2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0 T Ultimate AWD

Susan Frissell

In a world where it seems every vehicle on the road is a sport-utility/crossover, the choices abound, some too big, some too small. By too small, we mean less cargo space than some sedans, and too big, meaning, who wants to wield this behemoth around town on a daily basis. Not this writer.santafeext

Enter, Hyundai’s Santa Fe, a popular crossover since it’s inception. I can remember when the Santa Fe first hit the car scene, a colleague found an ad of the Santa Fe, cut it out and tacked it on her memo board in her cubicle. She took a picture of her own face and placed in the ad, in the driver’s seat. She knew exactly what she was going to buy when the time came!

Since that time, there are so many more SUV’s on the road. How does one decide? In various ways, I suppose. Brand loyalty, hearsay, looks, options, best deal for the money?

Our test car this week, the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate AWD might be just the right size. For some reason, to this writer it seemed not as large as the current model. Clearly, it’s size has been increased since the beginning. The 2017 version seems easier to handle and more accommodating to the average-sized driver.bluesf

The Santa Fe is larger than a compact crossover, yet smaller than a three-row crossover. A five passenger crossover, the new Santa Fe competes with many other offerings, including Chevrolet Traverse, Dodge Journey/Durango, GMC Acadia, Mazda CX-9, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer/Flex, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander.

The Santa Fe is available in three trim levels: Sport (FWD: $25,350; AWD: $27,100); Sport 2.0T ($31,700/$33,450); and Sport 2.0T Ultimate ($35,500/$38,280). Larger than a Toyota RAV4, Subaru Forester or others, the Santa Fe seems more useful. If you desire a longer version (adding 5K), there is the Santa Fe (sans Sport), adding a third row, closer in size to the Highlander and Pilot.
Starting in the mid-twenty thousand range and topping out here with the $41K is quite a span, and paying over $40,000 for the Santa Fe, as nice as it is (fully loaded), seems extreme. The Ultimate trim, on our test car, is without want, comfortable and handsome, but $41,000? That’s how it is in carland today.

Santa Fe Interior

Santa Fe Interior

Sure to be named a Top Safety Pick Plus from IIHS, the new Santa Fe is equipped with all new safety technology, including forward collision prevention, adaptive LED headlights, lane departure (disabled automatically, and part of the Ultimate Tech Package, $1,550).

Hyundai’s 2.0 Turbo 4-cylinder engine provides plenty of power and response, however, has that lag, at times. Te EPA rating, though, is at a combined 19/24/21 mpg. in the all-wheel-drive version. The Santa Fe does run on unleaded, so perhaps there is some savings there.santafe3

Among the amenities are heated-and ventilated-seats; ten-way power for the driver, leather seating surface/shift knob/steering wheel, heated steering wheel and rear seats. Automatic on/off headlights, LED Daytime Running Lights, fog lights, HID headlights, hands-free Smart liftgate with auto open, heated dual power side mirrors w/turn signal indicators, Panoramic sunroof, RR parking sensors, premium lower door trim and door sills.

Manual rear side window shades are standard on the Sport Ultimate, as are multi-view camera system, split-folding rear seating, Integrated Memory System for driver seat and power-height adjustable driver and passenger seats.

The ride is much better in the 2017 Santa Fe. We found it harsh in previous models. Bumps are handled well, without any jarring or stiffness.

Memory seating is standard on the top-of-the-line Santa Fe; great for multiple drivers. Rear-seat passengers can also adjust their seating, making long trips much more enjoyable. The 2017 Santa Fe takes bragging rights for its cargo capacity: larger than any compact crossover (35.4/71.5 cubic feet). The spare tire can be found underneath the vehicle, freeing up space in the rear cargo floor.

Our test car came equipped with a few options, including the Ultimate Tech Package (Smart Cruise Control with Stop/start, Lane Departure Warning, Electronic Parking Brake with auto hold, Dynamic Bending Light, High Beam Assist, Auto-Leveling Headlights, $1,550); carpeted floor mats ($125), Cargo mat ($95), Cargo Cover ($190) and Roof Rack Cross Rails ($250). Perhaps consumers can try and negotiate some of these later options (carpets, etc). At this level of a vehicle, one would think the carpets/mats would be standard.

New for 2017 is the latest tech Android Auto (simpler). The infotainment is a touchscreen that is easily operated. Touchscreen Navigation (8-inch), AM/FMHD radio/Sirius XM, CD/MP3 w/Infinity Premium Audio with QuantumLogic Surround Sound and Clari-Fi Music Restoration, Interior light dimming, Homelink and compass, Hyundai Blue Link. Hyundai also provides a full tank of gas! Make sure you get this goodie!

The nav and map system is great. The Google maps very helpful, and we had to get used to the surround view camera, but then found it very helpful.

As with all Hyundai and Kia products, we highly recommend the new 2017 Santa Fe, in any trim level. With its best-in-the-market warranty, reliability and good looks, choosing to own any of their products is a win.


MSRP: $38,250; final vehicle price $41,355; destination $895
Engine: 2.0-L Turbo Gasoline Direct Injection, 4-cylinder, 240 horsepower, 260-lb.ft. torque
Transmission: six-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC, Active Cornering Control, AWD w/AWD Lock, Drive Mode Select
Wheelbase: 106. 3 in.
Length: 185.0 in.
Width: 74.0 in.
Curb Weight: 3,949 (FWD)/4,107 (AWD)
Height: 66.1 in.
Fuel Tank Capacity: 17.4 gal.
EPA fuel Economy: 20/27/23 FWD; 19/24/21 AWD
Warranty: 10 yr./100,000-miles powertrain; 5 yr./60,000-mile new vehicle limited; 7 yr./unlimited anti-perforation; 5 yr./unlimited 24-hour roadside assistance
As with all Hyundai and Kia products, we highly recommend the new 2017 Santa Fe, in any trim level. With its best-in-the-market warranty, reliability and good looks, choosing to own any of their products is a win.

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