One of Hyundai’s most successful models is the Santa Fe and although the fourth-generation model has only been out for a little more than two years, it is already going through some pretty significant changes for 2021.

Previewed here are a pair of shadowy images of the facelifted SUV which show two different grille patterns depending on the trim level. Not only do they reveal a significant front-end redesign but in a somewhat surprise move, the South Korean carmaker is also going to the trouble of switching the Santa Fe to a different platform. Clearly, this isn’t just a minor mid-cycle update…

Spot the difference... Seen here is the Standard trim. Both teasers provide a good look at the renewed front fascia of the 2021 Santa Fe.

Featuring a larger, new-look grille - which marks a big step away from the 'cascading' design - its frame tapers at each end to merge with the new T-shaped LED daytime running lights. Also new are the angry-looking headlights while to the left and right of the double vertical bars in the bumper appear some round modules which could be for the radar cruise control. Hyundai says the new Santa Fe has “a dignified and charismatic” look. We’re not sure about that but it is definitely far more aggressive than what we are used to seeing, that’s for sure.

The big news is that it will be the first SUV built by Hyundai on the all-new third-generation vehicle platform, one that allows “significant improvements in performance, handling and safety.” The new platform also makes it possible to deploy both a hybrid and a plug-in hybrid powertrain along with traditional petrol engines which will also be offered. Details will be released in the coming weeks when the SUV is fully revealed.