line that goes all the way from the headlights to the taillights and larger A-pillar and C-pillar window openings to provide better visibility for front- and rear-seat passengers.
The interior features a center-stack display that has been positioned to reduce glare; window switches and grab handles that have been moved forward for more elbow room; door map pockets reduced in size for more legroom; and more premium materials and trim.
It also is available with a full menu of the latest advanced driver-assistance technologies, including a head-up display and Hyundai’s first Safe Exit Assist, which temporarily prevents doors from being opened when a motorcycle, bicycle or vehicle approaches from behind even when the doors are unlocked.
Driving impressions are embargoed until early next month.