2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate
Class: Midsize Crossover SUV
Miles driven: 417
Fuel used: 20.2 gallons
Real-world fuel economy: 20.6 mpg
Driving mix: 65% city, 35% highway
EPA-estimated fuel economy: 19/24/21 (city, highway, combined)
Base price: $38,250 (not including $895 destination charge)
|CG Report Card|
|Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.|
|Room and Comfort||A|
|Power and Performance||B+|
|Fit and Finish||B+|
|Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.|
|Big & Tall Comfort|
Options on test vehicle: Ultimate Tech Package ($1550; includes Smart Cruise Control with Stop/Start, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Electronic Parking Brake with Auto Hold, Dynamic Bending Light <adaptive headlamps>, High Beam Assist, and Auto-Leveling Headlights), carpeted floor mats ($125), cargo cover ($190), cargo mat ($95), roof rack cross rails ($250)
Price as tested: $41,355
The great: Just-right size, comfortable passenger accommodations
The good: Decent acceleration from 2.0T engine
The not so good: Engine refinement, pricey safety features
The Hyundai Santa Fe midsize crossovers have held a place on Consumer Guide’s Best Buy list for three years now, for a number of reasons. Hyundai takes a clever two-pronged approach to the midsize SUV market—the Santa Fe Sport is a two-row model that seats five and offers a choice of two 4-cylinder engines; its longer-wheelbase Santa Fe (no Sport) sibling seats seven and comes standard with a V6.
Both Santa Fes are freshened for 2017 with an exterior styling facelift and a number of newly available features, such as a multi-view rearview camera, adaptive cruise control with full stop/start functionality, lane-departure warning, forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, and adaptive headlights with automatic high beams. For many crossover shoppers, the Santa Fe Sport’s combination of maneuverable size and reasonably generous cabin space strikes just the right balance.
The Santa Fe Sport is available in base, 2.0T, and 2.0T Ultimate trim levels. Consumer Guide’s test vehicle, a 2017 2.0T Ultimate AWD, came to $41,255, including the desirable Ultimate Tech Package and a handful of accessory options. For 2018, Hyundai seems to have adjusted Santa Fe Sport prices slightly downward. Per the Hyundai consumer website, a Santa Fe Sport equipped the same as our test vehicle lists for $945 LESS as an ’18 model, and a base front-drive 2018 Santa Fe Sport starts at $24,950 not including the $950 destination fee, compared to $25,350 for 2017.
A 185-horsepower 2.4-liter engine is standard on base Santa Fe Sports; models with the 2.0T engine boast 240 horsepower. Our 2.0T tester delivered quick acceleration away from a stop, and plenty of reserve power for passing and merging, though we did notice a bit of turbo lag and some occasionally non-linear performance from the 6-speed automatic transmission. We also wish the 2.0T engine was a little more refined. Compared to the small turbocharged powerplants found in other mainstream vehicles, the Hyundai engine can be loud and coarse-sounding during acceleration.
The Santa Fe Sport’s cabin is well put together, and quite roomy. There’s ample front-row space, even for big and tall occupants. Rear-seat space is also generous, with only knee room growing dear behind very tall front-seat occupants. Interior appointments are nice overall, but some of our testers didn’t think they were quite dazzling enough for a top trim-level model that tops $41,000. Some testers also groused about the infotainment system’s slow pairing process for Bluetooth devices, an issue we’ve noticed in several Hyundai and Kia vehicles—most competitor vehicles connect to our smartphones quicker.
Our other complaints center on pricing and features availability. We applaud the availability of forward collision mitigation with pedestrian detection, as well as a lane-departure warning system, but we wish these features came more cheaply, and were more broadly offered. For both 2017 and 2018, the aforementioned safety systems come only in the pricey Ultimate Tech Package, which is only offered on Ultimate models. Translation: these features cannot be had on a Santa Fe Sport listing for much less than $40,000.
Rumors are that the Santa Fe Sport will be downsized slightly when it is redesigned in the next year or two—not unlike what Chevrolet did with its popular Equinox for 2018. Such a move would make sense, given buyer trends towards smaller vehicles in the crossover segment. Still, despite its shortcomings, we like the Santa Fe Sport as it is too. As a small midsize crossover, the Sport fits a size and price niche that’s perfect for many small families.
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