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Santa Fe XRT on Hyundai Australia Xmas list

Aussie Hyundai outfit interested as outdoorsy Santa Fe XRT flagship debuts in LA

20 Nov 2023

THE futuristic new Hyundai Santa Fe model has spawned a rugged XRT flagship variant that headlined the large SUV’s public debut at the recent Los Angeles motor show. 


In similar vein to Subaru’s ‘Wilderness’ variants that feature factory off-road modifications, the top-of-the-line Santa Fe XRT scores visual and functional upgrades aimed at adventurers, including larger all-terrain tyres, an extra 38mm of ground clearance and an increased towing capacity of 2041kg


GoAuto understands that Hyundai is aiming to develop XRT as an outdoorsy sub-brand in a similar way to its high-performance ‘N’ offerings and that an upcoming electrified ute from the car-maker is earmarked to be something of a hero platform for XRT, much as the i30 is for N.


So far restricted to the North American market, the Santa Fe XRT could make its way Down Under if Hyundai’s Australian outpost has anything to say about it.


“We take a keen interest in all future Hyundai product, and XRT would make a great addition to our all-new Santa Fe range, but at this stage nothing is confirmed,” said Hyundai Australia public relations and customer service relations senior manager Guido Schenken. 


“XRT is currently only available to the North American market.”


A Santa Fe Overlander Accessory Concept was also on display in LA to show the XRT’s customisation potential, its ladder-accessed roof rack packed with all the goodies for a weekend away off the beaten track.


Hyundai’s ‘HTrac’ all-wheel drive system does not offer features such as low range which many Australians have come to expect in an off-road vehicle, nor is the XRT’s beefed-up towing capacity that high, meaning it cannot serve as a genuine alternative to a Toyota LandCruiser Prado. 


Hyundai Australia told GoAuto the new Santa Fe is on track to reach dealers within the first half of 2024, with more details to come closer to its local arrival.


It is suspected that the bigger, feature-rich new Santa Fe will cost more than the outgoing model which is priced from $46,050 to $69,550 before on-road costs. 


The current-generation Santa Fe will also be the last to be offered with diesel or V6 petrol engines, drive instead coming from a 2.5-litre four-cylinder turbo-petrol developing 207kW/422Nm and a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol hybrid producing a combined output of 173kW/367Nm.


The design theme, ‘Open for More’, positions the Santa Fe as an urban exploration vehicle with the ability to embark on soft-roading adventures should owners wish to venture off the blacktop. 


Offering a major makeover from the smooth lines and somewhat suburban aesthetic of the current Santa Fe, the new model is modern, boxy and on-trend with a silhouette that looks more Land Rover than Hyundai at first glance.


The classy SUV is clearly a more ambitious offering, too, delivering a do-it-all family vehicle with loads of tech and luxury lifestyle features aimed to keep all three rows comfortable, entertained and hygienic. 


Yes, hygienic, because Hyundai has even fitted a UV sterilisation tray on certain spec grades to keep two phones free of bacteria as they charge. 


If the new Santa Fe looks larger than the outgoing model, that is because it is at 4830mm long and 1720mm tall, as a result offering a sizeable 725 litres of storage with the second row in place. 


The larger dimensions also make for significantly more space inside the cabin, which Hyundai says offers a ‘terrace-like living space’ with the extra wide tailgate opening to connect occupants with the outside environment – when stationary, of course.


A mix of eco-friendly soft and hard materials are used throughout the luxurious interior, while a large panoramic display, consisting of dual 12.3-inch screens, handles infotainment. 


Hyundai’s full suite of safety technology is featured on the Santa Fe including an attention warning system that monitors vital signs and inputs of the driver, warning them if ‘low driving attentiveness’ is detected. 


“Today, we have a well-recognized and respected portfolio of 14 SUV models that include internal combustion engine, hybrid, plug-in hybrid, electric and hydrogen fuel cell electric models,” said Hyundai Motor North America president and chief executive, José Muñoz.


“With the 2024 Santa Fe, we continue our impressive transformation of the Hyundai brand and the broader SUV landscape. 


“Our newest Santa Fe will attract even more customers with its bold, distinctive design identity, spacious interior design, and unique ability to fuse urban customer lifestyles with the natural outside environment.”

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