With Hyundai’s full redesign of its 2024 Santa Fe midsize crossover, the automaker went for a much more boxy, rugged, and downright old-school SUV look. Total it’s a very cohesive and pretty easy (three-box) design, however one factor has caught out to a whole lot of of us, together with me: the oddly low taillight placement. Effectively, there’s apparently an excellent cause for that alternative.
I spoke with the Santa Fe’s lead designer, SangYup Lee, and he defined that the taillights are positioned low down on the crossover as a way to make the tailgate as extensive as doable, and it’s undoubtedly extensive. It virtually appears to be like prefer it covers the complete rear of the automotive. With the intention to make the tailgate that extensive, it is advisable to make the struts holding up the tailgate as lengthy and thin as doable. It’s all about making the “grey zone” – the realm between the shut line and the sill of the Santa Fe’s trunk – as small as you’ll be able to.
The truth is, these struts are so lengthy that they’re really mounted the place taillights would normally be positioned, in keeping with Lee. They’re located in a way more upright approach than struts on different tailgates. Which means the taillights gotta transfer, and decrease down on the physique is the reply Hyundai designers got here up with.
When it comes to dimensions, the 2024 Santa Fe is 74.8 inches extensive, and the tailgate opening is a really beneficiant 5o.2 inches extensive. Hyundai tells me that may be a 5.7 inch enchancment over the outgoing Santa Fe.
You’ll additionally discover that these taillights are utterly counted on the tailgate of the crossover, which signifies that when the tailgate is up, supplemental taillights illuminate on the rear bumper for regulatory and security functions.
Lee added mentioned that Hyundai isn’t the primary firm to place taillights so low down on the automobile, citing the Mercedes-Benz G Wagon for example.
“I checked and the G Wagon has a low taillamp, however we’re cheaper,” the designer mentioned jokingly.