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Moving upmarket: First images of plush new Hyundai Santa Fe

By Paul Connolly

Hyundai has released the first new images of the plush new Santa Fe SUV, which is due to be officially unveiled next month.

The new-look Santa Fe, the company’s largest passenger car, has an even more upmarket and premium feel than the outgoing model.

This is further proof, if any was needed, of the Korean manufacturer’s drive upmarket into territory once dominated by the likes of BMW and Mercedes.

They may be based on the other side of the globe but Hyundai seems to understand exactly where drivers in Europe are coming from.

The design and build quality improves not just with every new model, but with every upgrade.  And the new, fourth generation Santa Fe is the latest move in that direction.

A bit of history; from its founding as an engineering and construction company in 1947, the company launched Hyundai Motor Company in 1967.

It gained a name internationally for making value-based cars, but in 1998 Hyundai set about turning itself into a world-class brand.

The launch in 2007 of the i30 hatchback and the second generation Santa Fe saw Hyundai make significant claim to be heading into previously unexplored (for Asian brands) world of premium or near-premium cars, challenging the likes of Volkswagen and starting to nip at the heels of giants like Audi.

The two shots released of the new Santa Fe so far show the front and interior of the car, with plush leather and a sharper external design underlining the move upmarket.

Boasting “class-leading roominess”, Hyundai says the new car has a modern and elegant appearance with eye-catching twin headlights and the Cascading Grille, Hyundai’s SUV-family identity.

The exterior design is characterised by a wide stance and an athletic look with refined lines that reinforce the car’s status at the top of Hyundai’s SUV line-up.

The Santa Fe interior design combines premium quality with a horizontal and roomy layout and enhanced visibility.

It is 4,770 mm long, 1,890 mm wide and has a longer wheelbase than its predecessor.

Claiming “best-in-class safety features”, the company’s SmartSense technology offers the latest active safety features.

Rear Cross-Traffic Collision-Avoidance Assist, for example is a first, for Hyundai.

When reversing out of areas with low visibility, the system not only warns the driver if vehicles approach from the side – it also applies the brakes automatically.

The Safety Exit Assist prevents accidents when vehicles approach from behind by temporarily locking the doors, so that passengers will exit the car safely.

Expect more details next month when the car is officially launched at the Geneva Motor Show.

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