This totally new version of Santa Fe, the crossover which helped put Hyundai on many shopping lists, looks much more upscale than its predecessor, whether in 5-passenger Sport guise or the forthcoming model that has a 3rd row. Its mature detailing and athletic stance are complimented by a very attractive interior of generally high quality materials and an incredible amount of standard or available high tech options.
Highlights on the test vehicle included a panoramic roof, heated seats and wheel, a clear and intuitive infotainment/nav system and something called Hyundai BlueLink, which, amongst other things, allows you to open or close doors or remote start the Santa Fe Sport via a smartphone app. All seats are roomy and comfortable, and cargo room is generous. Noise is generally well suppressed, helping imbue the Hyundai with a pleasing refined demeanor.
Its ride quality bolsters this, with a commendable ability to deal with most surfaces blemishes. Despite its name, the Sport definitely doesn’t lean in that direction dynamically, with sloppy handling and limp-wristed electric steering assist that—despite three available weight settings—never connects the driver to proceedings.
The Hyundai’s powertrain reinforces its feel as more of a Lexus than BMW competitor, with smooth, linear thrust from its 2-liter, 264hp turbo and syrupy six-speed automatic. Best avoided is the other, normally-aspirated, 4-cylinder engine, which doesn’t have the grunt to move the Santa Fe Sport here in the Rockies. Fuel economy ratings for the 2.0T are very good at 19/24, but real world numbers come in lower. Despite this, the latest Hyundai crossover is a compellingly mature product that serves up compelling looks, great tech and plenty of practicality in an affordable package.
EPA ratings: 19/24mpg
Price as tested: $35, 925
Here is what Hyundai has to say about the Santa Fe Sport.