The three-row crossover is a staple of American family life, and there are a lot of them to choose. Hyundai’s Santa Fe is one of the rare elegantly styled choices, but it comes with compromises to cargo and third-row passenger space. Its V-6 powertrain offers towing muscle but lags behind most rivals in both acceleration and fuel efficiency. This largest Hyundai SUV comes well equipped even in base SE trim, though, and quickly gets luxurious with a short walk up the option list. Its infotainment and active safety offerings aren’t as up to date as newer crossovers from Volkswagen and General Motors, but for some customers the Santa Fe’s value, warranty coverage, looks, and overall comfort may make up for those shortcomings.

What’s New for 2017?

Hyundai’s three-row crossover sees a plethora of updates for 2017. A cosmetic freshening of the exterior includes redesigned front and rear styling, new taillights, dual exhaust pipes, and new wheel designs. The Santa Fe also gains a drive-mode selector with settings for Normal, Eco, and Sport. These modes adjust the transmission programming and steering effort. A 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment display is now standard and features Android Auto and a backup camera. Hyundai also added a suite of active safety features to the option list for 2017, including automated emergency braking and adaptive cruise control.

Trims and Options We’d Choose

Of the Santa Fe’s four flavors (SE, Limited, SE Ultimate, and Limited Ultimate), we’d check the box for the front-wheel-drive SE Ultimate, which rings in at $39,650. Although that represents a hefty $7900 upcharge over the base SE, it adds a number of features we find to be worth the money, including:

• Panoramic sunroof
• Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and rear parking sensors
• 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment with navigation, Android Auto, Infinity surround-sound audio, and a multiview parking camera

All-wheel drive is available for an extra $1750, and buyers can add a host of active safety technologies—including automated emergency braking and adaptive cruise control—by way of the $2100 Ultimate Tech package.

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