The latest Hyundai Santa Fe is newer than it looks

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Hyundai hasn’t just given the Santa Fe a new face. The new seven-seat SUV, which for the last few years has been a worthy enough alternative to the Land Rover Discovery Sport and Skoda Kodiaq, actually sits on a brand-new platform.

It’s the first Hyundai in Europe, and the company’s first SUV, to use the “third-generation” platform that underpins the US-market Sonata. Hyundai claims “significant improvements in performance, handling, fuel efficiency and safety” thanks to a lower centre of gravity, better air-flow/aero management, much-improved NVH, as well as a “multi-load path structure” and “super high-tensile steel plate” for better impact absorption.

A new platform means new engines. Hyundai hasn’t released details yet, but says the Santa Fe will be available with hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains that make use of its clever ‘Smartstream’ tech, which involves something called “Continuously Variable Valve Duration”.

The new interior looks smart, and we’re pleased to see Hyundai has kept actual buttons instead of routing as many functions as possible through the touchscreen, which at 10.25-inches is bigger than before. It talks to a new 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Smart in here, no?

The revised interior and exterior design are supposed to make the Santa Fe feel more “sophisticated” and “premium” than its predecessor. Because the bigger the grille, the more premium the car, obviously.

European sales start in September.