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2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0 Turbo FWD Review & Test Drive

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Filed under An Addictive Take On Cars, Automotive, Hyundai, SUV, Test Drives


If the modern society of America tells you anything about our modes of transportation, it will reveal the growing prominence of SUVs and crossover vehicles as gas prices remain on a level plane. Automotive manufacturers are making bold moves to cater to SUV and crossover utility vehicle seekers in all shapes and sizes. Hyundai has been one riding this curve for many years and their Santa Fe Sport midsized 5-passenger crossover continues to be among the fray molding itself to offer an exceptional value perspective.


For 2015, the Hyundai Santa Fe gets the availability of a few additional options and tweaking of its steering feel. Within those minor changes, the new Santa Fe gets as options, a blind spot monitor system, daytime running lights, and a hands-free power tailgate that automatically opens by standing at the rear for a few seconds with the key fob in your pocket – no silly foot action required here.

For a slight improvement of the new Hyundai Santa Fe’s steering calibration, still offering three weighted modes (Comfort, Normal and Sport), my Santa Fe Sport 2.0 Turbo FWD seems to have a better feel for being connected to the road over many previous endeavors of the electric steering rack.


Hyundai continues to surprise me in the department of performance and efficiency. My nearly-loaded-up 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0 Turbo in the front-wheel-drive flavor features 264 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 269 lb-ft of torque peaking from 1,750 to 3,000 rpm from its 2.0-liter direct-injection turbo 4-cylinder engine.

Power from the engine is more than adequate for the short-wheel-based Santa Fe Sport. Moving into the larger 3-row long-wheel-based Santa Fe you opt for a robust 3.3-liter V6 with 290 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque but at a cost of 1 mpg in the negative compared to my Santa Fe Sport FWD. Expect to get 18 mpg city, 25 mpg highway and 21 mpg combined on the 3-row Santa Fe front-wheel-drive model. With my 2015 Santa Fe Sport 2.0 Turbo FWD test vehicle, EPA estimates are at a respectable 19 mpg city, 26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined.


Power from the 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder proves to be quite the enjoyable experience. The front wheels tend to break loose even with the help of a passively-acting traction and stability control system. There is some turbo lag getting out of the hole from a dead stop, which proves to sap some of the potential that the nicely planted chassis of the Santa Fe Sport could have had. Still, with the quickly-surging torque sent through a 6-speed automatic transmission to the front wheels, the 2015 Santa Fe Sport 2.0T reaches 60 mph in about 7 seconds – which could be faster if it were not for the initial turbo lag. When things are in motion the Santa Fe Sport has no issue scooting along with authority and proving to be quite athletic and at times and light on its feet. The lightness comes into play when the front 19-inch tires frequently unplant themselves under mid-range throttle inputs. The throttle tip-in is inconsistent and requires a bit of attenuation from the driver to self-manage the front end of the Santa Fe Sport. The relatively quick and smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic attempts to adapt to your inputs, but only at the mercy of the turbo engine’s lofty revving under heavy footwork.


The consensus here is that the Santa Fe Sport may be a bit more welcomed with the optional all-wheel-drive system to limit front wheel spin and add some stability when powering out of turns. Otherwise, wheel spin up front is almost a promise while tires beg for traction due to the ample torque surging when the rpm hits about 1,800 rpm. Fortunately, thanks to the optional larger 19-inch wheels and sport-tuned suspension, the Santa Fe Sport manages to perform decently on a lateral basis without aggressive throttle inputs. The rear end carries around with predictability while there is a hint of understeer through hard turns. Fundamentally, the Santa Fe Sport is on the safer side of things when it comes to its shear handling attributes – always a good thing if you ask me.


Feature content and amenities has been at the front of a buyer’s proposition when it comes to the ultra-competitive SUV and crossover vehicle segment. The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T is no exception to the rule, offering a decent list of options that put its luxury side forward when properly equipped. My 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport was loaded up with the Ultimate Package featuring 19-inch wheels, HID headlights, LED taillights, navigation system with an 8-inch touch screen, a 12 speaker Infinity Audio system, rear parking sensors, ventilated/heated front seats, heated rear seats, and a massively large panoramic sunroof with a power sunshade.


With the decently sized list of optional equipment, the combination of Hyundai’s standard features finds a nice grouping with the interior’s fit and finish. Much of the cabin is highly contrasted with many soft-touch plastics and a smart use of hard plastics that have a smooth-to-the-touch coating. The limited use of wood trim plays along nicely with my test vehicle’s brown color schemes and tan perforated leather-seating surfaces.


Seating positions are ideal and have plenty of space out back for 3 adults utilizing the adjustable seat-backs that also act as a 60/40 split folding bench to open up the already-ample cargo space at 35.4 cubic feet to just over 71 cubic feet. The highly adjustable headrests are also a welcomed feature for the front seats adding a bit of additional comfort from the 8-way power driver’s seat and 4-way power passenger seat up front.


The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T FWD with the Ultimate Package rests with an as-tested price of $36,600 including an $875 freight and handling charge. The new 2015 Santa Fe Sport starts at just $24,950 for the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with 190 horsepower, 181 lb-ft of torque, and gets 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway for the front-wheel-drive version.

Hyundai has certainly made a name for themselves and the 2015 Santa Fe Sport 2.0 Turbo is just another notch in the perpetually growing belt belonging to the crossover and SUV segment. The new 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0 Turbo is a notch you don’t want to overlook if you are in the market for a sporty midsized crossover with a splash of luxury, a wide array of features and options, a 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty, and doesn’t break the bank.

Copyright: 2015


  • Price: Base Santa Fe Sport $24,950 / As-Tested Sport 2.oT FWD Ultimate $36,600
  • Engine: 2.0-liter DOHC Turbocharged Inline 4-cylinder 264 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm / 269 ft-lbs. torque @ 1,750-3,000 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 106.3 in.
  • Total length: 184.6 in.
  • Total width: 74 in.
  • Total height: 66.5 in.
  • Track: f/r-64.1/64.5 in.
  • Headroom: f/r-39.6/39.1 in.
  • Legroom: f/r-41.3/39.4 in.
  • Turning circle: 35.8 ft.
  • Fuel tank: 17.4 gallons
  • Curb weight: 3,569 lbs.
  • EPA Fuel mileage estimates: 19 mpg city / 27 mpg highway
  • 0-60 mph: 7.0 seconds
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