What’s a CUV?
Being in automotive media means that now all my friends and family members often ask for my opinion on cars. They also ask about automotive trends.
One friend in particular mentioned that it was getting harder to distinguish an SUV from a crossover. You have compact and mid-size crossovers. You have wagons labeled as crossovers. Plus you have full size SUV’s. There is even a term for it now called CUV (Crossover Utility Vehicle).
Now I had the keys to the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited Ultimate. It’s a CUV. The same CUV winning the Full Size CUV of Texas award by the Texas Auto Writers Association. With a title like that under its grille my first impressions of the Santa Fe were good. They turned to great within the hour.
2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Exterior
For 2017 the Santa Fe received some design tweaks to the front and rear end to give it a more confident, intelligent appearance. Staring at the front end gives you the impression that the Santa Fe looks smug; being well aware of its many features and abilities. It welcomes you to hop in to prove its worthiness as a contender in the cut-throat world of Crossovers.
The Santa Fe I was driving came dressed in Beckett Black paint. It’s a nice color but it cloaks the design lines. It made it appear shapeless the second you looked passed the front fender until you got to the tailgate.
The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe is not an ugly vehicle by no means, but it’s not a head turner either. It’s a handsome design that won’t leave you feeling disappointed when you walk towards it in the morning. The LED accents on the headlights are a nice touch and the 19 inch alloy wheels make it appear more upscale.
2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Interior
This is where the Santa Fe starts to reveal its party tricks. I appreciated the dark brown accents coupled with the beige leather seats. A nice change from the typical black with tan or solid black interiors.
This particular model was the Limited Ultimate, Santa Fe’s top of the line trim level. The cabin was the Enterprise of buttons and switches aimed to make you more comfortable.
Heated and cooled leather seats for everyone on board cosset passengers. Third row passengers get their own climate controls.
It came with everything you can expect to find in a fully-equipped vehicle. The 8-inch touchscreen displayed the backup camera that offers a 360 degree view. Backing up into tight spaces now feels like playing a video game as you guide the bird’s eye view into the space. You can still use your eyes and side mirrors, but this backup camera allows you to double check your work.
Proximity key with push button ignition, surround sound stereo, and satellite radio are some of the other features you get with the Santa Fe.
For visuals, the Santa Fe has a panoramic sunroof that extends to the rear of the vehicle. Match that with second row captain chairs and the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe feels like a space cruiser at night.
I took the Santa Fe on a road trip to the next town over from San Antonio with friends. They told me the captain chairs made them feel like they were sitting in their own private jet. They experienced total comfort with room to stretch and a view of the night sky above their heads as the Santa Fe floated over the interstate miles.
2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Specifications
The engine that moves this 4,000 pound CUV is a 3.3 liter GDI V6 that puts out 290 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque. All-Wheel Drive is available with the Santa Fe, but the one I was in was front-wheel drive.
The V6 engine allows the Hyundai Santa Fe to be quick on its feet and felt nimble for its size.
You have a DRIVE MODE button which allows you to switch between normal, ECO, and SPORT mode. On the road, the Hyundai feels light like a sedan and responds quick when you stab the throttle. On the highways of San Antonio having a vehicle that can respond to a situation is vital for defensive driving.
One thing I learned about myself during my week with the Santa Fe is that I am a late braker. I found this out because the Santa Fe’s forward collision alert kept flashing when it noticed a car in front and I had not applied the brakes yet. It’s a feature that is useful for people with bad driving habits, but annoying for attentive drivers.
(Editor’s Note: Most forward collision warning systems have an option to adjust the sensitivity)
The alarming beeping noise makes you jump. You assume that the worse is about to happen for a brief second before realizing that it’s the car being precautious. To avoid this, it is best to take advantage of Hyundai’s Smart Cruise Control (SCC). It will adjust its speed when a vehicle is in front to maintain a safe distance. Then it’ll resume the speed you selected when it knows there is nothing in front of it.
Gas mileage on the Santa Fe is also good. Getting 17 mpg in the city and 23 mpg on the highway for an average of 20 mpg. During my week with the Santa Fe I was able to average 22.8 mpg, with my highest average for a day being as high as 27.6 mpg!
Pricing for the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe starts at $30K and travels up through trim levels. The Limited Ultimate shown here stickers at $42,885.
2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Final Thoughts
I have few complaints with the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe. Trunk space is next to none when the third row is being used. The forward collision alert can give you a “pop-goes-the-weasel” scare if you like to brake late. Sitting in the third row means being in your own space far away from the rest of the action.
For the compliments, sport mode allows you to have fun while driving 6 other people around town. The second row captain chairs are first class. The panoramic sunroof gives you the illusion of space travel at night and wide open scenery during the day.
The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe is a mid-size SUV, or full size CUV, that is great for families who have outgrown the minivan car seats. Families with children old enough to sit still during car trips can appreciate the features the Santa Fe has to offer. It’s a post-minivan.