$14,033 - $17,856

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe was new.


Performance: 7.7

Reviewers say the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe is not a driving enthusiast's vehicle, but they find that it’s generally easy to drive, with a comfortable ride and ample engine power.

  • "While not the most dynamic driving tool in the shed, the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe does excel in its sheer talent for being easy to drive." -- Kelley Blue Book (2013)
  • "A sprightly performer, Santa Fe Sport impressed us the most with its utter refinement." -- Left Lane News (2013)
  • "Santa Fe Sport is very refined with excellent noise control. At a highway clip, the engine is nearly silent. A bit of wind noise surfaces above 60 mph, but it is far from intrusive." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "Highway cruising is a strong point." -- Cars.com (2013)
  • "'Sport' designation notwithstanding, the new five-passenger Santa Fe is not an enthusiast's car. It's not a machine you'll look forward to hammering when the way ahead opens up." -- AutoWeek (2013)

Acceleration and Power

The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 190 horsepower. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 264 horsepower is optional. The Santa Fe Sport's fuel economy is fairly good for two-row SUVs in the class, at an EPA-estimated 20/27 mpg city/highway. The three-row Santa Fe is powered by a 290-horsepower, 3.3-liter V6. Fuel economy for the Santa Fe is 18/25 mpg city/highway, which is decent for a three-row midsize SUV. Both the Santa Fe Sport and Santa Fe come with a six-speed automatic transmission.

Reviewers write that the base four-cylinder engine in the Santa Fe Sport provides adequate power, but many are impressed with the turbocharged option, saying it makes more than enough power. Test drivers also like the V6 in the regular Santa Fe, mentioning that it is smooth and produces ample power. The transmission is generally well-liked by reviewers, though some write that it can be reluctant to downshift in Active Eco mode, which alters throttle response to help maximize fuel economy.

  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Even though the 3.3-liter V6 is among the smallest engines in this class, it offers plenty of usable power." -- Left Lane News
  • "Hyundai's home-brewed six-speed auto, with standard manual-shift feature, is impressive out of the box. It's smooth and generally well programmed, though it can be a bit slow to kick down-particularly in the new Active Eco control mode, which, according to Hyundai, can improve overall fuel economy by 7 percent." -- AutoWeek (2013)
  • "On the open road, V6 Santa Fe models that we tested displayed good passing power and cruised quietly." -- Consumer Guide (2013)

Handling and Braking

The Santa Fe Sport and Santa Fe come standard with front-wheel drive, while all-wheel drive is optional on both. Reviewers note that both models have a comfortable ride and fairly refined handling with controlled body motions. Test drivers add that the Santa Fe's steering is accurate, though it doesn't give the driver much feedback. Reviewers find the brakes strong and say the brake pedal is smooth and firm. One reviewer also says that the Santa Fe has one of the smallest turning circles in the class.

  • "The 3-mode steering setup tracks straight and true and the compliant ride walks a fine line between jarringly harsh and marshmallow mush." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Handling is achieved with the ubiquitous strut system up front and multilink kit in the rear of the vehicle. It is well suited for the intended market, but we would opt for a firmer feel if one were offered, either through a push-button control or via a specific handling package. Perhaps more important to most shoppers is the Santa Fe's class-leading turning radius." -- Left Lane News
  • "Curiously, the electric power steering has three calibrations that can be selected via a button on the steering wheel, all of which are fairly numb. While it could be argued that steering feel isn't high on the priority list of shoppers in the Santa Fe's bread-and-butter segment, we'll point out that the steering-feel-havin' Mazda CX-5 exists and feels considerably more precise from behind the wheel." -- Edmunds (2013)
  • "Handling is fine for the class and Santa Fe Sport is responsive enough to inspire confidence. Braking is smooth with an easy-to-modulate pedal." -- Consumer Guide (2013)
  • "Generally, the Santa Fe Sport delivers a fine compromise of good ride and steady response-neither chop nor wallow. Dynamically, it motors in similar fashion to the new Ford Escape, with more interior volume: light, spry and balanced. The brake pedal feels firm enough and linear, and Hyundai claims the largest brakes and shortest stopping distances in the class." -- AutoWeek (2013)

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