It’s hard to believe that for the past twelve years, the Santa Fe nameplate has stuck around with Hyundai. Introduced back in 2000 as a 2001 model, the Santa Fe would mark the beginning of the crossover movement. Since that time, Hyundai has grown their crossover lineup to include the small Tucson and large Veracruz, with the Santa Fe sitting in the middle. With the all new third-generation Santa Fe, Hyundai decided to do something a bit different.
At the New York Auto Show earlier this year, Hyundai showed two versions of the new Santa Fe: A long-wheelbase model with the Santa Fe name to take the place of the Veracruz and a short-wheelbase model named the Santa Fe Sport, taking the place of the old Santa Fe. The Santa Fe Sport stands out in the midsize crossover crowd with its distinct exterior styling. The design follows Hyundai’s new Fluidic Precision language which features flowing lines along the body and a large hexagonal grille up front. Underneath the sharp design, Hyundai was able cut out 266 lbs from the Santa Fe Sport. This means better performance and fuel economy. The base engine for the Santa Fe Sport is a 2.4L four-cylinder producing 190 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. Wanting a bit more oomph? There’s an optional 2.0L turbo-four producing 264 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque. Both engines go through a six-speed automatic transmission and have the choice of either front-wheel or all-wheel drive. Fuel economy numbers for the Santa Fe Sport are 21 City/29 Highway/24 Combined for the 2.4L and 20 City/27 Highway/23 Combined for the 2.0T. All-wheel drive drops fuel economy numbers by one in the city, three on the highway, and two on the combined for both engines.
The Santa Fe Sport starts at $24,450 for a base front-wheel drive model. For that price you get seven airbags including a driver’s knee airbag, electronic stability control, 17-inch alloy wheels, an Active ECO system to help you get better fuel economy, a driver-selectable steering system which can vary the amount of weight the steering has, Hyundai’s BlueLink telematics system, and Bluetooth. The Sport 2.0T starts at $27,700 adds push-button start, automatic headlight control, power driver’s seat, heated front seats, and leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Hyundai offers three different option packages for the Santa Fe Sport. The Popular Equipment Package for the Sport with the 2.4L adds a lot of features found on the 2.0T including heated seats and a power driver’s seat for $950. Next is the Leather and Premium Package which adds leather, heated rear seats, a 4.3-inch color touch screen, back-up camera, and other features for $2,450. Finally there is a Technology Package which adds a 8-inch touchscreen, navigation, a panoramic sunroof, and a heated steering wheel for $2,900. All-wheel drive is available for an extra $1,750. Competitors for the Santa Fe Sport include the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Edge, GMC Terrain, and Toyota RAV4.