2017 Hyundai Santa Fe, Santa Fe Sport Refreshed, Gain More Safety Tech

Hyundai's crossovers get a makeover in Chicago.

The Chicago auto show has traditionally been the venue for introductions of trucks and SUVs, and Hyundai will live up to that billing by showing the refreshed Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport crossovers. With updated styling inside and out, plus more active-safety options, the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe and 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport debut this week in Chicago.

Far from a simple refresh, the updated 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport has 350 new parts. On both Santa Fe models, new front fascias with new brushed-metal grilles reduce aerodynamic drag. The crossovers' wheels and side skirts have been redesigned, as have the rear fascias, exhaust tips, and taillights. LED daytime running lights are newly available, and on the Santa Fe, LED foglights join the options list.

Inside the cabin, the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport add a host of extra standard technologies, including a backup camera and a third-row USB port for the three-row Santa Fe. A new seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system with Android Auto becomes standard on the three-row Santa Fe and optional on the Santa Fe Sport; both can also be optioned with an eight-inch screen and an Infinity premium audio system.

Newly optional safety features include a 360-degree camera, adaptive cruise control, lane-departure warning, an electric parking brake with auto-hold, automatic emergency braking, and adaptive headlights with automatic high beams. Hyundai says its internal testing shows the 2017 Santa Fe and 2017 Santa Fe Sport, when equipped with those features, should score the coveted Top Safety Pick+ rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Engine tweaks

The bad news: The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport have lower peak horsepower numbers than last year's models. The good news: Hyundai says mid-range torque and fuel-efficiency have improved.

For the Santa Fe Sport, the 2.4-liter inline-four engine sees peak output fall from 190 hp to 185 hp, while the 2.0-liter turbo-four's rating falls from 265 hp to 240 hp. But the upshot, combined with revisions to the car's automatic transmission and the aforementioned aerodynamic upgrades, is better EPA ratings. Every 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport sees its city fuel economy rating rise by 1 mpg, with improvements of up to 2 mpg on the highway, depending on trim.

Hyundai says fuel efficiency has improved on the Santa Fe, too, but official numbers aren't yet available. That model's 3.3-liter V-6 has its peak output unchanged, at 290 hp. Both front- and all-wheel-drive versions of both the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport remain available, with a six-speed automatic the only transmission option.

Extra capacity in the U.S.

Hyundai will also start building the Santa Fe Sport at its plant in Montgomery, Alabama, which also builds the Elantra and Sonata. That will increase production capacity for the popular crossover.

The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport starts at $26,245 for the 2.4-liter engine with front-wheel drive, and tops out at $39,145 for the 2.0T Ultimate model with all-wheel drive. The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe runs from $31,695 in SE front-wheel-drive trim to $42,045 for the Limited AWD Ultimate.

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