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No Diesel Engine for the Santa Fe

Hyundai’s plan was to produce a turbo-diesel-powered version of its new Santa Fe, but the company has confirmed a change of heart, announcing this week that it is cancelling the version for North America.

The current Santa Fe, which debuted for the 2018 model-year, comes with one of two powertrains, a 2.4L naturally aspirated 4-cylinder generating 185 hp and a 2.0L 4-cylinder turbo with an output of 235 hp. The diesel version was scheduled to debut in 2020.

Hyundai spokesman Brando Ramirez told the Green Car Reports website that the company backtracked after seeing the results of studies that showed consumer interest in the technology simply wasn’t there. It appears people truly interested in saving on fuel costs are turning toward electric mobility solutions, while those for whom that isn’t a priority are sticking with traditional gasoline engines.

The cancellation of the diesel-engine Santa Fe also means that the three-row version of the model won’t see the light of day. The reason is simple: Hyundai wanted to make this longer version diesel-powered so that it could be classed by the EPA (Environment Protection Agency) as a light truck for its fuel economoy guidelines.

Hyundai Palisade
Photo: D.Rufiange
Hyundai Palisade

Hyundai lovers who need a big people mover will have another option, of course, with the future Palisade SUV, just introduced at the Los Angeles Auto Show.

Clearly diesel engines are becoming an endangered species in North America. Mazda’s longstanding plan to introduce a diesel-powered SKYACTIV-D engine continues to languish; its existence seems to once again be a question of if rather than when.

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