The Santa Fe, Hyundai's first crossover, is introduced on Jan. 12, 2000, at the Detroit auto show, throwing the Korean automaker into a key but competitive product segment dominated by the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4.
It went on sale in Sept. 2000 as a 2001 model and featured two available engines: a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder rated at 138 hp and a 2.7-liter V-6 rated at 170 hp.
The Santa Fe, a sales success, was a turning point in Hyundai's late 1990s restructuring program. The crossover , based on the same platform as the midsize Sonata sedan, quickly became Hyundai's bestseller and was followed by the Tuscon crossover, and later the short-lived Veracruz, a large crossover.
While some critics and owners thought it was underpowered, Consumers Reports called the first-generation Santa Fe "a well-equipped and pleasant car-based" crossover that handled comfortably and quietly, while equipped with a refined powertrain and nicely finished cabin.
"Handling is not particularly agile, though secure," the magazine said. "Further, weight takes a toll on acceleration and fuel economy, plus interior volume is less roomy than it might appear to be on the outside. A tip-up in government rollover tests is cause for concern."
Th Santa Fe was retooled for the 2007 model year with a larger footprint and more standard safety equipment.
In November 2012, the 2013, third-generation Santa Fe was launched in two body styles: the five-seat Santa Fe Sport and an extended, long-wheelbase model, which replaced the Veracruz.
The fourth-generation Santa Fe went on sale in North America in the summer of 2018 as a 2019 model. The outgoing three-row, long-wheelbase Santa Fe was renamed the Santa Fe XL and its replacement, the all-new 2020 Palisade, debuted in 2019.