The Hyundai Santa Fe gets a design refresh, more LED lighting and a new drive mode that will give drivers more options for 2017. The Santa Fe has one of the strongest V6 engines in its segment and is a comfortable ride for up to seven people.

The Santa Fe keeps getting better, and the public is responding. For 2017, the company will start building Santa Fe Sport models at the Montgomery, Ala., plant to help meet increasing market demand.

The three-row Santa Fe is powered by a 3.3-liter V6 that produces 290 horsepower and 252 lb.-ft. of torque. The transmission is a 6-speed automatic, and AWD is available. It’s a drivetrain that makes plenty of power for the Santa Fe, which weighs in about two tons.

The Santa Fe scoots around city streets quickly and with ease, yet is substantial enough to ride alongside the big rigs out on Interstate 12 without getting blown around.

The driving experience is made more fun for 2017 by a new drive mode selector with settings for Sport, Eco and Normal. Unfortunately, the button for the drive mode selector is hidden in a bank of switches on the left side of the steering wheel. Most carmakers put drive mode switches on the center console where they’re easily accessible.

The Santa Fe comes in four trim levels: Se, SE Ultimate, Limited and Limited Ultimate. My test vehicle for the week was a 2017 Santa Fe Limited Ultimate with virtually every box checked on the amenity sheet. Heated and ventilated seats, check. A heated steering wheel, check. A bucket of sophisticated safety technology, check. Second-row captain’s chairs with a pass-through to row three, check.

But perhaps the best thing about the test vehicle was the dynamite panoramic sunroof. This massive window to the sky opens all the way back to the beginning of the third row, so even those in the very back can work on their tans.

The Santa Fe cabin is roomy, comfortable and has plenty of cubbies for storage. The Limited trim test Santa Fe was posh and polished with leather seats and upscale trim. Even the base SE trim has lots of standard amenities like power seats with lumbar support.

Headroom is a generous 39.9 inches in the front seats and 39.4 inches in row two. Even back in row three, passengers will find 35.7 inches of headroom.

On the road, the Santa Fe is rigid enough to remain flat in hard corners, but the suspension isn’t so stiff that the ride suffers. The cabin is quiet and visibility is excellent from the driver’s seat.

Up front, gauges and controls are logical and intuitive, and the buttons are big enough for gloved hands. Connectivity is via Hyundai’s Blue Link telematics, which is standard on every Santa Fe. The 8-inch touchscreen at the top of the center stack is split-screen configurable and has crystal clear graphics. There are a pair of 12v outlets, a USB port and an AUX port in a cove at the bottom of the center stack. It’s a user-friendly arrangement for easy connections for all your devices.

Passengers are not forgotten in the new Santa Fe either. Even row three has its own air conditioning and heating controls.

When it comes to safety, the new Santa Fe is a “Top Safety Pick Plus” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. It’s the highest safety rating given by the IIHS, and the Santa Fe scores the top mark of “good” in every category, with a “superior” rating for front crash prevention.

If you’re looking for a solid, comfortable and safe mid-size SUV, you owe it to yourself to test drive the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe before making your choice.

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited Ultimate


3.3-liter V6


290/252 lb.-ft.


6-speed automatic


$39,400 ($42,885 with options & freight)

EPA mileage estimates:

17 mpg city/23 mpg highway/20 mpg combined

Estimated highway range:

432 miles