“2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport2.0T Ultimate FWD”
New Value Package Most Appealing
When Hyundai Motor America initiated their major product launch program for the all-new, third generation 2013 Santa Fe Sport, a new image was created on the family-oriented CUV scene with a unique two-wheelbase strategy, a progressive design execution reflecting Hyundai’s “fluidic precision sculpture” styling, varied efficient power sources and significantly upscale amenities and technological features. The 2013 Santa Fe was available in two formats: the 5-passenger Hyundai Santa Fe Sport; and a longer wheelbase (plus 3.9-inches), three-row, seven passenger Santa Fe model that replaced the Veracruz.
Based on an all-new crossover architecture, both Santa Fe versions delivered an appropriate relative sized vehicle to choose from, along with elevated levels of flexibility and functionality.
Hyundai continues to up the ante for the 2018 model year, building upon major made for 2017 such as the freshened exterior styling and LED signature lighting, along with added infotainment features, enhanced safety features and new Drive Mode selection. Exceptionally appealing for 2018 is the all-new Hyundai Santa Fe Sport model Value Package that provides: heated dual power side mirrors with turn signal indicators; power windows with front auto-up/down; proximity key with push-button start (including Remote Start via Blue Link app); a seven-inch display audio with Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay™ & SiriusXM; dual automatic temperature control with Clean Air ionizer; Hyundai’s Blue Link® Connected Car System; a power driver seat with lumbar support; heated front seats; LED daytime running lights; front fog lights; and roof side rails.
The interior will now feature Premium wood finish trim as standard fare on leather equipped for both Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport models, and all Blue Link equipped models will now include all services as standard for a full three years. Seating options are available for five, six or seven passengers dependent upon the Santa Fe model chosen.
Power for the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is provided by either a 2.4-liter, 185 horsepower inline four-cylinder direct injected engine, or by a healthier 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, turbocharged inline 4-cylinder with Gasoline Direct Injection that delivers 240 horsepower at 6,000 rpm along with 260 pound feet of torque in a range from 1,450 to 3,500 rpm. Both engines are transversely mounted. Energy is geared to either the front or to all four wheels via a standard six-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC®.
Four models of the Santa Fe are offered: the base 2.4-liter, 4-cylinder Santa Fe Sport; and the 2.0T 4-cylinder Santa Fe Sport Ultimate. The LWB 3.3-liter Santa Fe will come in two levels of trim: the GLS Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Limited.
All Santa Fe powertrains now offer new Drive Mode selection with Sport, Eco and Normal settings. The 2017 Santa Fe lineup continues to offer front or all wheel drive and seating options for five, six or seven passengers. All Santa Fe engines utilize high-pressure direct injection and Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (DCVVT).
A six speed automatic transmission is standard on all Santa Fe models. Active Cornering Control and a windshield wiper deicer Is also standard on AWD Santa Fe models. For the 2017 Santa Fe Sport model alone, nearly 350 individual parts have been updated, representing about 25 percent of total Santa Fe Sport parts content.
In terms of the Santa Fe Sport’s appearance, the “Fluidic Sculpture” design language displays a futuristic image through a new styling concept referred to as Storm Edge, which seems to capture powerful and dynamic essence created by Mother Nature during the formation of a storm. The vehicle’s lines suggest smooth and constant forward motion even when at a standstill. Up front is a three-bar hexagonal chrome grille and LED headlamp accents.
The profile displays a low stance, rising beltline from front to rear and a roof mounted rear spoiler. The rear finishes off with wraparound taillights and twin-tip chrome exhaust. Other upscale styling elements include chrome door handle accents and body-color mirrors, as well as 19-inch alloy wheels. The Santa Fe Sport and longer Santa Fe are differentiated by the side view daylight opening (window shape). The latter Santa Fe features a shape that emphasizes the increase in passenger and cargo room behind the second row seating, with its own bodyside character lines from the “B” pillar back. The grille design also differs, as do the exhaust tips. The Santa Fe rolls on 18-inch wheels and comes with a flush -mounted tow hitch design.
The interior of both Santa Fe models mirrors the same flowing styling as the exterior. Impressive features include: heated front and rear seats, a 40/20/40 reclining/folding/sliding second row seat, innovative rear under-floor storage, a cooled glove box, heated steering wheel, rear side window sunshades, electroluminiscent gauge cluster with color LCD Trip Computer, Proximity key with push-button start feature, YES Essentials fabric treatment for cloth seats that provides soil-resistant, anti-odor and anti-static properties – great for accident prone family members. A huge Panoramic sunroof is an available option for added interior light and a feeling of spaciousness. There are four interior colors available with varying trim accents.
Technology abounds with such offerings as: an optimal AWD system in the form of the Dynamax by Magna Powertrain, which is a fully-active AWD coupling with an electro-hydraulic torque control via a multi-plate clutch; Active Cornering Control that provides optimal torque distribution, delivering a higher level of safety through improved lateral stability in curves; best-in-class braking performance; Driver Selectable Steering Mode with three different steering calibrations – Normal, Sport and Comfort; Hillstart Assist; Downhill Brake Control; Brake Assist; Traction Control System; 7 standard airbags; Rollover sensors; ESC and ABS. There’s also an Active ECO system.
Available entertainment and connectivity are not forgotten either with the following: Base audio with Bluetooth wireless streaming, a 4.3 Touchscreen Color Audio with rearview camera, an 8-inch Touchscreen Navigation with rearview camera, HD radio technology and song tagging, 12-speaker Infinity Logic 7 Surround Sound (550-watt) Audio and Hyundai Blue Link Telematics. Option packages include: a Popular Equipment Package, a Leather & Premium Equipment Package and a Technology Package.
My 2018 Value Package Santa Fe Sport came with the 2.0T engine and was in Ultimate trim and a Front Wheel Drive configuration with the exterior finished in Nightfall Blue metallic with a Black interior. The base sticker was set at $35,650., while the final Monroney totaled $38,325. after adding the Ultimate Tech Package, carpeted floor mats, cargo net and cover and Inland Freight and Handling charge.
SUMMARY: The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T FWD Ultimate performs flawlessly, with the 2.0-liter turbocharged GDI four-banger never missing a beat. The ride quality is both smooth and comfortable and the handling characteristics deliver a sporty feedback with an on-center steering feel.
Highlights for the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport include: a redesigned front fascia with brushed appearance front grille and new headlight design; enhanced rear fascia design with new taillights and new dual exhaust outlet design; new alloy wheel designs; new rocker panel trim design with integrated silver accents; new available LED Daytime Running Lights; new available LED fog lights (three row Santa Fe model only); the new standard Drive Mode Select; standard five-inch color LCD display audio system; new, standard seven-inch touchscreen display with Android Auto™ (Santa Fe 3row), available on Santa Fe Sport; new, available eight-inch touchscreen navigation system with Android Auto™; available Infinity® premium audio – new, with QuantumLogic® Surround and ClariFi™ Music Restoration Technology; available next generation Hyundai Blue Link® (standard on Santa Fe); new, available third-row USB outlet (Santa Fe model only); new, available power, height-adjustable passenger seat; new, second row cupholders (Santa Fe Limited model); new, matte finish interior woodgrain (Santa Fe three-row model with Leather); a redesigned center stack; standard Rearview Camera; new, available MultiView Camera System new, available Smart Cruise Control with Stop/Start function; new, available Lane Departure Warning; new, available electronic parking brake system with autohold; new, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection;new available Dynamic Bending Lights and High Beam Assist; and NHTSA Fivestar Safety Rating for Santa Fe Sport models.
The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport delivers extremely good looks, a high level of operational efficiency, great versatility and functionality, confidence-building safety features and outstanding value in an exceptional CUV, with a towing capacity of 3,500 pounds. Given the various build combinations, there’s literally a Santa Fe Sport or Santa Fe to suit practically everyone’s needs and taste. Add what Hyundai claims to be America’s best warranty, and the Santa Fe lineup becomes an even more attractive proposition.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate FWD
Base Price: $35,650.
Price as Tested: $38,325.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter, DOHC, 16-valve, turbocharged 4-cylinder with Gasoline Direct Injection.
Horsepower (bhp): 240 @ 6,000 rpm
Torque (ft./ lbs.): 260 @ 1,450-3,500 rpm
Transmission: Six-speed automatic with SHIFTRONIC®
Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / Front-wheel drive.
Suspension: Front – MacPherson strut with twin-tube gas filled damper and 26mm outside diameter, hollow type stabilizer bar (5mm wall thickness).
Rear – Multilink with gas shock absorber and 21 mm stabilizer bar.
Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front), 4wheel, 4channel, 4sensors with EBD) and Brake Assist
Tires: Kumho 7 Caugen Premium P235/55 R19 101H mounted on Black painted 5-“Y”-spoke alloy wheels.
Wheelbase: 106.3 inches
Length Overall: 185.0 inches
Width: 74.0 inches
Height: 66.5 inches w/ roof rack
Curb Weight: 3,949 lbs.
Turning Circle: 35.8 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 17.4 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 20 mpg city / 27 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.34
0 – 60 mph: Not tested.
Arv Voss is a Northern California based freelance motoring Journalist and member and past officer of several noted Automotive Journalist organizations who contributes regularly to a number of national and international media outlets. He reviews not only cars, trucks and SUVs, but motorcycles and unusual wheeled vehicles as well.