Driven: Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T AWD Ultimate
19 Aug 2015

Driven: Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T AWD Ultimate

How ultimate is the Santa Fe Sport Ultimate? We find out.

19 Aug 2015

What comes to mind when you hear the word “ultimate?”  As a general noun, it means “the best achievable or imaginable of its kind.” So what does Ultimate mean when the kind of something you’re imagining is a Hyundai Santa Fe Sport?

Hyundai SantaFe Sport 2.0T Ultimate

A laundry list of features in one aptly named package

When we picked up the window sticker for this $38,000 Santa Fe Sport midsize all-wheel-drive crossover with one single $4,350 option, we were perplexed. When that one option turned out to be named the “Ultimate Package” we were dubious. So we drove it for five days to investigate.

It turns out Hyundai has packed a lot of popular and meaningful options into the Ultimate Package.  by checking a single option box, Hyundai has made it easy for potential customers to order a “fully loaded” Santa Fe Sport. Better yet, the package isn’t padded extra chrome and carpeted floor mats. The Ultimate actually brings in decent stuff you’ll use every day. Let’s take a closer look and see what the Ultimate Santa Fe Sport has to offer.

HID Headlights & LED Taillights

Hyundai SantaFe Sport 2.0T Ultimate
Hyundai SantaFe Sport 2.0T Ultimate

A car with a good set of headlights can make all the difference at night. Thankfully the Ultimate comes with High Intensity Discharge (HID) headlamps. These type of lights have a brighter output and travel farther down the road than standard halogen bulbs. The crisp white temperature also gives the Santa Fe a more premium look at night and seriously cuts down on eye fatigue. LED tail lamps help complete the exterior look with crisp instant on brake lights.

Headed/Ventilated Seats & Heated Steering Wheel

Hyundai SantaFe Sport 2.0T Ultimate

Hyundai SantaFe Sport 2.0T Ultimate
Hyundai SantaFe Sport 2.0T Ultimate

If you’ve ever used a heated seat on a crisp fall morning, you understand how easy it is to get used to that type of luxury. And if that sounds nice, the Santa Fe Ultimate goes two steps farther with a heated steering wheel and ventilated seats for both driver and front passenger.  No matter what the weather, the Santa Fe kept our butts the right temperature.

8-Inch Touchscreen Infotainment with 12-Speaker Infinity Logic 7 Surround Sound

Hyundai SantaFe Sport 2.0T Ultimate

If you spend a lot of time in your vehicle the audio and entertainment system are going to be your key to staying happy and alert. Hyundai has long impressed us with their integrated system that combines navigation, Bluetooth, satellite radio, XM  data with weather/traffic, and BlueLink for remote vehicle services. The high resolution 8-inch touch screen is simple to use and easy to see.  Unlike other infotainment systems we’ve tested, this system enabled us to make safer use of our vehicle’s features instead of distracting us.

The 12 speaker Infinity audio system that also comes as part of the Ultimate Package includes 7-channel surround sound. If you’re like us and love your music, then this system will leave you satisfied.

Panoramic Sunroof

Hyundai SantaFe Sport 2.0T Ultimate

Of course, when you’re selling a family vehicle, the ride and comfort of your passengers is sometimes more important than the driver. Second row seats enjoy a huge panoramic sunroof and pull up sunshades on each rear side window.  Whether you like an open, sunny, and spacious feeling ride, or something similar to a dark cave, the Santa Fe Sport Ultimate can make you feel comfortable.

Rear Camera & Backup Assist

Hyundai SantaFe Sport 2.0T Ultimate

 

A midsize crossover is great for hauling around kids, pets, and/or their stuff without being too large for tight parking spots. Even though the Santa Fe Sport isn’t huge, Hyundai offers two bits of tech standard on the Ultimate that make parking this machine easy. A rear backup camera provides a clear view of what’s happening behind your vehicle with guide lines to bring perspective and distance. Active rear sonar also alerts the driver to solid objects and their distance from the vehicle. Both activate at the same time in Reverse providing the driver with a lot of information about any hazards directly behind you.

 

Ultimate Badging and 19-Inch Wheels

Hyundai SantaFe Sport 2.0T Ultimate

If you’re going to label a vehicle as “Ultimate” then a exterior badge proclaiming it to the rest of the world is only customary. Thankfully, Hyundai has limited the only mention of the Package to a single small badge on the rear tailgate and left the rest of the vehicle clean. Special 19-inch wheels, up one inch from the standard Sport 2.0T, round out the exterior enhancements that differentiate this Santa Fe Sport from the others.

A lot of value no matter the name

Hyundai SantaFe Sport 2.0T Ultimate

So is this really the Ultimate Santa Fe? Well, yes and no.  There’s no doubt the it combines a set of useful features that you’d otherwise have to order separately, but we were disappointed that the Ultimate Package doesn’t give the Santa Fe access to Hyundai’s newest technologies; adaptive cruise control and lane departure avoidance. Surely something touting an “Ultimate” badge should include the best the automaker has to offer.

We’ve always been a fan of the value the Santa Fe Sport offers midsize crossover buyers. Hyundai consistently offers higher end features at a lower price than the competition. If you are one of those people that needs to feel like they are getting a value but still has to have every single option available, then the Ultimate package is designed for you.

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