2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Elite | Review

March 8, 2021

It might look familiar, but Hyundai’s updated seven-seater is packing plenty of new metal.


Hot on the heels of Kia’s all-new Sorento, sister company Hyundai has updated its own seven-seat SUV – the Santa Fe – for 2021.

Along with a tweaked look inside and out, the 2021 Santa Fe wades back into the large-SUV battleground with some extra tricks up its sleeve.

And if you think what we are looking at is just a facelifted Santa Fe without any big embellishments going on under the skin, you’d be wrong. We’ve got a 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Elite with a 2.2-litre diesel engine and all-wheel drive to find out more. The asking price for this is $57,800 before on-road costs, which is $2700 more than a comparable 2020 model.

While the pre-facelift Santa Fe, which dates back to 2018, was based upon the older Kia/Hyundai platform, the model you’re looking at here scores new gear under the skin.

That means despite the relatively familiar facelifted look, the 2021 Santa Fe shares its bones with the likes of Kia’s new Carnival and Sorento, as well as other cars that we aren’t treated to in Australia.

This new platform has allowed Hyundai to use a new powertrain – a familiar-sounding 2.2-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder engine. It’s a new engine, however, with slightly less overall capacity (2151cc) and a lighter alloy block. This new donk sports one whole kilowatt more of power and the same amount of torque: 148kW at 3800rpm and 440Nm at 1750–2750rpm.

Although the new platform and powertrain shed around 44kg compared to a comparable pre-facelift model, overall dimensions remain mostly the same. It’s barely a smidgen wider at 1900mm (up 10mm), but the wheelbase and length both remain constant at 2765mm and 4470mm respectively. It’s a whisker taller as well at 1710mm, but that could be from the updated rolling stock.

Elite specification now gets some flash-looking 20-inch machined-alloy wheels, which make a big difference to the look, along with the refreshed front end. Previously, this spec of Santa Fe was stuck with 18-inch wheels.

The new eight-speed wet dual-clutch gearbox nets a big reduction in fuel usage, down from a claimed 7.5L/100km to a lowly 6.1L/100km – an impressive number no doubt for a large SUV capable of seating seven and some luggage.


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