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2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Road Test and Review - Getting Better All The Time

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2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Getting better all the time

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Hot-selling pickups, sport utility vehicles and crossovers accounted for about fifty-eight percent of U.S. new vehicle sales in June. Hyundai is right in step with the industry with new vehicle buyers swooping up their line of crossovers.

Hyundai’s Santa Fe, a three-row SUV, had sales increase 93 percent in June. The Santa Fe has gotten a mild design update for 2017 that we first got to see at its 2016 Chicago Auto Show global debut in February. Additionally, the Santa Fe also gets some new driver-assistance safety technology features.

On the outside the Santa Fe has a redesigned front fascia and new headlight design. The rear fascia design is also tweaked with new taillights and new dual exhaust outlets. LED Daytime Running Lights and LED fog lights are also available. There are new designs for the 17-, 18-, and 19-inch alloy wheels to round things out.

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Inside, the center stack, as it’s called, has been redesigned. There’s a new seven-inch touchscreen. A power height-adjustable passenger seat can be had, the second-row cupholders are new and you can get a USB port in the third row.

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With the leather interior a new, matte-finish interior woodgrain helps to finish things.

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On the safety front the most notable new feature is the forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking including pedestrian detection. A rearview camera is standard and there’s a new Multi-View Camera System that’s offered that is great for safe maneuvering in tight spaces. Smart Cruise Control with Stop/Start function and available Lane Departure Warning can also be had.

More and more of these semi-autonomous, driver-assistance features that Hyundai offers on the Santa Fe are making there way into all new vehicles today. The National Safety Council and the University of Iowa have teamed up to help you understand this new driver-assistance technology. Check out their homepage that lists the 28 technology and safety features present on vehicles today.

The 2017 Santa Fe comes in front- or all-wheel drive and seats up to seven. A 3.3-liter Lambda II V6 engine with 290 horsepower mated to a six-speed automatic powers you down the road.

The Santa Fe is available in SE, SE Ultimate, Limited and Limited Ultimate trims each in either FWD or AWD. The two SE trims seat seven and the Limiteds seat six with two captain’s chairs in the second row. Prices start at $30,800, with $1,750 additional for AWD, and top out at $41,150.

I spent a week driving a Santa Fe Limited AWD model with a base price of $36,700. EPA test-cycle fuel economy ratings are 20 mpg combined with 18 city mpg and 24 highway mpg. The FWD models are rated 1 mpg better on the highway and Ultimate trims loose a little due to lower profile tires.

I did a good bit of highway driving around Chicagoland and easily beat the EPA highway rating getting 28 mpg, notwithstanding my spirited driving.

The Santa Fe offers a cool, power operated hands-free rear hatch. Just simply stand for a few seconds within a few feet of the rear bumper with the key fob in a purse or pocket and the rear hatch opens. Inside, cargo volume can grow from 13.5cuft with all seat rows up, to 40.9cuft with the rear row folded, and then to 80cuft with both rows folded flat. By the way, the Santa Fe can tow a 5000lb braked trailer.

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I found the Santa Fe to do a lot of things real well. Along with my low fuel consumption, overall driving dynamics are very comfortable with good handling and steering. The V6 engine is plenty responsive and the transmission shifts smoothly and crisply. I did notice a bit of a harsh downshift when reaccelerating after slowing on city streets, for example after rounding a street corner.

The instrument panel is well laid out with all controls and dials easy to see. The radio has knobs for volume and tuning, along with steering wheel controls. The Nav system is intuitive to operate and enter destinations. Ingress and egress is typical for an SUV where you have to climb up a bit however you benefit with improved visibility from the higher perch.

My driver’s seat lower seat bottom cushion proved comfortable but I thought the seat back was a bit too firmly padded. You not only get heated front seats on the Santa Fe but, depending on model, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel are available.

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More information and technical details on the 2017 Santa Fe can be found at Cross shopping with other 3-row SUVs can be done right here at

With a thought towards ownership, Hyundai offers the best warranty in the industry with its 5 year/60,000 mile basic warranty along with a 10 year/100,000 mile power train warranty.

Should you want a little less SUV, take a look at the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport that seats five, has lower fuel consumption and is priced to start at $25,350.

2016 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

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