Car News

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Gets New Looks, New Engines, All the Safety Tech

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is getting a serious makeover that includes not just a new style, but also new gas and hybrid powertrains, a new top-spec trim, and all the desired driver convenience and safety features. If that's not enough, a plug-in hybrid (PHEV) model will follow in 2021.

A new front end gives some serious attitude to the overhauled Santa Fe, with a wide, shiny mesh that stretches nearly the whole width, stopping only when it hits the small side-by-side headlights. Above those lights are ultra-slim marker lights and the tail sees similar updates including a new LED light signature. While the overall shape is largely the same, Hyundai is underplaying the changes here: This Santa Fe sits on a new platform that adds rear legroom and allows the hybrid driveline to fit without compromising space.

Inside, the Santa Fe now more closely resembles the Palisade, giving it a premium appearance that offers a spacious feel and materials like soft-touch padding, ambient lighting, and Nappa leather. Ventilated seats are also available, which Hyundai calls a segment exclusive. Also new for 2021 is a top-spec Calligraphy trim that includes Limited trim equipment and that model's 2.5L turbo engine with downhill brake control for the AWD system, 20-inch wheels, quilted seats, premium-finish grille and interior accents, eco-suede headliner, and more ambient lighting choices.

Standard driver aids include forward collision avoidance with pedestrian, cyclist, and junction-turning detection, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, lane keeping and following, blind spot camera view, adaptive cruise control, driver attention warning, and parking distance sensors as well as an ultrasonic rear seat occupant detection system. Hyundai's Remote Smart Park Assist that can drive the vehicle into or out of a parking space is also included, and we'll point out again that all of these are standard, because that's a load of equipment in this segment. And while all Santa Fe models get Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, nav-equipped models make both phone connectivity systems wireless.

The base engine is a 2.5L four-cylinder matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission, replacing the old 2.4L unit. It makes 191 hp and 182 lb-ft and has stop-start capability to shut off when not needed to help save fuel. Hyundai estimates a fuel economy of 9.0 L/100 km combined for front-wheel-drive models, 4 per cent better than last year's Santa Fe. Next up is a 2.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine with 277 hp and 311 lb-ft, expected to deliver 9.1 per cent better economy than the outgoing 2.0 turbo at 9.8 L/100 km combined. It comes with a dual-clutch eight-speed transmission and front or all-wheel drive. The most thrifty fuel sipper should be the hybrid, which offers a 1.6L turbochagred four-cylinder and electric motor combination (with six-speed auto) with 225 hp, 195 lb-ft, and standard all-wheel drive.

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is set to hit dealers by the end of the year, with pricing to follow. The hybrid will arrive in the first quarter of next year.