2017 Hyundai Santa Fe LTD ULT FWD (1165)


This is the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe LTD ULT (for Ultimate) FWD. Who makes up these designations? ULT – oh well. Whatever! As the kids say.

Hyundai is one of my favorite “Cars for the Masses”. They came on the scene as affordable well made cars with a great warranty. If nothing else, it has been Great Marketing for sure. And incidentally Hyundai cars come to us from a very nice company.

I’ve always been a proponent of Cars that come to us from Japan and South Korea, because the world at war that divided our countries also was the reason for joining together to heal. One would have thought the wounds of war would have persisted and festered. But it didn’t happen that way. The times were turbulent but as both countries emerged from war torn conditions they embraced American Capitalism. And whether forced through the occupation or willingly, both flourished economically as was so desperately needed as they rebuilt from the devastation that war brings. Surely from an economic point of view Capitalism has been, hands down, far superior than the autocratic rule before the wars. Capitalism continues to enhance the quality of life for any country willing to incorporate such principles into their culture. We all have choices, eh.

Another observation is how cars start out small and morph into ever larger versions of themselves. Kinda like people do over time. But as gas prices begin to rise (which prices tend to do) vehicle size shrinks again. Since prices hover around $2.50 to 4.00 a gallon in the US, cars in the largest markets like the US tend to get larger in recent years. Consider world prices for gas are currently $7.22 a gallon with prices in oil rich countries are as low as $.57 per gallon while US prices average $2.51 per gallon.

General Information: It is assembled in Ulsan, Korea; Parts – US/Canadian 2%, Korea 90%; Engine & Transmission – Korea; Classification is Small SUV. Cars from Hyundai: Accent, Azera, Elantra, Elantra Coupe, Elantra GT, Equus, Genesis, Genesis Coupe, Santa Fe, Sonata, Sonata Hybrid, Sonata Plug-in Hybrid, Tucson and Veloster.

Note:  although the literature notes it is a ‘Small SUV’ I disagree. 6 or 7 seats isn’t small to me. All in this review are 6 or 7 seat standard size SUVs. I’m thinking the literature has to be wrong or a mistake.

Handling & Performance:

Being a ‘full-size’ SUV (in my judgement) this Santa Fe is a great highway car. It performed well on our journey to the San Diego area of Southern California. I found it comfortable and stress free because of ‘smart cruise control’ and ‘blind spot detection’. It made the journey far better than lesser equipped automobiles.

Fuel economy in class are all within 1-2 mpg of each other and for the size and seating that is in the range of 20-24 mpg average combined.


Delightful designs on all models of Hyundai cars.

Fit and Finish:



If ‘loaded’ with features as this test vehicle was, the cost is not cheap as you’d expect. It was also beautiful and as ULTimately equipped the cost is nearly $43,000. Base price, however, is very affordable $30,000.

Conveniences and comfort:

I’m very bullish on the current technology that adds more than any other features developed over the past 100 years. The array of great features has blossomed in recent years. The additions are wonderful and continue to get better every year. Smart Cruise (with stop/start), Lane Departure, Blind Spot Detection and the like are a must for my car buying dollar. I’d rather not have a moon roof and put the money into Stability control and all of those features noted above.

Smart cruise has a, not so common, stop / start feature that allows the car to come to a complete stop (say on freeway travel) and start again when traffic resumes moving. Very cool.

Consumer Recommendations:

Include Hyundai and Kia (sister company of Hyundai) in every car buying decision you make where they have product offerings. You won’t be disappointed.

Recognized Competition:

Hyundai Santa Fe $40,000, Nissan Murano $40,000, Buick Enclave $49,000, Jeep Grand Cherokee $40,000, Chevrolet Traverse $43,000, Kia Sorento $41,000, Dodge Durango $44,000, GMC Acadia $45,000.

Good News:

Cost efficient Luxury, great comfort and safety features.

Bad News:


Standard Equipment:

3.3 liter 290 hp V6 engine, 6-speed automatic transmission, stability management and traction controls, front, front side and side curtain airbags, driver knee airbag, tire pressure monitor, 19” alloy wheels, auto headlights, heated power mirrors with turn indicators, panoramic sunroof, parking sensors, 8-inch tourh screen, Nagigation with Android auto, multi view camera system, hands free smart liftgate with auto open, proximity key with push button start, rear side window sunshades,  heated and ventillated front seats, heated steering wheel and rear seats, leather seating surfaces steering wheel and shift knob, 6-passenger seating with captain chairs, 50/50 split third row seats, dual climate control with clean air ionizer, rear vents,integrated memory system for driver seat, third row USB outlet, Bluetooth, power adjustable driver and passenger seat, AM/FM/HD radio, Sirius XM/ CD/MP3 Overhead logic surround sound, Hyundai Blue Link Connected Car system, compass, 115 volt power outlet, smart cruise contol with stop/start, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, electronic parking brake, high beam assist.

Gas Stats:

$2.69/ Gal avg. October 31, 2016


for more information.

17 City and 23 Highway MPG


MSRP $42,545.

Your comments are welcomed. My e-mail is joe@autolove.com
Copyright © 2014 – An Automotive Love Affair.

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