The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe is a midsize SUV sold in standard (Sport) and extended wheelbase editions. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available. Two four-cylinder engines and one V6 engine are available.
Sold in standard and extended wheelbase versions, the 2015 Santa Fe competes in the midsize SUV segment. Five-passenger seating is standard, six- or seven-passenger room comes with the larger model. Turbocharged and normally-aspirated engine choices are obtainable.
The Hyundai Santa Fe competes against models from Ford, Toyota, Chevrolet, Honda and Nissan. However, its premium style matches Buick and Acura, especially with the extended wheelbase model.
The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe amplifies the latest interpretation of the brand’s neoteric design language. Its fascia offers a commanding grille offset by stylish headlamps with LED daytime running light accents. The look is a fusion of luxury and sportiness, and extends to the hood, across the profile and back to the tailgate.
The Santa Fe is marked by firm shoulders, a tapered roofline, large wheel arches and dimpled profile characteristics. At the rear is a diffuser with twin exhaust ports. Moreover, a rear spoiler, wrap around LED tail lamps, and front and rear fog lamps are included or are available.
Select the Santa Fe Sport and you have two rows of seating with bucket seats up front and a split bench seat to the rear. The extended wheelbase model offers room for six with three rows of seats with two positions across each row. A third position can be added to the second row, which increases seating capacity to seven.
The Santa Fe features a harmonious dashboard punctuated by a two-analog instrument panel with sport recesses flanking a digital driver’s information center. The center stack is marked by a large infotainment system display with wing-like climate control vents on either side. Further, this energetic look extends downward with switches, buttons and dials controlling the audio system, climate control and seat heating and ventilation.
At the base of the center stack are two 12-volt outlets and an oversized open compartment for a smartphone. Centered between the seats is the transmission stick. The driver’s arm rest does double duty as a storage compartment, offering ample room to hold a small purse or a camera bag. An iPod USB auxiliary jack is located at the front center console.
Cloth seating is standard, leather seating surfaces are available. All models come with a tilt and telescopic steering wheel, full power accessories, door trim with cloth or obtainable simulated leather inserts, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, steering wheel-mounted auxiliary controls, cruise control and a leather-wrapped shift knob. Also included are illuminated sun visors, door sill scuff plates, automatic climate control and second-row ventilation ducts.
The base model is outfitted with a six-speaker audio system, LCD screen, SiriusXM satellite radio and an MP3 player. Upgrades bring in a larger display screen, HD radio, a rearview camera and a navigation system. Furthermore, this model comes with ample storage and has four drink holders and four in-door bottle holders.
Various package upgrades bring in manual rear side window sunshades, a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated seats, upgraded door sills and a hands-free liftgate. The available panoramic roof was included with the test model, welcoming copious amounts of natural light and air.
The driver’s seat offers very good back, hip and thigh support. Lumbar support is standard; an eight-way power-adjustable driver’s seat can be had. A power-adjustable passenger seat is also available. To the rear, the 60/40 split bench seat offers adequate room for three. However, you can also fold down the center armrest to gain access to the rear cup holders.
The Santa Fe Sport offers a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making 190 horsepower. You can also choose a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 264 horsepower. Both engines come paired with a six-speed automatic transmission.
The standard Santa Fe is powered by a 3.3-liter V6 engine rated at 290 horsepower. It, too, is paired with a six-speed automatic gearbox.
As tested, a Santa Fe Sport 2.0T with all-wheel drive delivered excellent power off the mark and on the open road. Slight turbo lag was detected, but with full power at the ready this utility vehicle demonstrates its prowess.
All-wheel drive is preferable as it mitigates body roll and boosts handling. The motor driven power steering is satisfying; this model has a tight turning radius.
All Santa Fe models come with front and rear stabilizer bars, disc brakes, and all-season tires. This model has a tow capacity rating of 2,400 pounds for the standard model, 3,500 pounds with the turbo and 5,000 pounds when furnished with a V6 engine.
Choose any Santa Fe and you receive the expected technologies, including a six-speaker audio system and Bluetooth connectivity. However, it is the Ultimate package that sets this model apart, a $4,350 upgrade in the Sport and $4,650 extra in the extended wheelbase model.
The package brings in a number of exterior enhancements, including high intensity definition Xenon headlamps, larger alloy wheels and a panoramic sunroof. Inside, a 550-watt Infinity 12-speaker sound system provides a concert hall listening experience. The package also brings in a navigation system with an 8-inch screen.
In safety testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe scored “good” in four crashworthiness categories: moderate overlap front, side, roof strength, and head restraints & seats. Good is the highest score offered by the institute.
All Santa Fe models come with a suite of safety equipment that includes stability control, traction control, anti-lock brakes, electronic brake-force distribution, hill start assist, downhill brake control and a tire pressure monitoring system. This model has seven air bags, including a driver’s knee air bag.
With a base price of $24,950, the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport offers a competitive price point in its segment. Choose the Sport 2.0T and you will pay from $31,250. Well equipped, an all-wheel drive Santa Fe Sport can cost nearly $35,000.
The extended wheelbase Santa Fe GLS is priced from $30,150. Add $4,100 for the Limited edition. With all-wheel drive, the Ultimate package and select accessories, your final price will come to about $42,000.
The Hyundai Santa Fe is a strong competitor in an SUV segment where prices can easily approach $40,000. The smaller Santa Fe Sport offers the best value, but at a cost of one or two passenger spaces. It is the more efficient one in the model line, but either model comes with more standard features than what its competitors are offering.