Check Out The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe's Cleverly Integrated Grab Handle

Check Out The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe's Cleverly Integrated Grab Handle

Photo: Daniel Golson / Jalopnik

On a trip to Hyundai’s design center in South Korea last summer I got to see previews of five upcoming models, one of which was the rad new Santa Fe. Its unexpectedly squared-off styling was a shock to me and the other journalists on the trip, in a very positive way. There are tons of cool details, from the H-pattern light signatures to the huge tailgate opening, but one detail in particular has been on my mind ever since.

2024 Hyundai Santa Fe | First Look

Instead of a boring, typical pillar design, the Santa Fe’s C-pillar has a vertically oriented matte black rectangle set into the window glazing on each side of the car. In Korea, Hyundai’s designers told us that these rectangle were hidden grab handles, but as the car was just a clay model, we couldn’t try them out for ourselves or see how they worked. At the Los Angeles Auto Show last week I was finally able to take a look at the Santa Fe’s hidden handle, and I think it’s very cool.

Close-up shot of the Hyundai Santa Fe's hidden C-pillar grab handle

Photo: Daniel Golson / Jalopnik

The top third of the rectangle is separated by a seam to delineate the handle, with a small raised mark at the top and bottom so your fingers know where to land. Press in the bottom of that top-hinged panel and it flips inwards, allowing you to grip the top of the fixed bottom section with your hand. It’s a big enough opening that people who have larger hands or are wearing gloves will still be able to get a good grip, but shallow enough that you can’t really drop anything in there accidentally.

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Using this handle makes it way easier to hoist yourself up and access the roof rack, whether by stepping on the Santa Fe’s rear tires or the door sills. The handle itself feels properly sturdy, one of the benefits of it being a built-in part of the Santa Fe’s structure, and the handle can be locked closed from the inside of the car.

Hyundai says the new Santa Fe’s boxy design, increased cargo space and outdoorsy focus are the direct result of customer demand. More owners than ever before are taking their SUVs off-roading or camping, even buyers of crossovers and smaller vehicles, and the Santa Fe’s grab handle is a great example of a design team thinking outside the box in a way that genuinely benefits the consumer.

Front 3/4 view of a matte bronze Hyundai Santa Fe at an auto show

Photo: Daniel Golson / Jalopnik