By on June 3, 2017

2017 Hyundai Santa Fe, Image: Hyundai Motor America)

People don’t talk about crossovers in the same hushed and awed tones reserved for snarling muscle cars and sultry exotics, but mainstream automakers couldn’t care less. As long as their respective family haulers continue to sell like generators during a blackout, automakers are happy letting crossovers quietly fill the driveways of suburban America (while generating massive revenue).

However, nothing’s ever static in the industry, and crossover competition has never been more fierce. Recently, Nissan and Toyota issued a mid-year sales pitch to buyers, ramping up content and slashing prices on the Rogue and RAV4 to squeeze a few more sales from the low end of their respective lineups.

Naturally, Hyundai would be foolish not to fight back.

Sales of the brand’s passenger cars slipped severely in May and, after watching its overall sales stagnate over the past year, Hyundai needs a plan until new product can arrive. The subcompact Kona crossover won’t arrive on U.S. shores until early 2018.

With no pickup truck in sight, that leaves its existing crossover lineup to do the heavy lifting. Following Nissan and Toyota’s lead, Hyundai has decided to make its Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport more attractive to the value buyer.

Enter the Value Package.

Offered on 2018 models, the Value Package adds a new, second-from-bottom rung to the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport lineup. In the smaller of the two models, the package adds $1,900 to the base MSRP (which rises $600 for 2018), for an after-delivery price of $27,800 in front-wheel-drive guise. Adding all-wheel drive bumps up the price to $29,350. (Santa Fe pricing won’t be available until early summer).

For the extra cash, buyers add a host of features to their base crossover. Nothing changes with the powertrain. However, buyers will see the addition of dual heated power side windows with turn signal indicators, power windows with front auto up/down, proximity key with pushbutton start, fog lights, roof rails, LED daytime running lights, seven-inch display screen with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and SiriusXM, heated front seats with adjustable lumbar support, and dual automatic temperature control with Clear Air ionizer. Hyundai’s Blue Link Connected Car system rounds out the list of features.

On Blue Link-equipped vehicles, the automaker has made its Connected Care, Remote and Guidance packages free for three years. Free downloads will be available to keep the navigation system up to date.

Hyundai refreshed its two largest crossovers for 2017, making this latest tweak an attempt to sweeten the pot in the face of growing competition. The 2018 Santa Fe Sport should be available imminently, with its larger brother arriving on lots in early summer.

[Image: Hyundai]

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