Next-gen 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe undergoes design rethink [Update]

  • New shape & design language planned for the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe
  • Hyundai is taking drastic action to improve the Santa Fe, after years of disappointing sales
  • Hybrid & Plug-in Hybrid variants set to continue with efficiency improvements
  • Could go on sale in the U.S. market towards the end of the year from around USD 30k

Update: ‘Confirmation & Positioning’ section added, and ‘Release Date’ revised.

The fourth-gen Hyundai Santa Fe that debuted in early 2018 will live shorter than the initial plan. The company will introduce an all-new Santa Fe later this year to restore its popularity in the key markets it once enjoyed. Here’s what we know so far on the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe, which is expected in hybrid and plug-in hybrid offers.

Confirmation & Positioning

Hyundai gave the fourth-gen Santa Fe a comprehensive facelift, and most automakers introduce such extensive revisions, usually with lifecycle changes. However, even such an extreme measure hasn’t seemed to work, and the company has decided to replace the current model with a new-generation model earlier than scheduled.

The company will also continue implementing diverse measures to take care of its customers and to offer the world’s best products to meet their needs, including the all-new KONA, Santa Fe, and IONIQ 5 N, the company’s first high-performance EV, with details to be unveiled in the coming months.

Hyundai Motor confirming the new Santa Fe in its 2022 annual sales report dated January 3, 2023

Codenamed Hyundai MX5, the fifth-gen Santa Fe will have a different positioning. A KCB report filed in April 2022 claimed that Hyundai has confirmed that the next-gen Santa Fe will be a large SUV instead of a semi-large vehicle like the current model. The company is making the Santa Fe (U.S. spec length 188.4 in.) bigger in the next generation, further distancing it from the Tucson (U.S. spec length – 182.3 in.). However, that would also mean coming up against the Palisade (U.S. spec length – 196.1 in.).

Design

Source: Youtube/뻥태기TV

On August 17, 2022, S.Korean YouTube channel 뻥태기TV posted a video containing the first spy pictures of the next-gen Santa Fe. The clip confirmed that the future model will have a strikingly different character compared to the current SUV.

The heavily camouflaged prototype looks boxier and has more traditional SUV design cues. The roofline is straighter, the rear windows are squarer (and reminiscent of Land Rover’s Defender & Discovery 4), and the roof rails are regular ones, not flush-fitted units. The five-spoke chunky wheels are similar to the Fisker Ocean’s F5 AirGlider seven-spoke wheels.

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe front three quarter spy shot
The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe will feature headlamps with H-shaped DRLs, which would go well with its boxy and tough exterior that has been likened to the Land Rover Discovery. Image Source: Naver/soonjung8116

South Korean reports say that the next-gen Hyundai Santa Fe’s exterior will be inspired by the Hyundai Galloper, which was available from 1991 to 2003. The Galloper was a rebadged version of Mitsubishi’s first-get Pajero, so Hyundai is unlikely to repeat the off-road mid-size SUV’s design elements in the indigenously designed and developed next-gen Santa Fe. However, the company could use a similar theme for the future model’s shape, proportions, and color scheme.

At the front, the next-gen Santa Fe’s headlamps appear to be squared units featuring H-shaped DRLs. Spy shots from Naver user soonjung8116 offer the clearest look so far at the body. We were just wondering how far Hyundai would go with its unusual designs when we saw these pictures of the 2024 Santa Fe. The stylists have planned an unusual position for the large tail lights of the 2024 Santa Fe, which will be placed above the bumper, as seen in the image below.

Along with a new exterior design, the next-gen Santa Fe will be the first Hyundai to wear the new brand logo, claims an updated report from thekoreancarblog.com. In countries where regulations permit and customers don’t have conservative tastes, the new Hyundai logo will come with backlighting, replicating the front of new-age EVs. That would explain the H-shaped DRLs and the light band in-between.

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe MX5 rear three quarter spy shot
Hyundai regularly lends models a unique identity and isn’t afraid to transform their character during the lifecycle change. The next-gen Santa Fe will be another example of that bold spirit. Image Source: Naver/soonjung8116

YouTube channel 갓차 has created renderings to preview the side and rear sections of the 2024 Santa Fe. The future model’s back glass has a wraparound look, thanks to blacked-out D-pillars. The block-lettered inscription format for brand/model names is becoming an eyesore, having filtered down from luxury models to mainstream cars. It would look odd on the Santa Fe, as seen in the rendering. The unusually low positioning of the H-shaped tail lights lends the rear a clean appearance.

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe rear rendering
South Korean channel Gotcha Cars creates a rendition of the new Santa Fe, providing its idea of a boxy rear. Source: YouTube/갓차

Interior

Dashboard

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe interior has almost entirely been leaked by spy media, confirming a marked improvement from the current model. In line with the new boxy and proper SUV-like exterior, the next-generation Santa Fe comes with a chunky dashboard. The redesigned steering wheel reinforces the tough character, as well.

In contrast, the sleek AC vents integrated into the dashboard, the low-profile center console with fewer physical controls, and the seamless integration of the digital instrument cluster and touchscreen infotainment system on a single, curved panel give the interior a minimalist and more cohesive look.

The 2024 Santa Fe is the first Hyundai SUV featuring a touchscreen climate control system. However, the dual central display layout, typically observed in European luxury cars, is quickly going out of fashion. The steering wheel and dual central display setup may remind you of the Land Rover Discovery, but they’re elements inspired by the 2023 Hyundai Grandeur.

Seats and space

Previously, spy videos have shown the 2024 Santa Fe featuring graphics on the seats taking after the daytime running lights — H-shaped features on outer ends connected by a horizontal light band — embossed on the backrest. Second-row passengers will have plenty of legroom and great exterior visibility through large windows. The rear doors would have space for two cupholders, a cushioned armrest, and metallic-finish door handles.

Powertrain

The next-gen 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe may stick to the current model’s 1.6-liter TGDI engine-based hybrid and plug-in hybrid systems. While improvements are inevitable, a complete replacement of these electrified powertrains is unlikely. In terms of power, Santa Fe’s current hybrid and plug-in hybrid systems are already quite respectable, outputting 226 hp and 261 hp respectively.

The plug-in hybrid’s 13.8 kWh battery pack provides 30 miles of EPA-est. electric range, and that is an area Hyundai could improve in. The company is also planning an all-electric three-row SUV with the Ioniq 7, which is a wave of the future.

No diesel variants planned, claims S.Korean report

All four generations of the Santa Fe launched since 2000 have included diesel engine options. However, according to an exclusive report Maekyung.com released on September 27, 2022, Hyundai is not planning the next-gen Santa Fe with diesel power. The regional portal reports that the business case for a diesel-powered Santa Fe is worsening because of declining demand, tightening environmental regulations, and the shrinking gap between gasoline and diesel prices. Hence, customers who want a more efficient Santa Fe may be forced to choose the hybrid or plug-in hybrid version.

Release Date

While Hyundai has confirmed the unveiling of the all-new Santa Fe in 2023, the brand hasn’t released further details regarding the model’s actual launch date. Recent S.Korean media reports claim that August 2023 will be the month Hyundai unveils the next-gen Santa Fe. This leads us to believe that the U.S. launch of the renewed SUV could conclude in fall 2023. Earlier, spy shots posted on tflcar.com revealed that Hyundai had shipped a prototype of the next-gen Santa Fe to the U.S., where it is clocking test miles.

TopElectricSUV says

With its rugged looks and increased size, Hyundai’s next-generation Santa Fe will offer drivers more space and a greater road presence. The new dimensions should provide passengers with additional comfort and convenience during road trips. The mid-size SUV will sport a higher appeal in its next generation with new features that include improved electrification for reduced fuel costs and higher driving range, a luxurious interior, and cutting-edge safety technologies. One of the cons to watch out for is the price increase charged for the upgrades.

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe FAQs

What is the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe release date?

The next-gen Santa Fe could start reaching U.S. dealers towards the end of this year.

Which SUVs will be 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe alternatives?

Alternatives to the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe will include Honda Passport, Kia Sorento, Chevrolet Blazer, Subaru Forester, etc.

What will be the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe price?

The 2024 Santa Fe will likely start at around USD 30,000, with the plug-in hybrid models going well above USD 40,000.

Featured image: Render of the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe by NYMammoth/Youtube