By Cars.com EditorsJanuary 22, 2015
About the video
Cars.com reviewer David Thomas says shoppers looking for a well-rounded family car should look no further than the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. In fact, Cars.com just named Hyundai's crossover the Best New Car for Small Families.
(upbeat music) If you're looking for a good all around family car, you can't do much better than the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. And I mean it, cars.com just ended our top pick for small families.
It seats five, if you need to seat more than that, you need the regular Santa Fe with three rows and we named that our top pick for large families and our overall winner for family car of the year. But for the sport in 2015, not much has changed. It's still a great car, has one nifty new feature we're gonna show you and everything else that won us over. The base car comes with a four-cylinder engine with just under 200 horsepower. And it's fine, perfectly acceptable, but the turbo 2.0 liter four cylinder we have here, puts that over 260 horsepower and it's a blast to drive. Power comes on instantaneously from a stop and you go flying up highway on ramps, passing power is always there too. And even if you use the eco function which saves a little fuel economy, there's still plenty of passing power and that's not always the case. Unlike a lot of Hyundai's we test, the steering in the Hyundai Santa Fe sport is actually quite good. Now, it has a button to control settings for steering, with comfort, normal and sport, but I've tried them all and really can't tell a difference, so I'm just gonna take it for what it is. I recently tested Nissan's all new Murano, which has a base V6 which competes against the turbo sport we have here, Murano used to be a sporty SUV. Instead, the new one they've aimed for comfort. So, it's not quite as fun to drive as this sport we have here, but it is more comfortable and a little quieter. If there's one downside to the Santa Fe sport, it's definitely it's mileage. If you get the all wheel drive turbo like we have here, it gets 18 miles per gallon city, 24 miles per gallon highway, 21 miles per gallon combined. Against competitors in his class, they get one to two MPG better combined, which actually is pretty significant. So let's say, "Hey Dave, I don't need a turbo, I want the better mileage, I'll get a base four-cylinder." Well, unfortunately the base four-cylinder only gets one to two miles better than the turbo engine does. And against other base four-cylinders, it's significantly worse. What I like about the interior is this mix of above average styling and materials and really easy to use technology. Now, the materials on the doors and dash, might be hard to the touch, but the patterns on them look really good. And even simple things like windows switches are actually quite unique. Then there's a straightforward multimedia system, which is exactly what you want as a driver. And you don't want it to be too complicated it has great clarity as you can see here the functions are exactly where you expect them to be and has nice big buttons for everything else. One of the reasons you pick a Santa Fe Sport over a compact SUV, like a Honda CRV is well, it's a bigger vehicle a lot more interior room. If you compare it to it's own class, like the Nissan Murano, Subaru Outback, the spec sheets all pretty much the same there's not much difference. She want the real feel, you wanna sit in the back seat for example, you can see a plenty of knee room and head room. Now, the driver's seat exactly where I had it when driving and the other great thing is there's plenty of space between you and the passenger. So, if you have little kids well, they'll probably find a way to hit each other anyway, but there's plenty of room there. And another great feature for little kids is the air vents are in the pillars of the doors, which is unusual. Usually they're down here in the center console, so those kids will actually feel the air coming out of them. One new feature on the Santa Fe and it's only optional on this top trim level is a smart lift gate. You can hear it right now as you approach, let's say you have a ton of groceries in your hands or something. It senses you're coming, it senses a key fob in your pocket and opens automatically. So, you can get everything in without going in your pocket or your purse. Ford has a system like this too, but it requires you to move your foot underneath the sensor, this one just knows you're coming. Once you're in the cargo area, you've got 35.4 cubic feet of storage. It's about the same as the Outback, but definitely less than the Murano. However, there's a ton of under floor storage and these bins are really quite big and there's another one right here and there is a spare tire, it's underneath. The Santa Fe Sport starts around $25,000 and if you want a loaded version, like the one we have here with a turbo engine, all wheel drive, and that ultimate package, smart lift gate, nice moonroof well, that's well over $35,000. But there are a lot of prices in between for a lot of different shoppers and a lot of different budgets. And that's one of the reasons we like it so much. If it wasn't for the mileage, probably be the perfect family car. (engine revving)