The Santa Fe is remarkably spacious and makes a versatile 5-passenger crossover with 71.5 cubic feet of cargo space.
It has athletic handling and outstanding acceleration. All-season tires on 18-inch alloy wheels are standard.
I found the 4-cylinder, 2.4 liter, direct injection, gasoline engine to be a plenty powerful one that could deliver up to 190 horsepower while getting an EPA-estimated 27 mpg highway. But I didn’t have much time with this model, so instead I want to focus on the vehicle I spent a week driving.
That test vehicle was equipped with a 2.0 liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine that cranked out 264 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 269 pound-feet of torque at 3,000 rpm; an engine powerful enough to make me think I was driving a V6. I averaged 22 mpg overall. It just sipped fuel, unlike some competitive brands. The 6-speed SHIFTRONIC automatic transmission featuring driver selectable steering modes (comfort, normal, and sport setting) helped to make for an exciting ride.
Although the panoramic sunroof was not a part of the standard Sport model feature lineup (Comes with Technology Package) my vehicle had one. It spanned over the back seat and slid open at the press of a button, revealing lofty rain-filled clouds that would bring much needed moisture to the parched land of a thirsty Texas.
The test Santa Fe Sport had a $1,750 Navigation Package with an 8-inch touchscreen (Replaces standard 4.3- inch screen) and a 12-speaker audio system. There is also a rear camera that displays behind the vehicle on a central in-dash screen. Guidelines on the screen direct you through spots that may be tough to gauge. Alert and attentive sensors make it easy to get in and out of a tight parking space.
The touchscreen is flanked on both sides by bat wing style venting panels (Including cabin filters) that keep the cabin cool or warm depending on what challenge the weather may impose. There are additional smaller vents on each end of the dash panel. Mirror, window, and door power settings are found near the driver’s arm rest on the door.
A storage area for items like water or a newspaper is located below the arm rest on each door panel. There is also a hidden underfoot cargo storage compartment for extra items.
Santa Fe has something Hyundai termed “Smarter Seating.” It is easy to go from cargo to kids. Just flip the 40/20/40 split-fold second-row seat down to create whatever configuration works best. Maybe the 60/40 recline function is best for you.
Projection headlights with LED accents rest beside a chrome accent front grille that complements door handles and body-color side mirrors. Rear spoilers with integrated brake lights and rear windshield wipers round up the rear of the car.
The heated leather front seats are wide and comfortable. A bit unusual for a sport model trim. Good leg room in the back assures greater passenger comfort.
Exceptional speed and torque laced with style represent a perfect balance for a greatly enhanced driving experience.
I would have preferred a larger steering wheel because it was difficult to locate and read all the knobs, buttons, and gadgets that the small wheel held on the instrument panel.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price is $32,400.
Government (NHTSA) 5-Star Safety Rating:
5-Star overall vehicle score
5-Star Driver frontal crash
5-Star front and rear seat side crash
Length: 184.6 in.
Wheelbase: 106.3 in.
Width including mirrors: 74.0 in.
Height with roof rails: 66.5 in.
Durhl Caussey writes a car column read around the world. He may be reached at this paper or firstname.lastname@example.org.