Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Solid Contender in a Crowded Field
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD. – Longer name – Shorter crossover.
This five passenger carry all is the smaller of the two crossovers that Hyundai offers with the Santa Fe nameplate. The added “Sport” name is the giveaway, that and the fact that it is 8.5 inches shorter than its big bro.
After a week behind the wheel one can easily conclude that the Sport will hold its own against stiff competition from the Ford Escape, Honda CR-V (the best-selling crossover in September), and Toyota RAV4.
Under the hood was the base engine, a 2.4-liter four, batting out 190 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. Optional is a 2.0-liter turbo that ups those figures to 264 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. Yet the less expensive base engine provides the kind of power that most crossover families are looking for in the whirlwind world of errand running and cargo hauling.
Both engines come with a six speed automatic transmission. The test crossover is EPA rated at 20 mpg city, and 27 highway with a combined 23. I came out at 24.
The turbo is EPA rated at 19-27 mpg with a combined 22 mpg so you don’t lose much at the pump by moving up.
Pricewise, the non-turbo model rolls out at $24,950 with the added oomph moving the base up to $30,650. For 2015 the turbo comes with a power liftgate.
All-wheel drive is an option on both models.
Our test model was quiet and comfortable on the highway and long trips should be pleasurable. Three big option packages totaling $7,550 moved the as delivered price to a still reasonable $33,500. That will bring you such desirable options as heated outside rear view mirrors with windshield wiper deicer, heated front seats, blind spot detection system, sliding 60/40 rear seats, sunroof (noisy when open) Navi, heated steering wheel and a nice audio system. The rear view camera only came as part of a $3,200 Technology Package and should be added to the list of standard equipment.
Visibility was good to all quarters with the exception of the right rear.
Passengers will think the Sport costs more than it does thanks to excellent interior fittings and materials. With those sliding rear seats a couple adults should be satisfied.
Now what about storage? With the second row raised it comes to 35.4 cubic feet and with them folded 71.5 cubic feet. All of which is in line with the offerings of the dealer down the street.
With its long list of the standard equipment, and the ability to add more features at a reasonable cost, the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport should be on your shopping list if you can live without a third row seat. It makes a strong statement in the most competitive segment of the industry right now.
Here’s a shopping tip. The 2015 will debut with only minor changes, so if you can snag a deal on a 2014 that might be the way to go.