2021 Hyundai Santa Fe: New Engines, Hot Hatch-Worthy Specs, and an Android-Only Key

A new turbo engine puts down 277 hp and 311 lb-ft. while a new Hybrid model keeps things green.

In case you haven’t heard, Hyundai is giving the Santa Fe a mid-cycle refresh for the 2021 model year and on top of the fairly extensive aesthetic changes we already saw back in June, the crossover is getting a thorough revision under the skin as well. Buyers of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe will be greeted by an all-new slate of powertrains including a new hybrid option as well as a hearty helping of improved tech features.

Let’s start with those new engines. Hyundai has completely thrown out the outgoing Santa Fe’s 2.4- and 2.0-liters in exchange for a 191-horsepower 2.5-liter, and a presumably speedier and more expensive 277-hp 2.5-liter turbo. The turbo makes a strong 311 pound-feet of torque and will be paired to an eight-speed, wet, dual-clutch transmission. Surprising stuff for a Hyundai product that doesn’t come with an N or N Line badge.

Despite the increased displacement and hot hatch-worthy specs, the new engines are said to be a bit more efficient than the ones they replace. Speaking of efficiency, the Santa Fe’s facelift also sees the introduction of a Hybrid model. Using a 1.6-liter turbo working in tandem with a 44-kW electric motor, the 2021 Santa Fe Hybrid will put down 225 total system hp and 195 lb-ft. to all four wheels.

Stepping inside, the two infotainment screens on offer now measure eight and 10.25 inches—the Santa Fe used seven- and eight-inch units before—while the optional digital instrument cluster is now 12.3 inches corner to corner. The rest of the interior has been further upgraded with more upscale materials, and, rather pragmatically, a half cubic foot of extra cargo volume thanks to “optimized interior packaging.”

Hyundai is also boasting a segment-exclusive Digital Key feature that lets you unlock, lock, and start the Santa Fe all from a mobile app. The Digital Key can even be shared with others, a premise not dissimilar to Apple CarKey which is being rolled out on the new BMW 5 Series. The catch with Hyundai’s Digital Key app, however, is that it’s currently only available on Android. I mean, for a company that comes from the same country as Samsung, what did you expect?

Other tech additions include Harman Kardon premium audio, Remote Smaht Pahk, wireless charging, and available wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Gas-only versions of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe will hit American dealerships by the end of the year while the Santa Fe Hybrid will be coming in 2021.

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