2019 Hyundai Santa Fe Sports Confusing Name Swap, Updated Engines

01-hyundai-santa-fe-2019-oem.jpg 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe | Manufacturer images


Competes with: The Santa Fe with the Ford Edge, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Nissan Murano; the Santa Fe XL with the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander

Looks like: What Hyundai revealed two weeks ago, multiple lights and all

Drivetrain: The Santa Fe offers a 185-horsepower (estimated), 2.4-liter four-cylinder; 232-hp (estimated), turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder; or possible 200-hp (estimated), turbo-diesel 2.2-liter engine; all come with eight-speed automatic transmission and front- or all-wheel drive. The Santa Fe XL comes with a 3.3-liter V-6, with other details TBD.

Hits dealerships: Summer 2018

Hyundai released full details on the redesigned Santa Fe, which adopts revised names and updated four-cylinder engines. As we saw when Hyundai released images of the SUV earlier this month, the Santa Fe gets a stacked assortment of headlights and running lights — a motif that echoes other recent introductions by the automaker, like the Kona and Nexo SUVs.

Related: New Hyundai Santa Fe Images Confirm: Those Lights Are Legit

The Santa Fe still comes in regular and extended-length configurations, but Hyundai now calls them the Santa Fe and Santa Fe XL, respectively, instead of the Santa Fe Sport and Santa Fe. It will doubtless confuse some shoppers that the automaker transferred the name from the SUV’s longer version to its shorter variant with this redesign, but the convention tracks more closely with the outgoing SUV’s name in certain international markets.

Note that Hyundai’s photos show Korean versions of the Santa Fe, not the Santa Fe XL. U.S. versions of the SUV may have minor styling changes versus what you see here, and images of the Santa Fe XL will come at some point down the road. Indeed, details were sparse on the XL, but Jim Trainor, a spokesman for Hyundai’s U.S. arm, said to expect “lots more to come on that.”

It’s unclear if a diesel engine introduced overseas for the Santa Fe will make it stateside: Trainor initially told us he wouldn’t confirm the diesel option, but Automotive News reports the diesel is coming — a move that would mark Hyundai’s first U.S. diesel engine. Apprised of the report, Trainor declined to refute the newspaper.


A certain 41st U.S. president might laud Hyundai’s decision to imbue the Santa Fe with a thousand — OK, six — points of light. Still, those lights define the SUV’s styling: Two thin strips of daytime running lights sit at hood level, with four stacked headlights down where you might expect the foglights; both sections employ LEDs. A prominent six-sided grille sits between them, with additional openings at the lower edge of the bumper. In back, the Santa Fe sports a freshened take on the outgoing SUV’s styling, with horizontal taillights and plenty of lower bumper cladding.

Versus the Santa Fe Sport, the new Santa Fe has grown a bit. Wheelbase and overall length are up 2.6 inches and 2.8 inches, respectively, while width is up 0.4 inch. Hyundai says the new SUV will offer 19-inch wheels, but other diameters are unclear.


The Santa Fe’s symmetrical, twin-arc dashboard echoes a few themes from the previous generation, but it trades a unified, plunging center stack for separated controls split by twin air vents — a touchscreen and shortcut buttons above with climate and seat controls below. A 7-inch multimedia system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard. Wireless smartphone charging, Infinity premium audio and a head-up display are optional.

Hyundai touts less glare from the multimedia system as well as more elbowroom and legroom thanks to redesigned doors. Over-the-shoulder visibility was a major complaint in the outgoing Santa Fe Sport, but Hyundai says the redesign has 40 percent more rear-quarter glass to improve sightlines.

The Santa Fe seats five, with a small, two-seat third row in diesel models. In two-row models, Hyundai touts slightly more passenger volume versus the outgoing Santa Fe Sport, with comparable cargo room behind the first and second rows. The Santa Fe XL gets a standard third row that’s presumably roomier than the third row in the diesel Santa Fe, but we’ll have to try it in person to report more. In any case, the second row in three-row models features push-button sliding access to the way-back seats.

Under the Hood

The Santa Fe employs a 2.4-liter four-cylinder (estimated 185 horsepower) or turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder (estimated 232 hp). If the diesel engine — a 2.2-liter turbo-diesel — makes it here, it should pack lineup-leading torque: Hyundai estimates “around 200” hp and 320 pounds-feet of torque. All three engines use an eight-speed automatic transmission, and available all-wheel drive offers a Sport mode that can divert more power to the rear wheels to improve cornering.

Most details in Hyundai’s news release concerned the Santa Fe, but Trainor confirmed the XL would reprise the outgoing Santa Fe’s 3.3-liter V-6. He did not give more details on it, however.


Hyundai touts a bundle of safety technology, dubbed Hyundai Smart Sense, as standard equipment on Santa Fe SE trim levels and up. Smart Sense includes forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, blind spot warning and lane keep assist, full-speed adaptive cruise control, automatic high-beam headlights and a 360-degree camera system, drowsy-driver warning and a safe-exit feature that temporarily locks the doors when the SUV intuits approaching traffic from behind.

The automaker did not reveal a trim-level structure for the U.S., however, so it’s unclear if Hyundai Smart Sense will be standard or optional when the Santa Fe hits dealerships here.’s Editorial department is your source for automotive news and reviews. In line with’s long-standing ethics policy, editors and reviewers don’t accept gifts or free trips from automakers. The Editorial department is independent of’s advertising, sales and sponsored content departments.

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