The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport compact crossover has two engine options. The base trim is powered by 2.4-liter inline-4 engine producing 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. The higher trim levels are powered by 2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 engine producing 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission and front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive is available for all trims. With the smaller, turbocharged engine under the hood, there was no lack of grunt in the rev range. Overtaking and merging with the highway pace was no sweat. However, there was a moment of turbo lag in the low-end where it took almost eight seconds to reach 60 mph. When going around corners, the body roll pulled the Santa Fe Sport a little off track. Despite not being the most athletic, the vehicle remained fairly focused on the turn. The steering felt disengaged at times and was not the most accurate. Choosing a sportier driving mode only made it unnecessarily cumbersome. The braking performance showed wobble in the body under panic stops. From 60 mph to a halt required 129 feet, an average performance in its class. The pedal initially felt soft but it firmed up its response and the force became easier to modulate.
The base Sport trim of the 2018 Santa Fe Sport comes standard with Bluetooth, a USB port, CD player, a 5-inch display and a six-speaker sound system. The Value package adds LED daytime running lights, fog lights, heated mirrors, roof rails, keyless entry and ignition, automatic climate control, power-adjustable driver seat, heated front seats, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio and a 7-inch touchscreen. The Premium Equipment package further includes a hands-free power liftgate, digital instrument cluster, auto-dimming rearview mirror, power-adjustable front seat, sliding and reclining rear seats and a couple of advanced safety and driver aids. The Tech package adds driver seat memory settings, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, navigation, an 8-inch touchscreen, and a 12-speaker Infinity sound system. The 2.0T trim comes standard with the Premium package from the preceding trim. The Tech package for the 2.0T trim comes with adaptive headlights and several advanced safety and driver aids. The cream-of-the-crop 2.0T Ultimate trim comes standard with the Tech package and adds xenon headlights and LED taillights.
The 2018 Santa Fe Sport was tested by the NHTSA and it achieved five stars in the frontal crash test, five stars in the side crash test and four stars in the rollover test. Overall, it achieved a five-star safety rating from the NHTSA. It was also tested by the IIHS and it scored the highest scores for crashworthiness and crash avoidance and mitigation. Thus it earned the 2018 Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS. The only safety equipment that is standard for the base trim is a rearview camera. Advanced safety and driver aids come as add-ons and they are a blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, top-down parking camera system, rear parking sensors, automatic high beams, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking and lane departure warning.
The 2018 model has a length of 185 inches, a width of 74 inches, a height of 66.1 inches and a wheelbase of 106.3 inches. The Santa Fe Sport is the smaller, two-row version of the bigger, three-row Santa Fe. They have similar styling cues such as the aggressive front fascia and sculpted rear quarters. The base trim comes with 17-inch wheels and the midrange 2.0T trim comes with 18-inch wheels. Only the top-of-the-line 2.0T Ultimate comes with 19-inch wheels. Roof rails and a panoramic sunroof are available options starting with the base trim.
The sills are low enough and the doors open wide which made entry inside a breeze. The rear doors, however, are slightly longer and did not open sufficiently when in tight parking areas. Despite being a smaller vehicle, the legroom and headroom were more than enough for the taller passenger. Five people can be accommodated by the two rows of seats. The seats were supportive and did not induce fatigue during long distance driving. They were contoured very well to the body and the range of adjustment catered to the majority of passengers. There was a good balance of firmness and compliance in the ride. While impacts were still transmitted to the chassis, they were dampened enough to reduce harshness. Road and wind noise are barely audible inside the cabin but the engine note has a consistent buzz at highway speeds.
There is 35.4 cu-ft of space behind the second row of seats. Folding down the second row now opens up 71.5 cu-ft of space for loading cargo.