2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Review

Model Overview

The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is a crossover SUV that does battle against some very capable rivals in the more affordable sector of the market.

Some of its drawcards are a generous warranty, high equipment levels and refined road manners. For 2017 the Santa Fe receives some additional standard equipment and a range of available safety features. Both engines have also been retuned with a focus on improving drivability.

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Interior

The Santa Fe Sport much like the larger Santa Fe is well put together and material quality is high throughout. Controls and buttons feel solid and the Sport feels a cut above most competitors in its class.

Room for occupants is also generous, there will be few complaints about a lack of head or leg room however the shallow side windows and design of the rear make for a slightly more restricted view out than in competing models. The available panoramic roof may alleviate some of that claustrophobic feeling, especially for passengers in the rear. Cargo space is commendable too.

Driving

The Sport tag on this crossover is a bit of a misnomer as the hard ride does not translate into a particularly engaging feel from behind the wheel. It behaves well enough on smooth pavement but rough patches of road unsettle the ride and bumps and thumps do disturb the otherwise quiet cabin.

In most normal conditions though the Santa Fe Sport feels composed and while there is not much feedback from the controls it will not disappoint as long as you are not expecting too much from that Sport badge.

Performance

For 2017 Hyundai have reduced outputs for both engine offerings to improve drivability characteristics. The base engine is a 2.4-liter inline-4, producing 185 horsepower (down 5 hp) and 178 lb ft of torque.

A turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 with 240 hp (down 25 hp) and 260 lb ft of torque is also available. Both engines are available solely with a 6-speed automatic transmission, front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available for both setups.

The 2.4-liter offers competitive performance compared to its rivals but fuel consumption is not much improved over the more powerful and torquey turbo unit so it may be worth paying a bit extra for the performance boost.

Equipment and Safety

The Santa Fe Sport is available in three trims, the base Sport comes with the 185 hp 2.4-liter engine and has 17-inch alloys, cloth upholstery, Bluetooth compatibility, 6-speaker audio system with USB, 5-inch touchscreen display, rearview camera, downhill brake control and auto-headlights as some of its standard features.

Optional equipment such as an upgraded 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, dual-zone climate control, power driver seat and roof racks are also available in the Value Package. The Premium Package includes leather upholstery, power passenger seat, hands-free liftgate, blind spot detection and lane change assist, premium wood interior trim and sliding second row seat.

The Tech Package includes extras such as a panoramic sunroof, 8-inch touchscreen with navigation, Multi-view camera system, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats as well as an Infinity Premium audio system.

The Sport 2.0T trim gets the 240 hp turbocharged motor and includes all of the Sport’s standard features as well as 18-inch wheels and most of the items in the two Premium and Value packages listed above.

The top trim level is the Sport 2.0T Ultimate, as the name suggests it includes all of the Sport 2.0T’s features and as well as the Tech Package and adds 19-inch wheels. The Ultimate Tech Package is reserved for this trim level and offers adaptive cruise control, electronic parking brake and lane departure warning.

Verdict

The 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport offers a broad range of standard and available features, a spacious and well-built interior all at a competitive price. Increased safety equipment and updated styling are new for this model year. The cabin is well-insulated and only a hard and less than sporty ride mars an otherwise competent offering.

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$31,350