A comfortable family car with safety in spades.
Let me paint you a picture. A mother and daughter experience a 7-hour flight delay and arrive at the Dallas-Fort Worth Airport at 5:30 in the morning. They check into a hotel and instead of sleeping, they wait until 6am and go down to have some breakfast. Then they sleep until noon when it’s time to pick up their car and drive 3 hours to Austin, Texas.
That car better be comfortable (because… cranky!). And safe (because… tired!).
Thankfully, the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate was both. (And yes, I was the mother in that scenario.)
Plenty of Space and All the Creature Comforts
The first thing I fell in love with in the Santa Fe Sport, a slightly smaller five-passenger version of the Hyundai Santa Fe, was the hands-free smart liftgate. Just stand behind the car for a few seconds with the key in proximity and the hatch opens. In goes my luggage – easy peasy! And with 71.5 cubic feet of space (when the 2nd row seats are folded down), you won’t have a problem with cargo – whether it’s sports gear or luggage for the whole family.
Plug and Go With Android Auto, But Not Apple Play (Yet)
From the adjustable leather seats to the intuitive design of the infotainment system to the excellent sound system, the cabin was wonderfully comfortable. I found the dash display easy to read and customize. This car comes with Android Auto, so I wasn’t able to sync up my iPhone. But with Sirius XM radio and navigation, we were all good. There was even the perfect spot for my sunglasses and phone – you might even be able to fit a small purse there, but I found it easier to put my purse on the floor behind the passenger seat.
So That’s What Ultimate Means: Lots of Luxury
In the driver’s seat, I was in command of a high-tech ship. Adaptive cruise control, dual climate control, a multi-view camera system, auto high-beams, USB port, and height-adjustable driver and passenger seats are just the tip of the iceberg with the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. Seats in the front and rear are heated, as is the steering wheel. But it was Texas, after all, so we made use of the ventilated front seats to keep us cool. The backseat offered plenty of leg room and seating for three, and the sunshades made the ride more comfortable for my daughter.
Turbo for a Confident Drive Experience
Driving this SUV is fun. It’s peppy and handles better than its size – and cargo space – would indicate. The 2.oT in the model name means power. This model features a 4 cylinder engine with turbo, giving it better fuel economy than a larger engine but enough power to confidently get up to speed on crowded Texas highways.
The soft metallic accents and two-tone interior are a thing of beauty, while the exterior of the Santa Fe Sport looks, well… sporty. The black alloy wheels and heavily tinted sunroof contribute to its sharp look.
Can We Talk Safety?
The Santa Fe Sport Ultimate has a number of great standard safety features, including blind spot monitors, electronic stability control, lane change assist and rear cross traffic alert. More safety features are in the Tech package option ($1,550) which includes adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and automatic emergency braking system, which uses both a camera and radar sensor to sense if a crash is imminent. If the driver does not react, the car will brake. The system can even detect a pedestrian and apply full brake-force stopping power!
I especially loved the audio cues for lane departure and blind spot monitoring. Yes, that beeping can get annoying, but it can also be a lifesaver when you’re not fully alert. And when you’re at your best, it’s a simple push of a button to turn the warning system off.
A new-to-me safety feature of the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport was its Dynamic Bending Light, or articulating headlights. With this option, your headlights turn with the direction of the curve as you turn the steering wheel. Brilliant!
What We Loved
- Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Space for your phone/sunglasses
- Audio cue for lane departure/blind spot warning
- Lots of cargo space
- Dynamic bending headlights
Who This Car is For
- Families of 5 or less (best for 4 people)
- Families who need cargo space
- Singles or couples looking for a sporty SUV
What You Need to Know
- The 2.0T Ultimate model starts at $36,500
- Premium package (blind spot monitors, smart lift gate, leather seats, sliding rear seats and window shades) adds $3,550 to the price
- Tech package (panoramic sun roof, 8-inch touch screen, surround view camera, rear parking sensors, cooled front seats and heated rear seats) adds $3,650 to the price
- MSRP for the model we drove is $39,070
- Averages 23 MPG (20 MPG city/27 MPG highway)
- Regular unleaded gasoline recommended
The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate was provided for my review. Opinions are all my own.