- New Car Test Drive
We found the standard 2.4-liter engine short on fervor, and recommend the 2.0-liter turbo.
Equipped with the turbo, a Santa Fe Sport can acceleration to 60 mph in around seven seconds, a respectable performance, and tow up to 3,500 pounds. While imparting greater confidence for highway passing/merging, the turbo exacts only a slight penalty in fuel economy.
With either engine, shift points for the 6-speed automatic transmission are logical and effective, helping to deliver smooth operation. A manual-shift mode may be actuated at the gearshift lever.
Optional all-wheel drive uses an open center differential to distribute power from the front wheels to the rears, to increase traction when necessary. The AWD system isn’t intended for off-roading by any means, but provides all-weather capability on paved surfaces. AWD models incorporate torque vectoring control, which can aid cornering. Ground clearance is 7.3 inches, which is taller than a Sonata sedan, but short of what you get in a Subaru Outback.
Gas mileage is about average, less than impressive with the base 2.4-liter engine, but almost the same with the turbo. With front-wheel drive, the naturally aspirated 2.4-liter engine is EPA-rated at 21/27 mpg City/Highway, or 24 mpg Combined. With all-wheel drive, the EPA estimate for the 2.4-liter drops to 20/26 mpg City/Highway, or 22 mpg Combined. The turbocharged Sport is EPA-rated at 20/28 mpg City/Highway or 23 mpg Combined with front-wheel drive, and 19/26 mpg City/Highway, or 22 mpg Combined, with all-wheel drive.
Santa Fe Sport Ultimate rounds down to slightly less thrifty EPA ratings due to its greater weight.