Hyundai waves off its 'cascading' grille design for a bold, aggressive and premium new look.
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The new-look 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe has been unveiled today, following the release of two shadowy teaser images in May.

As promised in those earlier photos, the updated Hyundai Santa Fe introduces a wide new grille design that tapers at each end to form what will likely be a new theme for the wider Hyundai range. (CarAdvice reader Jack Sprat describes the grille as a rolling pin, and this writer can't unsee it.)

Those tapered points house the headlights, bisected by slender LED bands that reach up to form a T shape inside the high-mounted daytime lights.

Two versions of the grille's patterned inserts are offered, one a more conventional mesh type and the other a more shield-like design with repeating inverse triangle plates.

A new lower bumper and air dam round out the styling changes at the front end.

Subtly widened wheel arches feature along the profile to "accentuate the SUV's rugged and powerful character", and 20-inch wheels fill out the corners of the high-spec example shown here.

At the rear, the Santa Fe's tail-lamps retain the same shape as before, but a bold new Audi-like LED signature is now featured.

A slender LED band connects the tail-lights, replacing the chrome garnish worn by the outgoing model.

A new bumper design with grey or body-coloured and satin silver inserts feature at the rear, along with a reflector band running the width of the design.

Inside, the upper dash design is unchanged except for the appearance of a larger, button-free 10.25-inch display to replace the 8.0-inch unit used before.

A large digital instrument display also sits behind the steering wheel.

Below, the 2021 Santa Fe takes a cue from the bigger Palisade offered overseas, featuring a big new centre console that sits higher to create a lounge-like effect.

The Santa Fe's drive-by-wire transmission sees a push-button gear selector replace the traditional lever, and a set of new system controls are arrayed across the top of the console.

For the first time, the Santa Fe features a Terrain Mode selector, allowing options – such as sand, snow and mud, as well as eco, sport, comfort and smart modes – to be selected via the rotary dial on the right-hand side of the console.

Further details on the refreshed Santa Fe are still to come, including confirmation of enhancements or changes to its mechanical package and equipment list.

Still unclear are details on the 2021 Santa Fe's engine line-up, but we expect carry-over powertrains for the Australian market – despite an understanding (still to be announced) that this midlife makeover will be a facelift up top, while the Hyundai Group's new N3 modular architecture will sit underneath.

As with the new Sorento (and Hyundai's new Sonata), this will enable new hybrid and plug-in hybrid EV models to be offered, though an Australian launch for those models are not expected in this generation.

The Australian Santa Fe range expanded last year to include a front-wheel drive petrol 3.5-litre V6 powertrain, replacing the existing naturally-aspirated petrol four-pot.

A turbo-diesel option is also available with all-wheel drive.

When will the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe come to Australia?

The new-look Santa Fe will launch in Australia in the second half of 2020, with exact timing and details still to be revealed.

When it arrives, the popular Santa Fe will have a new-generation Toyota Kluger to compete with – including a new hybrid model that will likely prove popular, if Toyota's newly expanded hybrid range is any indication.

BELOW: The current Santa Fe when it was revealed in early 2018