2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Review

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport - Hyundai adds Sport to make Santa Fe smaller


For 2017, Hyundai offers the Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport, with fresh exterior design, new drive mode selections, added infotainment and safety technologies.

Now, it might be maddening that the Korean company has two types of sport utility vehicles and they share the same name, but there is a reason for what Hyundai has done.

Santa Fe is the midsize three-row SUV. At last count, it had eight models, base to loaded, on the market, including two Ultimates.; For the record, nearly 350 individual parts have been updated on the 2017 Santa Fe, and two new paint colors are Nightfall Blue and Storm Blue.

Santa Fe Sport is the smaller two-row SUV. It has three editions, base to loaded, on the market, including one Ultimate model.

In other words, Sport means small and any other Santa Fe is not small.

The Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport come in front- or all-wheel-drive. AWD will cost an extra $1,500 to $1,700.

This review is of the AWD Ultimate model of the Santa Fe Sport.

Highlights of the Sport include decent price for the inclusions and a warranty of 10 years or 100,000 miles on the powertrain. The base warranty is five years or 60,000 miles. This is true of all models of the Sport or the Santa Fe.

Pricing is reasonable considering amenities and safety features that are standard. Pricing starts at $30,800 for the Santa Fe and from $25,350 for the Santa Fe Sport. Pricing for the fully loaded SUVs will top out at about $40,000.

Roominess is another virtue of the Santa Fe Sport. Leg room in front is an official 41.3 inches. In the rear it is 39.4 inches. The rear split seats move forward and backward for maximum leg room. Between the split rear seats is a pulldown armrest and cupholder.

Taller people will find they have to duck to enter the vehicle but once inside the head and shoulder room is generous.

Cargo capacity is 71.5 cubic feet maximum and 35.4 cubic feet behind an upright second row of seats. The carpeted and lighted storage area has tiedowns and one of the three 12-volt outlets.

During the weeks of test driving, passengers in the rear seats commented on the comfort level. It was good. They also commented on the ease of conversation, uninterrupted by outside noise, which indicates a well-insulated vehicle.

A strut suspension system in front includes coil springs over shock absorbers. In the rear, trailing arms with multilinks combine with gas shocks inside coil springs to give this vehicle a car-like ride. The vehicle rode relatively smoothly over rough railroad crossings during the test week. Not perfect, it balanced well around sharp road bends at fast but legal speeds.

Comforting is the fact that the four 19-inch tires are backed up by a temporary spare stored on the outside and under the cargo floor. Between the spare and the cargo floor is a compartmentalized storage area. It will accommodate small fishing or hunting gear as well as smaller household items.

The base model of the Santa Fe Sport gets a 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. The two more expensive models (Santa Fe Sport 2.OT and Santa Fe Sport 2.OT Ultimate) are outfitted with a turbocharged 2-liter, 240-horsepower dual overhead cam four-cylinder. Regular gasoline is recommended for the 17.4-gallon fuel tank. Fuel economy was not great in the tested 2.OT Ultimate. During the test week it was 20.6 miles per gallon with two persons aboard in combined city and highway driving. The Ultimate weighs 3,949 pounds. Vehicles that weigh almost 4,000 pounds cannot expect great fuel economy results. The engine, which was mated to a six-speed shiftable automatic transmission, can tow a 3,500-pound trailer.

Besides the usual power features; of exterior mirrors, door locks and express windows, cruise control, air conditioning, remote keyless entry, smart start and variable intermittent windshield wipers and rear defrost-wipers, are standard equipment on a Santa Fe Sport. Also standard are power rear liftgate, hill-start assist and down-hill brake controls. The one minimizes backward roll on steep hills and the other helps the driver maintain control on the downward path.

Since the test model was a top-of-the-line $38,250; Sport Ultimate, cloth seats were replaced by leather (including steering wheel and shift knob), keyless entry was enhanced (as you approach vehicle, doors including liftgate automatically unlock if key in pocket, hand or purse), remote start as well as dashboard pushbutton start, 19-inch P235 tires mounted on alloy wheels replacing 18- and 17-inchers, fog lights in front, overhead roof rack (cross bars extra), power tilt and slide panoramic sunroof, power passenger as well as the standard power driver's seat, sliding second-row seats with cargo area releases, manual sunshades for rear side windows, memory for driver's seat and side mirrors, vented front seat, heated steering wheel and rear seats, and an upgrade Infinity 12-speaker sound system with Android Audio. Other trim features are a chrome grille and exterior door handles plus a body-colored rear hatch spoiler.

The Ultimate also gets memory for driver's seat and side mirrors, HID Xenon headlights with LED accents replacing halogens and LED tail lights.

Standard safety features on the three Santa Fe Sport models are seven airbags, an antilock braking system, seatbelts with headrests and pretensioners, a tire pressure monitoring system,; rearview camera, front and rear defoggers, child seat tethers and anchors and remote keyless entry.

The Ultimate is equipped with more safety items such as blind-spot detection with cross- traffic alert, lane change assist, and power exterior wide mirrors with turn signal indicators. ;

In automotive testing, the Ultimate has braked (discs) from a speed of 60 miles per hour to 0 in a distance of 127 feet, or several feet longer than average for vehicles in the class of small SUVs.

;Hyundai has installed a traction and stability control system on all its vehicles calling it electronic stability control. ESC compares a driver's intended course with the vehicle's actual response and brakes front or rear wheels accordingly while automatically reducing engine speed. It is designed to correct over- or under-steer conditions.

The overhead roof rack can safely carry 150 pounds of cargo.

Amenities include navigation system, reading lights, glove box light, cupholders aplenty, grab handles, trip meter and the 12-speaker sound system for AM-FM and XM satellite stereo radio, compact disc player (storage for six), and MP3 compatibility, iPod, USB and auxiliary input jacks. ;

Ask at a dealership for a $500 rebate on the 2017s or, in lieu of the rebate, 0 to 4.9 percent financing. Those incentives officially were effective through July 5.


Vehicle: 2.OT Ultimate model of 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Type: four-door, five-passenger all-wheel-drive midsize sport utility vehicle

Price: $38,250

Engine: 2-liter, turbocharged 240-horsepower, dual overhead cam four-cylinder

Transmission: six-speed shiftable automatic

Towing: 3,500 pounds

Fuel tank: 17.4 gallons

Fuel: unleaded regular

Turn circle, curb-to-curb: 35.8 feet

Wheelbase: 106.3 inches

Length: 185 inches

Width: 74 inches

Height: 66.1 inches, 66.5 inches with roof rack

Weight: 3,949 pounds

Leg room: 41.3 inches front, 39.4 inches rear

Suspension: struts front with gas-filled damper and stabilizer bar, multilinks rear with gas shocks and stabilizer bar

Tires (P235), alloy wheels: 19-inch

Cargo: 71.5 cubic feet maximum, 35.4 cubic feet behind upright second row

Assembly: South Korea

Warranty: five years or 60,000 miles with 24-hour roadside assistance, 10 years or 100,000 miles on powertrain

Information: www.hyundaiUSA.com/Santa Fe

M.J. Frumkin and J.E. Kuyper

M. J. Frumkin and J. E. Kuyper covered the auto industry for decades. Frumkin was with Consumer Guide for 14 years, has authored four books and co-authored three more. He is also the historian/archivist for the Chicago Automobile Trade Association/Chicago Auto Show. Kuyper has been an automotive writer, editor and columnist for newspapers in the Chicago area the past 25 years. His reviews currently appear in the daily Northwest Herald newspaper. Frumkin and Kuyper are founding members of the Midwest Automotive Media Association.