None likely, because this generation of Hyundai’s midsize crossover SUV is heading into its final season before a full model-year 2019 redesign. The ’18 version will cruise on updates that came on line for model-year ’17, including freshened styling, better fuel economy, and new safety systems. The all-new 2019 model will have more extensive changes. Last fully redesigned for model-year 2013, this crossover leads a sort of double life. As the Santa Fe Sport, it’s a five-seater that competes with the likes of the compact-class Chevrolet Equinox and Jeep Cherokee. Marketed as the just-plain Santa Fe, it’s a larger crossover that seats up to seven and competes with midsizers such as the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, and Toyota Highlander.
Neither the 2018 Santa Fe nor the Santa Fe Sport will look or act differently than their 2017 counterparts. They almost certainly will cost more, however. And given the approaching model-year ’19 redesign, their styling, engineering, and features will have a shorter shelf life. On the upside, Hyundai and its dealers should be floating some great late-model- year-’18 deals to clear inventories for the approaching all-new 2019s. Info on the next generation Santa Fe is sparse, but sales have been healthy under the two-vehicles/one-root- name strategy, so the automaker will probably keep it.
Expect the Sport to continue with a four-cylinder- engine-only lineup and to again bridge the compact- and midsize-crossover classes. The redesigned Santa Fe reportedly will keep its V-6 and like the Sport, get an eight-speed automatic transmission in place of the current six-speed auto. It’ll also be larger than today’s Santa Fe, becoming sufficiently wide to seat three adult passengers in both its second and third rows. That would support ability to eight, helping it contend with the eight-situate Pilot and Highlander.
The model-year 2017 freshening will see them through the end of this design generation, and buying a ’17 helps you avoid the inevitable model-year price escalation. The freshening gave both Santa Fe iterations cosmetic revisions to nose and tail and brought them abreast of the segment’s safety leaders by adding such features as autonomous emergency braking.
Three of four Santa Fe buyers pick the Sport model. It’s less expensive than the seven-seater and while it’s marginally bigger than most compact-class crossovers, it’s smaller than any midsize crossover. The out and out Santa Fe is longer than the Sport by 8.6 inches by and large and by 3.9 crawls in wheelbase (the separation between the front and back axles). It's dimensionally about midpack for a fair size hybrid.
The 2017 lineup for both the Sport and Santa Fe should carry over to 2018. The Sport comes in base trim with a naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine and in Sport 2.0T and dressier Sport 2.0T Ultimate grades with a turbocharged four-cylinder. The Santa Fe lineup begins with the SE grade and ascends through SE Ultimate, Limited, and Limited Ultimate trims. All use a V-6 engine and, like every version of the Sport, come with a six-speed automatic transmission and a choice of front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (AWD).