Hyundai Motor is celebrating the 20th anniversary of the launch of the Santa Fe, the popular car which helped position the company as one of the pioneers in the global SUV market. Since its launch in the year 2000, the Santa Fe has become an icon for the brand, and Hyundai is taking a look back at how its first SUV has evolved over the years.
Having entered dealerships in the Middle East and Africa (MEA) markets in 2012, the Santa Fe is now in its fourth generation having undergone significant evolution in its design, safety and technology over the years. This summer, Hyundai will launch an enhanced version of the current generation with new electrified powertrains and major design updates.
Named after a city in the south western US, the Santa Fe was the company’s first SUV, and played an important role in establishing Hyundai in the SUV segment. The Santa Fe has its own logo showing the model name and a sun, while its name has been carried over to future generations, continuing its heritage.
Over the past 20 years, Hyundai has sold more than 5,260,000 units of the Santa Fe globally with over 167,000 units being sold in the MEA.
Bang Sun Jeong, Hyundai’s vice president of Middle East and Africa, said: “The Santa Fe was Hyundai’s first SUV, and it is one of our longest-running model lines, making it a key model not only globally, but also in the MEA.”
The Santa Fe has won a few accolades over the years in the region including the “Best Mid-Size Family SUV 2019” by PR Arabia National Auto Award 2018/2019.
Jeong added: “For Hyundai it is an automotive icon which continues to evolve in terms of design, technology, roominess and comfort. With this latest evolution, the Santa Fe maintains its status as a flagship model in our broad SUV portfolio, and further underlines our heritage in SUVs while also moving the game forward with its innovation and electrification.”
Hyundai introduced the Santa Fe to European audiences for the first time at the 2000 Geneva Motor Show. In 2001, not long after the first model was produced Hyundai had to ramp up production due to the overwhelming demand in the US.
In 2003, in response to customer demand for even more driving performance, Hyundai upgraded the Santa Fe with a more powerful engine and a computer-controlled four-wheel drive system.