The Santa Fe is Hyundai’s flagship SUV and was introduced in India back in 2011 and with its bulk and presence doing the magic, was quite a hit. With the advent of the Fortuner and the resurgence of the Pajero, it lost its sheen and then the next-gen Santa Fe turned out to be a bit too European for the Indian context.
But now, that might change as the all-new Santa Fe that is being readied for its US debut, brings the brawn back to the game. Sure it is edgy, like the one which was being sold in India tell recently, but with its high bonnet and a squarer tail design, it looks its part as a rugged full-size SUV. The cascading kinked grille, the new signature of Hyundais, is pasted across the face while the sleek LED headlamps and the high-mounted fog-lamps add the dose of brawn to it.
The squared off wheel arches and the haunches of shoulder line in to the rear add muscle to it while showing off its large wheels and tall stance. The suave looks of the new Santa Fe continue inside as well and we can see that the entire cabin is wrapped in premium black leather. The waterfall centre console is dominated by the touchscreen infotainment system on top followed by the AC vents, the climate control system and more buttons as we move towards the gear lever.
Being a flagship Hyundai, it will be loaded to the gills with features like sunroof, power seats and ventilated seats in the front along with a host of electronic gadgetry. So parking sensors, push-button start, power mirrors et al will be standard. Under the hood, the Korean model will be offered with two turbocharged diesel engines -2.0-litre and 2.2-litre, and the familiar 2.0-litre GDI petrol mill. While you might not get a manual option, you will certainly get all-wheel drive as standard along with the eight-speed torque converter automatic gearbox.
With the right size and styling, the new Santa Fe seems well equipped to take on the still-dated Fortuner and the capable-but-not-popular Endeavour in the Indian car market. Of course there are the likes of the VW Tiguan and the Skoda Kodiaq if Hyundai decides to chuck the last row. But with the existence of the Tucson, they might very well build it as a seven seater and if they are getting one to India, we will have to wait for at least an year.