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2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Overview
The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport finds itself sandwiched between the smaller Tucson and larger Santa Fe in the automaker’s crossover lineup. It offers a nice middle ground for buyers who want a bit more space than what the Tucson provides and who don’t need the 3-row capability of the Santa Fe. Hyundai gave the Santa Fe Sport a significant exterior refresh last year, so for 2018 it sees a few updates updates but no major changes.
For 2018, Hyundai introduces a new Value package for the Santa Fe Sport that’s only available with the base 2.4-liter engine option and includes auto-up/down front windows, heated side mirrors, and a proximity key with push-button start. For vehicles equipped with the Blue Link telematics system, owners will receive complimentary 3-year access to extra features like emergency services, smartphone-controlled remote start and lock, stolen-vehicle location, a health report on your vehicle, and much more.
The Santa Fe Sport underwent an exterior refresh in 2017, complete with a new dark finish grille, reshaped headlights, dark finish for the wheels, updated taillights, and optional LED daytime running lights. The basic shape remained the same, however, and for such a handsome crossover, that isn’t a bad thing.
There are two powertrains on offer for the 2018 Santa Fe Sport. The base is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque, which can be upgraded to a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder good for 240 hp and 260 lb-ft. Both engines come paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and the choice of front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). Fuel-economy figures for the 2.4-liter engine stand at 21 mpg city, 27 highway, and 24 combined with FWD and 20, 26, and 22 with AWD. The turbo is rated at 20, 28, and 23 with FWD and 19, 26, and 22 with AWD.
Compared to the Santa Fe Sport’s clean-looking exterior, the interior is a bit busy. The dash layout is fairly intuitive, thanks in part to the use of large buttons and knobs. Some will not be impressed with the two-tone interior design, however, which combines a variety of materials and textures. Back-seat passengers will have no complaints, as the Santa Fe Sport offers plenty of head- and legroom. The high-end 2.0T Ultimate trim even comes with rear window shades, perfect for long car trips. Cargo space measures 35.4 cubic feet with the rear seats up and 71.5 cubic feet when the seats are folded, putting the Santa Fe Sport between the Nissan Murano (with 32.1 and 67 cubic feet) and the Ford Edge (with 39.2 and 73.4 cubic feet).
The Santa Fe Sport offers several infotainment-system options with display screens that range from 5 to 8 inches in size. All three systems are intuitive and easy to use, with simple interfaces and snappy performance. For 2018, Hyundai has added Apple CarPlay compatibility to the 7- and 8-inch systems to join the existing Android Auto.
For safety, the Santa Fe Sport comes well equipped with a full set of airbags, anti-lock brakes (ABS), traction and stability control, tire-pressure monitoring, and a reversing camera. Higher trims feature blind-spot monitoring, rear-cross traffic alert, lane-change assist, a multi-view camera system, and rear parking sensors. The top-of-the-line 2.0T Ultimate trim can be further outfitted with optional lane-departure warning, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and automatic high beams. The 2017 Santa Fe Sport earned a 5-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and Top Safety pick status from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS).
The 2018 Santa Fe Sport begins at $24,950 for the base 2.4L trim with FWD, $31,350 for the 2.0T trim with FWD, and $35,650 for the 2.0T Ultimate with FWD. AWD is available on all trims for an additional $1,550.
Ask William Maley how he started as an automotive writer and he would say he just fell into it. Based in Michigan, William has driven vehicles of all sizes and shapes. His work has appeared on Autobytel, CARFAX, Cheers & Gears, and U.S. News Best Cars.
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