2024.03.19 Hyundai Motor Company

[A New Lifestyle Platform: The All New Santa Fe] Proposing an innovative travel experience with an interior tailored to both urban and outdoor life

Hyundai Motor Company
The 5th generation, fully redesigned All-New Santa Fe, features a product configuration that blurs the boundaries between urban and outdoor environments. The engineers explained Santa Fe’s detailed interior, which expands the customer’s lifestyle with a differentiated user experience.

Reborn as a full model change after 5 years, the All-New Santa Fe debuted with hot interest from both domestic and international car markets due to its radical changes. Particularly, the boxy exterior design of a traditional SUV and the strong yet retro styling have become representative features of the new Santa Fe. The charm encapsulated in this fascinating design extends not only to the exterior but also to the interior. The interior space, designed for comfortable travel for all family members, and the various convenience specifications that fill the vast space, show the deep appeal of Santa Fe’s interior design, which goes beyond mere aesthetic purposes and considers all users, including the driver.

Senior Research Engineer Kim Sa-guk, Senior Research Engineer Cho Eun-kyung, Research Engineer Cho Hanna from Hyundai’s Interior Design Team 1, and Senior Research Engineer Lee Chung from the Hyundai CMF (Color Material Finish) Team, who were responsible for the interior development of the new Santa Fe, provided detailed explanations about the interior space of the all-new Santa Fe.

Senior Research Engineer Kim Sa-guk highlighted the convenience and practicality reflected in Santa Fe’s interior as its most significant appeal

Q. Tell us about the development concept of the interior design. What was the direction pursued in the development process of the new Santa Fe’s interior?

Senior Research Engineer Kim Sa-guk | The development direction of Santa Fe can be defined as ‘Inside Out.’ This means that the design started from the interior space and extended to the exterior, focusing on the interior space design from the early stages of development. Another crucial value is usability from the customer’s perspective. The new Santa Fe is completed with a practical configuration, from advanced convenience features to various storage spaces, based on the expanded interior space and the vast tailgate area. Additionally, high-tech specifications that incorporate advanced technologies, such as the panoramic curved display and the dual wireless charging system in the center console, are also among the hallmark features of Santa Fe.

Research Engineer Cho Hanna is explaining the innovative tailgate space of the new Santa Fe

Q. As Santa Fe aims to be a family SUV, the practicality and usability of the interior space are expected to be very important. What design elements are there to enhance the practicality of Santa Fe’s interior?

Research Engineer Cho Hanna | The most significant feature of the new Santa Fe is that it offers an interior space unaffected by the driving environment, whether in the city or outdoors. Thus, Santa Fe is composed of a sophisticated and urban interior based on a comfortable space that is also suitable for outdoor activities. Moreover, from the planning stage of its development, Santa Fe considered various leisure activities such as camping and car camping. The maximized openness of the tailgate and the ample legroom and headroom for the 3rd-row passengers have become signature attractions of Santa Fe.

The interior of Santa Fe, completed with a combination of horizontal and vertical designs, is emphasized by the H-shaped mood lamp, enhancing the visual spatiality

Q. The cockpit’s horizontal and vertical layout is striking. What are the features of the first-row space in the new Santa Fe?

Senior Research Engineer Kim Sa-guk | The interior of the new Santa Fe actively reflects vertical and horizontal designs to harmonize with the boxy and robust exterior design. This layout contributes to maximizing the visual spatial sense while simplifying the design, aiding in providing the comfortable mobility experience that the new Santa Fe aims for. Like the exterior’s signature design element, the H light, an H-shaped ambient mood lamp is applied to the front of the dashboard and below the air vents. The slim and elongated mood lamp emphasizes the visual openness and expresses Santa Fe’s unique design sensibility.

Q. What are some interior elements of Santa Fe that customers should pay attention to?

Senior Research Engineer Cho Eun-kyung | The new Santa Fe applies a newly developed bi-directional multi-console, considering customer convenience and practicality. The multi-console was planned to maximize usability in the limited vehicle space, a result of Hyundai’s engineers and designers’ efforts to provide the practicality and delicate UX (user experience) that an SUV can offer. The multi-console consists of an armrest, a detachable tray, and a sliding tray in one module. The bi-directional opening armrest allows convenient use for both the first and second-row users, and the sliding tray accessible from the second row provides ample space to store up to 12 cans.

The bi-directional multi-console maximizes practicality with its convenient usability and generous storage capacity

Furthermore, the armrest storage space and tray storage space in the multi-console are connected, allowing customers to use them in various ways. Items stored by the first-row users can be easily accessed by the second-row users, and it will also be useful when camping in the second-row space.

Research Engineer Cho Hanna emphasized the excellent usability of the large tailgate space

Q. As Santa Fe represents Hyundai’s lineup of family SUVs, the importance of the second-row space is also highlighted. What are the interior design elements for the 2nd/3rd-row passengers?

Research Engineer Cho Hanna | The spacious interior is one of the standout features of the new Santa Fe. Considering that Santa Fe is a family SUV with high usage frequency in the second and third rows, it implemented a wide cabin by increasing the wheelbase and height. In particular, to maximize the utility of the trunk space, a large tailgate with a terrace concept was applied. As a result, when using the full flat seat function to fold the 2nd and 3rd-row seats and open the tailgate, one can experience an exceptional openness that is not available in other SUVs.

Senior Research Engineer Cho Eun-kyung is discussing the various convenience features of the second-row space

Senior Research Engineer Cho Eun-kyung |  The new Santa Fe includes various features for the convenience of passengers in the second and third rows. Two cupholders are provided on the rear door, and the back of the first-row seats includes hooks and hanger functions for bags or shopping bags. In the 7-seater model, there are a total of 12 cupholders and 6 Type-C USB ports.

The new Santa Fe incorporates a wide range of advanced specifications on top of its simple interior

Q. The advanced specifications applied extensively to the simple and classic interior are impressive. Was it challenging to harmoniously integrate such contrasting elements?

Senior Research Engineer Cho Eun-kyung | The interior design of Santa Fe aimed to encompass the contrasting atmospheres of tradition and future by applying a wide range of advanced specifications on the foundation of the traditional SUV’s robust form and simple composition. The panoramic display is one of the standout advanced specifications in Santa Fe. Precise design considerations were also given to the placement of the panoramic display to ensure visibility of the digital cluster and operability of the infotainment. In addition, the new Santa Fe is equipped with various features considering user convenience and safety, including a smartphone dual wireless charging system, and a UV-C ultraviolet germicidal disinfection multi-tray. Thus, Santa Fe’s interior is designed to allow anyone to easily use its rich advanced specifications.

Senior Research Engineer Lee Chung, who took charge of the CMF design development of Santa Fe

Q. The striking colors of the new Santa Fe are as revolutionary as its design. How were the exterior and interior colors of Santa Fe developed?

Senior Research Engineer Lee Chung | The exterior colors of the new Santa Fe introduced new colors inspired by the changing light of nature over time, designed to bring joy and vitality in both urban and outdoor activities. For example, Earthy Brass Metallic Matte is a matte color inspired by the light of the earth, and it’s applied with gold pearl capturing the sun’s light, further emphasizing Santa Fe’s solid and robust style. Terracotta Orange is inspired by the blazing sunset, and Ocado Green Pearl represents the moment when intense sunlight shines on a desert cactus.

Meanwhile, the interior’s Light Beige and Pecan Brown capture the light pouring through the forest leaves, and Gray embodies the light shining through the clouds. The combination of light-colored seats and headlining creates an even more spacious atmosphere, and customers who choose this will face a bright and luxuriously arranged interior ambiance.

Senior Research Engineer Lee Chung explained that luxurious details are reflected throughout Santa Fe’s interior

Q. Are there any noteworthy materials or details in Santa Fe’s interior?

Senior Research Engineer Lee Chung | In deciding on materials and finishes, we focused on implementing the refined luxury unique to the new Santa Fe. Notably, the wood trim crossing the crash pad is one of the details expressing Santa Fe’s luxurious sensibility. To develop this, we examined the surface of tree bark in forests, paying close attention to the colors and patterns, as well as the texture felt by touch, going through numerous tests to achieve the current mass production specifications.

The wood trim with prominent patterns and textures, and the seat embroidery reflecting Santa Fe’s signature design

Moreover, the crash pad and Nappa leather seats are adorned with luxurious handcrafted embroidery to enhance the premium feel, and the seat backs are added with Santa Fe’s unique H-shaped design elements. These elements are one of the details that suit the upper trim, the Calligraphy model, and went through many trials and errors to meet the standards of aesthetics and durability.

The designers who developed Santa Fe’s interior and CMF collaborated to provide customers with a new value of space

Q. Lastly, as a designer who developed Santa Fe, what is the most important aspect you want to emphasize to customers?

Senior Research Engineer Kim Sa-guk | The interior space of the new Santa Fe is neither flashy nor luxurious. It aims for a comfortable space where one can relax both body and mind, even if only for a moment away from the busy daily life, based on the refreshing openness and spaciousness that comes from its simple structure. This is the true charm of Santa Fe’s interior. Additionally, the generous storage space and the vast tailgate space reminiscent of a terrace will perfectly support customers’ diverse lifestyles. We hope you fully experience the innovative mobility experience and high value as a space offered by the practical and beautiful interior of the new Santa Fe.

Photography by Choi Dae-il and Kim Beom-seok

HMG Journal Operation Team


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