The Hyundai Santa Fe continues to show off what Hyundai does best. It is a well-designed, appealing SUV with many of the features common to luxury vehicles. The difference is the price tag which is comfortably south of luxury car territory.
Choose between the Santa Fe Sport with seating for five or the larger Santa Fe with room for up to seven passengers. As is typical of most SUVs, the third row is short on room, but with that many people there are likely at least a few kids so the third row is perfect for those smaller bodies.
The Santa Fe LTD as tested has room for 6 passengers with two captain’s chairs for the second row. They’re very comfortable and roomy with plenty of legroom and headroom, even if you opt for the panoramic sunroof. There are also armrests that are perfectly placed and not too narrow so the average adult can actually use them comfortably.
The heated leather front seats are supportive without being stiff. These are seats that you can really relax in during long drives. They are both power adjustable and the driver’s seat includes lumbar support that can be adjusted to let you sink into fluff or become almost uncomfortably stiff. Those with lower back issues will appreciate all that support.
Cargo volume behind the third row is 13.5 cubic inches for when passengers are a priority. The 50/50 split third row folds flat to give 40.9 cubic feet when there’s more cargo or forget carrying people at all and you’ll have 80 cubic feet of cargo room. The seats easily fold and are just as easy to raise up without having to be a strongman to push them back into place.
Standard safety features include a suite of airbags along with vehicle stability management with traction control, ABS with electronic brake-force distribution and brake assist, blind spot detection system, downhill brake control, and hill-start assist control. There are also fog lights and daytime running lights to make sure you can see and be seen even in bad weather.
The thing that impresses when you take a seat in a modern Hyundai is how good everything looks compared to what the brand looked like years ago. If you close your eyes and take that little emblem off the steering wheel, you will never think you are driving a Hyundai. Plastic surfaces get texturing that gives depth and appeal and speaks to the quality of materials you’ll find throughout. There’s a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear sunshades, standard 3″ color touch sreen, Bluetooth connectivity, and AM/FM/HD Radio with CD/MP3.
The Limited as tested included the Ultimate Package ($4,650) which added HID headlights, LED taillights, panoramic sunroof, 8″ touch screen with navigation, 12-speaker Infinity Logic 7 audio system, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and steering wheel, rear park assist sensors, sill plates, and a 115-volt power outlet. The addition of that package still put the price of the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited at $40,800 which is a bargain for such a well-equipped SUV.
The Santa Fe is powered by a 3.3-liter direct injection V6 engine with 290 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission. This easily powers the vehicle into highway traffic without hesitation. It is responsive and eager whether hitting the accelerator hard for highway maneuvers are managing stop and go city traffic.
It’s also very quiet, making the interior something of a refuge. Road and wind noise are minimal, even with that huge panoramic sunroof overhead. The engine is also quiet so when you do need to be more aggressive with the gas the sound from the engine won’t make you think the car isn’t up for the task.
The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe will give you plenty to love. The exterior is sharp, the interior is beautiful and looks like it belongs in a far pricier car, and it offers flexibility for cargo or passengers. You get the perks of driving a luxury car at an affordable price.
2015 Hyundai Santa Fe LTD
Base Price: $36,000
Price As Tested: $40,800 (not including destination charge)
- Well Equipped
- Beautiful Interior
- Tight Third Row
- Option Package is Expensive