Given its corporate penchant for Hispanic-style names, Hyundai’s passing up the opportunity to differentiate its two Santa Fe variants by appending a simple Grande to the larger of the two siblings is a little surprising. But Hyundai kept the simple Santa Fe moniker for the larger, three-row version while dubbing the smaller, two-row variant the Santa Fe Sport. Go figure.
The Sport’s engine choices are fours: a naturally aspirated 190-hp 2.4-liter and an optional 264-horse, 2.0-liter turbo. The larger, three-row Santa Fe tested here operates with a robust 3.3-liter V-6 rated at 290 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque. This is essentially the same engine that made its debut in Hyundai’s 2013 Azera sedan, but because the Santa Fe is rated for heavier-duty cycles, such as 5000-pound towing, the powertrain engineers prescribed new piston rings, a three-stage intake manifold, a variable-output oil pump, and chromium nitrate electro-coating for the cams, rocker arms, and tappets to enhance heat resistance and reduce friction. The V-6 is teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Those enhancements make sense. Leaving aside its towing capabilities and load capacity (gross vehicle weight ratings of 5512 pounds with front drive and 5622 with AWD), the V-6 has to propel more mass than does the sedan. Our test subjects weighed well north of two tons: 4161 pounds with front drive and 157 pounds heavier with all-wheel drive. The Azera tips the scales at about 3700 pounds, depending on equipment. Complete review on www.caranddriver.com, by TONY SWAN