Hyundai Motor's face-lifted Santa Fe practically parks itself

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Hyundai Motor's face-lifted Santa Fe practically parks itself

Hyundai Motor unveiled a face-lifted Santa Fe midsize SUV in Korea on Tuesday through an online streaming event. [HYUNDAI MOTOR]

Hyundai Motor unveiled a face-lifted Santa Fe midsize SUV in Korea on Tuesday through an online streaming event. [HYUNDAI MOTOR]

 
Hyundai Motor’s face-lifted Santa Fe SUV is a rethink of design, implementing elements that echo the automaker’s family look.  
 
The automaker held an online event on Tuesday, introducing a partially revamped version of the fourth generation Santa Fe, which was launched in 2018.  
 
The face-lift comes as Hyundai Motor struggles with weak sales amid the coronavirus pandemic.
 
One of the most noticeable changes are the sharper and slimmer headlamps, which have become a common design element for the company since the introduction of the Kona small SUV in 2017.  
 
A T-shaped daytime running lamp (DRL) was also newly added to the vehicle. The vertical DRL design was first utilized in Hyundai Motor’s large-size Palisade SUV.  
 
In contrast to the vehicle's slim headlights, the radiator grille has gotten wider, extending further to each side of the vehicle’s front, compared to the previous version.  
 
A horizontal air intake juxtaposed right below the grille helps the SUV look wider look and more stable.  
 
The latest Santa Fe is slightly bigger than the previous version. Its length extended by 15 millimeters (1 inch), while the legroom in the second row is increased by 34 millimeters. Luggage room behind the second row is up by 9 liters.  
 
As quasi-autonomous driving technology is no longer considered an option but a must for new models, the latest Santa Fe SUV also came newly equipped with smart driving features, including lane following assist, reverse parking collision-avoidance assist and remote smart parking assist.  
 
Remote smart parking assist allows the vehicle to either go forward or go backward with a press of a button on the key with the driver standing outside. It is considered especially useful in Korea, where parking lots are cramped most of the time.  
 
The diesel engine version will launch first in Korea on July 2 with upgraded fuel efficiency of 14.2 kilometers (8.8 miles) per liter, which is 4.4 percent more efficient compared to the previous model. Its price will start from 31.2 million won ($25,900).  
 
Near the end of this year, Hyundai Motor said it will add a gasoline-powered model to the market.  
 
Hyundai Motor’s Santa Fe SUV has been one of the bestselling models for the automaker. It is the first SUV in Korea to surpass an yearly sales of 100,000. In 2018, it sold 107,202 units, followed by 86,190 units in 2019.  
 
“The new Santa Fe, with its enhanced safety and convenient functions, is expected to cater to customers who are thinking about buying a car for the family,” the company said in a release.  
 
BY JIN EUN-SOO   [jin.eunsoo@joongang.co.kr]
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