Hyundai revealed the new-gen Santa Fe recently and it was rumoured that it even plans to introduce a longer wheelbase version of the same flagship, called the Santa Fe XL. So it comes as a surprise that the Korean carmaker was instead spotted testing a full-size, three-row, eight-seater SUV in the cold weather of Lapland recently.
Primarily targeted at the American market, the new SUV will take on the fight against the likes of the Chevrolet Suburban and Ford Expedition in the US. At first glance, the test mule seems to display some elements of styling similar to the Santa Fe - the massive cascading grille and the thin two-tier headlamps, for example. The overall profile also has a boxy silhouette, similar to the Santa Fe, but bigger. But it’s really the front fenders and the bonnet along with the A-pillar besides the massive bulk beyond the C-pillar which truly differentiate the test mule from the new Santa Fe.
Considering its size, it’s probable that the new eight-seater has a new platform rather than the same underpinning as the Santa Fe. Interestingly, the test mule still has a front-wheel-drive layout but we do expect an optional all-wheel-drive setup to be included later, given its size. Besides, most SUVs in USA are also used for hauling duties. So the front-wheel-drive-only layout won’t suffice
The mill under the hood is rumoured to be the new 3.3-litre V6 motor, which puts out around 300bhp. There are no concrete details about the powertrain available at the moment, but Hyundai might also add a hybrid driveline to the unnamed SUV. Hyundai might also bring in a diesel engine for the new SUV given the growing popularity of oil burners in the States.
Kia doesn’t have an eight-seater SUV in its line-up. So Hyundai’s new SUV might spawn a new Kia full-size SUV as well. However, the prototype spotted here is still in its early stages of development, so don’t expect any official word from the Korean carmaker anytime soon.