Powered by
Subscribe to the only car newsletter you’ll ever need

Hyundai Santa Fe 2023: Land Rover Defender-inspired design previewed in new render


Renders of Hyundai’s next-generation Santa Fe have been shared ahead of the seven-seat SUV’s official debut

Spy shots of Hyundai’s incoming new-generation Santa Fe have inspired an artist’s render that shows off the seven-seat SUV’s Land Rover Defender-like design.

The image released by South Korean graphic designer, NY Mammoth, capitalises on the more boxy dimensions of the fifth-generation Santa Fe prototype, showing a drastic departure from the sleek lines of the current model.

Land Rover Defender 2021 front driving
The Santa Fe appears to have borrowed some styling cues from the Land Rover Defender

The inbound Santa Fe is referred to internally as the ‘MX5’ (unrelated to Mazda’s iconic roadster of the same name) and is expected to make its debut in Australia in late 2023.

When it arrives in Australia, the Santa Fe will do battle against other popular seven-seat SUVs such as the Kia Sorento, Toyota Kluger and Mazda CX-9.

Tougher, bolder design

Key design features like the prototype’s rectangular headlights have been used in the render, with the designer adding a leading line that provides some resemblance to the Range Rover Sport.

Adding to this retro four-wheel-drive look is the addition of a high-raked windscreen, though images of the prototype suggest it will be more conservative in production form.

South Korean graphic designer, NY Mammoth, based his render off of spy photographs of the Santa Fe prototype

Interior photos of the prototype’s leather seats feature an embossed logo consisting of a horizontal line with two vertical lines on either end, details which some have speculated could resemble the LED headlight signature in the final model.

Other notable design cues of the render include the two-tone body style that provides a more rugged look, the chrome grille between the headlights and the minimalist alloy wheel design that ties in with the rest of the exterior.

Hybrid drivetrains expected

As Hyundai continues its shift towards electrified drivetrains, the Santa Fe is expected to feature a familiar range of petrol, diesel and hybrid options.

The current, fourth-generation Santa Fe is sold overseas with a plug-in hybrid and ‘self-charging’ series-parallel hybrid option, with the latter slated to arrive in Australia later this year.

Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander 2021 front end
It’s a clear departure from the sleek design of the current model

Australian buyers are currently offered a front-wheel-drive 200kW/331Nm 3.5-litre petrol V6 or a 148kW/440Nm 2.2-litre turbo-diesel four-cylinder paired to an all-wheel-drive system.

While Hyundai has strenuously denied previous reports that it’s halting the development of its future combustion engines, it’s more likely than not that we will see an evolution of the current powertrains in the next model. 

It’s possible that a fully-electric version could join the line-up, but this role is more likely to be filled by the Ioniq 7 which is estimated to make its debut in 2024.