By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.2
There are many feelings owners associate with the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, but buyer’s remorse is not one of them. A freshened exterior and more standard features make Hyundai’s 2017 Santa Fe even more appealing this year, helping it keep pace with newer competitors like the Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder and Mazda CX-9. Offering up one of the most powerful V6 engines in its class along with ample interior room and a comfortable 3rd-row seat, the Santa Fe should appeal to those needing room, although the GMC Acadia still offers vastly more cargo space behind its 3rd-row seat. Add in a 5,000-pound tow rating and Hyundai’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, and the Santa Fe begins to look like the deal of the decade.
If you think getting the features you want in a $30,000 SUV means having to buy used, think again. The 7-passenger 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe crossover SUV comes well equipped in base form and only gets better as you move up the trim line.
KBB Expert Ratings
For 2017, Hyundai’s Santa Fe 7-passenger SUV receives updated exterior and interior styling. New standard features include a 7-inch touch screen with Android Auto, rearview camera and Driver Select Mode. New options include a Multi-View Camera, Dynamic Bending Headlights with auto high-beam assist, Smart Cruise Control and Automatic Emergency Braking.
While Mazda’s CX-9 may have set a new standard for 7-passenger SUV handling, the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV isn’t far from this benchmark. The Santa Fe offers more horsepower...
... than the Mazda and features Drive Mode Select, a 3-position setting that permits the driver to change steering feel and transmission shift points ranging from Economy to Comfort to Sport mode. The Santa Fe’s suspension settings permit confident cornering devoid of excessive sway while simultaneously avoiding too harsh a ride. Interior sound levels are more than acceptable, although we think the Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Explorer do a better job. As for power, the 2017 Santa Fe’s 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 delivers when it counts most, with excellent off-the-line acceleration and ample power for low-speed passing maneuvers. All-wheel drive (AWD) does add more weight and thus a very slight reduction in acceleration times over the front-wheel-drive (FWD) models.
HYUNDAI BLUE LINK TELEMATICS
Standard on every 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe, the next-generation Blue Link telematics offers a wide range of driver assists, including turn-by-turn navigation, remote start, stolen-vehicle recovery, SOS emergency assistance and onboard diagnostic info.
What better way to perk up a crowded cabin than with a massive infusion of sunlight. The Santa Fe’s available panoramic sunroof spans all three rows and can be tilted up for improved ventilation or opened for a refreshing blast of fresh air.
There's plenty of room in the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe, and the driver's front view is panoramic (the rearward view is less broad, but you're never reduced to driving purely with the mirrors). The base model’s stain-resistant cloth fabric feels good, plus the audio and climate-control knobs and buttons are glove-friendly big. All materials are impressive down to the rubber that lines the inside of the door pulls. The first two rows are completely livable for adults, while the third row is a decent kid's row. The Santa Fe does give up some cargo area compared to the competition, however.
Looking for all the world like what it is -- an extended-wheelbase Santa Fe Sport without the sporty rear-side-window kick-up -- the new Santa Fe has more to say about handsome, contemporary styling than it does about swooping lines that characterize the shapes of Hyundai passenger cars. Nice touch 1: Even in base SE form, the outside mirrors and bumpers are body-color. Integrated fog lights, roof rails and 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are the exterior differences between the SE and upscale Limited versions. Nice touch 2: The Santa Fe SE gets smaller 18-inch wheels, but at least they are aluminum-alloy.
Santa Fe SE drivers with a long journey ahead will appreciate the multi-adjustable front bucket seats with power-adjustable lumbar support. Passengers farther back will give thanks to the 3rd-row controls for air conditioning and heating. Stepping up to the Santa Fe Limited includes luxuries like leather seating -- power-adjustable and heated for the driver and front passenger -- push-button starting and an electroluminescent gauge cluster. The Limited Ultimate adds heated 2nd-row seats, an 8-inch-color navigation touch-screen monitor and Multi-View Monitor. Sweet as ever, Hyundai's confidence-inspiring 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranties cover the new Santa Fe.
Beyond a laundry list of bundled options like a heated steering wheel, navigation system, Infinity premium audio, 3rd-row USB ports and AWD, Hyundai is pushing a few new packages. For the Santa Fe SE, the Premium package brings blind-spot detection, rear cross-traffic alert, lane-departure warning, hands-free Smart liftgate and more. The Tech package for the SE Ultimate and Limited Ultimate include Smart Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, lane-departure warning, electronic parking brake and HID Dynamic Bending Headlights with high-beam assist.
Hyundai makes it simple to shop for a 7-passenger 2017 Santa Fe SUV by offering only one engine and one transmission. In FWD form, the SUV's 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 is very well matched to the 6-speed automatic transmission, with good throttle response, smooth pickup and clean, easy shifts. The AWD Santa Fe, though, could do with some more low-end grunt to get it moving. All that said, Hyundai’s 2017 Santa Fe is comfortable towing up to 5,000 pounds of trailer, boat or anything else you'd like to haul.
290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
252 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (FWD), 18/24 mpg (AWD)
A 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe SE comes out of the gate with a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $31,695 -- a number that is slightly higher than the 2017 Nissan Pathfinder SUV, but slightly less than a similarly equipped Honda Pilot EX. The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited starts just shy of $36,000. If you load up an AWD Santa Fe Ultimate Limited with every option, you'll still find yourself spending less than $45,000. Check out KBB.com’s Fair Purchase Price for what shoppers are actually paying for the Santa Fe in your area. It's still a little early to predict the 2017 Santa Fe's resale outlook, but Hyundai SUVs consistently rank well versus their competition, on par with the Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Explorer, better than the GMC Acadia but behind the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander.