Across its crossover lineup, we’ve seen major changes in Hyundai’s lineup over the past few years. After the large and in charge Palisade, the refreshed Tucson is also inbound, and now the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is seeing its own set of changes as well. On the styling front, the revised model brings noteworthy changes to the front end and a new posh interior thanks to the range-topping “Calligraphy” trim. This is more than just a facelift, though — Hyundai also installed new powertrains under the hood.
Out are the old 2.4-liter and 2.0-liter turbocharged engines. In their place, we get a larger, 2.5-liter “SmartStream” unit, in naturally-aspirated or turbocharged configurations. The standard version manages 191 horsepower and 182 lb-ft of torque, mating up to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Even in this base configuration, you can still spec front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive. Higher up the power chain, the turbocharged 2.5-liter engine puts out 277 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque, but this time you get an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission in place of a conventional automatic. Hyundai estimates the new turbo engine nets anywhere between a 4 and 9 percent improvement in fuel economy over the old engines thanks to the changes.
The naturally-aspirated 2.5-liter manages up to 26 combined mpg in front-wheel drive guise (24 with AWD). Opt for the turbo version, and fuel economy estimates drop to 25 combined mpg for FWD, and 24 mpg with AWD.
The 2021 Santa Fe goes hybrid, gains more tech
Beyond just replacing the old gasoline engines, the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe offers a new hybrid option as well. The 1.6-liter gasoline engine mates up to a 59 horsepower electric motor, allowing for a combined 225 horsepower and 195 lb-ft of torque. The Santa Fe Hybrid comes standard as an all-wheel drive configuration, while the 1.5-kWh lithium-ion polymer battery pack should help improve efficiency, though no official economy figures have emerged for the electrified model yet.
Hyundai’s SmartSense safety suite has also seen substantial updates across the entire Santa Fe range. Features like Lane Following Assist, Highway Driving Assist and navigation-aided adaptive cruise control are available as part of the suite. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard on the SE, SEL and SEL Convenience models, while a new 10.25-inch infotainment screen is a notable interior update for some higher-range 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe models. On upper trims, the analog gauge cluster has been replaced with a 12.3-inch fully digital unit, while “Smart Park” and the smartphone-enabled Digital Key, Blue Link connectivity system, 8.5-inch head-up display and available 630-watt, 12-speaker premium audio system round out a robust list of creature comforts for this model year.
New Calligraphy trim
Like the Palisade, the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe also adds a luxurious “Calligraphy” trim to the lineup. The new flagship brings features like quilted Nappa leather seats, for a start. The head-up display also comes standard, as does unique 20-inch alloy wheels, more ambient lighting themes and an “eco-suede” headliner. The trim builds on the Limited trim with the more powerful, turbocharged 2.5-liter engine.
Hyundai hasn’t yet announced pricing for the 2021 Santa Fe. We do expect at least a slight shift with the new powertrains and trim level, but we should have that information shortly. The 2.5-liter versions of 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe should hit dealers by the end of 2020. As for the Santa Fe Hybrid, you should be able to find that in dealer lots in early 2021, while a plug-in hybrid is due out later in the year.