The Santa Fe Sport is Hyundai’s two-row crossover, not to be confused with its larger sibling, the Santa Fe, which has three rows of seating. The Sport is in the compact crossover class but is actually a bit larger than many of its rivals, while a little smaller than a midsize SUV. So you can call the Sport the Goldilocks of crossovers. Whatever you call it, the Sport is a good value for the price.
The five-passenger Santa Fe Sport got refreshed for 2017 and is largely unchanged for 2018. It’s available in three trims: Santa Fe Sport, the 2.0T and the 2.0T Ultimate. Starting prices range from $24,950 to $35,650. Front-wheel-drive is standard and all-wheel-drive can be added for $1,550.
The base model gets a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. My tester has the turbocharged 2.0-liter that generates 240 hp and 260 pound-feet. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Drive Mode Select offers Eco, Sport and Normal driving settings.
Despite its name, the Santa Fe Sport isn’t really sporty. But it is pleasant and easy to drive and handles more like a sedan than a crossover. The larger engine provides more pep with enough power for comfortable merging and passing on the freeway. The ride is pretty firm but not harsh, although you will notice some bumps on rough roads. The cabin is quiet.
Fuel efficiency is okay for the class. EPA ratings for my AWD tester are 19 mpg city and 24 mpg highway with a combined rating of 21. I got 22 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving.
The interior is attractive and controls are logically laid out. The center stack features large knobs and buttons that are easy to see and reach. The two-tone color scheme suggests a higher price tag, although there are some hard plastics. Passengers in both rows of seating enjoy decent leg- and headroom. I had my parents and brother in the backseat on an outing, and all commented that the second row was roomy enough for three adults, especially on short trips.
Standard features in the Santa Fe Sport include remote keyless entry with alarm, rearview camera, steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise control, stain resistant cloth upholstery, five-inch infotainment display, six-speaker sound system, Bluetooth, and USB port.
Options include HID Xenon headlights, leather seating, panoramic sunroof, seven-inch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, navigation and a 12-speaker Infinity Logic7 audio system.
Available driver assistance technologies include lane change assist, blind spot detection, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning, and automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection.
The infotainment system is easy to connect to your phone. The upper trims have connectivity through Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
The Santa Fe Sport has less cargo space than many compact crossovers. There are 71.5 cubic feet with both rows of seating in place and 35.4 with the second row folded. There are several small compartments under the rear hatch which are convenient for transporting small items. The second row is 40/20/40 split-folding.
The optional Hands-Free Smart Liftgate with Auto Open is really convenient. The hatch door opens automatically when you approach it with the key fob so you don’t have to push a button or do the hokey-pokey with your foot.
When properly equipped, the Santa Fe Sport can tow up to 3,500 pounds.
The Santa Fe Sport has Hyundai’s extensive warranty of five year/60,000 miles, and powertrain warranty of 10 years/100,000 miles.
It receives high safety marks. The Santa Fe Sports get a top rating of five out of five stars in NHTSA crash tests, and is rated a Top Safety Pick+ by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
Good value for the money
Intuitive infotainment system
Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are available on most trims
Excellent Hyundai warranty
Great safety ratings
Rivals offer better fuel economy
Less cargo space than many compact crossovers
My tester starts at $37,200. The Ultimate Tech Package is $1,600 and adds Smart Cruise Control with Stop/Start, Automatic Emergency Braking with pedestrian detection, Lane Departure Warning, electronic parking brake with auto vehicle hold, dynamic bending light, high beam assist, and auto-leveling headlights. Carpeted floor mats are $125. Destination fee is $950 bringing the grand total to $38,875.
The Santa Fe Sport is worth consideration if you’re shopping for a smaller crossover. It delivers on things most families want, such as easy handling, great safety ratings, a pleasant interior and good value for the money.