2024 Hyundai Santa Fe ‘MX5’ prototype spotted; bigger, Defender-like design?

Brett Davis

The 2024, fifth-generation Hyundai Santa Fe, codenamed MX5, has been spotted in prototype form, revealing evidence of a larger body structure than before and some new-look H-themed headlights.

The new model is set to showcase a fresh design language, not only for the nameplate but also for the Hyundai brand. Indications suggest a slab-like body stature, with a long and flat roofline and upright glasshouse, a bit like the current Land Rover Defender.

This will be a shift away from the curvy design theme applied to the current model. Perhaps most importantly, the new model is set to be a lot bigger than the current version. That’s going to be important since the current model is only 35mm wider and 45mm taller than the latest Tucson. In fact, the wheelbase is only 10mm longer, which is obviously not much.

While we don’t have dimension figures at hand, these spy images – showing a prototype version of the new model during transportation – clearly suggest there is a much larger stature in store.

This is going to be a bit strange since the Palisade already occupies the upper end of the large SUV segment. However, the Santa Fe is likely to be more focused on practicality and utilitarian duties while the Palisade is pitched as a luxury item.

Some speculative renders have surfaced online potentially giving us an idea of the new design direction of the Santa Fe. Instagram page, kolesaru, has come up with some renderings based on various spy shots. They depict a new H-pattern headlight theme, as well as a upright torso and tall cabin orientation as mentioned above.

Powertrain options are set to incorporate a 1.6-litre turbo-petrol hybrid and plug-in hybrid, finally, with the current model still yet to be offered with electrification. That’s despite its sister car, the Kia Sorento, being offered in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid forms, even in Australia.

According to reports out of Korea, such as from KoreanCarBlog, Hyundai will debut the MX5 Santa Fe some time before the middle of 2023. If that’s the case we’d anticipate an Australia arrival by late in 2023 or the first half of 2024.

UPDATE: We found a spy video which outlines some more details and more clues. See below:

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