The all-new 2019 Santa Fe has three rows of seats and an available diesel(!) engine. The sacred combination of luxury, torque and efficiency in an SUV is no longer purely the domain of the German automakers.
The Hyundai Santa Fe has been a solid overall value for some time, but often gets lost in the sauce of the very crowded midsize three-row crossover segment against rivals like the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, and Ford Explorer. With newcomers like the VW Atlas and Subaru Ascent challenging the field too now, Hyundai needs something different to stand out more than ever.
The other issue with the Santa Fe is it wasn’t just one car but two, which became a bit confusing for buyers. The Santa Fe Sport was a midsize two-row crossover closer to something like a Ford Edge or a Nissan Murano, whereas the Santa Fe was the full-size three-row that families tend to buy instead of a (far superior, sorry) minivan.
Santa Fe Sport is gone now, that’s just Santa Fe, while the larger three-row version will be known as Santa Fe XL.
The exciting news is that the Santa Fe will also be available with a 2.2-liter turbo diesel four-cylinder rated to pump out 200 horsepower and a healthy 320 lb-ft of torque. To make your head spin even more, the smaller Santa Fe (not XL) diesel will exclusively be available with an “occasional use” third-row seat. Think of it more like the new VW Tiguan or Nissan Rogue that also have a third-row option.
The implication is that the little Santa Fe’s third row won’t be very comfortable, but it’s there. For situations like your kid’s friend suddenly needing a ride home from school or soccer practice, the bonus seat could come through in the clutch though.
Other powertrains will be a naturally aspirated 2.4 liter four rated at 185 HP and a 2.0-liter turbo four with a claimed 232 HP. There is no mention of a V6 being available even for the larger Santa Fe XL, though both cars will be available with front or all-wheel-drive.
The 2019 Santa Fe family of vehicles are bigger and a bit fancier than their predecessors and will come with a slew of technology and safety features that buyers have come to expect in this segment. Among them is the Rear Seat Occupant Alert and Safe Exit Assist. The first of which detects the movements of children and pets in the rear seat and reminds front seat occupants to not leave your kids and pets behind. The Safe Exit Assist prevents the doors from being opened if the car senses a motorcycle or a bike approaching.
Pricing for the Santa Fe family has not been announced, but expect the MSRP to start in ballpark of $25,000 for the Santa Fe and around $32,000 for the Santa Fe XL.