Eight things to know about the new 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is now on sale in South Africa.
The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is now on sale in South Africa.
Image: SUPPLIED

Local Hyundai fans will be pleased to know the Korean firm's new Santa Fe is now available in South Africa.

A comprehensive update of the popular fourth generation model that was first launched in 2018, here's a look at what this striking flagship SUV brings to the party. 

The striking new front end exudes menace.
The striking new front end exudes menace.
Image: SUPPLIED

1: A fresh new face

Perhaps the most notable difference is the Santa Fe's radically redesigned front end. Slimmer headlamps, a larger “cascading” grille plus a pair of integrated T-shape daytime running lights (DRLs) give this large seven-seater SUV an extra shot of visual menace. Hyundai also tweaked the rear, which now features a garnish linking the two wraparound taillights as well as a new back bumper that incorporates an integrated (faux) air-diffuser. 

18-inch alloy wheels come fitted as standard to the entry-level Executive model, while the flagship Elite derivative benefits from larger 19- or 20-inch wheels with a different design. Customers can choose from six different exterior colour options: White Cream, Typhoon Silver, Lagoon Blue, Phantom Black, Taiga Brown and Magnetic Force (dark metallic grey).

Rear occupants can look forward to extra legroom.
Rear occupants can look forward to extra legroom.
Image: SUPPLIED

2: Enhanced interior space

As it is built on the latest Hyundai Gen 3 platform, the 2021 Santa Fe is slightly larger than its predecessor. The benefits of this include greater rear legroom (1,060mm) and a larger boot – with the third row of seats folded flat customers can look forward to 634 litres. 

New floating centre console gets shift-by-wire transmission buttons.
New floating centre console gets shift-by-wire transmission buttons.
Image: SUPPLIED

3: Pleasantly premium interior

Hyundai has massaged the interior Santa Fe to help give it an extra plush look and feel. To streamline things and cut down on cabin clutter, the gear lever of old makes way for a set of shift-by-wire transmission buttons mounted in the new floating centre console. While both model derivatives come standard with leather seats, a wireless charging pad and an eight-inch touchscreen infotainment system (Apple CarPlay and Android Auto ready), the range-topping Elite benefits from a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Further niceties native to both models include a powered rear tailgate, rear window curtains, heated and ventilated front seats and Hyundai's “Remote Start” system. 

Latest generation 2.2-turbodiesel engine offers more power and torque.
Latest generation 2.2-turbodiesel engine offers more power and torque.
Image: SUPPLIED

4: Extra oomph

The 2021 Santa Fe is fitted with Hyundai's latest 2.2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel engine that's not only 19.5kg lighter than it was before (courtesy an aluminium block) but also offers more punch. How much? You're looking at 148kW (+3kW) and 441Nm (+5Nm). This motor comes mated exclusively to an all-new eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.

HTRAC all-wheel drive system in Elite models is linked to a Terrain Mode selector.
HTRAC all-wheel drive system in Elite models is linked to a Terrain Mode selector.
Image: SUPPLIED

5: Improved off-road chops

The 2021 Santa Fe Elite comes armed with Hyundai's HTRAC variable all-wheel drive system as standard. Capable of instantly sending 50% of available torque to the rear wheels, it is linked up to a new Terrain Mode selector that allows drivers to tweak it on-the-fly to suit real time trail conditions including sand, snow and mud. In addition to this, both Santa Fe models offer four preset driver modes – comfort, sport, eco and smart. 

2021 Santa Fe rides upon the new Hyundai Gen 3 platform.
2021 Santa Fe rides upon the new Hyundai Gen 3 platform.
Image: SUPPLIED

6: Building from a better base

The 2021 Santa Fe makes use of Hyundai's Gen 3 platform that is both stiffer and more rigid than the chassis it replaces. Complemented by a revised sub-frame it offers better ride and handling characteristics as well as improved front collision safety. The engineers also worked tirelessly on improving noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) levels for a quieter and more relaxed driving experience for all occupants. Suspension wise, the new 2021 Santa Fe uses MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link setup at the rear.

The 2021 Santa Fe comes fitted with a raft of active safety features.
The 2021 Santa Fe comes fitted with a raft of active safety features.
Image: SUPPLIED

7: Superior safety systems

Standard on the 2021 Santa Fe is the “Reverse Parking Collision-Avoidance Assist” (PCA) system, which uses a rear-view camera and rear ultrasonic sensors to detect obstacles when reversing, providing a warning and applying the brakes, if necessary, to avoid a collision. Customers can also look forward to “Rear Cross-Traffic Warning”, ABS brakes with EBD, “Electronic Stability Program” (ESP), and “Vehicle Stability Management”(VSM).

Passive safety features include front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger, as well as a curtain airbag that also provides protection for other occupants inside the car.

8: Pricing

The front-wheel drive Santa Fe Executive comes it at R769,500 while the all-wheel drive Santa Fe Elite will set you back R869,500. Both models include a seven-year/200,000km warranty and six-year/90,000km service plan.


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