The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe is a three-row midsize SUV with available all-wheel drive. It provides room for up to seven, offers extended storage space and supplies generous standard and available equipment.
The 2017 Santa Fe is available in four trim levels: SE, Limited, SE Ultimate and Limited Ultimate. The two-row Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is covered in a separate review.
Now in its fifth year, the current-generation model offers a fresh exterior update, including a revised front fascia with new headlights and fog lights. The Santa Fe also gets updated alloy wheel designs and a modified rear fascia with new taillights.
Inside, the center stack has been redesigned, and it now includes a 7-inch touch-screen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A power-adjustable passenger seat in the first row and an available Infinity premium audio system are newly available additions.
Drive mode select has also been added to the Santa Fe’s list of standard features for 2017. Additionally, the list of available safety features now includes a multi-view camera system and driver-assistance technology such as adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, high beam assist and dynamic bending lights.
Like other Hyundai models, the refreshed Santa Fe advances the brand’s “fluidic sculpture” design. The SUV projects a premium look that integrates elements found on smaller models such as the Tucson and Santa Fe Sport.
Its face is marked by a pronounced trapezoidal grille, which is offset by sleek wraparound headlamps with LED light treatments. The lower part of the grille is flared and flanked by large housings for the available LED fog lights.
From front to rear, expressive character lines and body sculpting serve as distinguishing features without complicating the look. Fashionable alloy wheels, wraparound rear combination lights and a liftgate spoiler are among the other standout features.
Roof rack side rails are standard, and cross rails are an accessory. All trims except for the base SE model provide a hands-free power liftgate. The hatch opens automatically as you approach the rear of the SUV with your proximity key in hand.
The Santa Fe’s interior is both attractive and functional. Seat surfaces in the SE model are covered in Yes Essentials, a type of stain-resistant cloth that also hides odors. All other trims feature leather upholstery along with a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.
The standard eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat was easy to configure and comes with lumbar support. A four-way power-adjustable front-passenger seat is available as an option.
Second-row passengers will find a standard 40/20/40 split-folding bench seat that offers superior headroom and legroom, as well as very good shoulder and hip room. Both Limited editions replace the bench with a pair of captain’s chairs that rival the front seats in comfort. You lose a seat placement here, but the third-row passengers gain more room to maneuver. Speaking of the last row, space is confined and is best left to young passengers.
Each door has storage pockets and drink holders. There are also additional cup holders for each row and multiple storage cubbies, including a hidden compartment under the rear cargo area.
Cargo volume measures just 13.5 cubic feet behind the third row, but with those seats folded, it expands to a more reasonable 40.9 cubic feet. With both the second and third rows folded, 80 cubic feet of room is available.
Available features include heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, a panoramic sunroof and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe is powered by a 3.3-liter V6 engine with 290 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque. Front-wheel drive and a six-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting capabilities are standard. Buyers may upgrade to all-wheel drive across the model line.
Fuel economy comes in at an EPA-estimated 18/25 mpg city/highway for the front-wheel drive model. Choose all-wheel drive and the numbers dip slightly to 18/24 mpg city/highway. Throughout our week with the front-wheel drive test model, we managed to maintain a 22 mpg average. This model has a 5,000-pound towing capacity.
Step on the accelerator and the 2017 Santa Fe answers immediately, delivering ample power as you climb to highway speed. Despite the front-wheel-drive layout, torque steer was held in check, thanks to the stiff suspension bushings.
The Santa Fe offers three drive modes: Normal, Eco and Sport. Sport is especially desirable as you track the SUV on open stretches, while Normal should satisfy most driving conditions. The Eco setting enhances fuel efficiency but leaves the vehicle with tepid performance.
An updated suspension design yields a quiet ride along with excellent damping as you navigate uneven road surfaces. Choose all-wheel drive if you live in a snowy climate or if you simply prefer the improved handling characteristics this layout affords.
The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe is equipped with a generous level of sought-after technologies. The standard Blue Link infotainment system features a 7-inch color touch screen, satellite radio, HD radio, Bluetooth and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. All Santa Fe models come with multiple 12-volt power outlets, auxiliary input jacks and USB ports.
With the exception of the base model, the Santa Fe Sport comes with keyless access with push-button start. Santa Fe SE and Limited editions come with a six-speaker audio system. The upper trims feature an Infinity premium audio system offering stellar sound quality.
Available equipment includes an electroluminescent gauge cluster and navigation with an 8-inch color display.
The 2017 Santa Fe supplies a generous collection of safety features once you move beyond the base SE model. All trims are outfitted with a rearview camera and a suite of air bags, including a driver’s knee air bag.
Blind spot detection, rear-cross traffic alert and lane change assist are standard on Limited and higher trims. Available features include rear parking sensors, a multi-view camera system, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, high beam assist and dynamic bending lights.
The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe starts at $30,800 plus an $895 destination charge. The base model lacks certain creature comforts, and a better representation of what this model has to offer is found in the Limited edition, priced from $34,950. Relative to base models, Limited models add features such as leather upholstery, heated seats and driver-assistance technology. Add $1,750 for all-wheel drive across the model line.
You also have your choice of SE Ultimate ($38,700) and Limited Ultimate ($39,400) editions, which both offer a full range of amenities, including 19-inch alloy wheels, a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats and the multi-view camera system. Both top models offer a $2,100 Tech package upgrade, which is a worthwhile option for gaining the added safety benefits afforded.
The 2017 Santa Fe operates in a competitive segment that includes the Ford Explorer, Toyota Highlander, Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot and Nissan Pathfinder. Other models to consider include the similar Kia Sorento, Dodge Durango, GMC Acadia and Mazda CX-9.
With premium sheet metal that makes it look costlier than its price tag reveals, the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe provides stylish, satisfying family transportation. This capable Hyundai also offers a quiet cabin and a long list of feature content.