2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

Santa Fe

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2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Overview

The crossover and SUV market is crowded and cutthroat. A vehicle in this segment either must adapt with the times or get left behind, which brings us to the makeover for the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe.

The current Santa Fe has been on the market for three years as is, and a full redesign isn’t scheduled until model year 2019. So Hyundai upgraded the Santa Fe for the new model year, available as the 5-passenger Santa Fe Sport, with front-wheel drive (FWD) starting at around $25,000 and all-wheel drive (AWD) at around $27,000, or the 7-passenger Santa Fe (8.1-inches longer), starting at just over $30,000 for FWD and $32,000 for AWD.

The changes for the Santa Fe aren’t merely the kind of cosmetic improvements that try to impress with a flash and move a few more units. Sure, there’s a bolder grille with more chrome, new LED running lights slipped between the restyled headlights and reworked fog lamps, refreshed bumpers, revised exhaust outlets, and a new screen and controls for the infotainment system. But there have also been major safety and quality upgrades that aren’t as apparent to the eye, but may prove more valuable in the long run.

Hyundai used a higher percentage of high-strength steel for the 2017 Santa Fe, which means a safer vehicle. The sheet metal has also been redesigned to help in case of crashes and to better the Santa Fe's fuel efficiency (which is up by about 1 mpg across the lineup). And there’s a slew of new available safety technologies like blind-spot monitoring, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-change assist, high-beam assist for corners, and upgraded airbags.

All told, Hyundai says that, “nearly 350 individual parts have been updated, representing about 25 percent of total Santa Fe Sport parts content.”

There are no major changes in the powertrain department, however. The Sport will be powered by a 2.4-liter I4 (185 hp, 178 lb-ft of torque) mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission, getting 21 mpg city/27highway/24 combined with FWD and 20/26/22 with AWD. The Sport 2.0T and Sport 2.0T Ultimate trims both come with a turbocharged 2.0-liter I4 (240 hp, 260 lb-ft of torque) with the same SHIFTRONIC 6-speed tranny, getting 20/28/23 mpg FWD and 19/26/22 with AWD.

The 7-passenger Santa Fe comes in two trims, SE and Limited, and both are powered by a 3.3-liter V6 that produces 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque, mated to a 6-speed SHIFTRONIC transmission with the ECO System, which allows the driver to choose between Normal, Eco, and Sport modes. This combo gets mileage of 18/25/21 with FWD and 18/24/20 with AWD.

The Santa Fe cabin didn’t need much of a makeover, but there are some upgrades with higher-quality materials, plus reworked infotainment controls. Cargo and passenger room for both the 5- and 7-passenger Santa Fe models fall pretty close to average for their respective crossover sub-classes.

Standard features on the Santa Fe Sport include air conditioning, Bluetooth, four 12-volt power outlets, a 40/20/40 split second-row bench seat, and a 6-speaker audio system with USB and auxiliary input jacks and a 5-inch screen.

Upgrades on the Sport 2.0 include leather upholstery, heated and power front seats, Android Auto, Blue Link Connected Car System, proximity key entry with push-button start, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and an upgraded audio system (with HD Radio and a 7-inch screen). The Sport 2.0 Ultimate adds a panoramic sunroof, an 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, ventilation and memory for the front seats, a heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats, and a 12-speaker Infinity Premium audio system with QuantumLogic Surround.

Standard interior features for the Santa Fe SE include air conditioning with second- and third-row vents, a power driver’s seat, heated front seats, a 50/50 split third-row folding bench seat, a 115-volt power outlet, Bluetooth, Blue Link Telematics System, steering-wheel-mounted controls (audio, cruise, phone), and a 6-speaker audio system with HD Radio, three-months of SiriusXM, USB and auxiliary input jacks, and a 4.3-inch touchscreen with rear-view camera. The Limited adds leather upholstery, second-row captain’s chairs, a proximity key with push-button start, a power passenger seat, an auto-dimming rear-view mirror, and an optional audio upgrade.


After working at gas stations and car washes in high school, driving across the country more than a dozen times and even living on the road in a well-outfitted truck, Tim O'Sullivan finally started putting some of his automotive knowledge to work when he began writing for CarGurus in 2008. He's also an award-winning journalist and the Sports Editor at the Concord (NH) Monitor.

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