Not even BMW's revival of the vertical kidney grille created this much controversy when it debuted compared to the boldly styled 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe. We're not talking about a single design element, but rather about the entire car. If we were to highlight one part of the SUV, it would have to be the rear with its gigantic tailgate and unusually low-mounted taillights. The Defender 130-esque profile and H-themed lights are just as eye-catching.

Following an online premiere earlier this week, the fifth-generation Santa Fe has been spotted by Instagrammer shorts_car in an underground parking lot. One can assume we're dealing with a lesser version of the boxy SUV judging by the simple exhaust tip whereas the two models featured in the official gallery had a nicer exhaust finisher. The two-tone wheels are also different, while the giant "Santa Fe" lettering is missing from the rear. It's a prototype after all.

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe spy photos

Perhaps it's because of the upright styling, but the new generation seems a lot bigger.  Hyundai hasn't released any specs, although it did say the wheelbase is now longer. The silhouette gives the impression it's roughly as large as a Defender 130.

There certainly seems to be a lot of room for third-row passengers judging by the generous size of the quarter glass. We're not seeing a rear wiper but perhaps it’s hiding underneath the roof spoiler, or it just doesn’t have one as is the case with the Ioniq 5. However, the latter is getting it soon, with the N version leading the way.

Judging by what people are saying online about the new Santa Fe, the "problem" is with how Hyundai designed the rear as the rest of the SUV has generally received positive feedback. It’s not the company’s first design to spark controversy in recent times as the Staria minivan was also polarizing when it debuted a couple of years ago. Next year, another wild model will see the light of production day when the Seven Concept is going to morph into a road-going fullsize electric SUV.

As for this new Santa Fe, a full reveal is programmed for August.

Gallery: 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe

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