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With upper class features for middle income money, the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport AWD 2.0T with Ultimate Package is a great value for growing families.

Exterior and Styling

  • With athletic design cues and a commanding, chrome grille, the Santa Fe Sport’s styling exudes a youthful, yet poised appearance.
  • This design is already 2 years old and it appears to not have aged at all.
  • Our orange hauler (Hyundai calls this color Canyon Copper), received numerous compliments from neighbors and soccer dads alike.

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What’s Inside and Price

  • While leather seating is almost a must-have at this fully loaded price point ($38,350 after $875 destination fee), Hyundai’s leather still has a feeling of cheapness about it when compared to hides from Toyota, Mazda or Nissan. The smooth leather used on the steering wheel has such a luxurious feel, it’s a shame Hyundai didn’t use it elsewhere.
  • Designers managed to ditch idea of using hard plastic in the front part of the cabin, and go with soft touch surfaces comprised of a mix of knit fabric (A-pillars and headliner), imitation leather (door cards) and a striated texture used in the two-tone dashboard—a welcome modern, fresh change.
  • The panoramic sunroof is huge and reaches deep into the second row of the cabin. Rear side sunshades for backseat passengers and reclining second row seats that also slide forward and aft, work really well. The LATCH child seat anchoring system is easy to access in the second row and offers top anchor points for all three seats.
  • Often overlooked, features stolen from minivans—like a place to put your sunglasses in the headliner—and premium brands —like contrast stitching on several of the door card and center console surfaces—make for a useful and luxurious interior experience.
  • Like other Hyundai vehicles recently tested, the BlueLink infotainment system is amazing; it has a large 8-inch touch screen that's very intuitive. Voice command works flawlessly and of course you can use several different apps from your phone when connected via USB.

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Cargo and Fuel Economy

The Santa Fe Sport AWD 2.0T isn’t as fuel efficient as some similarly sized vehicles, yet it makes up for that with admirable cargo carrying capacity. City, highway, and combined fuel economy numbers are 18 mpg, 24 mpg and 21 mpg, respectively. In real world driving, we were able to achieve the Environmental Protection Agency’s combined fuel economy rating on 87 octane gasoline. Cargo-wise, the Sport can swallow up 71.5-cubic feet with the second row folded down and 35.4-cubic feet with the second row upright.

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Ultimate Package

In our fully loaded tester—called the Ultimate Package—you get all of the technology and luxury goodies you could ever want at a fair price ($4,350). A set of 19-inch alloy wheels, heated/ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, navigation system, Infinity 12-speaker sound system, blind spot monitoring system, rear parking assist sensors, HID headlights, and panoramic sunroof fill out the laundry list of accessories in this upgrade.

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On the Road

  • It’s quite impressive what Hyundai has managed to do with this transmission. It meets up well to the 2.0-liter direct injected engine (265 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque which I think is right up there in terms of level of quality and suaveness as the Mercedes and BMW 2.0-liter power plants.
  • The 6-speed automatic shifts very smoothly. At speed, this crossover feels very refined, soaking up bumps and road deviations quietly. Hyundai appears to have continually tuned its suspension over the last two years since we last drove the Santa Fe Sport at its North American launch in Park City, Utah.
  • If there is one complaint about this vehicle, it’s that the steering is numb—like in all Hyundai vehicles reviewed. The Sport designation indicates a shorter wheelbase, not necessarily an all-in sporting experience. Let’s be honest though, if you’re just grabbing groceries or schlepping children between activities, does it really matter?

Summary

Quite simply, the Santa Fe Sport AWD 2.0T Ultimate Package is easy to love. While the suspension is not as aggressive as something in a much more expensive BMW X3 or Audi Q5, you're really not missing anything else, except a ridiculous price when similarly equipped. For that reason, it’s probably a tie within its mainstream segment when you compare this family-hauler against its Kia cousin, the Sorento.