Editor's note: Hyundai Canada has subsequently confirmed that neither the three-row Santa Fe nor the planned diesel engine will be offered for the 2019 model year.
Hyundai has revealed that the redesigned 2019 Santa Fe crossover coming later this year will be offered with both a diesel engine, a third row of seating and a new eight-speed automatic transmission.
This new standard-wheelbase variant will also drop the Sport label that Hyundai has used since 2014 to set it apart from the longer, three-row XL model.
The new turbodiesel engine – a 2.2L making 200 hp and 320 lb-ft of torque – will only be available with the seven-seat configuration. If you decide to skip the third row, you'll have to take one of the carried-over gas engines: a 2.4L good for 185 hp or a 2.0L turbo Hyundai says will generate an estimated 232 hp, down from 240 in the outgoing car.
Along with the Chevrolet Equinox's available diesel, Hyundai becomes the second manufacturer to offer compression ignition power in a mainstream crossover at a time when these engines are under intense scrutiny by emissions regulators.
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Putting power to the wheels through available AWD is the new eight-speed transmission. It's lighter than the current six-speed and features both a shorter first gear and a taller top ratio to improve off-the-line performance and reduce noise and fuel consumption in highway driving.
Meanwhile, the Santa Fe XL will carry on in its current form until its as-yet unnamed replacement arrives. We don't know when that will happen, but Hyundai said it will not use the Santa Fe name.
Inside, the new Santa Fe will boast nominal increases in passenger and, in most cases, cargo volume, which remains about the same with the second and third rows folded. Hyundai tempers our expectations for passenger space in the third row when it mentions one-touch folding second-row seats to ease "entry into the third-row by children."
Hyundai says the Santa Fe will be available with the expected list of active safety features, including forward collision avoidance assist, lane keeping assist and a 360-degree exterior camera system. This will also be the brand's first model to offer automatic braking in conjunction with a rear cross traffic alert system.