HYUNDAI’S 2015 SANTE FE CROSS-OVER CONTINUES POPULARITY
By Tom Crosby
Hyundai’s Santa Fe crossover had its best sales year in a decade last year after a third generation 2013 makeover with changes that hit a sweet spot with shoppers.
We test-drove the 2015 Santa Fe LTD all-wheel-drive and the seven-seater crossover revealed its new appeal on a 1,300-mile trip with comfort, decent gas mileage and versatility to pack people and baggage without stress. Both our LTD and the GLS Santa Fe trims offer front or all-wheel drive and configuration for six or seven passengers. Our tester’s only option was the $4,650 Ultimate Package, which added much appreciated features such as navigation, HID headlights and LED taillights, rear parking sensors, upgraded audio and comfort features such as heated rear seats and panoramic sunroof over all three seat rows.
For 2015, a driver’s blind spot mirror, passenger power window and standard daytime running lights were added. Our Limited’s automatic liftgate was standard – stand behind the third row seats with the key fob in your pocket and the liftgate rises to reveal ample cargo space with third row seats folded down.
The 2015 Santa Fe has received awards and top ratings from US News and World Report, KBB.com and Motorweek. Santa Fe has three driving modes –comfort, normal and sport. Modes were tweaked this year with the sport driving mode firmed up to hold a solid straight-ahead bias and it was confidently steady at top highway speeds.
Enhanced suspension tuning provided a pleasant ride in all modes, with minor lean in turns. The 3.3-liter V6 engine provided a quick and powerful response to acceleration requests and our highway mileage averaged 21.6 mpg while maintaining a quiet cabin.
Inside, the layout allows easy access to all controls, cowled gauges are legible in bright sunshine and dashboard graphics sharp on the 8-inch screen. Our map display, however, misread our home’s location and failed on several attempts to understand voice inputs but navigation worked well with manual input. Space is generous in the first two rows, with the third row best for children.
Outside, roof rails, monochromatic coloring with minimal chrome, five-spoke alloy wheels and sloped windshield provide a pleasing profile more stylish than competitors. Popular pluses include cooled/heated front seats, rear seating climate controls, ample storage nooks and crannies and a spare tire. Blue Link telematics include safety alerts, computerized diagnostic information, as well as a link to monitor a teen’s driving. The Santa Fe has received top crash safety ratings.
LIKES: Mileage, comfort, ride, versatility, interior space
DISLIKES: Some handling, nav voice controls
BOTTOM LINE: Very competitive performer in mid-size SUV market
- Base price w/destination fee $36,895 ($41,695 as tested)
- Curb weight 4,057 lbs.
- Wheelbase 110.2 inches
- Length 193.1 inches
- Width 74.2 inches
- Engine specs 3.3-liter, V6, DOHC
- Horsepower 290-hp at 6,400 rpm
- Torque 252-lbs.-ft. at 5,200 rpm
- Transmission 6-speed automatic w/Shiftronic
- EPA Rating 18 mpg city and 24 mpg highway
- Range 18.8-gallon tank, regular gas
- Performance 0-60 in 7.5 seconds