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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2017 HYUNDAI SANTA FE(s) REVIEW


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited

SEE ALSO: Find 2017 Cars, SUVs, Pickups and Minivans With Seating For Large Families

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HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel


INTRO TO THE SANTA FE(s) VEHICLE
Insistent on being the most versatile mid-size crossover on the market, the Hyundai Santa Fe underwent another sharp redesign for 2017 for both its five- and seven-passenger models. A fresh new exterior face, standard seven-inch touchscreen, and numerous advantages like an optional 360-degree rearview camera and more safety technology make it an worthwhile pick.


PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)
2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

I drove a 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport with the 240-horsepower 2-liter turbocharged engine and the Limited trim with the standard 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 engine (both are paired to a standard six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC). The seven-passenger model is available in two trims – SE and Limited – with or without the Ultimate Package while the Sport is a stand-alone trim offering a turbo engine upgrade and Ultimate Package. Taking a closer look at the Limited Ultimate test model, the following are standard features: six-passenger seating with second-row captain’s chairs; leather upholstery; heated and ventilated front and rear rows; push-button start; a heated and leather-wrapped steering wheel with mounted controls; upgraded eight-inch touchscreen with navigation and a 360-degree rearview camera; Blue Links telematics system; Infinity audio system; panoramic sunroof; power liftgate; rear parking sensors; Lane Departure Warning; Dynamic Bending Lights; fog lights; roof side rails; and nineteen-inch alloy wheels. Price as described came to $43,400.

The Santa Fe is in it to win it – not just in its class (Mazda CX-9, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder), but as a competitive choice when compared to mid-level luxury crossovers like the Acura MDX and Lexus RX350. It also helps to have two models sizes with that can accommodate five, six or seven passengers.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: Appealing from every angle and row, the Santa Fe interior is well-crafted, accommodating and intuitive for novice tech users. Hyundai’s Blue Link connectivity system is easy to maneuver and the new seven-inch touchscreen incomparable to other standard screens. Android Auto lets you listen to and dictate text messages and you’ll wonder how you ever drove without the 360-degree camera. The Infinity audio with Quantum Logic and music restoration technology outputs excellent clarity, yet I’m disappointed to see there still is no rear DVD option for the kids with any Santa Fe. Understandably, if you go with the shorter Sport model, you won’t get close to kind of second-row treatment the bigger version offers or the space like 80 cubic square feet with both the second- and third-row down.

Reliability & Safety Factor: Both 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe models are a Top Safety Pick with The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for ratings of “Good” in every crash test area. At the time of this review, the vehicle not yet been rated by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Standard safety equipment includes a comprehensive airbag system, anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, and hill-start assist control. On the Limited trim, there is an optional Ultimate Package that adds Smart Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, and Lane Departure Warning among other safety technology.

Cost Issues: My Santa Fe Sport test drive with the turbo engine and Ultimate Package cost $38,175 while my larger three-row Limited test drive cost $43,400. A recent fully loaded two-row 2017 Acura RDX test drive was priced out at $43,520 and my current three-row Acura MDX is priced at $56,400.

Activity & Performance Ability: On the three-row model, the 3.3-liter V6 has a solid feel with responsive braking and is just the SUV I want to be driving on dark and stormy nights. The upgraded 2-liter turbo engine on the Sport model is plenty capable with traction strength increased when in Sport mode. You’ll find your passengers are appreciative for the quite, stable ride. Safety technology options like the 360-degree camera and Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection put ease into your daily ride, ensuring this SUV as all-around pleasurable.

The Green Concern: The 3.3-liter V6 engine gets 17-city and 22-highway for a combined 17 miles-per-gallon with all-wheel drive. The 2-liter turbo engine with front-wheel drive retains 20-city and 27-highway for a combined 23 miles-per-gallon. Sporting higher-performing engines, the Acura MDX’s 3.5-liter has an advantage here at 19-city and 26-highway for a combined 22 miles-per-gallon with all-wheel drive.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
With versions able to accommodate up to seven passengers, Hyundai knows what it’s doing by offering versatility, cutting-edge technology and impressive interior treatments with the Santa Fe crossover. Reconsider that Acura MDX or Lexus RX350 unless stronger powertrain performance is your objective.

©2016 Katrina Ramser

The Most In-Depth Independent Hyundai Buyer's Research - Anywhere!

Comprehensive Product Improvements Combine to make New Models even more Appealing in every Facet of the Ownership Experience


Hyundai USA Release
The award-winning Hyundai Santa Fe lineup continues to dramatically improve for the 2017 model year. The improvements span everything from fresh exterior design and LED lighting signatures to additional infotainment, convenience and safety technologies and new Drive Mode selection with Sport, Eco and Normal settings. For 2017, in order to meet increased market demand, production of the two-row Santa Fe Sport model will be added to the Montgomery, Alabama manufacturing facility, alongside the Sonata and Elantra sedan models. The 2017 Santa Fe is arriving at dealers now. 

2017 Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport Highlights

Exterior

  • Redesigned front fascia with brushed-appearance front grille and new headlight design
  • Enhanced rear fascia design with new taillights and new dual exhaust outlet design
  • New designs for 17-,18-, and 19-inch alloy wheels
  • New rocker panel trim design with integrated silver accents
  • New available LED Daytime Running Lights (DRLs)
  • New available LED fog lights (three-row Santa Fe model only)

Powertrain

  • New standard Drive Mode Select (Sport, Eco and Normal modes)

Interior

  • Standard five-inch color LCD display audio system
  • New, standard seven-inch touchscreen display with Android Auto™ (Santa Fe 3-row)
    • Available on Santa Fe Sport
  • New, available eight-inch touchscreen navigation system with Android Auto™
  • Available Infinity® premium audio
    • New, with QuantumLogic® Surround and Clari-Fi™ Music Restoration Technology
  • Available next-generation Hyundai Blue Link® (standard on Santa Fe)
  • New, available third-row USB outlet (Santa Fe model only)
  • New, available power, height-adjustable passenger seat
  • New, second-row cupholders (Santa Fe Limited model)
  • New, matte-finish interior woodgrain (Santa Fe three-row model with Leather)
  • Redesigned center stack

Safety

  • Standard Rearview Camera
  • New, available Multi-View Camera System
  • New, available Smart Cruise Control with Stop/Start function
  • New, available Lane Departure Warning
  • New, available electronic parking brake system with auto-hold
  • New, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection
  • New available Dynamic Bending Lights and High Beam Assist
  • NHTSA Five-star Safety Rating for Santa Fe Sport model
  • Expected Five-star Safety Rating for Santa Fe (three-row) model
  • Expected IIHS Top Safety Pick + rating based on preliminary internal tests

POWERTRAINS
All Santa Fe powertrains now offer new Drive Mode selection with Sport, Eco and Normal settings. The 2017 Santa Fe line-up continues to offer front- or all-wheel drive and seating options for five, six or seven passengers. The 2017 Santa Fe Sport is powered by an efficient 2.4-liter four-cylinder direct-injected engine with 185 horsepower or the more powerful, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower. 2017 Santa Fe (three-row) uses the acclaimed 3.3-liter Lambda II V6 engine, with 290 horsepower. All Santa Fe engines utilize high-pressure direct injection and Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT). A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all Santa Fe models. Active Cornering Control and a windshield wiper de-icer is also standard on AWD Santa Fe models.

For the 2017 Santa Fe Sport model alone, nearly 350 individual parts have been updated, representing about 25 percent of total Santa Fe Sport parts content.

EPA-ESTIMATED FUEL ECONOMY
Santa Fe Sport EPA-estimated fuel economy has also been significantly improved across its model and trim line-up, with most models increasing by a full mile per gallon compared with the 2016 model year.
 

Santa Fe Sport Model 2017 EPA-est. Fuel Economy
(City/Highway/Combined)
Santa Fe Sport Model
(City/Highway/Combined)
2.4L FWD 21 / 27 / 24 +1 / - / +1
2.4L AWD 20 / 26 / 22 +1 / +1 / +1
2.0T FWD 20 / 28 / 23 +1 / +1 / +1
2.0T AWD 19 / 26 / 22 +1 / +2 / +1
2.0T Ultimate FWD 20 / 27 / 23 +1 / +1 / +1 
2.0T Ultimate AWD 19 / 24 / 21 +1 / - / -

 

GENEROUS FEATURE CONTENT
Standard Santa Fe features include a Rearview Camera, automatic on/off headlights, remote keyless entry with alarm, bodycolor heated exterior power mirrors with driver’s blind spot mirror, LED headlight accents, daytime running lights, steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise control and Bluetooth hands-free smartphone system. Premium features such as HID Xenon headlights, panoramic sunroof, navigation and an updated 12-speaker Infinity Logic7® audio system which features QuantumLogic® Surround and Clari-Fi™ Music Restoration Technology are available. Also available is Hyundai’s innovative power Hands-Free Smart Liftgate with Auto Open, which makes it even easier for owners to gain access to the cargo area whenever their hands are full. This system makes it easy for the driver to keep both feet comfortably on the ground by simply standing within a few feet of the rear bumper with the key fob in a purse or pocket for a few seconds.

NEXT-GENERATION BLUE LINK®
Even more, next-generation Hyundai Blue Link® (standard on Santa Fe and optional on Santa Fe Sport) provides a full suite of connected safety and diagnostic features, as well as features that are only possible with an embedded connected car system, such as Remote Start with Climate Control, Stolen Vehicle Recovery and Remote Door Lock/Unlock. Navigation-equipped Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport models also benefit from Blue Link Guidance, which provides Destination Search, powered by Google™, as well as POI Web Search and Download to help you get to your destinations via your connected car.

ANDROID AUTO™ SUPPORT
Both Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport are compatible with Android Auto for seamless and intuitive operation of the most commonly-used smartphone functions, including navigation with Google Maps™, streaming audio, voice-controlled search capabilities and more than 40 approved smartphone apps. Android Auto is compatible with Android phones running Android 5.0, Lollipop or higher.

STEERING
Santa Fe models utilize an electric power steering system with a 32-bit microprocessor that delivers a refined steering feel. The steering system also offers driver-selectable steering modes based on the Drive Mode selection of Sport, Eco and Normal settings.

SAFETY
Standard safety equipment on the 2017 Santa Fe lineup includes Vehicle Stability Management (VSM) with Electronic Stability Control (ESC) and Traction Control System, seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag, four-wheel disc brakes and ABS with Electronic Brake-force Distribution (EBD) and Brake Assist, Hill-start Assist Control (HAC) with Downhill Brake Control (DBC) and a Tire Pressure Monitoring System (TPMS).

 

2017 SANTA FE SPORT PRICING

MODEL FWD/AWD MSRP
SANTA FE SPORT 2.4 FWD $25,350
SANTA FE SPORT 2.4 AWD $27,100
SANTA FE SPORT 2.0T FWD $31,700
SANTA FE SPORT 2.0T AWD $33,450
SANTA FE SPORT 2.0T ULTIMATE FWD $36,500
SANTA FE SPORT 2.0T ULTIMATE AWD $38,250

 

2017 SANTA FE PRICING

MODEL FWD/AWD MSRP
SANTA FE SE FWD FWD  $30,800
SANTA FE SE AWD AWD  $32,550
SANTA FE SE FWD ULTIMATE FWD   $38,700
SANTA FE SE AWD ULTIMATE AWD  $40,450
SANTA FE LIMITED FWD FWD   $34,950
SANTA FE LIMITED AWD AWD   $36,700
SANTA FE LIMITED FWD ULTIMATE FWD   $39,400
SANTA FE LIMITED AWD ULTIMATE AWD   $41,150

 

HYUNDAI MOTOR AMERICA
Hyundai Motor America, headquartered in Fountain Valley, Calif., is a subsidiary of Hyundai Motor Co. of Korea. Hyundai vehicles are distributed throughout the United States by Hyundai Motor America and are sold and serviced through more than 830 dealerships nationwide. All Hyundai vehicles sold in the U.S. are covered by the Hyundai Assurance program, which includes the 5-year/60,000-mile fully transferable new vehicle limited warranty, Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain limited warranty and five years of complimentary Roadside Assistance. Hyundai Blue Link Connected Care provides owners of Hyundai models equipped with the Blue Link telematics system with proactive safety and car care services complimentary for one year with enrollment. These services include Automatic Collision Notification, Enhanced Roadside Assistance, Vehicle Diagnostic Alert, Monthly Vehicle Health Report and In-Vehicle Service Scheduling.