Wednesday, October 8, 2014

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport: A Stylish Value-Packed Crossover

Highlights: Hyundai no longer offers a 6-cylinder engine. A turbo charged 4-cylinder engine is now available to power this roomy crossover.

Test Vehicle’s MSRP: $33,385 (base model $25,825)

Seating Capacity: 5

Standard Safety Features: air bags; electronic brake distribution; hill start assist controls; tire monitor sensors; and a vehicle stability system

Standard Equipment (base model):  17-inch wheels; 6-speed automatic transmission; cloth seats; a/c; remote keyless entry system; and a tilt-and-telescopic manual steering wheel; and sliding second-row seats

Standard Equipment On Santa Fe Sport: 18-inch wheels; 2.0-liter turbo, 4-cylinder engine; a push-button keyless starter system; a rear view camera; automatic headlights; a power front seats; leather seats; heated front seats; heated exterior mirrors; a blind spot detection system; HD radio; manual rear window sunshades; and an automatic temperature control system

Optional Features On Test Vehicle: a navigation system; 19-inch wheels; a 12-speaker Infinity Sound System; and carpeted floormats

Other Trim Level:

Santa Fe (7-passenger)

Standard Audio: a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD with Satellite

Bluetooth Connectivity: Yes

iPod connectivity: Yes
Bumper-to-Bumper Warranty: 5 years or 60,000 miles

Powertrain Warranty: 10 years or 100,000 miles

Standard Engine/Horsepower: a 2.0-liter, 4-cylinder/190-hp

Recommended Fuel: Regular

Standard Fuel Mileage: 20-city/27-hwy

Front Suspension:  MacPherson Strut Front Suspension Stabilizer Bar

Rear Suspension: Multi-link Gas Shock Absorber Rear Suspension

Towing Capacity: N/A

What’s New: For the 2014 model year, the engineers added a blind spot monitoring system.

Pros: The stylish front-wheel drive crossover is available in a 5-passenger or a 7-passenger configuration, with either a non turbo or a turbo engine, which rivals any 6-cylinder engine. The Hyundai is also available in either a front-wheel drive or an all-wheel drive configuration. So its ready for all-weather climates. In addition to the optional features, we noted on our test vehicle, the seven-passenger Santa Fe or the five-passenger Santa Fe Sport can be ordered with a panoramic roof, a rear parking assistance system, heated steering wheel, a programmable driver’s seat, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and rear premium door sill plates.

Moreover, Hyundai offers a roomy crossover that offers great road manners. Furthermore, Hyundai provides one of the best new-vehicle warranties in the segment!  

Cons: While some of the competitors offer such advanced safety driving aids as a forward collision alert braking system and a lane departure warning system, the Hyundai lacks such features. Ford even offers a power operated tailgate, which opens without the use of a key. In fact, by simply waving one’s foot underneath the rear of the vehicle, the power liftgate opens. Ironically, Hyundai just added a blind spot monitoring system this year, so they seem to be a little behind the curve from a technological standpoint.
Lastly, most of the competitors in the segment offer 32 mpg on the highway, as opposed to Hyundai, which offers 27 mpg on the highway. There is room for improvement for the Korean automaker to enhance the overall mpg on their crossovers.

Verdict:  In the established, but very competitive midsized crossover segment, the Hyundai is no longer priced well below the competition in order to get a foothold in the segment. The Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Sport have become well respected players in this segment due mainly to the Koreans value packing. Hyundai has managed to offer a stylish and reliable vehicle at a competitive price.

5-Passenger Competition: Chevy Equinox; Ford Escape; GMC Terrain; Honda CR-V; Jeep Cherokee; Jeep Compass; Kia Sportage; Mazda CX-5; Nissan Murano; Toyota RAV4; and VW Tiguan

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