As winter testing winds down, we’re treated to another series of detailed spy photos capturing the next-generation Hyundai Santa Fe in action. This time, however, our photographer managed to get crisp images of the interior, and there’s much to see.
Despite camouflage wrap and heavy covers, we get a look at the Santa Fe’s forthcoming digital makeover. Displays for the driver and center infotainment system appear to be housed in a wide single screen, stretching from the left side of the dash and curving slightly at the far right. The design is similar to the new Kona; below it in the center stack we see thin vents and a small array of knobs and buttons. Some are easily identifiable, such as temperature and fan speed dials for the climate system, reinforcing Hyundai’s stance that it will not eliminate simple tactile controls in future vehicles.
The center console looks surprisingly empty, but the space could include dedicated wireless charging pads for two phones. Gear selection for the transmission appears to be on the steering wheel column, and there could be a sporty aspect baked into the future SUV as we clearly see paddle shifters behind the thick-rimmed steering wheel.
As for the outside, this prototype still wears the same mix of camouflage wrap and heavy covers we’ve seen in other sightings. It doesn’t hide Hyundai’s decision to give its popular SUV a very boxy makeover, following recent trends by other automakers to recast softer SUVs with tougher styling. Details on the front remain largely hidden, though we think the new Santa Fe will have a slightly smaller grille versus the current model. It also looks like running lights and headlights will be incorporated into a single unit.
Similarly, the rear is also well concealed by the heavy tarp, and there are false panels exaggerating the bodywork underneath. Taillights shine through narrow openings, though it’s not clear if these are production lenses. The prominent exhaust tip and condensation confirm an internal combustion under the hood, though its type and output are still unknown. Hybrid models are likely, but we don’t expect to see a fully electric Santa Fe.
We do expect Hyundai to debut the new Santa Fe in its home market of South Korea later this year, going on sale there as a 2024 model. A global version will follow, which could be for the 2024 or 2025 model year.