The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport offers a sizable chunk of compact SUV for the money, with distinctive and attractive styling, comfortable seating for five, numerous premium features, responsive and efficient engines, pleasing driving dynamics and pricing to suit average budgets. It's offered with either a 2.4-liter naturally aspirated 4-cylinder engine (Santa Fe Sport) or a strong 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder (Santa Fe Sport 2.0T), with either powerplant choice available with front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD). Its likely competitors would include, but are certainly not limited to, the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Edge, Kia Sorento and Toyota RAV4, and the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport should more than hold its own in the contest for potential customers' affections. That's why we named it one of the 10 Best SUVs Under $25,000 for 2014.
You'll Like This Car If...
If you're shopping for a competent, stylish, efficient compact SUV with lots of features and an affordable price, plus a great warranty, the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport should be on your list.
You May Not Like This Car If...
The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is a compact SUV; if you need more cargo space, seating for more people or the capability to tow a sizable trailer, you need a bigger vehicle.
The 2014 version of the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport has relatively few changes. There is an available Blind Spot Detection and rear parking-assist system; the Sport 2.0T is available with HID headlights, LED taillights, rear-window sunshades and standard 18-inch wheels. There also are new premium convenience features.
Driving the Santa Fe Sport
Customers who value the driving experience will be happy to find that the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport has ride and handling qualities to match its stylish looks. Credit a...
... robust, stiff and commendably lightweight structure for responsive behavior when the road gets crooked, and a smooth and well-controlled ride on open highways or just around town. The available Active Cornering Control AWD system utilizes torque vectoring and torque braking to improve stability while cornering, maintains traction at the most-desired wheels and helps prevent overheating during long climbs or trailer towing. The turbocharged 2.0-liter engine, with 264 horsepower, is clearly the enthusiast's favorite, but the standard 2.4-liter engine, with 190 horsepower, is certainly no slouch. Add in some major efforts at reducing interior noise levels, and Hyundai's Santa Fe Sport is one of the most refined, nicest-driving compact SUVs on the market.
2.0-LITER TURBOCHARGED ENGINE With 264 horsepower and 269 lb-ft of torque this 4-cylinder is a little powerhouse. Matched with a smooth-shifting 6-speed automatic, the combination delivers plenty of power for any driving eventuality.
ACTIVE CORNERING CONTROL ALL-WHEEL DRIVE Optional on the Santa Fe Sport and Sport 2.0T, this "intelligent" AWD system integrates with the Vehicle Stability Management system and the anti-lock brakes. It actively monitors surface conditions and distributes engine and braking forces to the most-desirable wheels to improve both cornering and fuel economy.
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Details
The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport's contemporary interior offers a high degree of user-friendliness and a quality level of fit and finish. All controls are easy to reach and operate and storage spots are plentiful. The seats are trimmed in stain- and odor-resistant Yes Essentials fabric, and leather is available. The rear bench seat includes a 40/20/40 split, and includes 5.2 inches of fore-and-aft travel plus a recline function as part of an option package. Folding down the rear seatbacks gives a near-flat load floor and more than doubles available cargo volume from 35.4 cubic feet to 71.5 cubic feet.
The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is a remarkably stylish compact SUV, with interesting and attractive shapes, fine detailing and impressive aerodynamic efficiency that is enhanced by hidden underbody fairings. Exterior details include a chrome grille and door handles, LED-enhanced headlights and taillights and a functional rear spoiler. Standard equipment on the Sport are 17-inch alloy wheels with 235-65R17 tires, while the Sport 2.0T has 18-inch alloys with 235/60R18 tires as standard and 19-inch alloys with 235/55R19 tires optionally available.
Standard equipment for the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport includes full power assists, air conditioning, cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering column, steering-wheel-mounted controls, remote keyless entry, AM/FM/SiriusXM/CD/MP3/HD audio, iPod/USB/auxiliary inputs, Bluetooth and Blue Link. The 2.0T adds the comprehensive Popular Equipment Package, which includes roof rails, fog lights, heated mirrors, power driver's seat, heated front seats, push-button start/stop and a wide range of other convenience and comfort features. Also standard are Vehicle Stability Management and Traction Control, Hillstart Assist Control/Downhill Brake Control, Electronic Brake-force Distribution/Brake Assist and all the usual and expected safety features.
Most of the options for the 2014 Santa Fe Sport are in packages. The Popular Equipment Package is optional on the Sport and standard on the Sport 2.0T. The Premium Package includes leather, Blind Spot Detection, dual-zone automatic temperature control and other features. The Technology Package for the Sport includes the Panoramic sunroof, rear park assist, navigation with 8-inch touch screen, Dimension premium audio, memory for driver's seat and mirrors, heated seats and additional items. The Technology Package for the Sport 2.0T also includes 19-inch wheels and tires, HID xenon headlights, LED taillights and Infinity Logic Surround Sound 12-speaker 550-watt audio.
Under the Hood
Under the hood of Hyundai's Santa Fe Sport is found some modern technology. Both the 2.4-liter non-turbo base engine, with 190 horsepower, and the 2.0-liter turbo engine of the Sport 2.0T, with a robust 264 horsepower, have direct fuel injection and continuously variable valve timing for the optimum in efficiency. The only transmission choice is a 6-speed automatic with smooth shifting and a Shiftronic manual shift gate, for those who wish to do it themselves. These engines deliver responsive and impressive performance and fuel economy that should make their owners happy, in both FWD and AWD versions.
The base front-drive 2014 Santa Fe Sport has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) right around $25,000, the AWD version is just over $27,000, the front-drive Sport 2.0T is over $31,000 and the 2.0T AWD is just over $33,000. The Popular Equipment Package will add $1,150 to the Sport model and both the Premium and Technology Packages are $3,200, but the 2014 Santa Fe Sport still maintains a price advantage over comparably equipped competitors. In addition, it includes Hyundai's commendable and worthwhile 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 5-year roadside assistance program. Be sure to check the Kelley Blue Book Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying for the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. For the long term, the Santa Fe Sport should retain residual values slightly below those of the Toyota RAV4 but better than those of the Kia Sorento, Ford Edge and Chevrolet Equinox.
"We bought our Santa Fe Sport at the end of April and paid just over 37. We bought the XL Titanium Silver. In BC it's the next model down from the Limited. We really like this vehicle. Getting about17/100km with 50/50 hwy/city. We love the huge sunroof,the awesome power,and are looking forward to the awd,heated seats and wheel this winter."
Cons: "Had no backup sensors, had to pay more to add"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"I have the 2013 Santa Fe Turbo Sport, fully loaded and couldn't be happier with it. Mine's in Juniper Green and people are always commenting on the beautiful color. I had an Acura 2 door coupe that I absolutely loved and always said that I would never drive a 4 cyl. car until the dealer convinced me to drive the turbo. I'm so glad he did because this SUV is fun to drive and very powerful."