By Asian Journal Auto Editor

The new 2019 Santa Fe is the fourth generation of the Korean automakers excellent SUV and arrives with a new look, more technology and a plethora of innovative safety features. It now features a more cohesive visage with its confident, sleek lines, larger honeycomb grille and cool looking twin headlights. The new five-seater Santa Fe is tad bigger by 70 mm in length, and arrives in a new range of brighter color options and with a selection of wheel sizes and design for some semi customization. It is also lighter with more aluminum and high-strength steel in the body structure and suspension. Prices start at $28,999 for the Essential trim level with front-wheel drive and a 2.4-litre, four-cylinder, 185 horsepower engine. There are actually two engine options in the range, the 2.4-litre unit, and a 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder with 235 hp and 260 lb.-ft. torque. There is also a new eight speed transmission. There are four trim levels to choose from: Essential, Preferred ($35,099), Luxury ($41,899) and the fully loaded Ultimate as tested at $44,999.

The $35,099 Preferred comes standard with AWD and the 2.4-litre engine with the turbo engine as a $2,000 option. The Luxury and Ultimate come standard with AWD and the 2.0-litre turbo.   As always with Hyundai, equipment levels in all models are excellent, with heated front seats, steering wheel, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard throughout the Ultimate model as tested added: two tone Leather heated and ventilated seats, Power tailgate, LED exterior lights, Infinity 12 speaker audio system, Dual zone automatic control, BlueLink telematics, Adaptive cruise control, proximity keyless entry, head up display, wireless charging and much more.

The new Hyundai Santa Fe features nine advanced safety features in the Luxury and Ultimate trims. As well as Forward collision-avoidance assist, there is also 360-degree surround view camera, and a rear parking warning, rear-traffic alert, and blind-spot monitoring, Hyundai adds pedestrian detection, and a “safe-exit assist” that blocks the back door if bikes or autos are sensed coming. Meanwhile, the rear-occupant alert system warns a driver if there’s movement inside the rear of the vehicle when exiting so as not to forget an infant or a pet! If movement is sensed in the back seat, the lights flash, the will activate and your cell phone can be notified via Hyundai’s BlueLink app over a certain time interval.

The Santa Fe interior is marked by plenty of room both front and rear with good sight lines all around. The cockpit and dash features a neat layout and logical, ergonomic controls. The Ultimate model gains a classy two tone interior, an eight-inch touchscreen for navigation and infotainment. Hyundai’s BlueLink telematics system allows for full connectivity via your phone, as well as features such as remote start. Meanwhile a huge panoramic roof allows for plenty of light to flood the airy cabin. The comfortable front seats offer heating cooling, a power extendable seat cushions and 10 way power adjustment.

The rear compartment is also roomy with a seat that splits 60/40 and folds completely flat. The rear seat also moves fore-and-aft if needed. There is also a hidden under floor cargo area as well for valuables. The Ultimate also offers a power tailgate that can be opened by simply standing close to the tailgate for around three seconds.

On the road, the Santa Fe lighter weight and tighter, stiffer chassis offer a decent enough ride with very little body roll, The sophisticated AWD system is linked to the three drive modes — Smart, Comfort and Sport which adjust engine and transmission parameter and front-to-rear torque split in the four-wheel drive system according to drive mode. Front-to-rear torque bias varies depending on the drive mode. Smart offers better fuel economy switching to Front wheel Drive, while Sport splits grip 50/50 for better handling. Comfort is the best setting for all-around everyday use in my opinion. Brakes are also applied between the right and left wheels to stabilise the vehicle when braking in a turn. The Hyundai offers a decent turn of speed and confident handling for everyday family use. Fuel consumption is rated at: l/100 km: 2.0 litre Turbo 4WD — 12.3 / 9.8. Regular fuel. Not a lot to complain about with the Santa Fe, but rather lot to celebrate. For families who value space, versatility and bang for the buck.

2019 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV Priced from $28,999 – $44,999. Ultimate model as tested -$44,999. More info: