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2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Review

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Hyundai's Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport lineups compete with a tremendous variety of crossovers, ranging from compact vehicles such as the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V, to mid-size vehicles such as the Ford Edge and Toyota Venza, all the way out to three-row utes like the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot.

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 The larger Santa Fe is 8.5 inches longer than the Sport, and in some cases, you might find it cross-shopped against minivans, too.

The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe badge now belongs to a whole family of crossovers—two different vehicles, really, including one with seating for five and the other sized up for seven. They're even built in different places, as the smaller Sport model is built in Georgia, while the larger three-row model, which is sized up to replace the former Veracruz, is imported from Korea.

Crossovers are all about room and utility, and both Santa Fe models fit that bill. The front seats are a step up from the most recent Hyundai vintage, with better support built into the bottom cushion. But the second row is where the action is: on some models, the second row slides on a 5.2-inch track for better flexibility, in the same way the seat in the Chevy Equinox moves. The seat also reclines and folds on a 40/20/40 split, making way for longer objects while preserving four seating positions. There's also some storage space below the cargo floor and even some space for a handbag ahead of the shift lever, though that'll block access to the audio ports. On three-row models, there's a choice between the 40/20/40 layout or a six-passenger layout with cozy captain's chairs in row two—and all of these models get Yes Essentials-brand soil-resistant upholstery.

2015 Hyundai Santa FE Sport 1
2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Styling :

The Santa Fe was one of the first Hyundai products to move to a more mature styling language. Since it was introduced, the Genesis and Sonata have followed suit

Now there's a clear family resemblance through the Hyundai crossover lineup, from the brash, bristly Tucson through the very streamlined long-wheelbase Santa Fe. The Sport's the best-looking of the trio, with a right-sized hexagonal grille bracketed in place with coordinated fog lamps and headlamps trimmed with LED lighting. The side sills stand out in relief up and over the rear wheel wells, and the rear door handles sit well back of the rear wheel opening in a way Mazda's now-defunct CX-7 would be proud of. It's all summed up by a simple, balanced treatment of taillights and glass on the tailgate. We can't help but pick out some vague likeness to the new Ford Escape in the rear end and the proportions around the headlights, but Ford's almost-hatchback crossover doesn't quite have the size to play out the curves you'll find on the Santa Fe Sport.

It's less distinctive about the Santa Fe--some Dodge Durango in the way its rear quarter windows are shaped. Hyundai says it's essentially a minivan replacement, anyway, and we can't think of one three-row crossover with outre styling that's been a big hit.

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Performance :

The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe is only offered with a V-6, while the Santa Fe Sport model is offered with a four-cylinder–and your choice of whether or not you want that engine turbocharged.

The base engine on the Santa Fe Sport is Hyundai's 2.4-liter four, with 190 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, straight from duty in the Sonata sedan. With direct injection and a hookup with Hyundai's in-house six-speed automatic, the base Sport earns the best fuel economy ratings of the lineup, up to 33 miles per gallon on the EPA's highway cycle. Our first drive offered only a brief exposure to the normally aspirated four at high altitudes--not an ideal driving experience--so we're holding back those impressions until we can test this model over longer distances under more usual conditions.

The turbocharged 2.0-liter turbo four is another familiar piece, as it's also shared with the Sonata. In this application it makes 264 horsepower and 259 lb-ft of torque, while topping out in front-drive form at 29 mpg highway. It smoothly conveys abundant power through a fairly wide swath of the powerband; we'd estimate a 0-60 mph time at 7.0 seconds on lighter front-wheel-drive models, which weigh in at a lean 3459 pounds.

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Comfort & Quality :

Two sizes of Santa Fe are now offered. The smaller model is the Santa Fe Sport, which offers two rows of seats for five people, and the non-sport model, which replaced the Veracruz, features seven seats in three rows.

By the numbers, the Santa Fe Sport rides on a wheelbase 106.3 inches long. It's 184.6 inches long, and 74.0 inches wide. That puts it in the ballpark of a wide swath of the crossover market, including everything from the Chevy Equinox to the Toyota Venza and Kia Sorento. It's larger inside than a Ford Escape or Honda CR-V, if not quite as big as a Toyota RAV4.

The three-row Santa Fe, meanwhile, has a 110.2-inch wheelbase that's 3.9 inches longer than the span on the Sport. It's slightly wider, too, and 193.1 inches long, 8.5 inches longer than the Sport. The Santa Fe GLS seats seven; the Santa Fe Limited seats six. Its overall interior volume of 146.6 cubic feet and 13.5 cubic feet of storage space behind third row make it more space-efficient than the Toyota Highlander--but smaller inside than a Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder, and Ford Explorer.

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Safety :

The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe models score well for safety.

All models have the usual standard front, side, and curtain airbags, as well as a driver knee airbag, for a total of seven. Hill-start and downhill assist also are standard, along with anti-lock brakes, stability and traction control.

The long-wheelbase Santa Fe hasn't yet been crash-tested by either the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), or by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). But the shorter-wheelbase Santa Fe Sport earns top five-star scores as well as 'good' scores in most categories of IIHS testing it has been put through—except the small overlap frontal test, where its result is 'marginal.'

2015 Hyundai Santa FE interior
2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Features :

Hyundai offers the 2015 Santa Fe in a standard six- or seven-passenger model, and a shorter five-passenger 'Sport' model. Equipment is similar between them, but you get a few extra features with the larger version.

All Santa Fe Sport crossovers come with a good selection of standard features, including power windows, locks, and mirrors; air conditioning; cruise control; tilt/telescoping steering; steering-wheel audio and phone controls; and 17-inch wheels. The standard audio system is an AM/FM/CD player with satellite radio, USB and auxiliary ports, Bluetooth and audio streaming, and six speakers. Santa Fe Sports with the turbo four-cylinder include all these features and add 19-inch wheels and a trailer-towing prep kit.

Even with the base GLS model, standard features are numerous on the three-row Santa Fe. Bluetooth connectivity, rear-area climate control and keyless entry are all there; so are steering-wheel audio controls and Blue Link with remote start via its smartphone app. Base models equipped with all-wheel drive also receive an Active Cornering Control feature, as well as a windshield wiper de-icer.

2015 hyundai santa fe
2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Fuel Economy :

The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe crossovers return solid fuel economy within their segments when equipped with front-wheel drive and are about average when all-wheel drive is selected.

If you opt for the Santa Fe Sport with the base 2.4-liter four-cylinder, expect to achieve 20/27 city/highway mpg for front-wheel-drive models, and 19/25 mpg with all-wheel drive. There isn't much of a penalty for choosing the turbocharged model in this case, which can also run on regular unleaded gasoline. It's rated at 19/27 mpg for front-drive models, and 18/24 mpg for all-wheel-drive.

The three-row Santa Fe with front-wheel drive earns 18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway, and only highway mileage suffers–by a single mpg–if you opt for all-wheel drive.

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Review

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Highs :

  • Easy-to-use infotainment system
  • Plenty of standard features
  • Attractive styling
  • Good cargo space
  • Very good fuel economy


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