The new car is codenamed DM internally, but insiders have confirmed it will keep the Santa Fe name as it is considered Hyundai's icon - it is twice as well known as any other Hyundai. It is expected to target improvements in refinement, design and practicality over the current model. The new car, which sits on a modified Hyundai Sonata platform, is longer, wider and lower but sits on the same wheelbase as its predecessor. The first and second of three seat rows will offer considerably more knee room and boot space will be bigger.
Hyundai will offer a seven-seat version with a longer wheelbase measuring 2.79m and improved luggage capacity. A six-seat version will also be available with a middle row of two 'captain's chairs. The five seat model, with a 2.69m wheelbase, will be rebranded as Santa Fe Sport for America.
New features of the regular Santa Fe include improved aerodynamics, LED lights, new three-mode steering system borrowed from the i30.
The new Santa Fe will go on sale in the UK in the last quarter of 2012, with prices expected to start at around £25k. The existing model currently starts close to £20k.
All UK models will be four-wheel drive. Engine choices are yet to be finalised, but it is expected that the 2.4-litre and 3.3-litre V6 petrol engines won’t be coming to the UK. The same goes for the smallest (2.0-litre) diesel, as the 2.2-litre unit has lower CO2 output. The new car is around 120kg lighter than the car it replaces, despite being bigger and roomier.
Europe-wide volume is conservatively estimated at 20,000, five percent of sector volume.