2015 Hyundai Santa Fe

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2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor

KBB Expert Rating: 8.4

As if the 3-row family crossover SUV market wasn’t crowded enough, Hyundai offers up for consideration its excellent Santa Fe midsize SUV for 2015. The Santa Fe’s styling is more sophisticated than the boxy Honda Pilot, while its interior features outclass competitors such as the Toyota Highlander and Chevrolet Traverse. Basically a stretched version of the Santa Fe Sport, the 2015 Santa Fe family crossover SUV offers seating for seven, a larger cargo bay, available all-wheel drive (AWD) and one of the most powerful V6 engines in the segment. Competitively priced and with an unbeatable standard warranty, Hyundai’s 2015 Santa Fe SUV continues to improve on a value story that has become a dream come true for consumers and a nightmare for the competition.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you’re trying to balance the needs of a growing family against a tight budget, and you refuse to sacrifice style and comfort, check out the 7-passenger 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe. We think you’ll be pleasantly surprised.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If your family needs include the ability to bring along more than seven people, tow more than 5,000 pounds and offer true off-road ability, you’ll need to look to larger SUVs like the Chevy Suburban, Nissan Armada or Toyota Sequoia.

What's New for 2015

For 2015, Hyundai’s Santa Fe crossover SUV receives an upgrade to its driver-selectable power-steering unit, along with revised front bushings. New standard features include daytime running lights and a driver’s-side blind-spot side mirror. A new Hands-Free Smart Liftgate with Auto Open is optional.

Driving the Santa Fe
Driving Impressions

While few expect a family SUV to deliver impressive handling and acceleration, the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe does just that. A recalibrated adjustable steering system offers firmer steering in the...

... Sport setting, while the suspension has been redesigned to deliver flatter cornering without making the ride feel harsh or jarring. Hyundai has done a good job isolating wind and road noise from the Santa Fe’s cabin, although to our ears we think both the Nissan Pathfinder and Ford Explorer are a bit quieter. The Santa Fe takes a back seat to no competitor in the power department, energized by a 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 engine and 6-speed automatic transmission. Thanks to its relatively lightweight body, off-the-line acceleration is brisk, and while we found the front-wheel-drive (FWD) model had no problem with mid-range passes (40-60 mph), the addition of the AWD system seems to slow things down a bit.

In addition to such vital services as SOS emergency assistance, news, weather and turn-by-turn navigation, Blue Link also offers something parents will love and teenagers will despise: an app that sends a text message when the kids are driving over a preset speed limit, past curfew or beyond your preset perimeter.

The Santa Fe’s massive panoramic sunroof spans all three rows. With the push of a button the front panel can be tilted up for ventilation or slid back for a massive infusion of fresh air and sunlight.

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Details
2015 Hyundai Santa Fe photo Interior

There's plenty of room in the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe, and the driver's front view is panoramic (the rearward view is less broad, but you're never reduced to driving purely with the mirrors). The base model’s stain-resistant cloth fabric feels good, plus the audio and climate-control knobs and buttons are glove-friendly big. All materials are impressive right down to the rubber that lines the inside of the door pulls. The first two rows are completely livable for adults, while the third row is a decent kid's row. The Santa Fe does give up some cargo area compared to the competition, however.

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe photo

Looking for all the world like what it is – an extended-wheelbase Santa Fe Sport without the sporty rear-side-window kick-up – the new Santa Fe has more to say about handsome, contemporary styling than it does about swooping lines that characterize the shapes of Hyundai passenger cars. Nice touch 1: Even in base GLS form, the outside mirrors and bumpers are body color. Integrated fog lights, roof rails and 19-inch aluminum-alloy wheels are the exterior differences between the GLS and upscale Limited versions. Nice touch 2: The Santa Fe GLS gets smaller 18-inch wheels, but at least they are aluminum alloy.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

Santa Fe GLS drivers with a long journey ahead will appreciate the multi-adjustable front bucket seats with power-adjustable lumbar support. Passengers farther back will give thanks to the 3rd-row controls for the air conditioning and heating. Stepping up to the Santa Fe Limited includes luxuries like leather seating – power-adjustable and heated for the driver and front passenger – push-button starting and heated captain's chairs for the second row. The Limited also upgrades the audio system with a 4.3-inch color display and adds a rearview camera. Sweet as ever, Hyundai's confidence-inspiring 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranties cover the new Santa Fe.

Optional Equipment

Beyond a laundry list of individual options like a heated steering wheel, navigation system, premium audio and AWD, Hyundai is pushing option packages. For the Santa Fe GLS, the Ultimate Package includes said leather and navigation plus a host of comfort and convenience upgrades. The Limited's Ultimate Package scores you navigation and a 12-speaker Infinity Logic 7 audio system, plus the Panoramic Sunroof, a heated steering wheel, heated rear seats, HID headlights, rear backup sensors and manual rear-side-window sunshades. Sadly, no rear-seat-entertainment pacifier is available on the 2015 Santa Fe, but an iPad or two is likely a cheaper solution, anyway.

Under the Hood

Hyundai makes it simple to shop for a 2015 Santa Fe by offering only one engine and one transmission. In front-drive form, the SUV's 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 is very well matched to the 6-speed automatic transmission, with good throttle response, smooth pickup and clean, easy shifts. The AWD Santa Fe, though, could do with some more low-end grunt to get it moving. All that said, Hyundai’s 2015 Santa Fe is comfortable towing up to 5,000 pounds of trailer, boat or anything else you'd like to haul.

3.3-liter V6
290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
252 lb-ft of torque @ 5,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/25 mpg (FWD), 18/24 mpg (AWD)

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