Welcome to brave new territory for Hyundai. We’ve become accustomed to Korean cars as a little cheaper than the competition, but you’d always expect them to be value leaders. Then we got this $36,000 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport to drive, and things changed. For the same money, you’re looking at the Santa Fe in the same light as a loaded Ford Escape Titanium, a Nissan Murano, and even the Jeep Grand Cherokee.
The Santa Fe Sport, the shorter of two Santa Fe models, comes with high-end features you’d expect–leather, an Infinity stereo, and heated seats–and some you don’t like heated seats in the rear, window shades, air-conditioned seats, and HID headlights. It’s not a bad way to travel, motivated by 264 horsepower coming from a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. But it’s not our favorite, either, losing one key element that’s always made Hyundai worth your consideration. See what that special something is in our full Road Test review of the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.