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2021 Hyundai Santa Fe plug-in hybrid will sport 261 hp

And the regular hybrid powertrain will hit the road with 227 horsepower.

Hyundai Santa Fe
Another plug-in SUV will soon be sold in the US.

Last month, the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe entered the world, and although it doesn't look revolutionary on the outside, everything underneath is a big leap forward from the current SUV. And now, we have the latest details on the Santa Fe's new powertrains.

Courtesy of Hyundai's European arm, the brand detailed the two new hybrid powertrains that will debut in the Santa Fe. The first is a traditional hybrid powertrain Hyundai named the Smartstream engine. The second is a plug-in hybrid system that will come later, which also uses the Smartstream engine as a starting point.

Hyundai Smartstream hybrid engine

Here's Hyundai's latest labor of love.


Both feature a 1.6-liter turbo-four engine, while the standard hybrid works with a 59-horsepower electric motor and 1.49 kilowatt hour lithium-ion battery. Power flows to either the front wheels or all four, and in total it has 227 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque.

As for the plug-in hybrid powertrain, the e-motor's power climbs to 90 hp and it gets a bigger 13.8 kWh battery. Hyundai didn't talk about range, but the still-smallish battery likely won't touch, say, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 Prime's estimated 42 miles of electric range. This powertrain does host more power altogether, with 261 hp on tap. Torque stays the same as for the standard hybrid, strangely enough.

Each Santa Fe will pack a new six-speed automatic transmission, which Hyundai said will double down on fuel efficiency compared with the outgoing unit. Both hybrid powertrains will also house Continuously Variable Valve Duration technology. We saw Kia announce this with the Optima-replacing 2021 K5 sedan, and if you didn't catch how it works, it basically gives the valves inside the engine the freedom to stay open or closed for various lengths of time. Thus, Hyundai and Kia promise better performance and fuel economy.

The standard hybrid powertrain is a tad murky, but Roadshow understands the plug-in hybrid system for Europe will be nearly identical to the one offered in the US, save for standard homologation requirements and other small details. What the US certainly won't get is a new diesel engine married to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission. That'll be just for Europe and other parts of the world.

The new Santa Fe is set to go on sale in Europe this September, so we should have more details, and an on-sale date for the US, quite soon.

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