$16,123 - $24,024

2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe was new.


Performance: 7.9

Some test drivers say the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport has more agile handling than most of its rivals, and they're pleased with the power from either its base four-cylinder engine or the optional turbocharged four. A number of critics comment that the three-row Santa Fe's ride is a bit too stiff, but others say it has a quiet and comfortable ride. The Santa Fe's V6 delivers strong acceleration, according to auto journalists. The automatic transmission that comes on either model is praised for its responsiveness and smooth shifts.

  • "Despite a ride that isn't as absorbent as some rivals, both Santa Fes are dynamically satisfying overall." -- Consumer Guide
  • "Overall, the Santa Fe Sport provides composed and responsive -albeit not highly engaging - driving dynamics." -- Left Lane News
  • "Crossover SUVs like the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport are generally not thought of as being particularly entertaining to drive. However, this Hyundai SUV is an exception." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The smooth and quiet engine makes for relaxed highway travel, as do low levels of wind and road noise. On winding mountain passes, the Santa Fe feels fairly light and sporty as big three-row crossover SUVs go." -- Edmunds (2014)

Acceleration and Power

The Hyundai Santa Fe Sport comes standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 190 horsepower. A 264-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is optional. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. At an EPA-estimated 20/27 mpg city/highway with the base engine, the 2015 Santa Fe Sport's fuel economy is comparable to that of other four-cylinder midsize SUVs. The three-row Santa Fe is powered by a 3.3-liter V6 that makes 290 horsepower, and a six-speed automatic is standard. Fuel economy is an EPA-estimated 18/25 mpg city/highway, which is decent for a three-row midsize SUV.

Test drivers say the Santa Fe Sport's base four-cylinder engine provides plenty of power, but the turbocharged engine produces livelier acceleration. They report that the V6 in the three-row Santa Fe has ample power. The six-speed automatic transmission is responsive and shifts smoothly, reviewers add.

  • "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 (2014 Santa Fe Sport)
  • "Even though the 3.3-liter V6 is among the smallest engines in this class, it offers plenty of usable power." -- Left Lane News (2014 Santa Fe)
  • "With nearly 300 hp on tap, the Santa Fe's V6 helps it to accelerate with authority." -- Edmunds (2014 Santa Fe)
  • "The transmission is similarly capable, delivering the seamless upshifts and prompt downshifts that buyers at this price should expect." -- AutoTrader (2014 Santa Fe)

Handling and Braking

The 2015 Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport both come with standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive. Reviewers say the Santa Fe has responsive steering and a quiet ride, though some comment that the three-row Santa Fe rides firmly, especially when there are numerous rear passengers. According to some test drivers, the Santa Fe has poised handling, but others write that it is tuned for comfort rather than agility.

  • "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." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "On the road, the Santa Fe is mostly a pleasant partner. Road and wind noise are muted, and the steering is more responsive than what you'll find in some competing crossovers. The 3-row Santa Fe rides firmly and can get a bit harsh on rough roads, particularly in the rear suspension." -- AutoTrader (2014)
  • "When you've added at least a couple rear passengers and cargo, the Santa Fe's soft rear suspension is unable to fully cope with the extra weight, and the result is a bumpy, wallowy and generally uncomfortable ride quality." -- Edmunds (2014)
  • "Despite the sporty look, the Santa Fe is a soft rider clearly not intended for aggressive driving. … Hyundai's engineers earned their keep once again by making the Santa Fe an extremely quiet ride - at least until the skinny pedal was squeezed." -- Left Lane News (2014)

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