Car Comparison

2016 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. Hyundai Santa Fe Sport: What's the Difference?

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe AWD
Certified 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe
$30,575
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe AWD Sport
Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe
$17,988
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe AWD Sport 2.0T
Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe
$24,988
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe AWD SE
Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe
$22,588
RELATED READING
See all Hyundai Santa Fe articles
RESEARCH BY MAKE
Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs
Acura cars, trucks and SUVs Alfa Romeo cars, trucks and SUVs AMC cars, trucks and SUVs Aston Martin cars, trucks and SUVs Audi cars, trucks and SUVs Bentley cars, trucks and SUVs BMW cars, trucks and SUVs Bugatti cars, trucks and SUVs Buick cars, trucks and SUVs Cadillac cars, trucks and SUVs Chevrolet cars, trucks and SUVs Chrysler cars, trucks and SUVs Daewoo cars, trucks and SUVs Datsun cars, trucks and SUVs DeLorean cars, trucks and SUVs Dodge cars, trucks and SUVs Eagle cars, trucks and SUVs Ferrari cars, trucks and SUVs FIAT cars, trucks and SUVs Fisker cars, trucks and SUVs Ford cars, trucks and SUVs Freightliner cars, trucks and SUVs Genesis cars, trucks and SUVs Geo cars, trucks and SUVs GMC cars, trucks and SUVs Honda cars, trucks and SUVs HUMMER cars, trucks and SUVs Hyundai cars, trucks and SUVs INFINITI cars, trucks and SUVs Isuzu cars, trucks and SUVs Jaguar cars, trucks and SUVs Jeep cars, trucks and SUVs Kia cars, trucks and SUVs Lamborghini cars, trucks and SUVs Land Rover cars, trucks and SUVs Lexus cars, trucks and SUVs Lincoln cars, trucks and SUVs Lotus cars, trucks and SUVs Maserati cars, trucks and SUVs Maybach cars, trucks and SUVs Mazda cars, trucks and SUVs McLaren cars, trucks and SUVs Mercedes-Benz cars, trucks and SUVs Mercury cars, trucks and SUVs MINI cars, trucks and SUVs Mitsubishi cars, trucks and SUVs Nissan cars, trucks and SUVs Oldsmobile cars, trucks and SUVs Plymouth cars, trucks and SUVs Pontiac cars, trucks and SUVs Porsche cars, trucks and SUVs RAM cars, trucks and SUVs Rolls-Royce cars, trucks and SUVs Saab cars, trucks and SUVs Saturn cars, trucks and SUVs Scion cars, trucks and SUVs smart cars, trucks and SUVs SRT cars, trucks and SUVs Subaru cars, trucks and SUVs Suzuki cars, trucks and SUVs Tesla cars, trucks and SUVs Toyota cars, trucks and SUVs Volkswagen cars, trucks and SUVs Volvo cars, trucks and SUVs Yugo cars, trucks and SUVs
RESEARCH BY STYLE
AWD/4WD
Commercial
Convertible
Coupe
Hatchback
Hybrid/Electric
Luxury
Sedan
SUV/Crossover
Truck
Van/Minivan
Wagon
ADDITIONAL MODEL INFORMATION

author photo by Doug DeMuro February 2016

If you're interested in buying a midsize SUV, you might be confused by the fact that Hyundai offers two models: the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe and the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. Are these two different in more than just their name? The answer is yes. If you're curious about how they're different, we're here to tell you, as we've created a close comparison that highlights the differences and similarities between the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport in several key areas.

Exterior

On the outside, it's a challenge to tell the Santa Fe apart from the larger Santa Fe Sport, but there are differences between them. The biggest difference is their size, as the Santa Fe Sport is 184.6 inches long compared to 193.1 inches for the larger Santa Fe -- enough room for a third-row seat and some additional weight that requires standard V6 power. But aside from the stretched wheelbase, the two Santa Fe models are almost identical in appearance, offering the same basic design and styling, as well as the same sporty character lines and basic overall profile.

Interior

The Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport are just as similar on the inside as they are on the outside. That means that they have identical dashboards, gauge clusters, steering wheels, center control stacks, switches and buttons. The only real difference is seating. While the Santa Fe Sport only offers two rows of seats, the full-size Santa Fe touts three rows. For some shoppers, that alone is enough to convince them to choose the full-size Santa Fe over its Sport baby brother, or vice versa.

Mechanicals

The biggest difference between the Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Sport is under the hood. That's because the Sport only uses 4-cylinder engines, while the full-size Santa Fe comes standard with a V6.

In the Santa Fe Sport, the base-level powertrain is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder that makes 190 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. Drivers looking for more power can upgrade to a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder, which boasts a muscular 265 hp and 269 lb-ft of torque. Maximum fuel economy is only slightly better with the smaller engine, at 20 miles per gallon in the city and 27 mpg on the highway to 19 mpg city/27 mpg hwy with the 2.0T.

As for the Santa Fe, there's only one engine: a 3.3-liter V6 that makes a muscular 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. It offers up to 18 mpg city/25 mpg hwy.

Features & Technology

Much like other aspects of the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport, features and technology are practically identical -- save for the aforementioned engine differences and the third-row seat. The only real difference is trim levels, as the Santa Fe Sport's models are differentiated by engine size while the Santa Fe offers SE and Limited models. Otherwise, features are roughly equivalent, including the available power lift gate, blind spot monitoring system, rear cross-traffic alert, LED taillights, a navigation system, an 8-inch touchscreen, ventilated front seats, heated rear seats and more.

Driving Experience

On the road, you'll notice a few differences between the Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Sport. That's especially true if you go with the base-level Santa Fe Sport with the 2.4-liter engine, as it feels positively sluggish compared to the 2.0T. Upgrade to the turbo, however, and you still won't quite get the punch of the Santa Fe's 3.3-liter V6. You will, however, get a nimbler feel in the corners, which makes the Santa Fe Sport 2.0T the best driver's car of the lot.

Aside from handling and performance, however, driving experience is largely identical between the Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Sport. Both models offer visibility that's good but not great, along with strong brakes and light, easy steering. We have no major complaints about the driving experience in either Santa Fe.

Safety

In crash testing carried out by the federal government's National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the Santa Fe Sport earned a perfect 5-star overall score. The larger Santa Fe hasn't been tested, though we suspect it would earn a similar rating. Meanwhile, the Santa Fe Sport hasn't yet been tested by the nonprofit Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, though the larger Santa Fe earned mostly Good ratings, save for a troubling Marginal score in the front small-overlap test.

As for safety features, the Santa Fe Sport and Santa Fe are a bit behind the times. While they come standard with the necessities (side-curtain airbags, anti-lock brakes) and tout a few modern gadgets as options (a blind spot monitoring system, a backup camera and rear cross-traffic alert), the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport lack many of today's latest safety features, such as lane-keep assist, forward-collision warning and automatic braking.

Conclusions

It's best if you don't think of the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe and the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport as different models. Instead, these are the same models -- just in different sizes. The Santa Fe is larger and more family-friendly, while the Sport is smaller and a little more fun to drive. The one you want will be determined by your passenger-carrying priorities.

Find a Hyundai Santa Fe for sale

Find a Hyundai Santa Fe Sport for sale

RELATED INVENTORY
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Certified 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe AWD
Certified 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe
$30,575
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe AWD Sport
Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe
$17,988
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe AWD Sport 2.0T
Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe
$24,988
Saving this vehicle to yourMy Autotrader account
Are you sure you want to delete?
Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe AWD SE
Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe
$22,588
This image is a stock photo and is not an exact representation of any vehicle offered for sale. Advertised vehicles of this model may have styling, trim levels, colors and optional equipment that differ from the stock photo.
2016 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. Hyundai Santa Fe Sport: What's the Difference? - Autotrader