Overview

2017 Santa Fe

Overview (Final Score: A-)

Often overlooked in the midsize crossover market, the Hyundai Santa Fe is a value-oriented three-row offering that deserves more recognition. There aren't many vehicles in this segment that offer as complete a package as the Santa Fe.

A few changes to the Santa Fe for 2017 bring it into an even more competitive light, remedying one of our primary beefs with the crossover last year. Slight changes to the front fascia, a lot of new technology options for safety and convenience, and a new, higher standard of infotainment for all models. Hyundai really wanted to keep the 2017 Santa Fe highly competitive and these changes have taken an already well-done crossover and pushed it forward towards the front of the pack.

The three-row 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe is a midsize crossover with seating for up to seven and one of the industry's best warranties. The 2017 Santa Fe is offered in four trim levels, not including the smaller Santa Fe Sport.

What We Love About the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe:


  • Excellent value proposition for the packages offered and goodies included

  • Great highway drive presence and around-town mobility

  • One of the industry's best warranties at 10 years, 100,000 miles as standard


 

What We Don't Love About the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe:


  • Good cargo space but access is not as well done as in some rivals

  • Fuel economy is only about average for the segment


 

2017 Santa Fe

Exterior View (9/10)

The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe has a revised front fascia that sharpens the crossover's looks a bit, adding more sport to the Santa Fe's already good-looking exterior. The Santa Fe doesn't necessarily stand out from the crowd for eye-catching looks, but it's a great-looking vehicle as is with a contemporary, sharp appeal. The Santa Fe has an air of class that is similar to some premium models.

Clean lines and a forward-leaning cant are the basis for the Santa Fe's design theme and are augmented by a sharper nose and thinner-looking, slotted grille. Raked headlamps and upward-leaning body lines continue this forward movement. These relatively simple design elements come together to make for a lot of appeal.

We like the Hyundai Santa Fe's look and the new changes for 2017 are good updates. The Santa Fe isn't the most standout or interesting to look at, but it's definitely a smooth operator.

Interior Comfort, Quality, Ergonomics (10/10)

The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe has one of the best interiors in the midsize crossover segment. High-quality materials and an overall upscale affect to the interior's feel give the Santa Fe a lot of goodness inside.

This is especially true of the dashboard and front seating, which are all first rate no matter the trim level of the Santa Fe one finds oneself in. Adjustments and controls layout are all very good and make everyday life in the 2017 Santa Fe a pleasant experience. The infotainment screen, audio and climate controls on the center stack are nicely placed with an intuitive angle that pushes the most-used items forward. The slight cant to the audio controls below the infotainment screen make them more easily accessed by both driver and front passenger while on the go.

2017 Santa Fe

Seating in the second row is also spacious and well done. The Santa Fe's roofline would suggest a pinched experience in the headroom department, but that is definitely not the case for the second row. Depending on options package and trim, the Santa Fe's second row is either a bench seat for three or two pilot seats with a pass-through in between for third row access.

Speaking of the third row, it has seating for two and is sized just about right for child safety seats, boosters and young teenagers. Most adults will find the third row cramped with high leg positions and little headroom, but as an extra place to put some kiddos, it's a great design.

Cargo is good in the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe at 13.5 cubic feet behind the third row. Forty-one cubic feet are opened up with the third row folded, and 80 cubic feet with both the second and third rows down. Those numbers are roughly on par with the rest of the segment, but don't indicate how easily the space can be used.

One of our complaints about the 2017 Santa Fe is the limited access to the cargo that is afforded through the narrow rear hatch and its pinched top. Seats don't always fold down flat either, making the loading floor a little less ergonomic. But for the most part and for most people's needs, the Santa Fe will accommodate.

Technology (10/10)

Another very strong area of consideration for the 2017 Santa Fe is in its technology offerings. The base models now include a 7-inch touchscreen as standard and plenty of basic connectivity and use with that. Any trim level can be upgraded to the more tech-laden infotainment option with its larger and more crisp 8-inch display. Both systems come standard with Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system.

Navigation comes standard with that upgrade as does app integration for smartphones. What's more, both of the infotainment options for the Santa Fe are easy to use and have a low learning curve. There isn't a lot of bloat with over-done options and seldom-used services, making this one of the cleaner and more functional infotainment systems on the market.

2017 Santa Fe

Fuel Economy (8/10)

The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe has one engine option and one transmission choice. These return fuel economy that is about average for the segment. The EPA estimates the front-wheel drive 2017 Santa Fe to give 21 mpg combined, with 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The all-wheel drive option lowers those estimates to 20 mpg combined (18 city, 24 highway). The Ultimate trim package adds some weight to the Santa Fe, dropping fuel economy estimates by 1 point.

Our real-world test of the 2017 Santa Fe Ultimate bore out those EPA numbers with an average of 19 mpg overall. Last year a lower-end model returned similar numbers.

Predicted Reliability, Initial Quality Ratings (9/10)

The 2017 Santa Fe is rated as "Better Than Most" by the J.D. Power and Associates Vehicle Dependability Study. A few recalls on nominal items for the Santa Fe have kept us from giving it a top score here, however, despite it having the industry's best bumper-to-bumper and powertrain warranties.

The Santa Fe is backed by a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper to bumper warranty. Only Kia offers a similar warranty.

Safety (10/10)

A major upgrade for the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe over the 2016 model is with safety. The Santa Fe now houses the same advanced driver aids and safety systems we've come to expect as a gold standard for any automotive segment. This has helped boost the Santa Fe's safety scores in crash tests as well.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) rates the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe with five stars overall (out of five) and gave the Santa Fe a full suite of perfect fives through its crash testing.

2017 Santa Fe

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has also given the 2017 Santa Fe its top rating of "Top Safety Pick+" thanks to revisions to the Santa Fe's front crumple zone, which boosted its formerly marginal small overlap crash result to a best-possible "Good" rating. So a perfect set of "Good" results on all of the IIHS crash tests plus the available advanced crash safety items resulted in a best-possible TSP+ rating for the Santa Fe.

Performance (8/10)

The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe comes with a 3.3-liter 6-cylinder engine that outputs 290 horsepower and 252 foot pounds of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard, as is front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available at all trim levels. Towing for the Santa Fe is rated at up to 7,000 pounds when properly equipped.

We like the acceleration and highway speed readiness of the 2017 Santa Fe's V6 and drivetrain. This crossover isn't the sportiest or fastest on the market, but it's not a slouch and is feels confident and capable at all times. It accelerates up and on ramp, around for the pass, etc. very well.

Another high point to the Santa Fe's build is in its tight chassis design. The 2017 Santa Fe is very maneuverable for its size and the standard rear parking camera is a boon when getting into tight spaces. The Santa Fe is unusually easy to parallel park for this class thanks to the high amounts of visibility for the driver and the tight steering.

Pricing and Value (9/10)

The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe continues with the Korean automaker's mission of offering affordable, well-made, honest products. The competitive Santa Fe has competitive price points for all of its trim levels and the availability as ala carte package options for technology and safety are a big deal in a segment that usually opts for trim-plus-limited-package only offerings.

Most buyers are likely to find that the mid-level SE trim is a good fit with a smart array of technology and comfort for the $30,000-ish price point. The lower price of entry for most Santa Fe models make up for its generally lackluster resale value down the line.

2017 Santa Fe

Total Score and Competitive Comparison (73/80, 91%)

The three-row crossover segment is full of good options for today's buyer. The Toyota Highlander rules the roost, for the most part, with its excellent ergonomics and very family-oriented appeal. Yet against that, the Hyundai Santa Fe is more than competitive thanks to a better price point and more upscale appeal. Not to mention that warranty.

Another good choice for the cargo-oriented is the Chevrolet Traverse, though it lacks in other things the Santa Fe can boast. The Ford Flex is the best in terms of third row and good fuel economy, but lacks the maneuverability and smart looks of the Santa Fe. The Kia Sorento is a compelling offer that has much the same appeal as the Santa Fe, making it well worth a cross-shop.

The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe is a full package of goodness in the three-row segment, with a well-rounded design that is both upscale and intelligent. It's functional, ergonomic and economical on several fronts. The Santa Fe should not be overlooked when shopping in the midsize three-row crossover segment.

Trim Style Engine Drive Train MSRP
SUV - AWD
SE SE 3.3L Auto AWD V6 AWD 32550
Limited Limited 3.3L Auto AWD V6 AWD 36700
SE Ultimate SE Ultimate 3.3L Auto AWD V6 AWD 40450
Limited Ultimate Limited Ultimate 3.3L Auto AWD V6 AWD 41150
SUV - FWD
SE SE 3.3L Auto V6 FWD 30800
Limited Limited 3.3L Auto V6 FWD 34950
SE Ultimate SE Ultimate 3.3L Auto V6 FWD 38700
Limited Ultimate Limited Ultimate 3.3L Auto V6 FWD 39400

Car Rankings

Interested to see how the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe ranks against similar cars in terms of key attributes? Here are the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe rankings for MPG, horsepower, torque, leg room, head room, shoulder room, hip room and so forth.

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