On all Santa Fe’s, LED day runners come standard, along with fog lamps and roof rails. With the slight refresh for 2017 (there’s about 25% new content in this year’s model,) Hyundai says the following regarding outward appearance:
“The most immediately noticeable changes include new headlights, grille, taillights, bumpers, wheel design, and standard LED daytime running lights with aerodynamic vents that improve airflow by shuttling air around the front wheels.”
The changes are subtle seeing as it’s a mid-cycle refresh, with the full redesign coming within the next few years. Even still, the Santa Fe has a strong and sturdy look to it without being outlandish like, say, that unique QX80.
While not overly striking, the conservative interior of the Santa Fe works well. Buttons and dials are well laid out for ease of use, gauges are large and easy to read and the leather steering in my tester felt soft and of high quality. In fact, there’s an upscale feel to the interior overall without screaming “look at me!” This five-seater also has plenty of space, with 1,003L behind the second row and generous 2,025L with the rear seats folded.
I had the 5” touchscreen wasn’t quite big enough for me but it’s still functional for day to day operations. Upping your trim model can get you to the better sized 8” screen along with navigation but since we’re almost all running on smartphones, navigation can be sourced via Waze or Google Maps and definitely not the awful Apple maps.
My 2.4L SE trim sees and old-school key into ignition function opposed to the available push button start, which didn’t bother me one bit and hopefully no one else will care about the extra half second of effort in turning the key to start the car.
Beneath the hood
The Santa Fe comes in two engine flavours; a 2.0 turbo and a 2.4L, which is what my tester was equipped with.
The 2.4L produces 185 horsepower and 178 lb-ft. of torque through a four cylinder, six speed motor.
Running on up to 66L of regular fuel, this engine has no problem moving Hyundai’s mid-sized SUV on both city and highway paths. If you’ve loaded it up with people and gear (or magazine boxes in my case) there’s a bit of hesitation due to the increased weight but it’s still capable of getting you to and from with minimal complaints.
Fuel efficiency for my all-wheel drive tester rates at for L/100km come in a 12.0/9.1/10.7 for city, highway and combined and my week of mixed driving saw slightly lower figures.
The turbo 2.0 gives you 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque, for those of you who want additional right-foot power and subsequently, add 0.5 to all aforementioned fuel efficiency figures.
On the road
For a vehicle in the mid-30K mark, the seats are exceptionally comfortable and there’s minimal road noise, which makes for ideal road-trip conditions.
Steering feel is comfortable, parking is relatively easy (the backup camera helps for those who haven’t quite mastered reverse parking yet) and the Active Cornering Control help keeps you stable around quicker turns and slippery surfaces.
Sure, the turbo will give you a hefty power burst but I’d opt for the 2.4 as it saves fuel and there’s still enough oomph to move you respectably.
Between drive modes Sport, Eco and Normal, most will live in Normal or Eco and they’re both comfortable to drive in, especially if you’re looking to lower your fuel consumption.
There’s a lot of trim levels
There’s eight, to be exact and here they are:
$28,599 - 2.4L Front-wheel drive
$31,099 – 2.4L Premium front-wheel drive
$33,099 – 2.4L Premium all-wheel drive
$34,899 – 2.4L SE all-wheel drive
$37,899 – 2.4L Luxury all-wheel drive
$37,299 – 2.0L SE all-wheel drive
$41,299 – 2.0L Limited all-wheel drive
$44,599 – 2.0L Ultimate all-wheel drive
With a range of $16,000 between top and bottom with plenty of configuration options, bells and whistles and two engine choices, there’s a wide appeal to the Santa Fe and probably why you see so damn many of them on the road. The 2.4 SE sits in the middle and should be the popular choice for consumers and it’s the one I’d opt for.
What I’d change
Giving consumers too much choice isn’t always wise and in the Santa Fe’s case, I’d dump the entry level 2.4L front-wheel drive trim and make the 2.4L Premium all-wheel drive because, well, we’re in Canada and all-wheel drive is becoming increasingly popular for drivers.
Every other trim except for the entry trim gives you the following features as standard fare: (and this is impressive for Hyundai)
Blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, parking sensors, rear heated seats, heated steering wheel, dual zone climate control and manual sunshades for the rear windows.
It’s only a $2,500 jump from base to level 2, so toss the entry trim which very few folks will opt for and strengthen the Santa Fe lineup by giving consumers less choice and more value.
That optic figure of being lower than $30K as a starting point may get buyers into showrooms but the vast majority will level up away from the base trim.
Enjoy the full gallery below: