First unveiled in June, the new 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is a very handsome SUV and it’s as heavy as facelifts come too, as there’s a new platform underneath. Now, it seems that the big SUV will get a range of N Performance Parts in its domestic market of South Korea.

The catalogue of parts include a new grille with vertical slats and a unique bumper, which combine for a more aggressive face. The original grille design has a geometric patterned inlay that appears like cascading scales, and there’s also a chain link style version, so this aftermarket one stands out.

Instead of a straight front lip, the N Performance bumper has an upturned centre section and the visual effect of two square vents at the sides. Copper highlights are found on the grille slats, the lower border of the full-width grille and the lip.

At the side, there are unique 21-inch wheels with N centre caps and more copper accents. The wheels are paired with Michelin Pilot Sport UHP rubber and behind the spokes are red brake calipers with N Performance branding. The largest stock wheels are 20-inch items, so this is a step up. This black example also sports side skirts and roof rails.

At the back, there are double rear spoilers (!) and a new rear bumper made aggressive by a carbon finish rear diffuser. There are four visible tail pipes here compared to none on the standard car. Not quite obvious in these images are a carbon caps for the wing mirrors and a bonnet carbon garnish.

Inside, there are sports seats with a quilted pattern, Alcantara bolsters (also on the dash) and a red centre line. The seat backs have CF trim and there are screens attached to them for the rear passengers.

Speaking of the interior, the 2021 Santa Fe’s twin-cowl dashboard is familiar, but the high centre console is new and now sits on a sloping angle. On the “floating panel” the controls are new and the traditional shifter has been replaced by buttons. For the first time, the Santa Fe comes with a Terrain Mode selector – a control knob for Eco, Sport, Comfort and Smart drive modes, as well as the HTRAC all-wheel-drive system’s sand, snow and mud presets.

As mentioned earlier, this is no mere facelift, as the 2021 Santa Fe is built on an “Integrated Architecture” with ‘Smartstream’ hybrid and plug-in hybrid options available for the first time. The carmaker says that the new Santa Fe will be the first Hyundai model in Europe (launching there in September) and first Hyundai SUV globally based on the new third-gen vehicle platform, which allows for improvements in performance, handling and safety, as well as facilitating electrified powertrains.

The new platform improves air movement through the engine bay and allows heat to dissipate. This enhances stability in the lower part of the vehicle, which is further enhanced by the lowered position of heavy equipment within the platform. The fixed points for the steering arms have been positioned closer to the middle of the front wheels, allowing for more agile handling, Hyundai says. NVH has also been worked on.

More on the new 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe here.


GALLERY: 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe

GALLERY: 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe in Malaysia