However, unlike all other SR models currently sold, the Santa Fe retains the same engine offered across the range, a 2.2-litre turbo diesel four-cylinder producing 145kW and 436Nm. It is available with a six-speed automatic gearbox as standard.
Still, Hyundai says the new model has been designed to “look, stop and corner harder” than the standard Santa Fe, and promises a “more dynamic and more responsive driving experience”.
As such there are changes to the way the car has been set up to perform, including larger cross-drilled Brembo brakes with four-piston calipers up-front and two-piston rear calipers that are said to improve stopping power by eight per cent.
Other changes include charcoal-finish 19-inch OZ Racing wheels with Michelin Latitude Tour tyres (235/55), while the car rides on H&R sports springs.
Cosmetically, the SR sees a range of changes including a full body kit comprising a revised lower front bumper, side skirts and a rear diffuser. In other markets the SR model will be offered with a dual exhaust system, but Hyundai Australia is opting to retain the single exhaust system of the regular model as that means it can retain a full-size spare wheel.
The SR builds on the list of standard gear offered in the top-end Highlander, including leather trim, panoramic glass roof, lane departure warning, reverse-view camera, front and rear parking sensors and 7.0-inch touchscreen media system.
However, the car's new rubber means that SR models miss out on the semi-automated parking system offered on the Highlander.
Pricing for the Santa Fe SR is yet to be confirmed, though it is likely to be the flagship model in the range, priced above the $53,240 Highlander model.
All Santa Fe SR models are tooled from the factory floor by the company’s customisation team in Ulsan, South Korea.