2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

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$25,350–$38,250 MSRP range
Key Specs
Our Take
Road Test
Photos
Reviews
Safety & Recalls
Warranty & CPO
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Key Specs

of the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Relative value
  • Lots of available luxury features
  • Safety ratings
  • Cabin storage
  • Handling
  • Seating flexibility

The Bad

  • Off-the-line power versus V-6 competitors
  • Rearward visibility
  • Rear seating position
  • Road noise
  • Aging interior quality
  • High-tech safety features available only on top trim

Notable Features of the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

  • Mild styling update
  • Improved crashworthiness
  • Seats five
  • Related to seven-seat Santa Fe
  • Available turbocharged four-cylinder
  • Available forward collision warning system

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Road Test

Kelsey Mays

The verdict: The five-seat Hyundai Santa Fe Sport packs undeniable value, but even a raft of updates for 2017 can’t hide spotty cabin quality, practical limitations and other signs of age.

Versus the competition: Largely the same SUV that debuted in early 2012, the Santa Fe Sport is a bargain versus most other midsize SUVs — which have improved a lot since then.

Hyundai says it updated a quarter of the Santa Fe Sport’s parts for 2017, including a number of structural reinforcements to improve its spotty crash-test scores. Freshened styling and an updated multimedia system round out the major changes; you can see all the differences for 2017 here.

The Santa Fe Sport is a smaller version of the three-row Hyundai Santa Fe. With just two rows, the Sport comes in base, 2.0T and 2.0T Ultimate trim levels with two available engines and front- or all-wheel drive. At Cars.com’s 2016 Midsize SUV Challenge, we compared an all-wheel-drive 2.0T Ultimate with four competitors. See more about that here.     

We cover the larger Santa Fe separately on Cars.com; compare it with the Sport here.
Exterior & Styling
The visual changes are most prominent up front: The headlights have a little more going on inside the frames, while the fog lights have a lot more going on around the frames. The sum of it all helps differentiate the Sport from the larger Santa Fe, which has its own unique visual updates for 2017.
How It Drives
The 
Hyundai Sant...

The verdict: The five-seat Hyundai Santa Fe Sport packs undeniable value, but even a raft of updates for 2017 can’t hide spotty cabin quality, practical limitations and other signs of age.

Versus the competition: Largely the same SUV that debuted in early 2012, the Santa Fe Sport is a bargain versus most other midsize SUVs — which have improved a lot since then.

Hyundai says it updated a quarter of the Santa Fe Sport’s parts for 2017, including a number of structural reinforcements to improve its spotty crash-test scores. Freshened styling and an updated multimedia system round out the major changes; you can see all the differences for 2017 here.

The Santa Fe Sport is a smaller version of the three-row Hyundai Santa Fe. With just two rows, the Sport comes in base, 2.0T and 2.0T Ultimate trim levels with two available engines and front- or all-wheel drive. At Cars.com’s 2016 Midsize SUV Challenge, we compared an all-wheel-drive 2.0T Ultimate with four competitors. See more about that here.     

We cover the larger Santa Fe separately on Cars.com; compare it with the Sport here.
Exterior & Styling
The visual changes are most prominent up front: The headlights have a little more going on inside the frames, while the fog lights have a lot more going on around the frames. The sum of it all helps differentiate the Sport from the larger Santa Fe, which has its own unique visual updates for 2017.
How It Drives
The 
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport’s optional 240-horsepower, turbocharged 2.4-liter four-cylinder lends vigorous passing power if you really get on the gas, but it’s a buzzy engine that feels punchiest at higher revs, not off the line. A lag-free accelerator and responsive six-speed automatic help things along, but I’d like more low-rpm power. Despite the engine’s claimed low-end torque, the SUV lacks the immediate thrust of bigger-engine rivals. The three-row Santa Fe has an excellent 3.3-liter V-6 with much better power distribution; Hyundai would do well to pair it with the Sport — you know, to add more sport.


Base models have a 185-hp, non-turbo four-cylinder that makes an EPA-estimated fuel economy of 24 mpg when combined with front-wheel drive. The turbo drops that to 23 mpg. All-wheel drive, available with either engine, loses 1 to 2 mpg depending on configuration. Those figures are competitive with the class and about 1 mpg better fuel economy than the 2016 model thanks to new engine calibrations and a number of other incremental changes.

Ride quality is a touch busy versus other midsize SUVs, but the handling payoff — reasonably flat cornering and decent steering feedback — seems worth it. Our test car had 19-inch alloy wheels, but Hyundai also offers 17- and 18-inchers, either of which might improve ride comfort. Our car’s Kumho Krugen P235/55R19 all-season tires emitted noticeable road noise at highway speeds, but the optional (and enormous) roof rack had little apparent effect on wind noise.
Interior
Largely carried over from the 2013-2016 generation of 
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, the cabin is showing its age. The front seats are thin and unsupportive, and the optional leather feels more like vinyl. Cabin quality is all across the board: Some areas are rich while others — grainy grays above the glove compartment, frosted silver on the door handles — seem plucked from an entry-level subcompact. This used to cut it against the previous generation of midsize SUVs, but the class has improved. Hyundai needs to catch up.


Practicality is a mixed bag, too. The rear seats offer myriad adjustments, but the low cushion height will leave taller adults’ knees uncomfortably elevated. The exterior styling sacrifices sight lines, with a rising beltline that diminishes visibility past the B-pillar.
Ergonomics & Electronics
Updated for 2017, the stereo controls are busier now but include both volume and tuning knobs (the latter were absent before). A 5-inch multimedia display (not a touchscreen) and backup camera are now standard. So is satellite radio, plus Bluetooth phone and audio streaming. Upgrade to an optional 7- or 8-inch touchscreen to get Android Auto, Apple CarPlay and HD radio. The 8-inch display adds a navigation system and Infinity premium audio.

Our test car lacked CarPlay, a late addition for the 2017 model year, but Hyundai told us the Santa Fe Sport should offer it now. Shoppers who bought earlier 2017 models with the 7- or 8-inch screen can see their dealer for a free upgrade. You may want to get a few USB car chargers on your way; the Santa Fe Sport has just one USB port.
Cargo & Storage
The center console bin and glove compartment are unremarkable in size, but kudos to Hyundai for putting two storage trays in the center console, including a big one ahead of the gearshift. A surprising number of cars — even SUVs — are stingy with open storage.

Cargo space behind the backseat amounts to 35.4 cubic feet, which is smallish for a midsize SUV. (The Nissan Murano and Ford Edge beat the figure by more than 10 percent.) Fold the seats, and the Santa Fe Sport’s 71.5 cubic feet of maximum room is more competitive with others’ maximum volumes. Hyundai’s standard 40/20/40-split folding rear seat offers a practical advantage to the 60/40-split seats in many rivals, too: You can fit long, narrow cargo, like skis, between two outboard passengers.
Safety
For 2017, Hyundai beefed up the Santa Fe’s cabin structure to improve its performance in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s small overlap front crash test, improving to good (from marginal) in the evaluation. (IIHS scores are poor, marginal, acceptable and good.) With good scores in the agency’s other crash tests, plus a top rating for its optional forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking, the Santa Fe Sport earned IIHS’ highest designation, Top Safety Pick Plus. See the Santa Fe Sport's IIHS ratings here and ratings for the rest of the midsize SUV class here.

That said, you’ll have to load up a 
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport to get that collision warning system. It’s available only on the 2.0T Ultimate, and even then it’s part of a $1,550 option package that includes adaptive headlights with automatic high beams, full speed adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and a few other features.


Most trim levels have a blind spot warning system. See a full list of standard safety features here and our evaluation of car-seat provisions here. A backup camera is standard, with a 360-degree camera system optional.
Value in Its Class
Front-drive base models start around $26,000 with destination, while an all-wheel-drive 2.0T Ultimate tops out around $40,500 with factory options — an impressive array that includes power front seats with heating and ventilation, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a panoramic moonroof and sunshades for the rear windows.

That’s serious value. The Edge, Murano and Jeep Grand Cherokee all start around $30,000. The Murano tops out past $45,000; the Edge and V-6 Grand Cherokee can spiral into the $50,000s and $60,000s, respectively. Indeed, the Santa Fe Sport’s transaction prices are among the lowest of any midsize SUV, with an excellent warranty and track record of above-average reliability to boot.

Still, the savings come with problems. From cabin materials and visibility to a turbo engine that’s short on low-end grunt, the 
Hyundai Santa Fe Sport has its share of annoyances. Hyundai’s 2017 refresh fixed the old model’s one deal-breaker — crash tests — but against today’s competition, the Santa Fe Sport still feels old. Until a full redesign, it may not appeal on much more than value.

Send Kelsey an email  

 


2017 Santa Fe Sport Video

For 2017, Hyundai updated the five-seat Santa Fe Sport with some important safety improvements and a few styling changes. Let's see if that was enough to compete for shoppers' attention against other midsize SUVs.

Latest 2017 Santa Fe Sport Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.8)
Performance
(4.6)
Interior Design
(4.7)
Comfort
(4.8)
Reliability
(4.9)
Value For The Money
(4.7)

Latest Reviews

(5.0)

Loving it, very stylish

by Troym from Yazoo city, ms on July 16, 2018

I am a Hyundai owner for about 12 years. They are a good and reliable vehicle. I would tell all my friends if you looking for a good car go to Wilson premier Hyundai. Read full review

(5.0)

Great Demo Car for a Great price.

by Jaeho from Buffalo Grove on July 3, 2018

This car is the perfect first car for a guy right out of college. The exterior is classy with the black color. Also the safety features are the best quality. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport currently has 2 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.4L

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Child Seat Anchors (Latch)

Ease of Use
acceptable

Head Restraints and Seats

Dynamic Rating
good
Overall Rear
good
Seat Head/Restraint Geometry
good

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Other

Roof Strength
good

Side

Driver Head Protection
good
Driver Head and Neck
good
Driver Pelvis/Leg
good
Driver Torso
good
Overall Side
good
Rear Passenger Head Protection
good
Rear Passenger Head and Neck
good
Rear Passenger Pelvis/Leg
good
Rear Passenger Torso
good
Structure/safety cage
good

Small Overlap Front - Driver Side

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Hip/Thigh
good
Lower Leg/Foot
good
Overall Evaluation
good
Restraints and Dummy Kinematics
good
Structure and Safety Cage
good
poor
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Santa Fe Sport received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*

Third-row access

N/A

Infant seat

B

Booster

(third row)

N/A

Booster

(second row)

B

Latch or Latch system

B

Forward-facing convertible

(second row)

A

Rear-facing convertible

A
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.
For complete details,

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker