By Mauricio Lezcano / carsntravel.com / Photos Hyundai Motor America
The Hyundai Santa Fe lineup continues to improve for the 2018 model year. Building upon major 2017 enhancements such as fresh exterior design and LED lighting signatures to additional infotainment, safety features and new Drive Mode selection, an all-new Value package on the Santa Fe Sport delivers popular features at an exceptional value.
The exterior of the Santa Fe Sport invokes the impression of irrepressible motion through a design concept called Storm Edge. To create the illusion of constant motion, Hyundai designers use a three-bar hexagonal front grille, LED headlight accents, low stance, rising beltline, roof spoiler and wraparound taillights. Design elements also include standard chrome grille and door handle accents and body color mirrors.
Also available is Hyundai’s innovative power Hands-Free Smart Liftgate with Auto Open, which makes it even easier for owners to gain access to the cargo area whenever their hands are full. This system makes it easy for the driver to keep both feet comfortably on the ground by simply standing within a few feet of the rear bumper with the key fob in a purse or pocket for a few seconds.
Santa Fe Sport models feature an interior look, designed for passenger functionality and comfort. From the heated rear seats and available eight-way power driver seat, to a standard 40:20:40 folding rear seat back, both boast flexibility and a pleasant cabin for all.
In addition, Santa Fe offers a comprehensive list of standard features, including a rearview camera, automatic on/off headlights, remote keyless entry with alarm, bodycolor power side mirrors with driver’s blind spot mirror, LED headlight accents, daytime running lights, steering-wheel-mounted audio and cruise control and Bluetooth hands-free smartphone system. Premium features such as HID Xenon headlights, panoramic sunroof, navigation and an updated 12-speaker Infinity Logic7 audio system which features QuantumLogic Surround and Clari-Fi Music Restoration Technology are available.
Next Generation Blue-Link
For 2018, Hyundai is making a variety of services standard on all Blue Link-equipped Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport models. Blue Link Connected Care, Remote and Guidance packages are now free for three years. Some of these Blue Link services are now also accessible via smartphone, smartwatch and virtual assistant devices like Amazon Alexa and Google Home, such as Remote door lock, Remote Start with Climate Control, Destination Search by Google® and the Monthly Vehicle Health Report.
Hyundai is going above and beyond the competition by making all Blue Link safety and security features like Automatic Collision Notification, SOS Emergency Assistance and Stolen Vehicle Recovery standard to subscribers as well. These important features include immediate access to the Blue Link Emergency Response Center in the event of an accident, faster connection to emergency services and 24/7, 365 days/year access to emergency assistance via the dedicated SOS button. Blue Link can also assist the police in locating and recovering a stolen vehicle.
In addition to making the current features standard, Hyundai will tackle the inconvenience of outdated map software by offering free downloads to maintain up-to-date navigation programming on the system’s SD card via the MyHyundai website. These complimentary updates also will be available for three years as part of the Guidance Package.
Both Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport are compatible with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay for seamless and intuitive operation of the most commonly-used smartphone functions, including navigation, streaming audio, voice-controlled search capabilities, making phone calls and sending messages along with more than 40 approved smartphone apps. Android Auto is compatible with Android phones running Android 5.0, Lollipop or higher. Apple CarPlay is compatible with iPhone 5 and later models running IOS 7 and above.
The 2018 Santa Fe line-up continues to offer front- or all-wheel drive and seating options for five, six or seven passengers. The Santa Fe Sport is powered by an efficient 2.4-liter four-cylinder direct-injected engine with 185 horsepower or the more powerful, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower. 2018 Santa Fe (three-row) uses the 3.3-liter Lambda II V6 engine, with 290 horsepower. All Santa Fe engines utilize high-pressure direct injection and Dual Continuously Variable Valve Timing (D-CVVT). A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on all models.
Standard safety equipment includes Vehicle Stability Management with Electronic Stability Control and Traction Control System, seven airbags, including a driver’s knee airbag.
Santa Fe Sport also features a state of the art braking package. The package includes four-wheel disc brakes, an Anti-Lock Braking System including Brake Assist providing maximum braking force when a panic stop is detected, and Electronic Brake Force Distribution to automatically adjust the braking force to front and rear axles, based on vehicle loading conditions. Additionally, Santa Fe offers family friendly passive safety features, including a Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children system for children’s seats on the second row and
Three point seatbelts for all seating positions.
I found the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate FWD pleasant to drive. Its performance was impressive, its ride was smooth and controlled over most surfaces, its braking was strong and stable, and its handling was as good as most competitors in its class.
The manufacturer’s suggested retail price starts at $37,200.00, the one I drove included Ultimate Tech Package (Smart Cruise Control with Stop/Start, Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection, Lane Departure Warning, Electronic Parking Brake with Auto Hold, Dynamic Bending Light, High Beam Assist & Auto-Leveling Headlights) and Carpeted Floor Mats, and it came at $39,770.00 including inland freight and handling. The EPA fuel economy estimates 20 MPG City and 27 MPG Highway with the 2.0L Turbo Gasoline Direct Injection 4 Cylinder Engine.