Hyundai hopes a roomier, more upscale interior and new technology will help to give its Santa Fe a boost in Europe, which has less appetite for large SUVs than other major markets such as the U.S.
The latest-generation Santa Fe will offer class-leading roominess, new camera-assisted safety features, and a more premium interior, Hyundai said.
The Santa Fe gets a new grille with Hyundai's three-dimensional "cascade" treatment. A long character line running from the headlights to the tail gives the new design a stronger shoulder than its predecessor.
The Santa Fe will be Hyundai's first model to offer rear cross-traffic collision-avoidance system to automatically brake the car if it detects vehicles about to cross its path when reversing, as well as the first to have a system that locks the doors temporarily if traffic is detected when passengers are about to exit. Hyundai will release more technical details later this month.
To help boost interior space, the SUV is 40 mm longer and 10mm wider than the current car.
In the U.S. where it is Hyundai's top-selling light truck, the automaker sold 133,171 Santa Fe units last year, a rise of 1.5 percent. In Europe, 2017 sales fell 26 percent to 11,742 , according to market analyst JATO Dynamics.
The fourth-generation Santa Fe gets a public debut at the Geneva auto show on March 6. European sales will start in the summer, a spokeswoman said. U.S. sales are expected to begin in the third quarter.
Hyundai is expanding its SUV lineup in Europe as part of its bid to become the region’s top-selling Asian brand.
The brand has added the Kona subcompact SUV and reports have said that the automaker will offer long and short wheelbase Sante Fe variants with seven and five seats respectively. The current Santa Fe has five- and seven-seat variants.