The Hyundai Santa Fe is split into two body styles, each with two trim levels. The short-wheelbase Santa Fe Sport is available in base and 2.0T trims, while the long-wheelbase Santa Fe is available in SE and Limited trims. All models come standard as front-wheel drive, but all-wheel drive is an option across the board.
The Santa Fe Sport is powered by either one of two available engines. Both of which are mated to a 6-speed automatic. The standard engine is a 2.4L 4-cylinder making an impressive 190 horsepower. It also produces best-in-class fuel economy, rated at 22 mpg city and 33 mpg on the highway. The Santa Fe Sport 2.0T is powered by a turbocharged 4-cylinder making 265 horsepower. With power equivalent to or better than many of the V6 engines in its class, the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T still returns 19 mpg city and 27 mpg highway.
The long-wheelbase Santa Fe, with three rows of seating, comes standard with a 3.3L V6 making 290 horsepower. Once again, power and fuel economy compare positively to most of its rivals. The Santa Fe accomplishes this feat with a combination of slippery aerodynamics, light weight, a 6-speed transmission and state-of-the-art direct injection on all of its engines.
The Santa Fe has plenty of standard equipment. Even the base Sport model still comes with features such as air conditioning, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel with integrated stereo controls, second-row ventilation, power lumbar support, a trip computer and outside thermometer, cruise control, keyless entry, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD/MP3 player, a 3-month subscription to Sirius XM satellite radio and Bluetooth connectivity.
Buyers opting for the Sport 2.0T get the more powerful engine, along with additional exterior features such as 18-inch wheels, fog lights, heated mirrors, automatic headlight control and a windshield wiper de-icer. Inside, the 2.0T differs from base models with the inclusion of a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, a color LCD screen in their gauge cluster, an 8-way power adjustable and heated front seat and a compass.
The long-wheelbase Santa Fe SE comes very similarly equipped to the base Sport, though with a much bigger engine and three-row seating. Notable differences include standard fog lamps and 18-inch wheels on the SE. Likewise, Santa Fe Limited models echo many of the features of the 2.0T, though the Limited is better equipped, including dual-zone climate control, heated second-row seats, a leather interior, a power adjustable front passenger seat, a power rear lift gate, a rearview camera, blind spot detection, an uprated audio system and an auto-dimming rearview mirror.
Optional equipment includes HID xenon headlights, ventilated seating, front seat and side mirror memory, heated steering wheel, auxiliary outlets and premium audio systems.
All Santa Fe models come with plenty of safety equipment. Acceleration is monitored by a traction control system, while braking is aided by 4-channel anti-lock brakes featuring electronic brake distribution. Airbags are plentiful with front, side and roof-mounted airbags, as well as a driver's knee airbag. Seatbelt pre-tensioners, an anti-theft system and a tire pressure monitoring system round out the Santa Fe's safety features.
Two- Or Three-row Seating
The Hyundai Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Sport are relatively unchanged for 2016, though the base GLS trim has been renamed SE.
Starting at just under $25,000, the Santa Fe Sport competes with other small SUVs such as the Ford Escape and Toyota RAV4. Meanwhile, the long-wheelbase Santa Fe is more competitive with mid-sized SUVs such as the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot and Nissan Pathfinder, and with its standard 290-horsepower V6, it offers more power than all of them. The Santa Fe Sport, on the other hand, features a standard 6-speed automatic, and at 71.5 cubic feet of rear cargo space, it bests competition such as the Toyota Venza and Ford Edge. With strong styling and a long list of available features, the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport are appealing options.