Making its local debut this week after three prior generations, the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe arrives as a product of a more rounded, slightly more sophisticated Hyundai. As such, this 4th-generation 7-seat SUV will come under closer scrutiny, but priced starting from $43,000, the Korean makes you fork out a little more for that tick upmarket.
Despite the dearer pricing, the now larger and better equipped Santa Fe is still priced more competitively from its closest rivals from Japan, namely the Toyota Kluger and Mazda CX-9. Stylistically, it’s quite a departure from its predecessor, adopting a shape that’s bolder and less wedge-shaped than before while the subtle creases in and relatively low roof give it a slightly more purposely stance that’s more than a little European.
Hyundai’s HTRAC all-wheel drive system is standard across the range and is tasked with spreading power from the 2019 Santa Fe’s selection of four-cylinder petrol and diesel engines and automatic transmission - either with 6 or 8 forward ratios.
The rest of the SUV’s specifics is dependent upon which grade is chosen, and thankfully the range is divided, as before, between the familiar Active, Elite, and range-topping Highlander. The powertrain spread kicks off with the Active’s 2.4-litre naturally aspirated petrol with a six-speed auto, putting down 138kW and 241Nm. Higher tier variants receive the 2.2-litre turbodiesel with 147kW and 440Nm and the more varied 8-speed auto.
These outputs are as-near-as identical to the previous generation Santa Fe, and we’re more than familiar with the group’s GDi Theta and R CRDi in other vehicles bearing either the Hyundai or Kia badge. Somewhat sadly, as you may have guessed, there are no plans to reintroduce the 3.3-litre naturally aspirated V6.
Inside, the all-new Santa Fe receives either a 7 or 8-inch infotainment screen mounted iPad-style above the centre stack’s air conditioning vents, loaded with support for Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The cabin layout and aesthetics bear strong resemblance to the brand’s other cars of this generation, with a focus on higher quality materials, improved ergonomics, and a more minimal aesthetic.
The Highlander, which is priced nearly $4,410 more than before, also gains a 7-inch digital instrument cluster as well as wireless phone charging, a 360-degree camera, and dynamic LED headlights.
However, the most significant jump leap in equipment may come down to the Santa Fe’s revised active safety feature list, which will now ensure that life-saving tech like Autonomous Emergency Braking, Blind Spot Monitoring, Rear Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keep Assist, and even Driver Attention Warning are available as standard.
2019 Hyundai Santa Fe
- Active - 2.4L Petrol - $43,000
- Active - 2.2L Diesel - $46,000
- Elite - 2.2-litre Diesel - $54,000
- Highlander - 2.2-litre Diesel - $60,500