2017 Hyundai Santa Fe XL

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Updates to this 7-passenger crossover

Date Posted: July 25, 2016
By Zack Spencer

Hyundai adds new exterior styling, interior features and advanced safety features to the 7-passenger Santa Fe XL

This year is shaping up to be the refresh year of the 7-passenger crossover. Mazda has just released the all-new CX9, so has Honda with the Pilot and Toyota will have a heavily refreshed Highlander later this year. So, Hyundai has made some changes to this Santa Fe XL as well.

Hyundai sells a Santa Fe Sport 5-passenger version and this XL (maybe extra long or extra large?) for families that like the idea of two extra seats for car-pooling duties.


The size of the XL stays the same and features a wheelbase that is 21.5cm longer then the Sport, helping to make room for the extra seats.

The front and rear have been refreshed with a new grille, headlamps, bumper and standard LED daytime running lights. The lower grille now has an opening next to the driving lights to help air flow easily into the wheel well. The back has also been updated with a new bumper and lights that look remarkably like a Mercedes-Benz GLE.


The overall layout of the dash remains the same but new tech has been added. The centre screen size now starts at 5-inches and can be upped to 8-inches on the Luxury, which also adds leather seats. All models now come with Android Auto and Apple Car Play for seamless smartphone integration.

The base model comes with standard heated front seats and all other trim levels get heated rear seats too. The back seat is roomy and can slide fore and aft to provide more legroom in the third row. Access to the third row is only available from the passenger side, which is limiting. The third row does have room for kids but my 6-foot frame had my head toughing the roof.


Hyundai carries over the wonderfully smooth 3.3L V6 as the only engine available in the XL and it is matched with a tried and true 6-speed unlike Honda’s weird 9-speed unit. The smaller Sport is offered with a 4-cylinder turbo but for the XL application, the larger V6 is the correct choice. It has 290hp and can tow up 5000lbs. In addition, smaller turbocharged engines produce great fuel economy on paper but in real world conditions a larger V6 will be much more consistent. Handling has never been a Hyundai strongpoint and this XL doesn’t stray from the vague steering response of other Hyundai products. Having a chance to drive on a twisty mountain highway, I noticed, and so did my family, that the cornering is lackluster and there was too much body roll. For areas without mountain roads, this product will be adequate for most commutes.


The XL starts at $32,199 for front wheel drive. The next level up adds all wheel drive and $5000 to $37,049. The first with leather seats is $42,199 and more features can be added to $48,299 for the top Ultimate trim. This is the only trim that has the advanced safety features like forward collision warning with automatic braking and lane departure technology, which is unfortunate because Honda has these feature in lower-end versions if its Pilot.

Overall Hyundai has a good product and this is reflected in the #3 position the company holds in the most recent JD Power initial Quality Study, beaten only by Porsche and sister company Kia.

Hyundai does a lot right but I’d like to see more effort spent on handling and advanced safety at a lower price.

The Lowdown

Power: 3.3L V6 with 290hp

Economy: 13.9/100km city and 10.8L/100km HWY 

Sticker price: $$32,199-$48,299




For areas without mountain roads, this product will be adequate for most commutes.
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