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2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Gets New Styling and Hybrid Variants

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The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is presented, and hybrid versions are on the way.

For the 2021 model-year, the Hyundai Santa Fe benefits from a major overhaul, this even though the current generation of the model is barely two years ago.

The brand's popular SUV benefits from new front-end styling, but even more importantly from new powertrain choices (gasoline and now hybrid). A new high-end variant is also on the menu, and of course, because this is Hyundai, the list of comfort and safety equipment is comprehensive.  

Did we mention that later in 2021, a plug-in hybrid variant will be added to the lineup?

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2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, profile
Photo: Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, profile

Outside
As for the front-end signature, Hyundai is following the philosophy it set a few years ago of offering a recognizable signature that differs from model to model within its lineup. We let you be the judge and jury, but at first glance, while some elements seem to have been well thought out, others, not so much...

More importantly, the 2021 Santa Fe is based on a new platform that adds rear legroom, while allowing the hybrid configuration to be integrated without compromising volume.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, from above
Photo: Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, from above
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, interior
Photo: Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, interior

Inside
The new Santa Fe's interior is inspired by the larger Palisade, giving it a more upscale look. Softer-touch materials, Nappa leather and ambient lighting all add to the feeling of luxury.

As for the new version offered, meet the Calligraphy edition, which features the equipment and 2.5L 4-cylinder turbo engine of the Limited version. The Santa Fe Calligraphy comes with 20-inch wheels, a downhill braking system for all-wheel drive, padded seating, a more-upscale front grille and interior trim, tartan suede headliner and more choice for the ambient lighting.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy
Photo: Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy

When it comes to driving aids, we'll avoid a boring description here, but it's all there. Hyundai's Intelligent Remote Parking Assist, which allows us to move the vehicle into or out of a parking spot, is also on board. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto applications are included, of course, but as a bonus, on models with navigation, connectivity can be wireless.

Mechanically
The 2021 Santa Fe will be delivered standard with a 2.5L 4-cylinder engine (naturally aspirated) offering 191 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque, and wedded to an 8-speed automatic transmission. This powerplant replaces the 2.4L unit offered previously. A start/stop function is also standard for improved fuel economy, especially at intersections.

Speaking of fuel consumption, Hyundai estimates the consumption of the front-wheel-drive models at 9.0L/km, combined. That's a 4 percent improvement over last year's Santa Fe (with its 2.4L engine).

The other powertrain offered is a 2.5L turbocharged 4-cylinder good for 277 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. In its case, we're talking about a 9.1 percent reduction in fuel consumption compared to the 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder that's being replaced. An 8-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission is mated to this unit, and buyers can choose between a front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive configuration.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, hybrid engine
Photo: Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, hybrid engine

Obviously, the fuel-economy champion will be the hybrid variant. Its 1.6L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine combined with its electric motor will be much more efficient than its regular brethren, but we'll have to wait before we know the official figures. What we do know is that the transmission will be a 6-speed automatic and that the power output (delivered to all four wheels) will be 225 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque.

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is expected to hit dealerships by the end of the year. Pricing will be announced shortly before the model's debut. The hybrid variant is expected to follow in the first quarter of next year.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, three-quarters rear
Photo: Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe, three-quarters rear
Photos:Hyundai
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe pictures