The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe is Primed for Active Urban Lifestyles

Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

Hyundai is undergoing a transformative period of redesigns and aspirational technology enhancements to uplift its current and future product portfolio. Next up is the 2024 Santa Fe which is so drastically different in presentation that one can easily mistake it for a Land Rover. The immersion of active urban lifestyles, naturalistic values, and innovational conveniences is presented perfectly in the wider, longer, and thoughtfully aggressive Santa Fe.

Right off the bat, the rectangular physique of the 5th generation Hyundai Santa Fe presents more angles and defined lines as opposed to curves and bubbles. This indicates that Hyundai preferred interior space and a standard third row to accompany that off-road-ready demeanor of modern and past Outlanding SUVs. In fact, the enlarged liftgate opens high enough for people 6’9″ tall to stand under like my media partner Brian Armstead. The expansive cargo area is perfect for transporting larger objects such as widescreen TVs or a set of bikes. Hyundai refers to this technique as the “Open for More” concept. At first glance the rear looks strange with the tailgate edges abruptly meeting the side panels. Yet the design scheme makes sense for what the brand is achieving.

“The original Santa Fe was our very first SUV in the U.S. more than two decades ago,” said José Muñoz, president and CEO of Hyundai Motor North America. Today, we have a well-recognized and respected portfolio of 14 SUV models that include internal combustion engine, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric, and hydrogen fuel cell electric models.”

One of the cooler design touches is the H-theme found on the exterior and interior in various ways such as the H-shaped LED headlamp and taillamp signatures and the lower bumper. The SUV’s grille is grittier, the shoulders are more robust, and the wheels are sportier. Large octagonally shaped fender flares, floating roof racks, a dual-paned sunroof, and ten exterior paints inspired by nature boost the attraction of the latest Santa Fe. Some of these inspirational hues consist of Terracotta Orange, Ecotronic Gray Pearl, Ultimate Red Metallic, Earthy Brass Matte, and Rockwood Green Pearl.

For special consideration of thrill seekers, Hyundai composed the Santa Fe XRT to offer more capabilities including camping, mountain biking, fishing, hiking, etc. It comes with standard AWD, 18” dark alloy wheels and 30” all-terrain tires, black roof rails, dark chrome and black trim elements, and exterior cladding (although not aggressive like most adventure models). The XRT gains 1.3″ of ground clearance while towing has been increased to 4,000 pounds due to extra cooling techniques. While venturing onto beaten paths, over rocky roads, up steep hills, and through dried-up creeks, the XRT handled its business like mountain goats traversing untamed territory. The vehicle also employs a few cameras that are helpful for off-roading. I was, indeed, pleasantly surprised!

Hyundai utilizes a standard 2.5-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine featuring 277-horsepower and 311 lb.-ft. of torque to get the Santa Fe going. It’s linked to an improved performing 8-speed DCT transmission with paddle shifters attached to the robust, robotic steering wheel. Acceleration is not the SUV’s forte, but it’s better than the prior generation and Sport mode feels like a Sport mode. The ride quality is compliant as well. Expect 24 combined mpg and a 3,500-pound towing capacity. The highly fuel-efficient Santa Fe Hybrid Electric Vehicle (HEV) operates from a smaller 1.6-liter GDI and pairs with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

When behind the wheel, which has excellent on-center steering, the driver will be appeased by the tech-heavy Panoramic Curved Display incorporating the 12.3″ digital gauge cluster and multimedia features. The H-shaped design motif is repeated inside the quiet cabin including the shape of the air vents and cup holders. Eco-friendly materials, four interior colors — Obsidian Black, Supersonic Gray, Pecan Brown, and Forest Green – Bose audio, 15-watt dual wireless charger pads, ambient lighting, 6.6″ Touch-Type Climate Control, dual glove compartments (UV Sterilization Tray), and more buttons and dials than swiping features enhance the cozy environment. Within this calm and savvy living space, other technology benefits include a sliding Bi-directional center console with a storage bin accessible from the 2nd row.

Advanced safety systems elevate the Santa Fe by way of Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, Lane Following Assist, Highway Driving Assist, Intelligent Speed Limit Assist, Rear View Monitor, Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, Front and Rear Parking Distance Warning, Safe Exit Assist, and a Driver Attention Warning system to keep vehicle operators alert behind the wheel.

Pricing starts at $33,950 for a 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe SE FWD. Other trims include the SEL, XRT, Limited, and the $46,500 Calligraphy FWD. AWD is an additional $1,800 on all models except the XRT. Specifically, the Santa Fe Calligraphy features 2nd-row captain’s chairs, premium Nappa leather, a 12” heads-up display, a driver’s side relaxation seat, and 21″ alloy rims with Pirelli Scorpion tires.

While rebuilding the all-new Hyundai Santa Fe, the designers and engineers considered everything with active families in mind. As a result, the new Santa Fe is refreshing, stylish, and tougher than expected. Overall, the SUV is on point and made for an enjoyable few days of test-driving outside of Nashville, TN.

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