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Hyundai Is Renaming the Santa Fe and Our Heads Hurt

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2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

This one’s a little confusing, so just bare with us for a moment.

At the New York International Auto Show, Hyundai unveiled the 2019 Santa Fe, historically the most popular SUV in Hyundai’s lineup. But there’s a catch: for 2019, Hyundai is changing up the Santa Fe nameplate. Now, the 2019 Santa Fe is actually the Santa Fe Sport, and the Santa Fe XL is actually the Santa Fe. Confused? Our point exactly.

Truthfully, the name change isn’t all that complicated, just a little confusing at first. The 2019 Santa Fe is a five-passenger SUV, known in previous model years as the Santa Fe Sport. The seven-passenger model, previously known just as the Santa Fe, will now be called the Santa Fe XL.

In reality, this shift does makes sense (granted, so did the other way, but who are we to argue?). The most popular SUVs on the market are two-row, five-passenger SUVs, so it’s no surprise that Hyundai is making that particular model the signature nameplate. The three-row Santa Fe XL’s name is more descriptive of its size, which will appeal to larger families.

Unfortunately, this switch may cause some confusion for a handful of buyers, considering the Santa Fe has been a completely different size model for its 32 years on the market. Consumers will eventually catch on with the new name, but it’s a big risk for Hyundai, especially with the automotive market in such a slump. But, with its SUV sales numbers at their highest ever, it seems the brand is willing to take a leap of faith by renaming its best-selling SUV.