Operating in the increasingly popular seven-seat SUV field Santa Fe is larger than its predecessor. It is 70mm longer, at 4770mm, rides on a 65mm greater wheelbase (2765mm). Front overhang is unchanged, but the rear overhang is greater by 5mm. Ground clearance of 185mm means it’s not quite a 4WD, but will be able to handle bush trails and the like.
Santa Fe is available in the company’s usual three trim levels: Active, Elite and Highlander.
The 2019 Santa Fe has Hyundai’s new-design Cascading Grille and an interesting split-lighting design. Bi-function headlights in the Santa Fe Highlander feature a bending function to light the way into and around corners as you turn the steering wheel.
Alloy wheels for each of the three Santa Fe grades span 17- to 19-inches in diameter.
Second-row legroom is increased by 29mm and an 18mm-higher seat base brings a better view forward and to the side. The second-row seat bases slide through 300mm to let you juggle space.
The rear floor tunnel is lowered from 53mm to 26mm to allow extra space for the legs of the centre-rear occupant.
Third-row access space is increased by 36mm to 170mm. Headroom in the third row is increased by 42mm.
Powered front seats with heating and ventilation are fitted to the Santa Fe Elite and it has a 10-way power adjustable seat for the driver and an eight-way seat for the front passenger.
Highlander goes crazy, with a 14-way power adjustable driver’s seat. Yes, 14-way! As well as the usual adjustments, there’s also four-way lumbar and two-way cushion extension.
Highlander even features heated outboard rear seats.
Luggage space is 130 litres behind the third row seats, expanding to 547 litres behind the second row and to an impressive 1625 litres with both rear rows folded.
Santa Fe Active uses a 7-inch multimedia system with Radio Data System, Bluetooth connectivity and voice recognition.
The Elite and Highlander have an 8.0-inch display and the satellite navigation system has three-dimensional map views, a lifetime map care update plan and live traffic data.
Santa Fe has Hyundai Auto Link, a system that connects the Santa Fe’s smart computer to a mobile phone via Bluetooth allowing owners to keep track of vehicle information, including real-time diagnostics, tyre pressure monitoring, driving history statistics, parking management, easy service scheduling and automatic access to roadside assistance.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto can be accessed using a voice control button on the steering wheel.
Highlander also features a wireless inductive charging pad (Qi standard) for compatible phones.
A 10-speaker Infinity Premium Audio System is installed in Santa Fe Elite and Highlander.
A 138 kW / 241 Nm four-cylinder 2.4-litre naturally-aspirated petrol engine with a six-speed automatic is sold only with the Active, the lowest cost model.
A 147 kW / 440 Nm four-cylinder 2.2-litre turbocharged diesel engine with a new-design eight-speed automatic transmission is available on all three models.
In every Santa Fe variant engine power is sent to all four wheels through the new Hyundai-developed HTRAC variable-torque-control all-wheel drive system. In combination with each of the drive modes – Comfort, Eco, Sport and Smart modes – HTRAC optimises traction to individual needs and conditions.
Active safety features standard in all three Santa Fe grades include forward collision-avoidance assist, blind-spot monitoring, collision-avoidance assist, lane keep assist and a driver inattention warning
From the Elite upwards Santa Fe, there’s blind-spot and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance assist systems, as well as driver attention warning, high beam assist and lane keeping assist.
Passive safety is provided by a strong body and six airbags: two front, two side and two curtain airbags cover the first and second row seats.
Like every Hyundai passenger car and SUV the Santa Fe has done many thousands of kilometres of suspension and handling tuning for Australia, done on country and city roads.
“First and foremost it had to be comfortable for families; it had to be safe with good recovery after big bumps, and we sprinkled in some fun-to-drive,” said Andrew Tuitahi, Hyundai Motor Company Australia Senior Manager Product Planning.
We haven’t driven the new gen-four Hyundai Santa Fe yet, but will do so asap and get back to you with our impressions.