Update: ‘Design’ section updated.
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 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.).
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.
Recent spy media has revealed more details about the top section of the next-gen Santa Fe. We’ve seen the future model featuring a ribbed pattern on the roof for rugged styling. There’s also a shark fin antenna at the back, communicating it’s a modern SUV. Even the genuinely hardcore Jeep Wrangler’s getting rid of the old-school whip antenna in 2023, so no surprise there. We’ve seen a test mule with a sunroof that’s not as big as that of the outgoing model, but we think the customer delivery units will be available with larger units.
The five-spoke chunky wheels are similar to the Fisker Ocean’s F5 AirGlider seven-spoke wheels. Recent spy pictures from Korea have shown the same wheels wrapped with Pirelli Scorpion 255/45 R20 tires. Additionally, these images have revealed less EV-like but more aero-focused five-spoke wheels, as well as larger, luxury SUV-like multi-spoke wheels, on test prototypes.
Inspired by the Galloper
The next-gen Hyundai Santa Fe will have an exterior inspired by the Hyundai Galloper, a rebadged Mitsubishi Pajero that was available from 1991 to 2003. A Hyundai Design Center official has confirmed that the redesigned SUV will pay homage to the off-road mid-size SUV of the past, as per an Auto Tribune report dated April 16, 2023. This appears to be a deliberate effort to evoke a sense of nostalgia as well as brand identity.
According to the South Korean report, Hyundai is borrowing the Galloper’s design elements for the next Santa Fe in keeping with the trend of neo-retro designs and the popularity of angular SUVs with proper proportions and visual strength. Back in the day, the company’s Founding Chairman himself used the Galloper.
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.
On May 10, 2023, South Korea’s The Drive shared a new spy shot of the next-gen Santa Fe’s rear-end. This picture showed the rear lights turned on, with thick horizontal brake lights visible in the lower portion of the liftgate and a slim amber light flashing as the turn indicator in the lower bumper.
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.
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.
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 center console houses a large space for keeping two smartphones and has two wireless charging pads built into that area. It looks like the gear selector isn’t a button-type unit integrated into the center console but a column-type unit attached to the steering wheel. Two USB Type-C ports and physical climate control system controls are also visible on the center console.
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.
New spy shots shot during the SUV’s cold weather testing in Europe also appear to reveal seat ventilation & heating control buttons placed below the main HVAC panel, surround-view cameras displayed on the main touchscreen, along with what appear to be two separate wireless charging pads, and shift paddles behind the steering wheel.
Seats and space
Spy pictures and 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. Moreover, the shapes of the backrests and headrests remind us of the redesigned model’s squarer, more traditional exterior. We’ve already seen a light-colored, beige-like color scheme, but we expect darker options based on brown and black also to be available.
Second-row passengers will have plenty of legroom and great exterior visibility through large windows, which appear bigger than those of the outgoing model. The rear doors would have space for two cupholders, a cushioned armrest, and metallic-finish door handles. According to a post on Autospy dated February 16, 2023, Hyundai will offer the next-gen Santa Fe in 5-, 6-, and 7-seat versions internationally.
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.
According to a report from ET News released on April 24, 2024, the next-gen Hyundai Santa Fe will enter production in South Korea in mid-August 2023, followed by the new Santa Fe Hybrid in October 2023. In the U.S., the next-gen Hyundai Santa Fe’s production will start in January 2023, followed by the Hybrid variant in March 2023. Interestingly, this South Korean report also states the next-gen model will have not one but two plug-in hybrid variants.
The U.S. launch of the next-gen Santa Fe Hybrid will likely happen in Spring 2024.
The new Santa Fe is being extensively tested in Korea and Europe ahead of its debut in mid-2023. Above, you can see a picture of the vehicle from South Korea, while below, courtesy of CarSpyMedia, you can see a spy video that was taken during winter testing in northern Europe in February 2023. The clip shows an engineer having a lot of fun behind the wheel, even drifting at times! Thanks to its rugged styling and traditional body, it looks right at home in the snow-covered forest.
Video Source: YouTube/CarSpyMedia
Hyundai is testing the 2024 Santa Fe in the U.S. as well, probably for both global validation and any required local adaptations. On February 6, 2023, car spotter KindelAuto posted images of a 2024 Santa Fe prototype snapped along with a 2024 Kia Sorento prototype in Fairbanks, Alaska. You can view these pictures on KindelAuto’s Instagram page.
On April 14, 2023, KindelAuto shared a new spy video of the 2024 Santa Fe testing in California. A glimpse of the SUV’s cabin can be seen in the clip, including the metallic inserts on the driver-side door, the chunky steering wheel, and the minimalist cockpit displays. Hyundai was testing two prototypes, each with different alloy wheels, the ones we’ve seen before.
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.
Next-gen Hyundai Santa Fe FAQs
What is the next-gen Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid release date?
The next-gen Santa Fe Hybrid could start reaching U.S. dealers in Spring 2024.
Which SUVs will be next-gen Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid alternatives?
The next-gen Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid will rival the likes of Honda CR-V Hybrid, Kia Sorento Hybrid, and Toyota Highlander Hybrid.
What will be the next-gen Hyundai Santa Fe price?
The next-gen 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