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2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

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2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Expert Review

By

KBB Expert Rating: 7.8

Although the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport SUV remains an attractive proposition, its aging design has prompted Hyundai to rely on a proven sales tactic: add more features for less money. Even with these upgrades, however, the 2018 Santa Fe Sport compact-crossover SUV must still compete with the Honda CR-V, VW Tiguan and Chevrolet Equinox, all offering newer designs, better tech and, in the case of the Mazda CX-5, a diesel-engine option. Fuel economy is also an area where the 2018 Santa Fe Sport is falling behind the pack. To its credit, the Santa Fe Sport offers one of the most powerful engines in the segment, loads of standard equipment plus such high-end options as ventilated front seats, Infinity audio and a panoramic moonroof.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re looking for a compact SUV that offers a bit more size, power and features than a run-of-the-mill Honda, Toyota or Nissan SUV, the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport compact-crossover SUV is nothing but good news. Did we mention the standard 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty?

You May Not Like This Car If...

If your shopping list includes a low price, bold styling, great fuel economy or rugged off-road ability, you might be better off in a Subaru Forester, Ford Escape, VW Tiguan or Mazda CX-5. The Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk offers a V6 engine, better tow ratings and wears a Trail Rated badge.

KBB Expert Ratings

  • 7.8
  • 6.9
  • 7.2
  • 7.8
  • 8.3
  • N/A
How It Ranks

#9

out of 12

Fuel Economy

#1

out of 13

Horsepower
View all rankings
2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Low/wide front photo What's New for 2018

For 2018, the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport crossover SUV gains a new Value Package featuring heated front seats and side mirrors, proximity key with push-button start, automatic climate control, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Models with Blue Link include all services for a full three years.

Driving the Santa Fe Sport
2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Front angle view photo
Driving Impressions

Hyundai’s 2018 Santa Fe Sport SUV blends a fun-to-drive attitude with mature styling and a sophisticated interior. The base 2.4-liter engine puts out a respectable 185 horsepower, but the Santa...

... Fe Sport’s substantial weight really calls for the optional turbocharged 2.0-liter. This engine delivers excellent performance with only a marginal difference in fuel economy. The Santa Fe Sport’s ride is firm but not harsh, remaining smooth so long as the surface below is too. Handling is also good, but the Santa Fe Sport’s steering feel isn’t as precise as in a Mazda CX-5 or VW Tiguan. All-wheel-drive-equipped models have the added advantage of improved handling in both wet and dry conditions, a benefit of the Active Cornering Control that routes torque to the wheels with the best grip. Standard Drive Mode Select alters power steering and throttle response for Normal, Eco and Sport settings.

2.0-LITER TURBOCHARGED ENGINE
With 240 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, the 2018 Santa Fe Sport’s 2.0-liter turbocharged engine delivers the kind of performance uncommon in the world of compact SUVs. Best of all, fuel economy is nearly identical to the base 2.4-liter engine.

HANDS-FREE SMART LIFTGATE WITH AUTO OPEN
Where some power liftgates require pressing a button on a fob or furiously waving one’s foot below the bumper, the 2018 Santa Fe Sport’s power liftgate opens upon approach when sensing the proximity of the remote fob in your pocket.

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Details
2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Dashboard, center console, gear shifter view photo Interior

The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport crossover SUV proves that you don't have to sacrifice user friendliness to have a contemporary interior design. All the controls inside are easy to reach and understand, and everything is constructed with care and high-quality materials. It's also practical, with stain-resistant Yes Essentials fabric or available leather, and a rear bench seat that folds in a 40/20/40 split and is also available with 5.2 inches of fore-and-aft travel and a recline function as part of an option package. Behind the seats is a good-sized cargo space, making the Santa Fe Sport exceptionally flexible.

Exterior
2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport photo

Last year, Hyundai gave the compact Santa Fe Sport SUV a new grille with brush-look inserts, emphasizing the "Sport" part of the name. The sleek crossover SUV also has daytime running lights as standard, while around back reside a set of sleek taillights and a twin-paired dual exhaust. We like the sharply styled design, with impressive details merging with aerodynamic efficiency that include hidden underbody fairings. 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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Hyundai’s Santa Fe Sport for 2018 includes a driver's-side blind-spot mirror and auto up/down passenger window, air conditioning, cruise control, tilt/telescoping steering column, steering-wheel-mounted controls, Drive Mode Select, remote keyless entry, heated mirrors, a 6-speaker audio system that includes a 5-inch-color LCD display with rearview monitor, USB and auxiliary inputs and Bluetooth. Turbocharged 2.0T models get a lot more equipment standard, including most of the base model's Premium and Value Packages, adding roof rails, fog lights, a power driver's seat, Blue Link, heated front seats, push-button start/stop and more. Safety features include blind-spot monitor and rear cross-traffic alert.

Optional Equipment

The base 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport offers the Value Package and Premium Package already mentioned, plus a Tech Package that includes a panoramic sunroof, rear park assist, navigation with 8-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, Infinity premium audio, Multi-View Camera, heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and a power liftgate. The Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate adds 19-inch wheels, Infinity Premium audio and a heated steering wheel plus offers the Ultimate Tech Package that adds Smart Cruise Control, Automatic Emergency Braking, Lane Departure Warning, adaptive headlights, high-beam assist and an electronic parking brake.

Under the Hood
2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Engine photo

For 2018 the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport offers a choice of two engines. Standard on the base Sport is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with 185 horsepower; if that's not enough, the 240-horsepower 2.0-liter turbocharged engine in the Sport 2.0T should satisfy you. Both engines benefit from modern direct-fuel injection and continuously variable-valve timing for the optimum in efficiency and power. The only transmission choice is a 6-speed automatic with a Shiftronic manual shift gate, for those who wish to shift for themselves, and is available in either front-wheel drive (FWD) or all-wheel drive (AWD), delivering responsive and impressive performance and fuel economy.

2.4-liter inline-4
185 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
178 lb-ft of torque @ 4,250 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 21/27 mpg (FWD), 20/26 mpg (AWD)

2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4
240 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
260 lb-ft of torque @ 1,750-3,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/28 mpg (FWD), 20/27 mpg (FWD, Ultimate), 19/26 mpg (AWD), 19/24 mpg (AWD, Ultimate)

A front-wheel-drive 2018 Santa Fe Sport crossover SUV with the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine carries a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) around $26,000, including the $950 destination charge. The turbocharged Santa Fe Sport 2.0T starts around $32,300 for a FWD model. The 2.0T Ultimate starts around $36,600. AWD adds an additional $1,750. Those prices include Hyundai's 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty and 5-year roadside-assistance program, and compare well against competitors like the Kia Sorento, Ford Edge and Chevy Equinox. Check the KBB.com Fair Purchase Price to see what others in your area are paying, and note that the Santa Fe Sport's residual values are a bit below the Toyota RAV4, but beat the Kia, Ford and Chevy.

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