Test Drive: 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T car test drives hyundai
Test Drive: 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T car test drives hyundai
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T AWD Limited. Click image to enlarge

Review and photos by Lesley Wimbush

As did several of my colleagues, I opted to make a road trip out of the annual sojourn to the Detroit Auto Show.  The interminable dreariness of the Winter That Would Not End, combined with an unwillingness to face the “exercise in testing the limit’s of one’s patience” that has become the norm for US air travel, made the idea of a leisurely drive with no concrete timetable sound mighty attractive.

But unlike most, we weren’t relying on a car manufacturer’s hospitality this year. Instead of handing over the keys to the valet upon reaching our all-expenses paid hotel, a group of us had taken the plunge and booked a condo in one of southwest Detroit’s more “eclectic” neighbourhoods.

So while most of the road trippers one-upped each other over who came down in the swankest piece of unobtainium – our circumstances required a little more realistic planning.

How long do you think a bright red Cayman would last parked on the streets of “The D”? Not to mention the impossibility of cramming four journos of varying sizes into it.  One of Audi’s Q-Ships would do very nicely indeed, but would probably have its rims exchanged for cinder blocks after the first night and its badges pried off to become neckwear.

What we needed was something common enough to fly under the radar, accommodating of all our paraphernalia, yet engaging enough that nobody would feign illness to avoid their stint behind the wheel.

Enter the 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T AWD Limited, a great all-arounder that’s a lot easier to manage than its cumbersome handle.

Perfectly camouflaged in that mud-puddle grey that Hyundai seems to favour, the Santa Fe would be unlikely to attract a second glance from any nefarious characters prowling our graffiti-tagged side street.

Test Drive: 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T car test drives hyundai Test Drive: 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T car test drives hyundai Test Drive: 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T car test drives hyundai
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T AWD Limited. Click image to enlarge

What the Santa Fe lacks in boast-worthy cachet, it more than makes up for in versatility and features. Not all of those premium sedans our colleagues rode in had a heated steering wheel as a matter of course – but our Santa Fe did.  Bluetooth? Yes.  Reclining rear seats? Likewise.

Although the Santa Fe does an admirable of job of going “stealth mode”, this is not to say that it’s nondescript. The last of the Hyundai lineup to receive the “Fluidic Sculpture” makeover, it’s a nicely finished exercise in flowing lines and sharp creases.  It’s available in two models: a long wheelbase Santa Fe XL, and our more compact (by 21.5 cm) Santa Fe Sport.  It could accommodate up to five passengers in a pinch, though I wouldn’t want to be the monkey in the middle over a long haul.

Test Drive: 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T car test drives hyundai
2014 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T AWD Limited. Click image to enlarge

The cabin is typical Hyundai, and will be familiar to anyone who’s driven any of their lineup.  There’s a modern, geometrically shaped centre stack flanked by angular air vents, with premium soft-touch materials and aluminum and wood trim.  It may not rival such premium marques as Audi for interior craftsmanship, but in its own way, Hyundai has become a benchmark for simple yet affordable elegance.

Standard are such features as keyless entry, cruise, air, and tilt/telescoping steering wheel. Our Sport 2.0T model automatically comes with heated mirrors, rear-view camera, auto headlights, foglights, roof rails and eight-way adjustable seat, blind-spot monitoring and rear window sunshades. The Technology Package adds xenon headlights, panoramic sunroof, ventilated front and heated rear seats, Nav system with eight-inch touchscreen and a 12-speaker Infinity System that ain’t bad at all.

All the extras come at a cost, however: while a base model Santa Fe Sport 2.4L FWD stickers at $28,359 – our top of the line Sport 2.0T Limited will set you back forty big ones – more than forty-five when you include tax.




About LesleyWimbush

In 5th grade, Lesley traded drawings of muscles cars for chocolate bars and things really haven't changed much since then. When not cursing the gremlins behind the insidious check engine light on her 400 hp modified Dodge Dakota, Lesley can be found lapping her Mazda MX3 KLZE at Mosport.