In Hyundai’s line of SUVs, the offer the Santa Fe moniker in two flavors that represent two sizes; the original Santa Fe is the larger vehicle representing mid-sized SUVs and the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport we have in this review representing Hyundai’s foray into compact crossovers. The word “Sport” in the name of the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport distinguishes this two-row crossover from its bigger Santa Fe cousin but test results show that sport only goes up to looks and not beyond towards performance.
The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is Absolutely Dynamic, Gorgeous, and Clean
For the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, exterior revisions are modest: a redesigned front fascia with a new grille and headlamps, new taillights and exhaust tips, silver trim for the rocker panels, new wheel designs and new LED daytime running lights. Design tweaks are expected at a midterm update, but Hyundai didn’t really have to make sweeping changes; the Santa Fe Sport looked pretty snappy to begin with. Under the hood is a turbocharged 2-Liter inline four cylinder churning out 240hp mated to a 6-speed automatic.
The interior of the 2017 Santa Fe Sport gets updated with the availability of new 7.0- and 8.0-inch touchscreens (a 5.0-inch screen is standard). Our top-of-the-line test vehicle had the 8.0-inch screen, which includes navigation and plays nice with Android Auto but oddly does not yet support Apple CarPlay so iOS users will have to settle with something else. The touchscreen functions are augmented by traditional knobs and switches which should be a standard feature for redundancy as well as keeping your eyes on the road and not looking at where you tap your fingers. Other features include an available power height-adjustable passenger seat, an Infinity audio system, an upgrade of Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics, and a 360-degree camera system, one of multiple additions to the safety inventory.
Handling is a surprisingly strong suit for the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, thanks to better-than-average roll stiffness. The better than average electrically assisted power steering conveys at least some tactile information to the driver. The ride can get a little choppy over patchwork pavement and/or washboard dirt roads, but otherwise it is smooth. And the Santa Fe Sport is exceptionally quiet in most operating conditions. However acceleration falls short as it requires 7.6 seconds to get from 0 to 60. It’s also hard to love the six-speed automatic transmission. With three driving modes – even in the most aggressive mode, up and downshifts are deliberate, whether the gearbox is shifting automatically or in response to manual inputs.
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