The competition among two-row midsize SUVs includes an extensive field of contenders striving to take over the top spot. Hyundai maintains a position near the top of the heap with its 2021 Santa Fe. Upgrades to this year’s Santa Fe were minimal, including a new exterior design and some engine upgrades, as the carmaker took a more conservative design approach. Rather than doing anything extreme, it seems that Hyundai has borrowed some design features from other successful models, which includes the automaker’s own highly competitive three-row Palisade.
The interior of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe was inspired by the Palisade
Cars.com noted that the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe looks like the smaller twin brother of the 2021 Hyundai Palisade most noticeably from the front due to its new grille, lighting, and front bumper designs. Changes that included a new rear bumper design, wheels, and power-folding side mirrors with puddle lighting also copy big brother. However, its interior is where the 2021 Santa Fe most closely resembles the Palisade.
The center console of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is a replica of the same high-perched, angled positioning of the Palisade. The 2021 Santa Fe center console also floats, allowing for extra storage underneath. Conspicuously positioned above the center console of the Santa Fe is its all-new 10.25-inch touchscreen infotainment display, just like the one in big brother. The same touches of luxury added to the Palisade, which include a 12.3-inch instrument panel and Nappa leather upholstery, are also among the Santa Fe’s 2021 updates.
The upscale Calligraphy trim added to the 2021 Palisade is also being made available for the Santa Fe in 2021. The Calligraphy package features on both models include quilted Nappa leather upholstery, along with trim-specific wheels and expanded ambient lighting themes. All in all, rather than spending the extra money to design a unique interior on the Santa Fe, Hyundai resized what it was already using in the interior of the Palisade, which might not be a bad strategy.
The engine was upgraded as well
The exterior and interior design features closely follow the same pattern of the 2021 Palisade, Hyundai gave the 2021 Santa Fe its own unique engine upgrades. Standard packages will include a 2.5-liter four-cylinder capable of 191 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque linked to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The same engine will be available with both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive. Combined EPA fuel economy estimates show a 4 percent improvement over the 2020 FWD Santa Fe’s at 26 mpg while AWD fuel economy estimates remain unchanged at 24 mpg.
Powering Calligraphy trim Santa Fe models in 2021 is a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder with the capacity to put out 277 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque, compared to the 235 hp and 260 lb-ft provided by the 2.0-liter turbo-four included in last year’s highest trim level. Combined mpg ratings on this engine option represent a 9 percent improvement over last year’s fuel economies at 25 mpg FWD and 24 mpg AWD.
Hyundai added a hybrid option to Santa Fe in 2021
The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe escapes big brother’s shadow by offering a hybrid option. Santa Fe’s hybrid package includes a turbocharged 1.6-liter four-cylinder linked to an electric motor and lithium-ion battery pack. Estimated total system power output at 225 hp and 195 lb-ft of torque available to all four wheels. AWD will be the only available option with the hybrid package, which will also come with a six-speed automatic transmission specifically tuned to provide optimal efficiency, economy and driving performance.
Copying the Palisade design is a positive step for the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
Sometimes it is best to leave well enough alone when you find a winning combination. This seems to be the approach taken by Hyundai by duplicating the design features of the 2021 Palisade on the 2021 Santa Fe. Though the smaller two-row midsize SUV was given engine upgrades (including a hybrid option) unique to it, copying the Palisade’s design is a positive step for the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe.