Editor's note: This Car Seat Check was written in November 2016 about the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe. Little of substance has changed with this year's model. To see what's new for the 2018 vehicle, click here, or check out a side-by-side comparison of the two vehicle model years.
The Hyundai Santa Fe is a comfortable, capable family hauler, but middling crash test scores had us thinking twice about recommending it. For 2017, however, we're on board. Hyundai's three-row SUV got a makeover with updated styling and — more importantly — it passed its Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash tests with the highest scores of good. Similarly, we gave the Santa Fe high grades in our Car Seat Check thanks to the car's ample rear legroom and an easy-to-access Latch system.
How many car seats fit in the second row? Two
How many car seats fit in the third row? Two
Related: More Car Seat Checks
- Latch, grade A: There are two sets of Latch anchors in the Santa Fe's second row and they sit just within the seat bight, where the back and bottom cushions meet. They are easy to use. The two top tether anchors sit midway down the captain's chairs' seatbacks; they're clearly marked and also easy to use. There are no lower anchors in the third row and one top tether anchor.
- Infant seat, grade A: This seat went in easily and fit well; we did not need to move the SUV's front passenger seat forward to accommodate it.
- Rear-facing convertible, grade A: This seat also went in easily and fit well; we did not need to move the Santa Fe's front passenger seat forward to accommodate it.
- Second-row forward-facing convertible, grade A: After raising the head restraint, the forward-facing convertible fit well and was easy to install in the second row.
- Second-row booster, grade B: Although the booster fit well in the second row, the buckles are on floppy bases, making them harder for kids in the Hyundai Santa Fe to grasp and use independently.
- Third-row access, grade A: Access was easy thanks to a wide opening between the second-row captain's chairs. The chairs also collapse and slide forward for access when a car seat isn't installed.
- Third-row forward-facing convertible, grade A: There are no lower Latch anchors in the Santa Fe's third row, so we used the seat belt to install the forward-facing convertible. It fit well, and the third row's one top tether anchor was easy to find and use.
- Third-row booster, grade B: Although the booster fit well in the Hyundai Santa Fe's third row, the buckles are on floppy bases, making them harder for kids to grasp and use independently.
Solid indicates an A grade for optimum ease of use and fit. So-So indicates B or C grades for one to two ease-of-use or fit issues. Skip It indicates D or F grades.
A: Plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn't impact driver or front-passenger legroom. Easy to find and connect to Latch and tether anchors. No fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. Easy access to the third row.
B: One room, fit or connection issue. Some problems accessing third row when available.
C: Marginal room plus one fit or connection issue. Difficult to access third row when available.
D: Insufficient room, plus multiple fit or connection issues.
F: Does not fit or is unsafe.
About Cars.com's Car Seat Checks
Editors Jennifer Geiger, Jennifer Newman and Matt Schmitz are certified child safety seat installation technicians.
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Graco SnugRide Classic Connect 30 infant-safety seat, a Britax Marathon convertible seat and Graco TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted for a 6-foot driver and a shorter passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver's seat, and the infant and convertible seats are installed behind the front passenger seat.
We also install the forward-facing convertible in the second row's middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit; a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. If there's a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible. Learn more about how we conduct our Car Seat Checks.
Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat, and that Latch anchors have a weight limit of 65 pounds, including the weight of the child and the weight of the seat itself.
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