by Larry Lark, Herald Special Sections Writer
Earlier this summer I put the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport through its paces.
This fall, the 2017 Santa Fe Limited Ultimate AWD full-size SUV was a welcome test drive. And it proved to be everything the Sport delivered – only more.
One major difference is the Limited comes with a split fold-down, third-row seat, which means it can transport up to seven adults when the need arises. Otherwise, there’s extra cargo space when those seats — and the second-row seats, if so desired — are folded flat.
Another major difference is engine size. The Sport was powered by a four-cylinder. The Limited uses Hyundai’s acclaimed 3.3-liter Lambda II V6 engine, with 290 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 252 lb.-ft. of torque at 5,200 rpm. The EPA rates the Santa Fe Limited at 19 miles per gallon in combined city/highway driving.
All Santa Fe engines utilize high-pressure direct injection and dual continuously variable valve timing. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all Santa Fe models. Active cornering control and a windshield wiper de-icer is also standard on all AWD Santa Fe models.
Improvements span everything from fresh exterior design and LED lighting, to additional infotainment, convenience and safety technologies and new drive-mode selection with Sport, Eco and Normal settings.
But let’s get down to the nitty gritty. The stuff that kept a smile firmly planted on the mugs of my wife and yours truly.
The panoramic sunroof invited much needed waning sunlight into the cabin. That fact alone was mood altering. The navigation system with eight-inch screen was more than nice, along with a rearview camera that made back-in parking a breeze.
Tunes were spun via the USB port that powered my iPod – and amplified via 12 speakers with QuantumLogic Surround Sound and Clari-fi Music Restoration Tech. Other goodies included leather seats that could be dialed in (heated and ventilated front), dual-zone climate control, multi-view camera system, Bluetooth and more.
Another big deal these days is connectivity. And Hyundai provides that in spades. The next-generation Hyundai Blue Link provides a full suite of connected safety and diagnostic features, as well as features that are only possible with an embedded connected car system, such as remote start with climate control, stolen vehicle recovery and remote door lock/unlock.
Navigation-equipped Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport models also benefit from Blue Link Guidance, which provides destination search, powered by Google, as well as POI web search and download to help you get to your destinations via your connected car.
The optional Ultimate Package adds smart cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, and an electronic parking brake.
Those features enhance the standard vehicle stability management system with traction control, tire-pressure monitoring and a blind-spot detection system.
Oh, almost forgot. The Santa Fe’s power lift-gate function was a Godsend, allowing hands-free access to the rear cargo area on multiple occasions.
2017 HYUNDAI SANTA FE SPORT
AS TESTED: $53,085
Base price includes destination charge. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. Prices may vary at local dealerships.