The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe lineup includes the short-wheelbase Santa Fe Sport and Sport 2.0T and the long-wheelbase Santa Fe GLS and Limited. Both versions of the Santa Fe incorporate Hyundai’s Fluidic Sculpture design, greater use of high-tensile steel for reduced weight and stronger structure and the latest infotainment and electronics. The 5-passenger Santa Fe Sport offers up to 71.5 cu ft. of cargo space with the rear seat folded, and the 3-row long-wheelbase Santa Fe offers 80.0 cu ft. with both second-row and third-row seats folded down. Max tow capacity of the long-wheelbase GLS and Limited with the 3.3-liter V6 is 5,000 pounds.
Standard safety gear includes anti-lock brakes with brake assist, dual front and side-impact airbags, overhead airbags, a driver’s knee airbag and stability and traction control. Options include ventilated front seats, driver’s seat memory, rear parking sensors, xenon head lamps, LED taillights, a blind spot monitoring system and, new for 2015, a hands-free power liftgate that opens with a foot swipe under the rear bumper. Other updates for 2015 include a standard driver’s blind spot mirror, an auto up/down power front passenger window and upgrades to the front suspension bushings, front wheel bearings and electric power steering system to improve steering feel. See the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe models for sale near you
What We Like
Interior materials, fit and finish; 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty; second-row captain’s chairs; third-row climate controls; generous storage; panoramic sunroof
What We Don’t
Limited rearward visibility; no rear cross-traffic detection; cramped third row
Fuel Economy & Engine Specs
The 5-passenger Santa Fe is available with a naturally aspirated 2.4-liter or turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, while the 7-passenger Santa Fe comes with a 3.3-liter V6. All are teamed solely with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The base Santa Fe Sport’s 2.4-liter 4-cylinder generates 190 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque on regular unleaded fuel. Equipped with front-wheel drive, the 2.4-liter has an Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rating of 20 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway, while 4-wheel-drive versions are rated at 19 mpg city/25 mpg hwy.
A turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder is standard in the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T. It’s rated at 265 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. On front-wheel-drive versions, the engine is EPA-rated at 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy, while 4-wheel-drive versions receive a rating of 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy. Unlike with most turbo engines, Hyundai recommends regular unleaded fuel.
The 3.3-liter V6 in the 7-passenger Santa Fe makes 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. The GLS is EPA-rated at 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy with 2-wheel drive and 18 mpg city/24 mpg hwy with 4-wheel drive. Limited versions achieve a 17 mpg city/23 mpg hwy EPA rating with front drive and a 17 mpg city/22 mpg hwy rating with 4WD. Regular unleaded fuel is recommended.
Standard Features & Options
The 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe is available in Sport, Sport 2.0T, GLS and Limited trims.
The Sport is the entry-level 5-passenger. Standard equipment includes the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, air conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with remote audio controls, remote keyless entry, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with an MP3 decoder and iPod/USB jacks, SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth connectivity, a security system, 17-inch alloy wheels, cloth upholstery, a split fold-down rear bench seat, rear privacy glass, driver’s seat adjustable lumbar support, an outside temperature display, a trip computer, the Hyundai Blue Link emergency communication system and power locks, windows and mirrors. A standard driver’s blind spot mirror and an auto up/down power front passenger window are new for 2015.
The Sport 2.0T upgrades to the 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder, 18-in alloys, roof rails, automatic head lamps, electronic instrumentation, fog lamps, heated door mirrors, a windshield wiper de-icer, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, push-button start, a compass, heated front seats and a power driver’s seat. Optional are 19-in alloys.
The GLS is the entry-level 3-row with 7-passenger seating. Standard equipment includes the 3.3-liter V6, air conditioning, cruise control, a tilt-telescopic steering wheel with remote audio controls, remote keyless entry, a 6-speaker AM/FM/CD stereo with an MP3 decoder and iPod/USB jacks, SiriusXM radio, Bluetooth connectivity, a security system, 18-in alloy wheels, cloth upholstery, a split fold-down second-row bench seat, a fold-into-floor third-row bench seat, rear privacy glass, driver’s seat adjustable lumbar support, an outside temperature display, a trip computer, the Blue Link emergency communication system and power locks, windows and mirrors.
The 6-passenger Limited upgrades the 3-row Santa Fe with leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shifter, power driver’s and front-passenger’s seats, second-row captain’s chairs, heated front and second-row seats, heated side mirrors, dual-zone automatic air conditioning, a garage door opener, a power liftgate, roof rails, a windshield de-icer, fog lamps, push-button start, 19-in alloy wheels, an auto-dimming rearview mirror with a compass, electronic gauges and a rearview camera.
Available options include a blind spot monitoring system, rear parking sensors, ventilated front seats, driver’s seat memory, xenon head lamps, LED taillights, navigation with an 8-in touchscreen, panoramic sunroof, heated steering wheel, rear-window sunshades and a 12-speaker Infinity surround-sound audio system. New for 2015 is an optional hands-free power liftgate.
Well-equipped Sport 2.0T, GLS and Limited models carry the highest price tags, with nonturbocharged FWD Sports offering the best bargains. That said, AWD isn’t that much of an upcharge; with decent tires, the Santa Fe’s FWD system can handle most winter weather driving.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued the following recall for the 2015 Santa Fe:
The secondary hood latch may stick and not latch closed. If the primary latch is released while the car is moving and the secondary latch is not secured, the hood could open unexpectedly, block the forward view and increase the risk of a crash.
Recall repairs are required by law even if the vehicle is out of warranty. Your dealer can check to see if the repairs were performed, and if not, they will fix the car at no charge to you.
Safety Ratings & Warranties
NHTSA gave the 2015 Santa Fe Sport a 5-star overall rating, with five stars for frontal and side impacts and four stars for rollover performance. The long-wheelbase Santa Fe wasn’t tested.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2015 Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport Good ratings for side-impact and moderate-overlap front impacts, as well as head-restraint and seat performance. However, it rated the pair as Marginal for small-overlap front impact performance.
Hyundai sold the 2015 Santa Fe with a 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty, an industry-leading 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty (for original owners only), a 7-year/unlimited-distance corrosion-perforation warranty and 5-years/unlimited-mile roadside-assistance coverage.
Hyundai certified pre-owned (CPO) vehicles can’t be more than four years old or show more than 60,000 miles. Every CPO Santa Fe undergoes a 150-point inspection. Each receives the balance of Hyundai’s 5-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Roadside assistance is extended to 10 years/unlimited miles from the vehicle’s original date of sale. Also included are three months of SiriusXM radio and a vehicle history report.
Other Cars to Consider
2015 Ford Explorer — This car-based 3-row crossover comes with a 240-hp 2.0-liter 4-cylinder turbo, a 290-hp 3.5-liter V6 or a 365-hp 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6. All versions offer good headroom and cargo space, as well as the innovative, optional 4WD Terrain Management System, but second-row legroom is tight and thick front roof pillars impede outward visibility.
2015 Toyota Highlander — Toyota’s largest crossover got larger and roomier for 2014, with fresh styling, a sportier ride and room for up to eight passengers. For 2015, it continues with a choice of front- or all-wheel drive with a fuel-saving 187-hp 2.7-liter 4-cylinder or peppy 3.5-liter V6 that packs 270 hp. The highlander’s interior design features an innovative storage shelf under the dash and a Driver Easy Speak system that can broadcast parental messages to unruly children in the aft rows. An AWD-only gas-electric hybrid version offers 231 hp and a 27-mpg city/28-mpg hwy EPA rating.
There are no bad choices, but a reasonably well-equipped GLS with 7-passenger seating and the V6 engine should have more resale appeal. Always look for a vehicle that’s enjoyed obvious care and maintenance. A Hyundai CPO Santa Fe is always a wise choice, because the buyer can assume the remainder of the outstanding 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. Also make sure all applicable recalls were performed by the dealer.