From its name, you might surmise that the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport bears the mantle of performance in the compact crossover class. But the truth is that Hyundai uses the Sport moniker to differentiate this two-row small crossover from its big brother, the three-row Santa Fe. A budget-friendly Porsche Macan it's not. But as an easy-to-drive urban runabout, the Santa Fe Sport should satisfy.
In its lower trim levels, the Sport's base price is not too far removed from the pricing of popular small crossovers from Honda and Toyota. And yet it's a little bigger than those models. Four adults will find the interior genuinely spacious and well appointed, and a third adult in the rear is within the realm of possibility. You can also get a lot of features on the Santa Fe Sport, equipping it to luxurylike levels if you choose.
On the downside, the front seats aren't comfortable enough for everyday driving, the ride is pretty firm, and neither of the two available engines is particularly powerful nor fuel-efficient. Hyundai also limits the availability of some of the vehicle's driver safety aids to the most expensive trim level. Overall, we view the 2018 Santa Fe Sport as a decent choice for a small crossover but think you could very well be happier with one of its more accomplished rivals.
If it were our money, we'd go with the base Sport model. Its non-turbocharged four-cylinder isn't as peppy as the 2.0T's turbocharged unit, but it's also far less expensive. We think this year's Value package is a good deal since it bundles plenty of desirable features (such as heated front seats, a touchscreen and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto functionality) and doesn't add too much to the sticker price. That said, if you're also thinking of adding the Premium Equipment package, you might as well step up to the 2.0T; it includes that package, and the fuel economy drop is meager.
trim levels & features
The 2018 Santa Fe Sport compact crossover is Hyundai's entry in one of the most hotly contested segments in the U.S. (The similarly named Santa Fe has three rows and is reviewed separately.) Its reasonably priced base Sport model is powered by a four-cylinder engine and includes a modest number of standard features; several option packages are available to raise the luxury factor. The 2.0T and 2.0T Ultimate are pricey upgrades, but the turbocharged engine underhood is considerably more powerful. Some of the base model's packages are standard on the 2.0T models, narrowing the price gap.
The Santa Fe Sport is sold in three trims. The base Sport is powered by a 2.4-liter four-cylinder (185 horsepower, 178 pound-feet of torque), while the 2.0T and 2.0T Ultimate are driven by a turbocharged 2.0-liter engine (240 hp, 260 lb-ft). A six-speed automatic transmission is standard across the board, and any model can be specified with front- or all-wheel drive.
Notable standard features for the base trim include 17-inch alloy wheels, rear privacy glass, air-conditioning, a rearview camera, a 40/20/40-split rear seat, Bluetooth connectivity, a 5-inch display screen, and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player and a USB port.
The new Value package bundles LED daytime running lights, foglights, heated mirrors, roof rails, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone automatic climate control, a power driver seat with lumbar adjustment, heated front seats, a 7-inch display screen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay functionality, Hyundai Blue Link services and satellite radio.
Selecting the Premium Equipment package adds those features, along with a hands-free power liftgate, a color driver information screen, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather upholstery, a power front passenger seat, slide and recline functionality for the rear seats, rear side window sunshades, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert.
The Tech package includes the contents of the Premium Equipment package along with a panoramic sunroof, a top-down parking camera system, rear parking sensors, driver-seat memory settings, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, an 8-inch touchscreen, navigation and a 12-speaker Infinity premium audio system.
Step up to the 2.0T and you get a more powerful turbocharged engine, 18-inch alloy wheels, dual exhaust tips and the contents of the Premium Equipment package.
There's one more package available if you want to go whole hog: the 2.0T Ultimate's Tech package. It adds adaptive headlights with automatic high-beam control, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and an electronic parking brake with auto hold.
Finally, the top-of-the-line 2.0T Ultimate adds 19-inch alloy wheels, xenon headlights, LED taillights and the contents of the Tech package.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our Full Test of the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport (turbo 2.0L inline-4 | 6-speed automatic | FWD).
NOTE: Since this test was conducted, the current Santa Fe Sport has received some revisions, including a refresh in 2017 that brought revised exterior styling, interior trim modifications and an increased number of available advanced safety systems. Additionally, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto became available in most models, and both engines saw a reduction in power. Our findings remain broadly applicable to this year's Santa Fe Sport, however.
noise & vibration
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edmunds expert review process
This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
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