2017 Santa Fe Sport New Car Test Drive
Significantly freshened, the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport compact crossover gets new front and rear fascias, headlights, taillights, and trim panels.
Sharp-looking inside and out, the refreshed 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport fits between the bigger Santa Fe and the smaller Tucson, borrowing a few details from each. We think the Santa Fe Sport is the best-looking member of Hyundai's crossover SUV trio.
Nearly one-fourth of the Santa Fe Sport's parts have changed for the 2017 model year, aiming to refine its cabin and improve ride qualities, though nothing has changed mechanically.
The standard engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder with direct injection developing 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. Mating with a 6-speed automatic transmission, the 2.4-liter model is EPA-rated at up to 27 mpg Highway. Though passable for fuel-efficiency, the Santa Fe Sport falls short of gas-mileage estimates for some competitive models. While priced right, the 2.4-liter engine, also used in the Sonata sedan, can feel breathless and overtaxed, especially when carrying passengers.
We recommend the optional turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which yields 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. In that installation, the automatic gets slightly different gearing, to help quicken takeoffs a bit. Also shared with the Sonata, the 2.0-liter turbo comes in two trim levels, each adding popular features.
All-wheel drive is available with either engine. In each Santa Fe Sport model, Drive Mode selection has three settings: Sport, Eco, and Normal. Precise handling isn't the Sport's principal talent, demonstrated by less-than-sharp steering feel.
Crash-test scores have been excellent. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Sport a rating of five stars overall, as well as for both frontal and side impacts. Rollover resistance brought a four-star result, which isn't unusual. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave Good scores for its crash tests, including the small overlap collision, which simulates hitting a pole or tree. If equipped with optional forward collision warning, with automatic emergency braking, the Sport earned a Top Safety Pick Plus award.
Rearview cameras are newly standard on all 2017 models. Surround-view cameras, lane-keep assist, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, and adaptive cruise control are optional.
The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport ($25,350) comes with the 2.4-liter engine, cruise control, remote keyless entry, daytime running lights, LED-accented projector headlights, cargo cover, and 17-inch alloy wheels. The AM/FM/SiriusXM/CD player has auxiliary and USB ports, Bluetooth with audio streaming, and six speakers. (All prices are MSRP and do not include destination charge.) Optional Premium and Tech Packages add features.
Santa Fe Sport 2.0T ($31,700) upgrades to the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and leather seating surfaces, heated power front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel; dual-zone automatic climate control; hands-free power liftgate; keyless ignition; blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist; 7.0-inch display audio, Blue Link telematics, and 18-inch wheels.
Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate ($36,500) adds a panoramic sunroof, Infinity premium audio with 8.0-inch touchscreen, heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, 19-inch wheels, HID headlights, rear parking sensors, and surround-view cameras.
All-wheel drive ($1,750) is available on all models. Front-wheel drive is standard.
Seven airbags are standard, including a driver's knee airbag.