The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe gets a complete remodel. What was good before, just got better. The South Koreans are doing their best to challenge their Japanese rivals and the Santa Fe is a good example of how they are catching up.
We’ve been driving the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport this week – the top-of-the-lineup, 2.0T Ultimate AWD in particular.
What’s New For 2016?
For 2017, the Santa Fe Sport alone gets nearly 350 individual updated parts, representing about 25 percent of the total parts content. The improvements include everything from a refreshed exterior design, LED lighting, additional infotainment, convenience and safety technologies, to a new Drive Mode selection with Sport, Eco, and Normal settings.
There’s a new Nightfall Blue exterior color for Santa Fe Sport too.
Features & Options
The 2017 Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate AWD ($38,250) comes standard with a multi-view camera, automatic on/off headlights, remote keyless entry with alarm, body color heated exterior power mirrors with driver’s blind spot mirror, LED headlight accents, daytime running lights, steering wheel audio controls, and Bluetooth capability.
It also features an 8-inch touchscreen navigation system with Android Auto, 19-inch alloy wheels, front fog lights, tilt/sliding second row seats with cargo-area releases, leather seating, and heated and cooled front seats. The Ultimate Tech package( $1,550) was an option on this tester. It included a whole suite of high-tech safety features.
Total MSRP including destination:$40,820.
The first thing we noticed upon entering the cabin was the redesigned center stack. It’s clean with a new gear shifter and storage bin. There’s heated and cooled leather front seats in the Ultimate along with a heated steering wheel, and an attractive silver trim with wood accents.
The interior features plenty of soft touch material throughout and you can’t miss the full panoramic sunroof.
The cabin is comfy with quality materials used throughout. Passengers in the back will also be pampered with tilt/reclining heated seats. Our passengers earlier this week put down the rear sunshades and enjoyed the ride on the way to lunch.
“There’s lots of legroom back here, “came the comments. And these guys are larger than average size adults.
It also comes with rear climate control vents for extra comfort. The cargo area behind the rear seat offers room for carrying three large suitcases or 2 sets of golf clubs. Rear seats fold 40/20/40 split with fold-flat rear setbacks for additional cargo carrying ability. There’s also a handy, out-of-sight storage area underneath the cargo deck.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The 2017 Santa Fe Sport is powered by a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower. For 2017, there’s a new standard Drive Mode Select feature (Sport, Eco, and Normal modes). It’s mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with Shiftronic.
EPA fuel mileage estimates are 19/24 city/highway and 21 combined with AWD.
The Santa Fe’s 2.0-liter turbo packs enough horsepower to rival some of the sportier small crossovers on the market. The only thing we noticed was some turbo lag when we pushed the Santa Fe hard. In normal driving, the 2.0-liter turbo has more than enough power for any situation, however. We had the sport model this week and it ramps up the fun-to-drive meter to a 6 out of 10 – not bad at all!
Visibility is especially good in this crossover. It’s a good bet for someone who is a daily commuter on heavily congested streets. Santa Fe Sport now features a standard Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection feature. This will help keep you out of trouble if you are distracted or tired after a long day at the office.
Even with the upgraded 19-inch wheels, the cabin is quiet at high speeds and the ride is smooth, in spite of the sport suspension. There’s a good balance between ride comfort for the family and suspension firmness for driving enthusiasts.
The 2017 Santa Fe Sport is a good overall family crossover for those wanting something a little more fun to drive. It’s demeanor is sporty and yet it offers the sophistication of a luxury crossover. We think Hyundai has another hit on their hands and small families will want to look at the Santa Fe Sport.
*Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy