UPDATED: First Look – 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Gets a Diesel for U.S.
Safety Systems and Bold Styling Join Midsize SUV, Due for Geneva Launch
Midsize crossovers are all the rage these days, supplanting wagons and minivans as the de facto transportation choice for both small and large families. It’s to good effect, then, that Hyundai decided to upsize the Santa Fe for its 2019 redesign, while adding bold styling and a clever list of safety features to the family SUV.
The 2019 Santa Fe lineup does away with one model name: the Santa Fe Sport. Now, the short-wheelbase, five-seat vehicle will be called simply Santa Fe, with the longer-wheelbase version called Santa Fe XL. The company also confirmed that an even bigger eight-seat crossover was on the way with an all-new name. Furthermore, there will be another intriguingly named model for 2019: the Santa Fe Diesel.
Hyundai confirmed today that the U.S.-market crossover would be available with a diesel engine, though they were mum on the powerplant's specifics. Were we to gamble on it, we presume it'll be similar to the 2.0L turbodiesel available in global markets, where it makes 182 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. Those numbers would put it in the hunt with the slightly smaller Mazda CX-5's diesel, which should make about 180 hp and 310 lb-ft. (Both SUVs far outstrip the still-zippy Chevrolet Equinox diesel, powered by a 1.6L turbo I-4 with 137 hp and 240 lb-ft.)
The U.S.-market Santa Fe’s other powertrains have yet to be announced, but overseas markets will get a 2.0L turbodiesel, a 2.2L turbodiesel, and a 2.0L turbocharged gasoline engine. Expect the latter option to be offered in the U.S. as a base engine offering about 240 hp, with a direct-injected V-6 optional.
Most obviously, the crossover has been thoroughly restyled with the next generation of the company’s styling language. A brash hexagonal grilled design, shared with Hyundai’s sedans, joins Kona-like split lighting arrays to give the front end a very unique, polarizing look. A thick chrome bar runs across the top of the grille and underlines the upper lighting elements. A strong shoulder line and hood contours add some verve to the otherwise-unadorned bodysides, and the window openings are trimmed in angular chrome strips.
But while the rest of the SUV is clearly a Hyundai design, the rear view looks distinctly Nissan-like. Although the derivative styling is attractive (or at least anonymous) enough, it’s a shame Hyundai didn’t imbue the parting shot with a little more company flavor.
The interior gets graceful styling reminiscent of the company’s recent designs; the center stack borrows much of its design (if not its lime green accents) from the smaller Kona. In the top-spec photo car, the interior gets two-tone brown and tan upholstery, the latter highlighting the twin-cowl dashboard design, seat faces, and armrests. The split-screen infotainment display stands proud atop the dash, and we’re relieved to see a smattering of knobs and buttons to control HVAC and audio controls. There’s also a conventional gear selector, eliminating any learning curve that pushbuttons and knobs require at the expense of some center console space.
The Santa Fe’s cabin benefits from the SUV’s bigger footprint—2.8 inches longer and 0.4 inches wider, with an extra 2.6 inches between the wheels. On the company’s Korean-language blog, Hyundai claims the 2019 Santa Fe boasts class-leading front- and second-row legroom, with expanded third-row headroom. Furthermore, the company lowered the 2019 Santa Fe’s beltline, narrowed the A-pillar, and widened the rear quarter glass, helping alleviate claustrophobia for passengers and improve the driver’s sightlines.
Fittingly for a family vehicle, the 2019 Santa Fe incorporates some interesting safety features. The video above highlights Safe Exit Assist, a system that monitors vehicles approaching from the rear and prevents passengers from throwing open the doors and potentially stepping in front of a passing car. Safe Exit Assist will be a part of Hyundai's Smart Sense active safety technologies. Smart Sense, which will be standard on trim levels SE and higher, will also come with forward collision warning and avoidance, blind-spot warning, lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality, a 360-degree camera system, rear cross-traffic warning and collision avoidance, and automatic high beams. The current Hyundai Santa Fe SE is the model's base model, so we presume most (if not all) 2019 Santa Fes will come with Smart Sense.
Further helping with safety is the body structure’s claimed 15.4 percent improvement in torsional stiffness and 14.3 percent improvement in tensile strength. The high-rigidity structure incorporates 150 percent more hot-stamped parts to strengthen the body, improving both crash performance and driving dynamics.
Full details for the global-market 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe should be available around the time the SUV makes its formal debut at the 2018 Geneva International Motor Show next month. Even then, don’t expect final U.S.-market specifics till the summer. While we wait, we’ll try and decide how the SUV’s bold new styling makes us feel, though we’re far less ambiguous about the Santa Fe’s safety—more of that is always a good thing.
Source: Hyundai, Hyundai Motor Group Journal