SUVs

Hyundai Santa Fe successor coming next month

The Korean automaker is touting new safety features on its fourth-generation crossover SUV.

The Santa Fe was Hyundai's first crossover SUV, and soon, it will once again be its newest. Come next month, the automaker will reveal an all-new fourth generation of its largest utility vehicle, and while it's only offering us a shadowy glimpse of the new model right now, it's already talking up some new safety features.

The new Santa Fe will initially be shown next month in its home market, Korea, before heading to the Geneva Motor Show in March for its auto show debut.

The preview teaser shown below doesn't reveal much about the new generation, but the design does appear to have slightly more aggressive front and rear light clusters than today's model, as well as greater surfacing detail on its doors. Hyundai's styling has been growing more assertive as of late, but the family-minded Santa Fe will almost certainly avoid the audacious look of the brand's new Kona subcompact CUV and Nexo fuel-cell vehicle in favor of something more mainstream.

Hyundai's new Santa Fe will bow in February in Korea, before heading to the Geneva show.

Hyundai

The next Santa Fe (set to arrive as a 2019 model) will feature a new "Rear Occupant Alert Monitor" that Hyundai claims is an industry-first feature. So far, the company is declining to elaborate on what that means, but it has shared that the tech will be used to detect passengers and "alert the driver when leaving the car." 

At least in terms of intent, the system sounds outwardly similar to the Rear Seat Reminder tech that's employed on over 20 General Motors models, a feature that warns parents to not accidentally leave small children in their vehicles. Nissan recently added a similar alert to its Pathfinder

The goal is to avoid the "hot car" deaths that claim an average of 37 young lives per year.

GM's warning system simply triggers audible and gauge-cluster reminders when the rear-seat door switches (the same hardware that turns on the dome light automatically) have been cycled while the vehicle is running, or up to 10 minutes before the vehicle is turned on. It's not immediately clear how the new Santa Fe differs from GM's RSR, but "Monitor" suggests the system may employ some sort of more sophisticated cabin sensor to detect occupants.

The grille may change on the next-gen Santa Fe, but the badge won't.

Hyundai

Today's third-generation Santa Fe is already available with Rear Cross-Traffic Collision warning, but the new model will go a step further by adding automatic braking, a feature that should be useful for helping avoid parking-lot accidents and backover injuries.

The Santa Fe has been in production since the 2001 model year, and beginning in 2012 in its third generation, the nameplate expanded to include two distinct variants, a longer-wheelbase three-row model and a shorter two-row model called Santa Fe Sport. 

It is not immediately clear if Hyundai will continue this strategy, but in light of the apparent size of the vehicle in the teaser image and its long windowline, it seems likely that this is a three-row model. Given the industry-wide rising tide lifting sales of crossover SUVs, it seems like a safe bet that the company will eventually show more than one version.

In 2017, Hyundai sold 133,171 Santa Fe models, making it one of the brand's most popular vehicles.