The Santa Fe Sport hits it out of the park, representing the very best a crossover SUV can be. Handsome on the outside and inside, the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport has broad mainstream appeal and a wealth of features, all at a great price.
Hyundai’s 2015 Santa Fe Sport comes in two trim levels: the base level (from $24,950), and the 2.0T (from $31,250).
There are standard features found in every vehicle. There is a comprehensive electronics/entertainment package (six speaker system, Bluetooth phone/audio connectivity, CD player, satellite radio, USB port, and an auxiliary audio connection), air conditioning, cruise control, adjustable steering wheel (tilt and telescopic), heated side mirrors, tinted rear windows, alloy wheels, a rear spoiler and LED headlight accents.
There are also some options for the base version of the Santa Fe Sport. If you choose the Popular Equipment package, you’ll get a roof rack, eight-way power adjustable driver’s seat, automatic headlights, fog lights and de-icing windshield wipers. You will also get the Blue Link telematics system that allows for remote starting/stopping and unlocking/locking via a mobile app.
Selecting the Premium package will give you all the Popular Equipment features, plus leather seats and steering wheel, traffic alert system (for blind spots and rear cross traffic), keyless entry and ignition, split rear seats that fold down and latch, dual zone climate control, advanced dash gauges, rearview mirror with automatic dimming and rear window sunshades.
Those who choose the Premium package can also get the Technology package, which includes a panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, ventilated and heated front seats, heated rear seats, touchscreen control, upgraded 10-speaker audio system, remote control liftgate and a driver memory system to automatically adjust all settings to suit a particular driver.
If you opt for the 2.0T you will get most of the features in the Popular and Premium Equipment packages, plus 18-inch wheels (as opposed to 17-inch for the base trim), and the remote controlled power liftgate.
There is an Ultimate package for the 2.0T that adds most of the features of the Technology package along with xenon headlights, LED taillights, a 12-speaker Infinity surround-sound audio system and an upgrade to 19-inch wheels.
Performance and Handling
Do you prefer a turbocharged or a normally aspirated four-cylinder engine? With the Santa Fe Sport, it’s the driver’s choice.
Little brother to Hyundai’s 7-seater Santa Fe, the 5-seater Santa Fe Sport features a powertrain similar to that of the Hyundai Sonata sedan – an automatic six speed with a base 2.4-liter four-cylinder offering 190 horsepower and 181 lb.-ft. of torque. Fuel economy of up to 33 mpg on the EPA city cycle is aided by direct injection.
For those who prefer their engines with a little extra kick, there’s the 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder, also found in the Sonata. Enjoy the ride as it winds up to an impressive 264 horsepower with 259 pound feet of torque. The six speeder has a fuel economy rating of 29 miles per gallon in front wheel drive form. The Active ECO mode, which blurs shift and throttle response, further improves fuel efficiency. At a weight of 3,459 pounds, the turbo Santa Fe Sport can get you from zero to 60 in about 7 seconds.
Both the turbocharged and normally aspirated models include a six speed with a manual shift mode actuated by the shift lever. Shifting points are smooth and well timed. The Santa Fe is designed to provide a smooth and easy ride, and hits it out of the park on driving dynamics.
Electric power steering is something that has always presented a challenge for auto engineers. Achieving just the right balance of feel and performance has been a work in progress for automakers. Hyundai has steadily improved it from the Sonata to the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport. Drivers will notice these improvements in both feel and design. The column-mounted motor on the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport include a new three-mode driver selectable steering that offers the option to switch between comfort, normal and sport mode with just a quick tap.
The all-wheel drive system is optional on the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. It has an open center differential that distributes power from the front wheels to the rear wheel whenever traction is needed and it relies on anti-lock control to prevent wheel spin.
The Santa Fe Sport is not ideally designed for the challenging terrain of serious off-roading with its increased need for traction. However, it does excel at on-road all-weather capability, which is where it’s going to matter the most. There’s torque vectoring control on the rear wheels on the all-wheel drive models, and that’s going to give you some automatically applied braking to the rear wheels to aid in smoother and safer cornering. On those rare occasions when wheel spin is your best friend, you can shut off the electronics.
Overall, the driving performance is light and sporty, with a little added punch in the turbo. All Santa Fe crossovers have a calm and quiet ride thanks to the well-designed suspension. These changes also have helped to improve control and have freed up some more of the already ample cargo space. The suspension design of the Sport really shines on the smooth surface of a highway and on rougher back roads.
The Santa Fe was one of the first products from Hyundai to move to more mature styling. After the Santa Fe was introduced, the Genesis and Sonata have also moved towards this style, as it proved to be popular. The smaller Hyundai Tucson has now also followed in these styling footsteps.
The Santa Fe Sport is arguably one of the best-looking crossover SUVs on the market. The hexagonal
grille, coordinated fog lights and LED accented headlights all add to its charm. The side sills go up and over the wheel wells, and the rear door handles are well behind the rear wheel opening, similar to the Mazda CX-7. Balanced treatment of the taillights and tailgate glass continue this mature styling trend. In some ways the Hyundai Sport looks similar to Ford’s Escape in the rear and the headlights, but the Santa Fe pulls it off better thanks to its larger size. Overall, the Santa Fe is a great choice for a stylish SUV.
The center console of the car is an electronic enthusiast’s dream; there is everything present from fan speed control to radio adjustment knobs. If you have navigation installed, this adds significantly to the electronic options – an eight-inch screen is present in these models.
The leg and knee room in the Santa Fe Sport is superior to most competitors and caters particularly well to tall drivers. The seats are comfortable and ready for long drives. Power-adjustable and heated seats are options for the passenger seat, whereas the driver seat comes with automatically powered seats as standard.
The Santa Fe Sport allows for the ultimate road trip. Within the car’s roomy console, there are two cup holders. The car also comes equipped with a large area to place items such as cell phones, keys and wallets. Near the storage bin are USB and auxiliary ports and alongside of the doors is storage for bottles or other small items.
The rear seats in this car allow for extra storage space when needed, as they flexibly slide and fold. The seats are very versatile. For example, the middle section of the seats can fold downward to fit long items. This means passengers can still be sitting in the seats in the rear of the vehicle while transporting larger items safely. The optional leather interior of the car keeps passengers and driver comfortable. The rear seats have reclining capabilities, as do the front seats.
For a smaller SUV, the Santa Fe Sport not only offers comfort, but also offers more space than one may initially think. With the rear seats pushed backward, the cargo space holds an impressive 71.5 cubic feet. In addition, there is also a small amount of under-floor storage.
The Santa Fe Sport was made to be comfortable, efficient, yet with its V6 turbocharged engine have the strength of the bigger vehicles out there. Nevertheless, the sound of the engine is quite gentle; hardly noticeable in comparison to the power the car offers to any sports vehicle enthusiast.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport performed extremely well and earned very good crash-test scores. The 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport earned a remarkable five star rating in all areas tested, with the exception of rollover resistance. In this particular test the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport earned a four star rating. Overall, the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport earned an exceptional five star rating.
The 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport has many desirable safety features that are standard in all models. There are seven separate safety airbags, which includes front, side, curtain and driver knee airbags. Also included standard in the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is hill-start and downhill assist, anti-lock brakes and stability and traction control.
The 2016 Santa Fe Sport also provides various new safety features and modern technology. A 4.3-inch color LCD screen displays the view from the rearview camera on all models with leather seats. Furthermore, on the navigation-equipped 2016 Santa Fe Sport, the rearview camera sends output to the extra-large 8-inch GPS screen for most accurate viewing. Other options available include parking sensors and a blind spot monitor.
Stylish and maneuverable, the Santa Fe Sport is a joy to drive and just as nice to be seen driving. Feature-packed and comfortable, there’s really nowhere that the 2016 Santa Fe Sport falls down on, making it the right choice for your test drive today.