At CES last month, we got a chance to try out Hyundai’s latest CUV, the 2017 Santa Fe. Turns out, it was a good fit for the occasion — not only does it handle well in Las Vegas CES traffic, it’s a pretty tech-friendly vehicle, even at the cheaper trims. With a clean, sweeping exterior that shows how far Hyundai has come in terms of design, it’s a pretty good all-around buy for budget-conscious families, although there are a few hiccups — particularly suspension and efficiency — that are worth considering.
Like most CUVs, the Santa Fe has three rows of seats with limited cargo space in the rear. There’s not much cargo room, but it was more than enough to hold five backpacks. It seems well enough suited for trips to the grocery store, but for more active weekend trips, it might be tough to squeeze in everything you need unless you fold the third row down.
If you need the third row for seating, it’s a little tricky to get into the very back — the second row seats simply fold down flat, so the backseat riders have to kind of crawl over them to get to the third row. The back row seating isn’t all that cramped, at least in the spectrum of CUVs, so that’s good news.
Driving the Santa Fe around was smooth for a cheaper CUV — acceleration won’t blow you away, but it’ll do for a family car. We found the suspension to be more of a concern — even smaller speed bumps seemed significant, especially for the people in the back row. But, handling was generally reliable, and the vehicle takes corners well. Across all trims, the 2017 Santa Fe comes with a 3.3-Liter, 290 horsepower V6 engine, so while acceleration was just OK, the vehicle performed well on the highway once it got up to speed. The Santa Fe we tried out got 20/17/23 MPG for combined/city/highway, which is so so for the mid-size CUV market. But, the cheaper trims are a bit more efficient, so that’s worth keeping in mind.
Where the Santa Fe really nails it is in tech. The usual stuff like a rear camera for backing out is here, along with a 7″ touch display running Hyundai’s BlueLink infotainment system, which can be used with Android Auto or CarPlay. We generally still prefer using CarPlay or Android Auto, but Hyundai’s stock infotainment UI isn’t bad for navigation and music.
As always, heated seats were welcome. But, like a lot of advanced safety features, those are only available on higher trims. Hyundai has four trims for the Santa Fe — SE, Limited, SE Ultimate, and Ultimate Limited (we tested the Ultimate Limited). The add-on premium package for the SE trim introduces those heated seats, along with leather interior details, a third-row USB port, and safety features like blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alerts, and lane change assist. The tech package on the SE Ultimate/Limited Ultimate adds lane departure warnings, pedestrian detection with emergency braking, and dynamic bending light. Other higher-priced goodies include an 8″ touchscreen option and a power liftgate on the SE Ultimate. The full spec sheet can be viewed here.
All in all, the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe is a solid value. Acceleration and suspension are drawbacks, but a comfortable, roomy interior and a much better standard tech package than most make it a good choice for anyone who wants to use their phone with their vehicle using CarPlay or Android Auto.
We reviewed the Ultimate Limited trim with the tech package, which was priced at $42,545. The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe starts at $30,800 for the SE trim, and comes in one of eight colors.