There’s a new head-up display of heightened clarity, and the infotainment screen functions as a virtual rear-view mirror to help should the real thing be part-obscured.
Also fitted is Hyundai’s HTRAC all-wheel-drive system, which apportions torque in varying quantities between the axles depending on the conditions, besides braking individual wheels to further improve traction.
This latest Santa Fe is bigger, like almost every other replacement model, although Hyundai has yet to reveal whether it’s any heavier. One ingenious weight-saving and rigidity-enhancing detail is the use of fatter spot welds, which form more robust joints between panels – more of which are high strength pressings.
While the 2018 Santa Fe rides on an all-new platform, the powertrains are carried over. The main engine for the UK will be the current 2.2-litre 194bhp diesel, available either with a six-speed manual or an eight-speed automatic. A 2.4-litre petrol may come here. That there is no 1.6-litre turbo petrol option, a powertrain that might better suit European buyers, underlines the Santa Fe’s American and Asian focus.
What's it like?
The Santa Fe’s cabin is certainly different from the previous model; whether it’s actually any better is probably more a matter of taste.
Still, there are those adaptive instruments (likely to be an option on European-spec cars), an inductive mobile phone charging pad and the excellent new head-up display. Sadly the soft-touch plastics do not extend to the centre console or the unlined glovebox, both of which look rental car cheap.
More important than these details are a particularly comfortable driving position and a spacious cabin. That applies to the boot, too. And all occupants enjoy the good view offered by the Santa Fe’s enlarged glasshouse.
We should be pleased that the smaller 2.0-litre diesel provided for test is not UK-bound, the engine’s oily diet often loudly obvious. Its optional automatic is too willing to change up too early, blunting the Santa Fe’s advance, although you can in part fix this by selecting Sport mode. You will feel the resultant enlivening, but the aural evidence of its gear selection strategy is prominent enough that you’ll soon be returning to the Comfort setting, or the throttle-dulling, fuel-saving Eco mode.
Happily, we know that the existing 2.2 diesel that the UK will get instead is a far better engine, working particularly well with an automatic transmission.