Six months after the new Hyundai Santa Fe was previewed at the Kuala Lumpur International Motor Show (KLIMS) in November, Hyundai-Sime Darby Motors (HSDM) has finally announced the start of sales in the country. The fourth-generation TM model is available in 2.4 MPi 2WD petrol and 2.2 CRDi AWD diesel forms, both of which come in Executive and Premium variants.

Let’s start with the most important piece of information, pricing. As revealed earlier, the petrol models are priced at RM169,888 for the Executive variant and RM189,888 for the Premium, while the diesels retail at RM191,888 and RM211,888 respectively. All prices, valid until end-June, are on-the-road without insurance, inclusive of a five-year, unlimited-mileage warranty and three-year/50,000 km free servicing.

The variants are identical across both powertrain options, which include a 2.4 litre Theta II MPi naturally-aspirated petrol engine that delivers 172 PS at 6,000 rpm and 225 Nm of torque at 4,000 rpm. Power is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission.

The 2.2 litre R CRDi turbodiesel, meanwhile, puts out 193 PS at 3,800 rpm and a stout 440 Nm from 1,750 to 2,750 rpm. It is mated to a new eight-speed automatic and Hyundai’s HTRAC variable all-wheel drive system capable of sending up to 35% of torque to the rear wheels (50% in Sport mode).

The new Santa Fe certainly cuts a distinctive figure, with a more assertive design compared to its handsome-but-milquetoast predecessor. At the front, there are dual-tier headlights that can now be found on other Hyundai SUVs like the Kona and Venue, with a slim row of LED daytime running lights up top and larger main units underneath. There’s also the brand’s latest Cascading Grille.

Along the side, you’ll find squared-off wheel arches accentuated by black cladding and prominent lines around it, while a simple character line stretches from the headlights to the wraparound two-piece tail lights. The indicators and reverse lights have been cast off into the bumper, where you’ll also find swathes of black plastic and a large silver protective guard.

Break out the measuring tape and you’ll realise that the new Santa Fe is a big car. Measuring 4,770 mm long, 1,890 mm wide and 1,680 mm tall, it’s 80 mm longer and 10 mm wider than before, and its 2,765 mm wheelbase is 65 mm longer.

Inside, there’s a sweeping three-tier dashboard – the freestanding infotainment display sits up top, followed by the slim air vents in the middle and the rest of the switchgear down below. Hyundai says the cabin uses high-quality materials and colours, and prioritises customer convenience.

Practicality, a major consideration for buyers in this segment, has also been improved. The increased length and wheelbase provides what Hyundai claims is best-in-class legroom for the second row, while third-row headroom has also been increased.

Entry and egress for those in the last row has also been made easier thanks to a one-touch tilt-and-slide second row, while a pair of buttons in the boot can be used to fold those seats down to increase luggage space from 547 litres (with the third row folded) to 1,625 litres.

Under the skin, the new Santa Fe has been tuned to deliver greater vehicle stability, comfort and refinement, thanks to a revised suspension setup that is stiffer and angled more vertically for a longer travel length. Road noise is also reduced through the use of more sound deadening materials.

In terms of equipment, the Executive models come with projector halogen headlights, 18-inch two-tone alloy wheels, keyless entry, push-button start, cruise control, dual-zone climate control with ioniser, a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, black leather upholstery, a freestanding seven-inch infotainment touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity and a reverse camera.

For an extra RM20,000, the Premium variants add adaptive LED headlights, LED tail lights, LED fog lights, 19-inch alloys, leather dashboard trim, an eight-way powered passenger seat with Toyota Camry-style shoulder buttons, a seven-inch Supervision instrument display, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror and a powered tailgate. They also receive an optional burgundy interior colour scheme with suede headlining, costing an extra RM2,000 (the other colours you see here are not representative of the actual cars).

Safety-wise, the Santa Fe comes with six airbags, ABS with EBD and brake assist, stability control, hill descent control and ISOFIX second-row child seat anchors, but only the Premium variants get blind spot monitoring with rear cross traffic alert and a novel Rear Occupant Alert (ROA) that warns you if a child is left in a seat behind. There’s still no autonomous emergency braking here.

GALLERY: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.4 MPi Executive


GALLERY: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.4 MPi Premium
GALLERY: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Executive
GALLERY: 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Premium