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Hyundai Santa Fe 2019 spy shots

A camouflaged version of the next-gen Hyundai Santa Fe has been spied testing on Germany’s Nurburgring circuit.

Spy photos have emerged of a camouflaged next-generation Hyundai Santa Fe that suggest revised styling and larger dimensions are imminent for the brand’s large SUV.

Caught testing on Germany’s infamous Nurburgring, the updated Santa Fe is expected to launch in the coming years as a replacement for the ageing current-generation model, which launched in 2012 and was lightly refreshed in 2015.

The Santa Fe, which currently measures 4690mm long, could increase in size to match other seven-seat family SUVs such as the Toyota Kluger (4890mm), Nissan Pathfinder (5042mm) and Mazda CX-9 (5057mm).

Rumours suggest the test mule is a long-wheelbase Grand Santa Fe offered in the North American market, which could stretch capacity from seven seats to eight, with the third row extending to a three-seat capacity.

Rumours suggest the test mule is a long-wheelbase Grand Santa Fe offered in the North American market Rumours suggest the test mule is a long-wheelbase Grand Santa Fe offered in the North American market

The Australian market is likely to retain only the regular Santa Fe variant, which looks to have undergone a serious facelift, despite the South Korean carmaker’s best efforts to cover the mule up.

Despite heavy cladding on the front fascia, Hyundai looks to have eschewed the styling of the current model for a look more in line with the recently-revealed Kona small SUV, as thin daytime running lights (DRLs) sit above the main headlight cluster and integrate into the side of the front bumper.

The car’s grille looks to have grown significantly as well, dominating the front fascia with a honeycomb design and Hyundai badge nestled in the centre.

At the rear, the new Santa Fe looks to have also picked up the Kona’s slim tail-light design, dropping the more rounded look of the old model.

The new Santa Fe looks to have also picked up the Kona’s slim tail-light design. The new Santa Fe looks to have also picked up the Kona’s slim tail-light design.

Curiously, the spy photos show a large bulge above the tailgate, but instead of a spoiler or design kink it is likely just included to throw punters off the scent of what the car will look like in profile.

Other oddities include Recaro race seats in the front row, and the fact that the large seven-seat SUV is being tested on the Nurburgring, typically a home for performance-focused vehicles.

Powertrain choices are far from confirmed, but the most likely candidates include the 2.2-litre turbo-diesel unit from the existing model, as well as the 3.3-litre V6 first introduced to the range in the 30 Special Edition variant in September last year.

If the new model is indeed larger, the entry-level 2.4-litre aspirated four is likely to be replaced by something with turbo power.

In the first five months of 2017, Hyundai has sold 3779 examples of the Santa Fe, a 22.1 per cent increase over the 3095 units it sold over the same period last year.

A total of 3779 sales place it fifth in the sub-$70,000 SUV segment behind the Toyota LandCruiser Prado (6686), Subaru Outback (5045), Toyota Kluger (4529) and Holden Captiva (4197).

Will a move towards the styling of the Kona be an improvement for the Hyundai Santa Fe? Tell us what you think in the comments below.

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