When it comes to a large family SUV, the Hyundai Santa Fe has long been a dependable, if slightly under-the-radar, choice to consider.
On sale since 2000, the Santa Fe has grown in size, spec and price over the last two decades.
You may already own a Santa Fe and are considering an upgrade, or you might be looking at a current 2023 model. Is it worth waiting for a 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe? Let’s run through the basics.
If you’re looking at a seven-seat large SUV to pack the kids and their junk into, the Santa Fe is a great place to start… and if you have bigger kids or more stuff, then it might be worth waiting for the 2024 model.
It’s bigger in almost every direction; at 4830mm it’s 45mm longer than previously, its 2815mm wheelbase is 50mm longer than previous, and it is 35mm taller at 1720mm. Its overall width remains static at 1900mm, despite those prominent wheel arches.
Nowhere is that extra length more evident than on the inside. The second-row legroom is up by 35mm to 1075mm, and by 20mm to 1055mm in the hybrid-equipped version. Third-row legroom, meanwhile, has increased by 15mm to 761mm.
Hyundai is also claiming best-in-class third-row headroom for the 2024 Santa Fe, with the third-row headroom’s height lifting by 69mm to 958mm.
It is also claims that the Santa Fe’s luggage capacity has grown by 91 litres, while tailgate opening width jumps by a claimed 125mm.
The extra third row room in the new car may answer one of the few niggles our team has had with the current Santa Fe; those stuck in the third row are pretty light on for space.
Chassis and towing
The current spec Santa Fe only moved over to Hyundai’s new N3 platform in 2021, allowing the addition of new engines, hybrid parts and updated safety kit.
It is rated to tow 2500kg of braked trailer and 750kg unbraked.
We can’t confirm what the platform variant is yet on the 2024 Santa Fe, but we suspect it’s a modified design of the N3 – more closely related to the version that underpins Hyundai’s Staria van.
With the omission of both the diesel and petrol engines, there is also a question mark over the braked towing capacity of the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe… though we would be very surprised if it wasn’t rated to at least match that of the current model.
While final specs are yet to firm up ahead of its launch, the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe is likely to adopt the 207kW/422Nm Theta III turbocharged 2.5-litre four-cylinder engine from the Sonata as its headline powertrain.
This will potentially be combined with an all-wheel drivetrain backed by an eight-speed dual-clutch gearbox. Expect fuel economy to be in the region of 9L/100km.
The Gamma III 1.6-litre turbocharged four-cylinder is also likely to arrive at launch in series hybrid guise and will likely be tied to a front-wheel drivetrain and a six-speed automatic transmission. It’s good for 132kW and 265Nm, while returning 6.5 litres per 100km according to supplied specs.
However, there are couple of notable omissions from the Santa Fe’s specification sheet; both the 2.2-litre turbo diesel and 3.5-litre naturally aspirated V6 powertrains present in the current Santa Fe are not available in the 2024 Santa Fe.
This may disappoint some fans of the bigger capacity V6, which made towing a breeze. It was, however, quite a thirsty unit.
Likewise, the smooth and refined turbo diesel engine had its fans, but with a greater emphasis on electrification and hybridisation – and, no doubt, little appetite for it in the Santa Fe’s biggest market, the US – the oiler will not be available on the 2024 Santa Fe.
Interior and cabin design
Inside, the dash of the 2024 Santa Fe mimics the style of the Sonata and Tucson, with twin 12.3-inch screens mounted side by side on a sweeping curved binnacle, while the electronic gear shifter has been relocated behind the steering wheel.
A mix of digitally accessed controls and traditional dials and switches for climate control and the like combine with a generously wide centre console that’s home to a pair of inductive phone charging pads.
The high-spec version used for press images sported heated seats, push-button start, multi-zone climate control and a digital rear-view mirror that can be used when visibility via the traditional glass mirror is compromised.
In terms of differences, the twin-screen dash and revised centre console arrangement gives the new car a considerable leg-up over the current car.
The current spec Santa Fe benefitted from the addition of a push-button gear shift and floating centre console from Elite trim up (very similar to that in the Palisade) that liberated useful incidental storage below, with a tray big enough for a small backpack or shoulder bag.
In terms of differences, the twin-screen dash and revised centre console arrangement – not to mention a lift in overall ambience and styling – gives the new car a considerable leg-up over the current car.
Pricing hasn’t yet been divulged for the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe, but it’s reasonable to expect that they will increase from their present position, given the increase in specification, new powertrains and increased production costs.
For example, the 1.6-litre HEV-equipped AWD Highlander currently costs $69,500 plus ORCs, while the base model V6 FWD starts at $46,050 plus ORCs.
If we were laying bets on how much the 2024 Santa Fe will cost, we would expect price rises of between 10 and 15 per cent across the range, depending upon variant. Of course, there will also be fewer variants to choose from, thanks to the demise of the diesel and V6 petrol engines.
Is the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe worth the wait?
If you value modern design, the most up-to-date safety systems and need a smidge more room that the current version provides, then yes.
If you currently own a V6 petrol model, then updating to the turbocharged 2.5-litre version will net real-world fuel savings without a significant impact on performance, as well.