The biggest changes can be seen staring at the 2021 Santa Fe head-on. Hyundai's bolted on a slightly different front end that now features a wide, fancy grille taking inspiration from the brand's Vision T Concept, as well as new headlights with LED daytime running lights that appear to cut through the painted sheet metal and integrate themselves into the grille. It's a sharp look that resembles a rotated version of Volvo's Thor's hammer design.
The refreshed Santa Fe's rear end, meanwhile, should feel familiar to anyone who's sat behind Hyundai's mid-size crossover at a red light in the past couple of years. Believe it or not, the taillights here are new and Hyundai even threw in a thin light bar that connects the two, putting the Santa Fe on a trend followed by the upcoming Lexus IS and seemingly every other modern, luxury-ish car.
Hyundai gave the five-passenger Santa Fe's interior an update as well, incorporating a Palisade-style lower cabin area that brings the controls right up to where its occupants' hands are and trades in the old model's traditional gear lever for a set of buttons. As a Santa Fe-first, there's also a new Terrain Mode selector that tells the car whether it's traveling on sand, snow, or mud. Par for the mid-cycle refresh course, its infotainment screen has grown, now measuring 10.25 inches diagonally over the previous model's optional eight inches.
At just two years old, the "outgoing" Santa Fe probably didn't need this update but we're glad to see Hyundai so on top of things even if folks who just bought "new" 2020 Santa Fes probably won't be. Official pricing on the 2021 version has yet to be announced but we don't expect it to deviate much from the current car's starting price of around $27,000.