The Next Telluride? Could the Boxy, Rugged Hyundai Santa Fe be the New Hot Family SUV?
Did you know that the Hyundai Santa Fe CUV is about old enough to qualify as a classic? You’re forgiven if you didn’t, because while there’s nothing wrong with the Santa Fe, it’s never been a particularly hot commodity at any point in its nearly 25 years on the market.
But that might be changing, because the next-generation 2024 Santa Fe has gotten an extensive redesign, and Hyundai is hoping they can capture some of the success that sister brand Kia has with the Telluride in recent years.
The Telluride basically came out of nowhere to be one of the most critically-acclaimed and popular three-row SUVs on the market. And during the height of the post-pandemic car market craziness, Tellurides were going for tens of thousands above sticker price in some market.
A Whole New Attitude
While the insanity has calmed down a bit, the Telluride has continued to be a big success for Hyundai/Kia, and now they are looking for a repeat with the slightly smaller Hyundai Santa Fe.
So what does the 2024 Santa Fe bring to the table? Well first there’s the styling. The outgoing Santa Fe has pleasant if nondescript CUV styling, but the new one throws all of that out the window for a dramatic, squared-off new look.
Though at its heart the Santa Fe remains a mid-sized crossover, it now has presence that brings higher end 4x4s to mind. Vehicles like the Land Rover Defender and the new Toyota Land Cruiser.
And not only does the boxy, more rugged shape result in an entirely new personality, it comes with some practical advantages as well.
Is Boxy Better?
The wheelbase has been lengthened, the lift gate opening has been widened, and Hyundai says there’s more cargo space and more legroom in both the second row and the standard third row.
Under the hood, Santa Fe buyers will have the choice between a turbocharged 2.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 277hp and 310 pound feet of torque or a 1.6 liter turbocharged hybrid model that makes 232 horsepower and 271 pound feet of torque.
And given Hyundai’s strong push toward electrification, a plug-in hybrid version is also very likely to join the Santa Fe lineup in the future.
AWD will of course be available, and Hyundai will offer an XRT trim, which Hyundai says aimed toward enthusiasts and the outdoors crowd.
The XRT not only gets some unique styling bits, it has a larger tires, 1.5 extra inches of ground clearance and is even capable of pulling up to 4,500 pounds with the tow package.
A Serious Player
Going beyond that, with its new adventure-ready attitude, we wouldn’t be surprised at all to see the new Santa Fe start to join other crossovers with an enthusiast aftermarket.
Things like lift kits, heavy duty skid plates and of course new wheels and all-terrain tires could all serve to take the capability and looks of the Santa Fe to an even higher level.
Time will tell how buyers react to the next-gen Santa Fe when it starts hitting dealerships in a couple months. At the very least, its new look alone should generate some interest from those bored by typical CUV styling.
And if the ’24 Santa Fe can capture even just part of that Telluride mania from a few years ago, Hyundai should have a big success on its hands.
More From Driving Line
- What's going with the Telluride anyway? A new generation should be on the way soon, but meanwhile the current version recently got some nice updates.