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Hyundai Santa Fe 2021: updated large SUV arrives in Australia with new look, tech


The Hyundai Santa Fe large SUV has scored an early mid-life update, with a handsome facelift arriving in Australia this month priced from $44,700 before on-road costs.

The facelifted 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe launched in Australia this week, with the established seven-seat SUV wearing a sleeker appearance and packing heavily updated tech to fight off emerging rivals.

Hyundai has given the exterior design of the fourth-generation Santa Fe, which only launched in 2018, a more modern look with a wide grill connecting to the reshaped headlights and lower secondary lights that now form a ‘T’ shape – and are sure to give it a presence on the road.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2021 Highlander white rear end
The Hyundai Santa Fe has been restyled barely two years since it made its Australian debut

No longer known as the biggest in the Hyundai range, a crown now worn by the Palisade, the Santa Fe has not gone down without a fight; swelling an extra 15mm in length, 10mm in width and 5mm in height.

While the change does make the Santa Fe somewhat larger, those in the second-row back seats have gained an extra 39mm in legroom, which is adjustable for third-row access or to increase the boot space.

For 2021, Hyundai has updated the Santa Fe range, with the previous base model Active simply renamed ‘Santa Fe’ – in line with the brand’s updated Venue small SUV. The new entry grade opens the range at $44,700 before on-road costs, a change of $710 over the 2020 base model.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2021 Highlander white front end
The 2021 Santa Fe features a new headlight design that forms a ‘T’ when switched on

From there, the Santa Fe range moves on to the Active ($48,300) and Elite ($54,300) variants, with the Highlander serving as the flagship option at $61,700, all before on road costs with a price increase of between $1,280 and $2,775.

The 3.5-litre naturally aspirated and direct injected petrol V6 engine is the default option, producing 200kW of power and 331Nm of torque. That motivation is sent to the front wheels only, through a newly-developed eight-speed dual clutch transmission.

Fork out an extra $3,500, on any grade in the 2021 Santa Fe lineup, and you will score the beefy 2.2-litre turbodiesel four-cylinder, producing 148kW of power and a more muscular 440Nm. The diesel continues to be the exclusive all-wheel-drive option in the Santa Fe lineup.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2021 Highlander caramel black interior
The 2021 Santa Fe Highlander features a 10.25-inch multimedia display and a nappa leather interior

Hyundai Australia says the Santa Fe will gain a hybrid powertrain locally by the second half of 2021 that should offer a substantial upgrade in fuel efficiency.

Opt for the base model Santa Fe and you will receive an eight-inch multimedia display with built in Apple CarPlay and Android Auto along with a wireless charging pad as standard.

Hyundai has built out the safety capability of the Santa Fe, with the entire range now available with automatic emergency braking (AEB) with junction detection, drive attention monitoring blind-spot collision avoidance and adaptive cruise control.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2021 Highlander white side profile
The Santa Fe has grow slightly in all dimensions but the rear occupants have gained extra leg room as a result

Step up to the Active grade and your Santa Fe swaps out the black and grey cloth interior for black leather appointed trim. Niceties such as dual-zone climate control and front sensors are also added.

The Elite variant upgrades the eight-inch multimedia screen to a 10.25-inch unit, matched with a Harman Kardon premium audio system and a power tailgate.

On the outside, the Elite and the Highlander swap out the blacked-out grille for a more sophisticated dark-chrome look and 20-inch alloy wheels.

Hyundai Palisade 2021 front
The Hyundai Palisade is now the largest car in the Korean brand’s range

The Highlander cements its place as the flagship model with an additional 12.3-inch LCD screen placed into the instrument cluster and gains a nappa leather interior, panoramic roof and heads-up display to sweeten the driving experience.

A heated steering wheel is included along with a heated and ventilated front bench, those sitting in the rear will only be heated however. Safety is also given a boost with blind spot view monitoring, parking collision avoidance and a remote parking function.

Those looking to hook up a caravan in the holiday season will welcome the upgraded towing capacity from 2,000kg to 2,500kg, while an updated tow-ball weight is now 200kg and should negate the need to upgrade the rear springs for heavy towing.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe: Pricing in Australia before on road costs.

  • Hyundai Santa Fe 3.5 V6 FWD – $44,700 
  • Hyundai Santa Fe 3.5 V6 FWD Active – $48,300 
  • Hyundai Santa Fe 3.5 V6 FWD Elite – $54,300
  • Hyundai Santa Fe 3.5 V6 FWD Highlander – $61,700
  • Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 AWD – $48,200
  • Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 AWD Active – $51,800
  • Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 AWD Elite – $57,800
  • Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 AWD Highlander– $65,200