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2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Review from Larry Nutson


2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport  (select to view enlarged photo)
2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
by Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel

In April more trucks were sold than cars, outselling 54 percent to 46 percent. SUVs are in the truck category and vehicles like the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport are finding their way in to the household fleet of more and more families.

The Santa Fe Sport is a 5-passenger “standard size” SUV offering more interior room than smaller compact SUVs and yet is not as big as the sometimes unwieldy larger 7-passenger variety.


2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport  (select to view enlarged photo)

Not to be confused with the Sport, the Hyundai Santa Fe is an extended wheelbase, larger SUV offering seating for six or seven and is powered by a 290 HP 3.3-L V6. It’s longer than the Santa Fe Sport, has more cargo room and can tow a 5000 pound brake-equipped trailer.

The Santa Fe Sport is offered in front-wheel or all-wheel drive. The base model is powered by a 190 HP 2.4-L 4-cylinder. For more performance, a 265 HP turbo 2.0-L 4-cylinder is available. Both engines are mated to a six-speed automatic. The best EPA test fuel economy ratings are for the 2.4-L front-drive model at 23 mpg combined, with 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. The AWD 2.0-L turbo has EPA test fuel economy ratings of 21 mpg combined, or 4.8 gallons per 100 miles, with 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway.

With an overall length of just under 185 inches, the Santa Fe Sport is fairly comfortable in big-city maneuvering and parking. The available rear view camera certainly helps with those tight parking spots.

The large rear hatch opens up to 35.4 cubic feet of cargo space. Fold the second row seat and it grows to 71.5 cubic feet. Depending on model the Santa Fe Sport can tow up to a 3500 pound brake-equipped trailer.


2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport  (select to view enlarged photo)

Hyundai’s new power Hands-Free Smart Liftgate with Auto Open is available on the Santa Fe Sport. The Smart Liftgate makes it easier for owners to gain access to the cargo area when their hands are full. You simply wait for the liftgate to open after standing within a few feet of the rear bumper with the key fob in a purse or pocket.

The Santa Fe Sport is priced starting at $24,950 for the FWD 2.4-L model and climbs to $33,000 for the AWD 2.0-L Turbo. I spent a week driving around in this model that also was equipped with the $4,350 optional Ultimate Package.

The Ultimate Package includes 19-inch wheels, HID headlights, LED taillights, Panoramic sunroof, Navigation system, 12-speaker surround sound audio system, memory seats, ventilated front seats and heated rear seats, rear parking assist sensors, heated steering wheel, premium door sill plates and an Ultimate badge on the rear liftgate. With the $875 freight and handling the bottom line came to $38,350.

All-in-all the Sante Fe Sport is very well priced and fits in to more modest budgets while offering attractive design and style, features often found only on luxury vehicles and an interior high in comfort and providing a premium feel.

Safety technology on the Sport includes available Blind Spot Detection, Rear Cross Traffic Alert and Lane Change Assist. For 2015 the suspension and steering setups are revised for a better feel and control. Hyundai’s Driver Selectable Steering Mode (DSSM) offers the selection of one of its three operating modes—Comfort, Normal or Sport mode—and adapt the Santa Fe Sport’s steering characteristics to your driving preferences.


2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport  (select to view enlarged photo)

If I were buying I would opt for the 265 HP engine and probably choose the AWD, too. The tendency is to load-up SUVs. The higher output engine helps ensure good acceleration, highway merging and hill climbing even when the Santa Fe Sport is loaded a bit. The fuel consumption hit is not that big and you still get a good highway driving range.

I’m often torn on AWD vs front-drive since I live in a snowy-winter region. In many cases FWD is very adequate and the weight and fuel consumption penalty is not being carried all year long. On the other hand, AWD provides that added capability in extreme snow conditions. Another way to go is FWD and then put on a good set of four winter tires for that cold season. (DSC_0520) (DSC_0524)


2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport  (select to view enlarged photo)

Ingress and egress was quite easy with the slight climb-up that is characteristic of all SUVs. The driver’s seat was comfortable with good support and has a good range of adjustment. I have found that ventilated seats do a nice job of making you more comfortable while, in moderately warm temperatures, don’t require turning on the air conditioning. The beige interior on my evaluation vehicle made for a light and airy interior and the touches of wood grain added to the upscale feel.


2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport  (select to view enlarged photo)

The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport offers a wide array of features and equipment. You can get more information, detailed specifications and view all the standard features as well as options on the entire 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe model line just a mouse click away at www.hyundaiusa.com.

If you would like to compare the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport to other SUVs, you can do that right here on www.theautochannel.com.

Lots of folks like the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. For the third year in a row, the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport was named a 10 Best SUV Under $25,000 by Kelley Blue Book's KBB.com.

© 2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy.