One-Week Test Drive: 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
Test Drive: 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

One-Week Test Drive + Car Review: 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

by Alicia in Car Reviews

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Family Car Review - Test Drive

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport review

MSRP: Starting at $24,950
MPG: 20 City / 27 Hwy
ENGINE: 190-hp 2.4L GDI 4-cylinder engine

The first vehicle I purchased after my car accident 14 years ago was a Hyundai Santa Fe, a 2001 I believe.  I loved the sleek but curvy, and then feminine, look of the SUV and the price was appealing too.  My Santa Fe had all the bells and whistles without the cost normally associated with such features as heated seats, adjustable gas pedal, leather, and a sunroof.  The warranty was great too.

Fast forward about 13 years – I test drove a 2015 Hyundai Sante Fe for a week, bringing back memories and making me wonder why I ever traded it in for a minivan, which I transitioned away from in the last two weeks by the way, after a few years of owning my Santa Fe.  During our test drive, we took a quick trip – 3.5 hours actually, to Nashville, TN to stay at Opryland for a couple of nights.  What a nice ride for a road trip!  The kids were comfortable, I was comfortable, the navigation got us there without a hitch and even kept me informed of the current speed limit the entire time, and the audio system with XM radio made sure we were entertained for the drive.

My husband and I appreciated Hyundai’s impressive suite of available BlueLink features which include speed limit and even curfew alerts and geo-fencing to help keep new teen drivers safely accountable.  I will tell you about my new car soon, but if I had opted for a SUV instead of a sedan (gasp!), I would have purchased the Hyundai Santa Fe. That’s how much I love it.  Available extras like heated second-row seats, ventilated front seats, integrated rear sunshades and a massive panoramic sunroof are just a few features that make the Santa Fe’s Family Car of the Year!

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2015 Navigation System

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Overview

The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is a smooth-riding and spacious compact crossover SUV that appeals to families because of its high safety scores, its generous safety and comfort features relative to an affordable base price, compelling advanced technology options at the higher trim levels, and the industry’s best factory warranty.

With space for five passengers including enough room for full-sized adults in the rear outboard seating positions, the Santa Fe Sport also packs up to 71.5 cubic feet of cargo space, or enough room for an extended vacation’s worth of gear for a family of five.

The 2015 Santa Fe Sport is available in two basic trim levels, each most prominently differentiated by its standard engine. The entry-level base trim features a 2.4-liter direct-injection four-cylinder engine with 190 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, which comes paired to a standard six-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard, while all-wheel drive (AWD) is available as an extra-cost option. The EPA rates the naturally aspirated four-cylinder at 20 city and 27 highway mpg with front-wheel drive, dropping slightly to 19 city and 25 highway mpg when equipped with AWD. Those who do a lot of driving should note that these efficiency ratings are well behind other similarly priced compact crossovers.

Stepping up to the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T model brings with it a direct-injected and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder outputting 264 horsepower and 269 lb-ft. of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission and FWD are once again standard, while AWD is optional. Those who can afford a moderate step up in price from the base model would do well to consider the 2.0T, as its power is impressive for the class and its EPA mpg ratings fall just slightly from the 2.4-liter.  The EPA rates the 2.0T at 19 city and 27 highway mpg with FWD or 18 city and 24 highway mpg with AWD.

Hyundai Santa Fe Features

Hyundai Santa Fe Models & Features

Introduced as a completely redesigned vehicle just 2 years ago for the 2013 model year, the Santa Fe Sport gains a number of welcome new features for 2015. Daytime running lights are now standard, as is a two-tone grille and a driver’s blind-spot mirror. Hyundai also revamped the crossover SUV’s steering system for better control and road feel, and the optional equipment packages gain a number of cutting-edge tech features.

Rather than offering the SUV in a large array of trim levels, the Santa Fe Sport is available in just two, differentiated by their engines, while extra features are grouped into option packages. Standard on the base crossover are 17-inch wheels, LED headlamp accents, Bluetooth phone and audio sourcing options, a 40-20-40 split-folding rear seatback, and a six-speaker audio system with satellite radio. Some option features include automatic headlights, foglamps, a 4.3-inch in dash touchscreen – an 8-inch unit is also available with the top-tier Technology Package – and Hyundai’s Blue Link emergency telematics system.

The 2.0T gains more standard features such as 18-inch wheels and a power rear liftgate, plus most of the options from the base model as standard equipment. Available only on the 2.0T, the Ultimate Package brings the primary contents from the lower-tier model’s Technology Package, plus 19-inch wheels, xenon headlights, LED taillights and a 12-speaker premium audio system.

Like all of Hyundai’s product lineup, standard features are quite generous for the crossover SUV’s price point. While base pricing is right around that of the top Japanese offerings, your out-the-door price will likely be considerably lower after considering the fact that less of the features you really want come at an extra cost.

Hyundai Santa Fe Interior


Hyundai Sante Fe Sport Safety

The Santa Fe Sport earns high marks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, earning the highest possible rating of “Good” in all categories for a Top Safety Pick Plus award. Seven airbags, including side-curtain and driver’s knee airbags, come standard at all trim levels. Traction, stability and hill descent control systems are also standard. A rearview camera and a blind-spot monitoring system are optional on the base model, coming standard on the upscale 2.0T.

Parents with teenage kids will also appreciate Hyundai’s system of limiting functionality when lending the vehicle to new drivers. Using the car’s infotainment system, parents can set limits on speed and geolocation. The system even has the power to create driving curfews.

The Santa Fe Sport is a true standout for its strong crash test ratings, space, and available safety features, most of which do not cost extra. That said, its unimpressive fuel efficiency is a significant drawback that needs to be considered by buyers who do a ton of driving.

If you have a question about the Santa Fe, ask in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer based on my 1-week test drive.

Visit your local Hyundai Dealership to test drive a Hyundai Santa Fe with your family today!

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links and I may earn a commission when you buy something. If you'd like to know more about the links featured in my posts, how I do and choose reviews, or choose advertisers, check out The Mommy Insider editorial policy.

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