2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Driving Impressions

Ride comfort and acceleration from the optional turbocharged engine acceleration are the high points, but the steering is not as sharp as it might be.

The base 2.4-liter engine is less satisfying, lacking power for much beyond single-passenger commuter duty. For a significantly more pleasant driving experience, we recommend the 2.0T turbocharged engine. An Active ECO mode blurs throttle and shift responses, saving just a bit of gas.

A manual-shift mode for the transmission is actuated by the shift lever. Shift points and quality are well-chosen, and appropriate most of the time. Push hard on the gas pedal and, after a short pause, the transmission shifts down eagerly.

Electric power steering can be toggled through Comfort, Normal, and Sport modes. The Sport setting helps the vehicle track better on the highway. Comfort delivers a slow, light feel, for drivers who prefer a relaxed experience.

Optional all-wheel drive distributes power from the front wheels to the rear wheels when traction needs arise. It’s not meant for off-road traction, but simply for all-weather capability. All-wheel-drive models have Active Cornering Control.

Suspension design yields a calm, quiet ride. The Sport feels absorbent and largely controlled, even over mildly broken surfaces. On a rutted gravel path, the Santa Fe Sport manages to retain its easygoing attitude.

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