Hyundai Santa Fe Sport — Many advancements for 2017

By David Finkelstein

With celebrated improvements in a number of areas, the award-winning and Montgomery, Ala., manufactured two row Hyundai Santa Fe Sport continues to dramatically be updated and enhanced for the 2017 model year. The advancements span everything from fuel mileage breakthroughs to a fresh exterior design and attractive LED signature lighting.

Additionally, Hyundai Motors is raising the bar with user friendly/additional convenient infotainment systems, welcomed safety technologies and a new Drive Mode selection controller featuring driver input options such as Sport, Eco and Normal settings. All versions are also offered with either front or all-wheel-drive chassis for 2017 as well.

The standard engine powering Santa Fe Sport is an advanced and fuel efficient 2.4-liter four-cylinder. It produces 185 horsepower, which by the way, is likely more than enough power for most drive situations, however if you crave the need for quicker acceleration, Hyundai also makes available a more powerful, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The turbo generates about 240 horsepower.

There is a clear cut distention between the engine choices as a brief road test with the Santa Fe will help you make that decision. Worth noting though, both powerplants have a solid track record for smoothness and reliability, as they are also used within the Hyundai product mix on a number of other models.

This also includes powering a number of their corporate produced vehicles labeled under the Kia nameplate. All Santa Fe engines utilize cutting-edge high-pressure direct fuel injection and Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing in order to help with respectable miles per gallon figures of which have been significantly improved over the 2016 model. When equipped with the 2.4-liter and front-wheel-drive chassis, it reflects 21-mpg city/27-highway while the Turbo version shows 20-mpg city/28-highway. As expected, the fuel consumption figures will fluctuate slightly with the all-wheel-drive setup plus it depends on the equipment included from the factory.

A six-speed automatic transmission is also standard on all Santa Fe models. Also worth noting is the fact that the new Santa Fe Sport has nearly 350 individual parts which have been updated and/or re-engineered for 2017. This represents about 25 percent of total Santa Fe Sport parts content overall.

It competes within the circle of other midsize crossover SUV's such as the Toyota RAV4, Honda CR-V, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rouge, VolkswagenTiguan and others.

Hyundai elected to offer up their entry level model with generous features and content as standard. For instance, you'll discover welcomed and included amenities such as a rearview camera system, automatic on/off headlights, remote keyless entry with alarm, “large” body color heated exterior power operated door mirrors with a driver’s blind spot mirror, bright and stylish LED headlight accents, safety daytime running lights, steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise controls and Hyundai's convenient Bluetooth hands-free smartphone system.

Premium features such as HID Xenon headlights, panoramic sunroof, navigation and an updated 12-speaker Infinity Logic7 audio system which features QuantumLogic Surround and Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology are available with the factories option list. Also available is Hyundai’s innovative power Hands-Free Smart Liftgate with Auto Open. Its intended to make it easier to gain access to the cargo area whenever your hands are full. This seamless system allows for the driver to keep both feet comfortably on the ground by simply standing within a few feet of the rear bumper, and having the key fob in a pocket or purse for just a few seconds for it to function.

With its optional “next-generation” Hyundai Blue Link feature, it provides a full suite of connected safety and diagnostic enhancements. It also electronically shakes hands with the vehicle's embedded connected car systems such as remote start with interior climate control, stolen vehicle recovery and remote door lock/unlock.

When equipped with the navigation system, it has the benefit of advanced guidance which provides destination search (powered by Google), as well as point of interest web search/download to help you get to your destination. Santa Fe Sport is compatible with Android Auto for seamless and intuitive operation with the most commonly used smartphone functions including; navigation with Google Maps, streaming audio, voice-controlled search capabilities and more than 40 approved smartphone apps.

Also standard is the electronic power steering system. It delivers with a refined outcome, making the driver feel more connected to the road. When linked with some of their standard safety enhancements such as vehicle stability management with electronic stability control and traction control, you get the feeling as if there is an invisible co-pilot riding along side of you!

Seven airbags (including a driver’s knee airbag), four-wheel disc brakes with ABS and electronic brake-force distribution, hill-start assist control with downhill brake control and a tire pressure monitoring system are all standard.

The very contemporary appearing 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, with its sleek head turning and striking outer body design together with its modern yet comfortable interior, has a pricing structure starting at $25,350. Their top end flagship 2.0T Ultimate version has a price point just over $38,000.

Included is one of the industry's best warranties of 5-years/60,000 mile basic coverage and 10-years/100,000 miles powertrain warranty benefits.