Update: ‘Release Date’ section updated.
In just a period of five years, which is shorter than usual, Hyundai has replaced the fourth-gen Santa Fe with the fifth-gen model. The South Korean automaker has been quite aggressive with mid-cycle updates and full model changes, but the 2024 Santa Fe’s introduction represents a new level of boldness and willingness to change with product updates.
The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe, like the outgoing model, will be available with hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains. Here’s everything we know about the all-new midsize SUV:
The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe is a class apart from the fourth-gen model and every other model in its segment. It flaunts a Land Rover-like character, which makes it seem like a luxury model. Rather than the Ioniq EVs, it is this elegant yet rugged midsize SUV that we think truly showcases Hyundai’s significant strides in exterior design. It’s quite impressive, though not surprising if you’ve been closely following the company’s progress over the last 15 years.
Hyundai says that the 2024 Santa Fe inherits the design concept of the first-gen Santa Fe that connects nature and the city. However, we understand that the real inspiration was the Hyundai Galloper, a rebadged Mitsubishi Pajero that was available from 1991 to 2003.
A Hyundai Design Center official had confirmed prior to the official reveal that the fifth-gen model will pay homage to the off-road midsize 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. Hyundai is 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.
The fifth-gen Santa Fe looks strikingly different from the model currently at dealer showrooms. It has an upright face consisting of boxy, rectangular grilles and headlamps, a high-set, flattish hood, and H-shaped headlamps. A thin light strip bisects the upper grille and helps form an ultra-wide H shape along with the inner-side DRLs of the headlamps.
The 2024 Santa Fe has a more traditional side profile. The door panels are flatter and resemble various Land Rover models. Unlike the outgoing model, the wheel arches on the new model are edgy. The glass panels are squarer (and reminiscent of Land Rover Defender & Discovery 4), the roofline is straighter, and the roof rails are regular ones, not flush-fitted units. Hyundai says the front overhang is shorter and the wheelbase is longer, and we think the rear overhang is longer, too. 21-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels with a shiny finish give the 2024 Santa Fe a luxurious look.
At the rear, the tailgate is larger and simpler. The glass has a wraparound look, thanks to blacked-out D-pillars. The lower part of the tailgate integrates unified, H-shaped tail lights and gives the redesigned midsize SUV a distinctive road presence. The block-lettered inscription format for brand/model names is becoming an eyesore, having filtered down from luxury models to mainstream cars. Hyundai has used the same type of lettering for the model name here.
The 2024 Santa Fe features a ribbed pattern on the roof for rugged styling and a shark fin antenna at the back. Even the genuinely hardcore Jeep Wrangler is getting rid of the old-school whip antenna in 2023, so no surprise there. There are two sunroofs, with the panoramic type at the back.
Plug-in hybrid variant
Ahead of the 2024 Santa Fe’s world premiere, Hyundai is conducting final road testing in South Korea. The company is not using any camouflage or disguise on test prototypes. This has piqued consumer interest as passersby can get a glimpse of what’s coming soon to dealers. Additionally, social media influencers waste no time sharing pictures and videos. YouTube channel 우파푸른하늘Woopa TV has uploaded several walkarounds of the new SUV using such undisguised prototypes from a public parking area.
In one of the videos, we see the plug-in hybrid variant of the 2024 Santa Fe. Save for the charging port cover on the right-side rear quarter panel, there’s no other way of telling it’s a PHEV from this angle. Of course, there’s a “plug-in” badge as well, located on the tailgate, just above the right-side tail lamp.
Hyundai will offer the 2024 Santa Fe in multiple solid and metallic color options, some even with a contrasting black roof. The redesigned model looks stunning in a sinister theme, achieved with black body color, darkened headlights, and black alloy wheels, just like a posh Range Rover. A spy shot on Autospy has shown it in this configuration.
Hyundai has started testing the U.S.-spec 2024 Santa Fe with all the production elements. On August 1, 2023, YouTube channel 숏카 SHORTS CAR shared a video of several test mules of the 2024 Santa Fe, one of which (at the 1:44 mark) appears to be the U.S.-spec model.
The U.S.-spec 2024 Santa Fe features a tiny horizontal orange marker light integrated into the outer end of the headlamps, visible from both front and sides, as well as wedge-shaped orange reflectors on the front wheel arches. Moreover, it has a permanently-lit red horizontal light integrated into the side extension of the tail lamps, as well as a red wedge-shaped reflector on the rear wheel arches.
The current Hyundai Santa Fe has earned praise for its cabin and cargo space and offers great comfort and convenience. Hence, the fifth-gen model had big shoes to fill. However, Hyundai has usually managed to surprise customers by taking the game a notch above the standards with mid-cycle updates and full model changes, and it has done that again.
The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe has a mix of more traditional shapes and more modern components, which creates a nice contrast. It features a flat, upright dashboard, which forms an H shape if you follow its shiny applications with built-in ambient lights. Even the shape of the AC vents resembles that look. The cockpit has plenty of similarities to the Grandeur (Azera), including the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and 12.3-inch central display, both of which have been clubbed together and feature crisp graphics, and the weird steering wheel, which has a column-type gear selector attached to it.
The center console has a hollowed-out area for storage below it, with space enough to keep small grocery bags or a handbag. It houses two wireless charging pads and a sleek climate control system with a touch panel and temperature adjustment dials. The door panels are clearly separated from the dashboard, meaning these elements don’t form a wraparound look seen in the outgoing model.
Hyundai has used premium materials like Nappa leather and soft-touch wood-patterned garnish in the 2024 Santa Fe to give customers the feeling of sitting in a luxury SUV. It has used a number of sustainable materials as well. The suede headliner, floor mats, and rear seatbacks are made from recycled plastic. The crash pad and door trim covers are made from eco-friendly leatherette.
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 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 2024 Santa Fe in 5-, 6-, and 7-seat versions internationally.
Hyundai says the 2024 Santa Fe is 45 mm longer, 35 mm wider, and 1,720 mm taller than the fourth-gen model, measuring 4,830 mm in length, 1,900 mm in width, and 1,720 mm in height. Its wheelbase, at 2,815 mm, is 50 mm longer. There’s 725 liters of luggage space behind the seats, 91 liters more than in the fourth-gen model. The tailgate opening width is 1,275 mm, 145 more than in the fourth-gen model. The Hybrid variant offers a 20 mm improvement in the second-row legroom – 1,055 mm.
The Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid variants, like in the fourth generation, share a 1.6-liter T-GDI engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission. The turbocharged four-cylinder gas engine develops 180 PS and 27.0 kgf.m of torque in the Hybrid variant and 160 PS and 27.0 kgf.m of torque in the Plug-in Hybrid variant. More details, including total power and combined torque figures, will likely be revealed closer to launch.
The 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 with the new generation. 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
All four generations of the Hyundai Santa Fe launched since 2000 have included diesel engine variants. However, Hyundai has skipped diesel power in the 2024 Santa Fe.
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 model.
Note: The aforementioned details of the fifth-gen Santa Fe apply to the global vehicle. The U.S.-spec SUV may have slightly different specifications.
The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe has been confirmed to go on sale in the U.S. in the first half of 2024, although there’s no clarity on whether it will be available in Hybrid and/or Plug-in Hybrid variants right from launch. While announcing the MY2024 changes for the U.S. on July 5, 2023, Hyundai Motor America confirmed that the fifth-gen Santa Fe would be launched in the U.S. for the new model year:
2024 Hyundai Santa Fe –All-New Model, product details will be revealed in a world premiere news conference later this summerHyundai Motor America in its MY2024 announcement dated July 5, 2023
In the U.S., Hyundai Motor Manufacturing America (HMMA) is investing USD 190 million in its Montgomery (Alabama) factory for tooling and equipment upgrades to gear up for manufacturing the fifth-gen Santa Fe. Production will start later in 2023, HMMA has confirmed. There might be a time gap of a few weeks between the start of production of the gas-powered Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Hybrid models.
According to a report from ET News released on April 24, 2024, the gas-powered 2024 Santa Fe will enter production in South Korea in mid-August 2023, followed by the 2024 Santa Fe Hybrid in October 2023. Interestingly, the South Korean report also states the 2024 model will have not one but two plug-in hybrid variants. There’s no word yet on the SOP date of the all-new Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrid.
With its rugged looks and increased dimensions, the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe will offer drivers more space and a greater road presence. The redesign should provide passengers with additional comfort and convenience during road trips. The midsize SUV will sport a higher appeal in the 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 Hybrid release date?
The 2024 Santa Fe Hybrid should start reaching U.S. dealers in H1 2024.
Which SUVs will be 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid alternatives?
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 Source: Hyundai Motor Group