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2024 Hyundai Santa Fe Review By Larry Nutson

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2024 Hyundai Santa Fe
Open for More!

By Larry Nutson
Executive Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau

Santa Fe, New Mexico provided the backdrop for the Hyundai Motor Company global reveal of its radically transformed and entirely new 2024 Santa Fe.

The fifth-generation midsize SUV continues forward with its nature-meets-city appeal. But now major updates shaped by big data around the latest outdoor lifestyle trends, especially that of millennials, has shaped an “open for more” design philosophy.

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Nothing happens today in the global automobile business without big data. And when it comes to designing and developing a new vehicle for global markets big data plays a big role. There are no more solo opinions of “I think we should do this.”

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Hyundai took the unusual approach of creating the new Santa Fe from the tailgate forward as well as from the inside out. Big data says the outdoor lifestyle has come to mainstream culture. A large tailgate and spacious interior offer versatility that is great for both urban life as well as outdoor life.

Compared to the previous-Gen Santa Fe the new Santa Fe rides on a 1.9 inch longer wheelbase—now 110.8 inches. Overall it is 1.8 inches longer at 190.2 inch.

The exterior design is very bold and robust with its high hood and strong vertical front featuring an H-design signature in the headlights and lower valence. Clean sides and a high roof lead to what Hyundai says is the largest tailgate in the class.

SangYup Lee, the Head of Hyundai Design Center, shared in small-group conversation that the best designs come from looking around. Lee often asks his children’s opinion. He visits Costco to see how vehicles get loaded.

The Santa Fe’s cabin length is longer than that of the Hyundai Palisade. The design team worked to create interior volume from the given exterior dimensions. For example, the tailgate hinge was mover further into the roof to allow for management of the grey zones. That is, the space between tailgate and door outside cut lines and the interior…the door jams, was minimized to every extent possible so as to maximize interior useful interior space.

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Thanks to the longer wheelbase, there is now a third-row seat available that will seat two. Center row Captain’s chairs will also be available. My takeaway, but not 100% confirmed, is the US model will have seating choices for five, six, or seven.

Information, as of this report, is the US model will be available with a 2.5-L turbo with 281 PS (277-HP) mated to an 8-speed dual-clutch transmission. There will also be a 1.6-L HEV with 180 PS (177-HP) mated to a 6-speed automatic. All-wheel drive will be available. At this time there is no PHEV for the US. In conversation with John Robb, President of Hyundai America Technical Center, he commented that “the product program is still under development.”

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However, we note, the present Santa Fe does offer a PHEV. We think a PHEV is a very good choice for someone transitioning from a pure ICE-powered vehicle but not yet ready or able to drive a pure BEV, battery powered vehicle.

The design team focused on making the passenger cabin quiet. Engine, wind, and road/tire noise were three NVH targets that received significant attention.

The Santa Fe will be equipped with a long list of collision warning, collision intervention, and driving control assistance features. A Digital Center Mirror will allow seeing through those bouncing heads in the rear seat. Safety related functions that the driver may need to access have a hard on/off actuation button, and are not buried in a touch screen menu.

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The Santa Fe preview I attended provided only static viewing of the new model. A full drive experience will have to wait. The new 2024 Santa Fe is planned for US introduction in the first half of 2024. Look for it in person at the LA Auto Show and see for more info.

I mentioned the Santa Fe is a global vehicle to be sold in the Korean, North American and European markets. Regionalization of this global design is still being developed. More details specific to the US will arrive in due time.

Happy Motoring!

This report comes from an invitation-only Hyundai event that allowed special access to the vehicle and executives. Hyundai provided my overnight accommodations, meals, and transportation.

© 2023 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

Starts at 12:00 minutes

About Larry Nutson, The Chicago Car Guy

Larry has been the executive producer for The Auto Channel for more than 20 years.

Larry is a graduate mechanical engineer and an automobile enthusiast at heart. "I’ve enjoyed a diverse automotive corporate career that began in product planning and expanded into marketing and communications. I’m established as a successful contractor, a founder of the Individual Communicators Network (ICN) and operated a well-regarded 1000-home residential property management service. I'm equally at ease with technical matters, strategic planning, architectural plans, or communicating to an audience. Project management suits me well and I love to travel.

A Founding member and past-Chairman of the Individual Communicators Network. Past chairperson of the SAE International Public Affairs Committee. Public relations services for SAE Congress and Formula SAE. Sponsorship representative for and early-supporter of the Woodward Dream Cruise, Detroit, Michigan.

Independent management and communications professional since 1997.

Guest commentator on Drive Chicago-WLS 890AM, Consumer Guide Automotive Car Stuff Podcast, KRTK 93.3 Automotive Insights, Shunpiker's Journal-Michigan Business Network and Talk Radio. Executive Producer for The Auto Channel. Contributing writer to Blog and Chicago Tribune/Autos.

Past member of the Board and Treasurer of the Midwest Automotive Media Association

Specialties: Automotive Product Evaluation, Brand Communication, Automotive Event Planning and Management, Government Liaison, Automotive Marketing, Education Advocacy, Homeowner Association Management, German Language