Hyundai Santa Fe delivers graceful, dependable ride

Roseville, Calif. – One of Hyundai’s more impressive vehicles is the Santa Fe, a sport utility vehicle that seats five to seven people, depending on the model chosen.

Both Santa Fe models are attractive and provide a graceful, dependable ride. Note that while most Hyundai vehicles continue to gain in status, their sticker prices are inching up as well. The Santa Fe Sport starts at around $26,000 and its big brother’s price tag can climb to a high of around $36,700.

If three rows aren’t needed, car shoppers can take a look at the Sport model, a compact that seats five.

The Sport received the largest makeover among the two Santa Fe models. Hyundai says it “refreshed” the 2017 Sport and made only minute changes to the 2018 model. Last year’s changes included altering the exterior appearance, making interior changes, and also tweaking its engines.

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe

* Performance: 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, 185 horsepower; turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder 240 horsepower
* Mileage estimate: 20-27 mpg; 19-28 mpg
* Estimated price: $26,000 to $36,700
* Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain: 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance: 5 years/unlimited corrosion: 7 years/unlimited

The Sport exterior look now includes restyled daytime running lights and fog light cutouts, and a new grille that has more horizontal slots. The rear styling also is updated but not nearly as dramatic.

What will interest many car shoppers with the Sport is the engine choices. The base four-cylinder has dropped 5 horsepower and even more significant is the 25 horsepower decrease in the turbocharged engine. While that’s not all bad, Hyundai barely improved the gas mileage on either engine. Gas mileage is not a selling point for any version of the Santa Fe.

The standard 2018 Hyundai Sport engine is a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder that produces 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque, and gets approximately 21-27 mpg. We prefer the turbo model, a peppy 2.0-liter, four-cylinder with 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque that has a gas mileage range of 18-28 mpg.

Both the Santa Fe and the Sport possess fine road manners. The ride and handling are fairly smooth, especially on well-paved surfaces. On rougher roads one can definitely feel the bumps. Both models also deliver a quiet ride under normal circumstances.

The Sport has a pleasing interior that’s easily managed, thanks to its intuitive controls and switches. The front seats are comfortable and provide solid support, while the back seat is more congested and will be a squeeze if three adults are on board. There is 35.4. cubic feet of room in the back and that increase to 71 when the rear seat is folded down.

In the Santa Fe interior, a cool feature is the second row seating slides forward, back and also reclines. The third row is the typical “just for kids” zone. When the two rows are folded down, the hauling space opens up to 80 cubic-feet. That number is dramatically reduced to 13.5 cubic-feet when all three rows are upright.

The first decision when considering the 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe is which model suits your needs. We admire the overall quality of the Sport model, but for folks who need more of a people hauler the Santa Fe is the pick.

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