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2015 Hyundai Santa Fe

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 4/27/2015 Stefan Ogbac

New for 2015

The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe gains daytime running lights, driver's blind spot mirror, and auto up/down front passenger window. Two new exterior colors have been added: Sparkling Silver and Platinum Graphite. A hands-free power liftgate is a new option for the 2015 model year.

Vehicle Summary

The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe is a three-row crossover available in front- or all-wheel drive configurations and has a seating for six or seven passengers. A 3.3-liter V-6 with 293 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque paired to a six-speed automatic transmission is the only powertrain available. Fuel economy is decent for the class at 18/25 mpg city/highway in front-drive models and 18/24 mpg with all-wheel-drive. Hyundai also offers a two-row, five-passenger SUV called the Santa Fe Sport, which slots below the three-row Santa Fe and is also offered in front- or all-wheel-drive.

Overview

Interior space in the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe is generous with up to 80 cubic feet of space with the second and third rows folded. Depending on the seating configuration, the crossover is able to accommodate seven passengers with the standard bench layout or six with the second-row captain's chairs in the Limited, which also slide and recline. Opting for the six-seat version also makes access to the third row easier, which is roomy and is able to accommodate adult passengers. Tech and convenience features are in abundance with available heated seats in the first and second rows, an upgraded sound system, navigation, and a panoramic sunroof. Like all Hyundais, the infotainment system is one of the easiest to use with intuitive controls for all of its functions but its graphics are in need of an update.

Performance from the 2015 Santa Fe's 3.3-liter V-6 is good with plenty of power for passing and merging but the six-speed automatic is sometimes hesitant to downshift. There is also a standard three-mode selectable steering that allows drivers to choose between comfort, normal and sport modes. Handling is clumsy on the road when driven aggressively while its ride gets harsh on less than perfect surfaces. Activating the car's eco mode also retards the car's responses significantly and makes it hard to accelerate especially in highway speeds.

What We Think

As a family crossover, the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe offers plenty of space and comfortable seating for up to seven in a tech-friendly package. In a 2014 First Test, we said that "there isn't a bad row" in the car and has a comfortable cabin with plenty of the latest features. The Santa Fe's infotainment system is also well done and "one of the best" in the business but looks "overly techy." While its engine has plenty of power, the six-speed automatic is hesitant and "seemed unsure of what gear it wanted to grab." Ride quality, on the other hand, is smooth on good quality pavement but on broken tarmac, it becomes harsh.

You'll Like

  • Spacious cabin
  • Strong engine
  • Easy to use infotainment system

You Won't Like

  • Third row is snug
  • Harsh ride on rough surfaces
  • Transmission is hesitant to downshift

Key Competitors

  • Nissan Pathfinder
  • Toyota Highlander
  • Ford Explorer
  • Kia Sorento
  • Dodge Durango

Rating

3 star

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