The FINANCIAL -- Hyundai Motor America on March 29 unveiled the all-new 2019 Santa Fe SUV for the U.S. market at the New York International Auto Show.
As the best-selling SUV in the brand’s 32-year history in America—with sales of more than 1.5 million units—the Santa Fe represents Hyundai’s strong SUV heritage and continues its success story. Going on sale in the U.S. in the summer of 2018, the fourth generation 2019 model builds on this success offering an all-new family-oriented interior, loaded with practical cutting-edge technologies and bold exterior looks, according to Hyundai.
The all-new Santa Fe and Santa Fe Diesel are the third and fourth of eight new or re-engineered crossover utility vehicles (CUVs) Hyundai is debuting by 2020. Both models are bold SUVs that build on previous generations with outstanding driving dynamics and features aimed at technology and comfort.
The five-passenger Santa Fe Sport will now be called Santa Fe. The current long wheelbase three-row, seven-passenger model called Santa Fe will be renamed Santa Fe XL for the 2019 model year. An all-new three-row, eight-passenger SUV is currently under development and will carry an all-new name. The diesel version of the 2019 Santa Fe will also get an occasional-use third-row seat with one-touch folding second-row seats for easier access to the third row. The third-row seat will only be available on the Santa Fe diesel.
A Bold New Look
The face of the new Santa Fe is highlighted by Hyundai’s signature Cascading Grille and a Composite Light design comprising LED Daytime Running Lights positioned on top of the LED headlights. The exterior design is characterized by a powerful wide stance and an athletic body that makes a statement from 100 feet away. It’s a bold look that is enhanced by refined lines that reinforce the vehicle’s status in Hyundai’s SUV lineup.
The profile of the Santa Fe features a dynamic character line that goes all the way from the headlights to the taillights and a larger daylight opening (DLO) with a satin surround that provides a sleek impression along with better visibility. Featured diamond-cut 19-inch wheels communicate strength, as does the car’s rear appearance, now featuring a muscular high and taut shape.
Interior Design: Graceful Surfaces Embrace Strong Structure
The Santa Fe interior design combines premium quality with a roomy layout featuring a strong horizontal design theme and enhanced visibility. Premium touches such as the layered, three-dimensional instrument panel and contrasting seat stitching ensures a high level of luxury within the cabin. The Santa Fe’s larger DLO enhances the interior’s feeling of openness with generous amounts of natural light.
The driver will also see several improvements including:
The audio/visual/navigation system screen has been tilted and positioned to reduce glare
The window switches and grab handles have been moved forward for more elbow room
The door map pockets have been reduced in size for more legroom
Cup holders in the center console have been repositioned for ease of use and the height and length of the center armrest has also been increased
Comfortable Ride, Steering Feel and Stable Handling
Improved ride comfort, handling and stability are achieved through key developments in the suspension geometry of the 2019 Santa Fe. The biggest change sees the rear shock moved upright from an angled position, improving the ride and handling no matter the driving conditions.
An optional self-load-leveling suspension provides the Santa Fe with a continuous ride height even while towing or carrying heavier cargo. This system allows Hyundai engineers to tune the rear suspension for comfort and avoid making it too firm for occasional trailer use.
Hyundai’s Rear Cross Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist (RCCW) puts eyes and legs in the back of drivers’ heads. Using the Blind Spot Detection system’s radar sensors when backing up, the system can not only warn the driver if vehicles approach from the rear side, it also applies the brakes automatically.
Additional safety features include Rear Occupant Alert, which Hyundai is debuting with the Santa Fe. The system monitors the rear seats using an ultrasonic sensor that helps to detect the movements of children and pets. The system first reminds drivers to check the rear seats when exiting the vehicle with a message on the center instrument cluster display. If the system detects movement in the rear seats after the driver leaves the vehicle and locks the doors it will honk the horn and send a Blue Link alert to the driver’s smartphone via Hyundai’s Blue Link connected car system. The system is designed to prevent children and pets from being forgotten in the car, but it also helps in case children accidentally lock themselves in.
The 2019 Santa Fe also gets Hyundai’s first Safe Exit Assist. This feature temporarily prevents doors from being opened when a vehicle approaches from behind even when the doors are unlocked. Safe Exit Assist works even if the driver has used the button to turn off the child lock feature. When the Safe Exit Assist detects an approaching object rearward it sounds an alert for passengers, a warning pops up on the driver’s center cluster and, most importantly, the doors remain locked.
Interior Space and Visibility
Interior cabin space has been enhanced on the 2019 Santa Fe. Inside, there is now more cargo room behind the second-row seats, when second-row seats are folded. In addition to more cargo space, second-row leg room has also been lengthened to be best-in-class. The H-point distance between the first and second rows has also been increased and the floor has been lowered for even more second-row comfort. Engineers also have incorporated one-touch folding second-row seats.
The new Santa Fe’s exterior has also grown in size, giving the vehicle even more presence. With a length of 187 inches, a width of 74 inches and a longer wheelbase, it also provides more comfort for passengers than the outgoing 2018 Santa Fe Sport.
Visibility has also been emphasized with the next generation Santa Fe. To help the driver, the outside mirrors are mounted lower and further rearward and the A-pillars have been reduced in size. For the driver and rear seat passengers alike, the rear quarter glass has been increased by more than 40 percent.
The 2019 Santa Fe line-up offers a choice of three proven powertrains. There is a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder GDI engine with 185 horsepower or a more powerful, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 235 horsepower (estimated). And the 2.2-liter CRDi turbodiesel engine is the 2019 Santa Fe’s biggest surprise, with 190 horsepower at 3,800 rpm and 322 lb. ft. of torque at 1,750 – 2,500 rpm (estimated). All engines are mated to a brand-new eight-speed automatic transmission.
New Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission
The newly developed transmission provides quick and crisp shifts for a more engaging and efficient driving experience via the available column-mounted paddles. Despite having two extra gears, the eight-speed transmission, which was designed in-house, is lighter than the outgoing six-speed model. The automatic transmission adds ratio range at both the top and bottom of output speeds allowing for extra thrust off-the-line and a quieter, more fuel-efficient dash down the interstate. A multi-disc and individually controlled hydraulic channel torque converter improves responsiveness by expanding the direct connection band, while a downsized oil pump and double ball bearings minimize friction loss.
HTRAC Advanced AWD System
The 2019 Santa Fe has Hyundai’s HTRAC All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) system. The HTRAC AWD system was developed as a multi-mode system, providing an electronic, variable-torque-split clutch with active torque control between the front and rear axles. The driver-selectable HTRAC Normal, Sport and Smart modes help provide confident control in all weather conditions. The Sport setting gives a more agile feel by sending more available torque to the rear wheels, for a sporty dynamic feel when desired. This system has a wider range of torque distribution variability than many competitive systems and has been tuned to conditions such as straight-line acceleration, medium- and high-speed cornering, and hill starts.
Infotainment and Sound Systems
The 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe is loaded with technology, including Hyundai’s latest AVN 5.0 navigation system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay offered with higher level trims. The base level trim gets a standard 7-inch user interface, also equipped with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. And to eliminate the need for a charging cord, there’s an available Qi wireless charging pad for compatible Android devices, as well as Apple iPhone 8 and iPhone X.
When it comes to audio technology, the available premium sound system is well-suited to the Santa Fe’s upscale interior. The 640-watt, 12-speaker new Infinity branded stereo system with an 11-channel amplifier features Clari-Fi and QuantumLogic Surround Sound technology. Clari–Fi works in real-time to rebuild audio details lost in digitally compressed music, while QuantumLogic extracts signals from the original recording and redistributes them into an authentic, multidimensional soundstage for playback that is clear, refined and full of detail. The result is a more robust and enjoyable on-road listening experience.
Smart Speed-Dependent Volume Control can automatically adjust the audio volume up or down based upon the vehicle’s speed and the system’s volume setting. The gain will change proportionally to the vehicle’s speed to overcome associated noise masking effects of the vehicle and thereby reducing the need to adjust the volume while driving. Additionally, the volume setting will taper the gain applied as the volume setting increases. This prevents the system from increasing volume further once road noise has been overcome.
BLUE LINK Connected Car System
Santa Fe Blue Link-equipped models include three years of complimentary Blue Link services, with enhanced safety, diagnostic, remote and voice guidance services. Blue Link brings connectivity directly into the car with technologies like Remote Start with Climate Control, Remote Door Lock/Unlock, Car Finder, Enhanced Roadside Assistance and Stolen Vehicle Recovery. Blue Link features can be accessed via buttons on the rearview mirror, the MyHyundai.com web portal, the MyHyundai with Blue Link smartphone app, the Amazon Alexa Blue Link skill and the Blue Link Google Assistant app. Some features can also be controlled via Android Wear and Apple Watch smartwatch apps. The latest release of the Blue Link smartphone app includes:
Widgets for easy access to remote features
Ability to send Point-of-Interest data to vehicle navigation system (if so equipped)
Access to Blue Link notification settings
Heads-Up Display (HUD)
Taking inspiration from aircraft technology, an available Heads-Up Display (HUD) projects an 8.5-inch virtual image onto the windshield, enabling the driver to keep his or her eyes on the road. The feature uses a system of mirrors combined with a TFT LCD display and features adjustable brightness to ensure both excellent daytime and nighttime visibility. Driving information such as speed, Smart Cruise Control status, navigation, Blind Spot Collision Warning, Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist, speed limit, Lane Departure Warning and audio system data is projected at a perceived virtual distance approximately seven feet ahead of the driver for maximum legibility.