The kid brother of Hyundai's popular Santa Fe crossover, the Santa Fe Sport uses its compact size to its advantage, delivering an engaging driving experience on par with the best in its class. While there's no third row, the Sport is more than capable of transporting five passengers and whatever they want to bring along.
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2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Overview
What's New for 2017
The Santa Fe Sport gets a significant refresh that includes restyled front and rear fascias, a selectable driving mode system, and a host of newly available safety technology.
Choosing Your Santa Fe Sport
The Sport is about 8.5 inches shorter than the standard Santa Fe, but interior room still ranks among the leaders of its class. If you don't require seven-passenger capacity, you'll be rewarded with a highly maneuverable and energetic compact crossover. The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine produces 185 horsepower, and you can opt for a 2-liter turbo with a stout 240 horsepower. A six-speed automatic transmission comes standard, along with selectable driving modes (Normal, Eco, Sport). All-wheel drive can be added to any model for $1,750.
The Santa Fe Sport is offered in Base, 2.0L, and 2.0L Ultimate trim levels:
Since the Sport shares much of its equipment (both standard and optional) with the midsize Santa Fe, you can put together one luxurious compact crossover. However, all that goodness comes at a price. Be aware that a fully loaded Sport can surpass the price of some premium-branded vehicles of similar size.
2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Review
Hyundai has three crossover SUVs in its lineup: smallest Tucson, compact Santa Fe Sport, and bigger three-row Santa Fe. Both Santa Fe models have been substantially freshened for 2017, gaining a new front-end appearance that includes a fresh fascia and headlights, along with new taillights. About one-fourth of the Sport’s components have been revised. The Santa Fe Sport comes in Base, 2.0T, and 2.0T Ultimate models, the latter two containing a turbocharged engine.
Pricing and Equipment
Starting at $25,350 (plus destination charge), the Santa Fe comes with a choice of powertrains. Base engine is a direct-injected, 2.4-liter four-cylinder, producing 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. The alternative turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder engine develops 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet. Both work with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Fuel economy differs little between the two. With front-drive, the 2.4-liter is EPA-estimated at 21/27 mpg city/highway. The turbo four gets an EPA estimate of 20/28 mpg city/highway (20/27 in Ultimate trim).
Standard equipment in the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T, with a Manufacturers Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of $31,700, includes:
- Turbocharged 2-liter engine
- Six-speed automatic transmission
- Leather seating surfaces
- Heated power front seats
- Dual-zone automatic climate control
- Hands-free power liftgate
- Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and lane-change assist
- Blue Link telematics
- Seven-inch display audio
- Eighteen-inch alloy wheels
- Seven airbags, including driver’s knee airbag
Options include surround-view cameras, lane-keeping assist, forward-collision warning with automatic braking, and adaptive cruise control.
- Acceleration scores well with the optional turbocharged 2-liter engine. Able to reach 60 mph in about 7 seconds, the turbo Sport provides greater confidence when passing or merging, and can tow as much as 3,500 pounds.
- Transmission shift points are logical and effective, yielding smooth operation. Moving the gearshift lever can actuate a manual-shift mode.
- All-wheel drive available with either engine.
- Acceleration with the base 2.4-liter engine is rather weak. It can feel breathless and overtaxed—more so when passengers are aboard.
- Gas mileage is acceptable, but not the greatest in its class. Some competitors deliver better fuel economy than either Santa Fe Sport version.
- A Santa Fe Sport drives easily, but steering doesn’t feel quite as sharp as in some competitive vehicles.
- Space is greater than most rivals provide, with good front legroom and knee clearance. Front backrests are well-shaped, with adequately-bolstered cushions on long seat bottoms.
- A sliding back seat is available, traveling 5.2 inches fore and aft, to better accommodate either passengers or cargo. The cargo hold is sizable.
- Large, real knobs control fan speed and audio volume. Electro-luminescent instruments are available.
- If the panoramic sunroof is installed (standard on Ultimate), head clearance is marginal for taller drivers.
- Though spacious for a compact, in both front and rear, larger families might need a bit more room.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
Seat comfort and space get half of the nod, especially with the sliding rear seat. The other half goes to excellent crash-test scores (five stars in the federal test program), as well as a laudable number of available safety items. Every model has a rearview camera, and 2.0T turbos have several active-safety features.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
Considering the weak nature of the base engine, it’s so-so gas-mileage estimate is particularly galling. At least, there’s an easy solution for this demerit: pick the turbo instead, and you get nearly the same gas-mileage estimate.
The Bottom Line
In its latest form, freshened for 2017, the Sport looks sharp—inside as well as outside. Many consider it the best-looking model of Hyundai’s crossover trio. An abundance of standard equipment, plus high-quality materials, makes it a good value even in more costly turbo trim.