Ultimate Package ($4,350 -- includes 19-by-7.5-inch alloy wheels with P235/55R19 tires, HID headlights, LED tailights, rear parking assistance system, navigation system with 8-inch touchscreen display, Infinity 12-speaker Logic 7 surround-sound audio system with 550-watts, panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, driver's integrated memory seat, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, premium door sill plates); Carpeted Floor Mats ($125)
Turbocharged, direct-injected, inline-4, gasoline
DOHC, 4 valves per cylinder, variable intake + exhaust-valve timing
Compression ration (x:1)
Horsepower (hp @ rpm)
264 @ 6,000
Torque (lb-ft @ rpm)
269 @ 1,750
SIx-speed automatic with console shifter
Transmission and axle ratios (x:1)
More and more turbocharged cars exhibit near-instant power these days, unlike the turbo-lag days of old. This Santa Fe Sport isn't one of those cars. Floor the throttle from a stop and there is a definite "wait for it" moment. Or two. Once it gets going there is a nice surge of power, and the engine is smooth all the way to its 6,000-rpm full-throttle shift point. Upshifts are slow, though nice and smooth. Of note, this car absolutely HATES it when we use the power-braking method (overlapping throttle and brake at the line to bring the revs up prior to launch). Doing so causes even more hesitation off the line, and it remains slower all the way down the drag strip, with the trap speed down by 7 mph. Manual shifting is via the console lever (pull back for downshifts). It does not blip the throttle on downshifts and does not hold gears to a rev limiter; it automatically upshifts between 5,500 and 6,000 rpm.
Medium-firm pedal with a normal amount of travel. Quite a bit of ABS noise and commotion. Nosedive is noticeable and the Santa Fe Sport exhibited some side-to-side squirm toward the end of each stop. Significant brake odor from the first stop, and by the end the brakes were smoking badly. Pedal travel lengthened by the end, too, meaning we got some pedal fade. The first stop was the shortest at 127 feet. The second stop was a bit anomalous, at 137 feet, with the fifth and final stop at 130 feet.
In the slalom test the steering was precise and responsive; however, it could still provide more information through the wheel to the driver. Body roll is evident but well managed, so we'd classify the way it transitions back and forth as just shy of sporty. Just as the tires begin to howl and lose traction, the electronic stability control system (ESC) abruptly grabs the brakes in an attempt to redirect the vehicle. It's not as seamless as many other ESC systems and most people will notice its intrusion. On the skid pad, the ESC is similarly evident, first with its brake applications and then by taking the throttle away to slow the vehicle's progress around the circle. Overall, this was a competent performance, but not a standout in any way.