With VW preparing a T-Roc convertible for 2020 and Range Rover still selling the drop-top Evoque, some people may think roofless SUVs are here to stay.
If you live in Australia you may be tempted to believe Hyundai is jumping on the bandwagon as well, because a Santa Fe Cabriolet was recently spotted in Sydney. However, that vehicle is not a pre-production concept, let alone a production car.
Hyundai Australia chopped the roof of a seven-seat 2019 Santa Fe SUV simply because it needed to use it in a television commercial. More specifically, removing the roof allowed a camera to get detailed interior shots of passengers sitting in all three rows.
Once filming for the commercial ended, Hyundai stored the Santa Fe Cabriolet in the basement of its Australian headquarters. We probably wouldn’t have heard anything about it if it weren’t for the curious guys from CarAdvice.
They asked Hyundai Australia if they could take the seven-seat convertible SUV for a drive and the response was surprisingly positive. Then they shot an actual review of the vehicle at a top-secret location, as the Santa Fe Cabriolet can’t be driven on public roads.
So what is a four-door, seven-seat convertible SUV like to drive? We won’t spoil the video for you, just know that if Hyundai were to put it into production it would have to sort out the rigidity of the body structure and the wind buffeting. Furthermore, engineers might want to develop some sort of folding roof for it — although that would be difficult to accomplish if the third-row seats were to remain.
Finally, the 197-hp 2.2-liter four-cylinder turbodiesel might not be the best powertrain choice for a convertible. A turbocharged gasoline unit from Hyundai N’s stable would probably do a better job.