The venerable Honda CR-V, now it its fourth generation, has been a solid performer for nearly two decades. The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, though relatively new, has become very popular with American consumers who seek a versatile yet economical crossover. Which is the better all-around choice?
What the Santa Fe Sport Gets Right
A slightly smaller variant of the regular Santa Fe, the five-passenger Sport follows Hyundai's current trend of generous standard equipment and ambitious interior refinement. There's evidence of both traits in the Sport's dashboard, a rather elegant affair that's color-keyed to match the seats and door panels. Cargo space comes in at 72 cubic feet, about as good as it gets in a small crossover.
All models carry a six-speed automatic transmission and driver-selectable electric steering. The standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder produces 190 horsepower and delivers 24 mpg in combined city and highway driving, or 22 on all-wheel drive models. The optional 2-liter turbo provides a boost to 264 horsepower and takes the Hyundai from zero to 60 mpg in a 8.1 seconds, which is commendable for this class.
What the CR-V Gets Right
The CR-V does an excellent job of accommodating three passengers in the back, even if they're all secured in child safety seats. There's no need to go crawling around to lower the split-folding seat—just pull a lever in the cargo area while you're standing outside and the spring-loaded seatbacks flip down on their own. At 71 cubic feet, cargo space is excellent here as well.
Every CR-V gets a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine with 185 horsepower and a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT). This setup delivers an impressive 29 mpg in combined driving, or 28 mpg with all-wheel drive, which is available on all trim levels.
Which is the Better Choice?
The Honda CR-V receives high marks in most categories, and comes off as a thoroughly modern family vehicle. For its part, the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport boasts peppier-than-average performance and an inviting interior loaded with fine materials.
Our Choice: Honda CR-V
The Sante Fe Sport is very good at what it does, but the CR-V's versatility and efficiency put it ahead by a hair.