Hyundai is completely revamping its popular Santa Fe crossover for the 2019 model year. The all-new, fourth-generation Santa Fe debuted at the 2018 New York Auto Show and will arrive in showrooms this summer. It boasts a bolder look inside and out while offering new powertrain options and increased fuel efficiency.
Interestingly, Hyundai is stopping the Santa Fe Sport name in an effort to streamline the SUV’s lineup. Santa Fe models powered by either of the two gasoline four-cylinders come with five-passenger seating, while the new Santa Fe turbodiesel comes standard with an “occasional use” third-row with space for two people, giving the crossover a total of seven seats.
Hyundai is introducing a new flair of styling on the 2019 Santa Fe. The flat nose and six-sided grille are accented by a chrome bar that integrates the new, squinty LED headlights. Larger fog lights live in a recessed spot just below, giving the Santa Fe’s nose a familiar yet new aesthetic.
The angular theme continues around the 2019 Santa Fe. The taillights, rear hatch, and bumper are all sharply styled. Black plastic molding around the wheel wells help solidify the Santa Fe as a high-riding crossover. Intricate 19-inch wheels feature black-painted pockets and machined faces for a two-tone look. They are wrapped in all-season tires.
The 2019 Santa Fe is larger in every dimension except for height, which remains unchanged at 66.1 inches. The length has increased by 2.7 inches, the width by 0.4 inches, and the wheelbase is lengthened by 2.6 inches. This helps split the difference between the outgoing Santa Fe Sport and Santa Fe.
The dashboard design of the 2019 Santa Fe is a complete departure from the outgoing model. The new look is similar to the 2018 Elantra GT’s dash, with the stand-alone infotainment screen and hexagonal accents. Hyundai says it concentrated on usability with the center console, making things like the cup holders easier to use.
There’s more room for people, too. The lengthened wheelbase gives more legroom to the second row, which Hyundai claims is now class-leading. First and second row passengers will enjoy a lower floor and higher chairs. There’s more cargo room, too, while diesel-powered Santa Fes come with that “occasional use” third-row seat.
The new Santa Fe is available with three engines. The base choice is a 2.4-liter gasoline four-cylinder making 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. The optional gasoline engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder with a more robust 235 horses and 260 pound-feet of torque. New for the Santa Fe is a 2.2-liter turbodiesel. True to a diesel’s nature, it makes a respectable amount of torque – 322 pound-feet, to be exact. Horsepower is rated at 190. Regardless of choice, an eight-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels.
The 2019 Santa Fe is also available with all-wheel drive. Called the HTAC All-Wheel-Drive system, it sends power to the rear wheels when needed. Three driving modes offer different torque splits between the front and rear axles, too, for a greater spread of driving feels. The modes include Normal, Sport, and Smart. In Sport mode, the system actually sends more power to the rear wheels for a more traditional feel, while Smart mode chooses the best torque split for the situation. Normal, of course, is for those daily drives when traction isn’t an issue.
The new Santa Fe gets Hyundai’s latest generation infotainment system. Upper trims get Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and a Qi wireless phone charging pad. An available 640-watt, 12-speaker sound system from Infinity pumps the jams. For the driver, an available 8.5-inch head-up display shows critical vehicle information like speed, Smart Cruise Control information, and info from active safety systems like Blind Spot Warning and Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist.
Speaking of active safety systems, Hyundai is pioneering a few new features. Rear Occupant Alert uses ultrasonic sensors to detect motion in the rear seats after the driver has left the vehicle and locked the doors. Should a child or pet be left inside the car, the system alert’s the driver’s Blue Link smartphone app. Also new is Safe Exit Assist. The system uses the ultrasonic parking sensors to watch for oncoming traffic and keeps the doors locked until the coast is clear.
Beyond the new, familiar tech is present, too. The list includes Lane Departure Warning, Blind Spot Collision Warning, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, and Rear Cross Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist.