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2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 2/18/2015

New for 2015

The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport gains an improved electric power steering system, a revised suspension, standard daytime running lights, driver's blind spot mirror, auto up/down front passenger window, two new exterior colors, and an available power liftgate.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is a five-passenger crossover sold in base or 2.0T grades and in front- or all-wheel-drive configurations. Hyundai also offers another Santa Fe crossover with a seating capacity of up to seven passengers.

Overview

The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is available with two four-cylinder engines: a 2.4-liter with 190 hp and 181 lb-ft or torque or a turbocharged 2.0-liter with 265 hp and 269 lb-ft. Both engines are paired to a six-speed automatic transmission. Between the two powertrains, the turbocharged I-4 doesn't force buyers to sacrifice much in terms of fuel economy while gaining 75 hp and 88 lb-ft. Turbo models are rated at 19/27 mpg city/highway with front-wheel drive and 18/24 mpg with all-wheel drive. In comparison, Santa Fe Sports equipped with the 2.4 achieve 20/27 mpg in front-drive guise while opting for all-wheel drive drops those numbers down to 19/25 mpg.

Both 2015 Santa Fe Sport engines offer good performance for daily driving duties with respectable handling and decent acceleration for passing and merging into traffic. The turbocharged I-4, however, isn't as refined with "noticeable flat spots" that made it feel "uneven" during acceleration due to a transmission that was slow to respond. Handling is a weak point with "little steering feedback" and a suspension that didn't inspire confidence due to it being "easily confused" in aggressive driving, and has a harder ride than its competitors, which transmits rough surfaces into the cabin.

The 2015 Santa Fe Sport's exterior styling is top-notch "with a more mature and elegant look." This continues inside where the cabin "feels elegant and classy," and has plenty of tech and convenience features including a panoramic sunroof, heated front seats, and an available navigation system with an eight-inch touch screen. Infotainment controls are also easy to use with a functional and intuitive center stack.

The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport has a five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA (out of a possible five stars)

What We Think

The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is a good choice for crossover buyers who prioritize style, user-friendly controls and an upscale cabin. In a 2013 First Test review, we said that the crossover offers "things you would expect in a luxury model," including heated seats and steering wheel. Styling is also a Santa Fe Sport strong point with an attractive exterior and interior design that "doesn't go over the top."

Despite the focus on style, infotainment controls remain user-friendly and logical. Noise, vibration and harshness (NVH) are a weak point, however, because during our test, we noticed that the crossover had many squeaks and rattles, as well as too much wind noise. Its suspension and chassis were also unimpressive, due to its lack of steering feel in all three modes of its Driver Selectable Steering Mode, extensive secondary body movements during aggressive maneuvers, and hard ride.

You'll Like

  • Good power
  • Upscale styling inside and out
  • Intuitive infotainment controls

You Won't Like

  • Poor NVH
  • Hard ride
  • Poorly tuned chassis and suspension

Key Competitors

  • Honda CR-V
  • Ford Edge
  • Nissan Murano
  • Toyota Venza

Rating

3 star

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