Exclusive: U.S.-Spec 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV Caught In the Wild

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Hyundai tore the wraps off of the updated 2021 Santa Fe crossover SUV in early June. But, that was the global model. Thanks to the sharp sights of a MotorTrend reader, though, we’re finally able to get our first look at the North American-spec version of the updated Hyundai model.

Predictably, our version of the South Korean brand’s crossover SUV looks almost identical to the 2021 Santa Fe the company already unveiled abroad. This includes the model’s new mug, which includes a wide grille bookended by new headlights with integrated LED daytime running lights that appear to connect with a set of lamps located near the base of the crossover’s hood. 

Those with keen eyes, however, will notice a handful of small alterations to this preproduction 2021 Santa Fe spotted around Palm Springs, California. Notably, this white crossover sports amber side reflectors at the corners of its upper lamps—a North American market-specific feature. 

That’s not the only difference, though, as this early-build 2021 Santa Fe also wears a set of 10-spoke wheels the company barely highlighted in its photos of the South Korean-spec model. Alas, the reader who took these images was unable to snag a pic of the reworked Santa Fe’s revised interior. Nevertheless, we expect the U.S. model to carry over its Korean counterpart’s cabin, which includes a new push-button shift-by-wire gear selector, an available 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, a large drive mode knob on the center stack.

Look for the updated 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe to reach dealers before year’s end. By then we ought to know a little bit more about the updated crossover, including if Hyundai plans to bring the model’s newly available gasoline-electric hybrid powertrains to our shores.

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