Smooth Operator: The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate FWD

Front 3/4 view of 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.
Family responsibilities have had Navigator (the finest traveling companion known to man) and myself on the road quite a bit this year, with 350-mile roundtrips to Mendocino County and back becoming fairly commonplace (every three to six weeks lately).  That gives us a lot of hours on roads ranging from freeways to switchbacks to evaluate what we're driving and compare it to what we drove on the same route last time.  Perhaps the most impressive so far is the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport.

Map of CA 128 Rutherford to Winters
CA 128 from Winters to Rutherford (source: Google Maps)
Regular TireKicker readers know that we've settled on a brilliant middle for the trips that begin and/or end in Folsom and Ukiah: California State Route 128, which begins in the town of Winters, skirts the edges of Lake Berryessa, and through a series of twists, turns, ascents and descents, leads to the town of Rutherford in the beautiful Napa Valley.  Generally, there are cars that can handle this road with some speed applied and others that have to slow way down.

Rear 3/4 view of 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. 
The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport simply ate it up, all while providing the smoothest ride either of us could remember...not only in an SUV...but in any car we've driven recently.

Ours was the top-of-the-line Ultimate model.  $35,650 buys just about every feature in the Hyundai playbook as standard equipment, including a 2-liter, 240-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder with a six-speed automatic with Shiftronic and drive mode select, vehicle stability management and traction control, tire pressure monitoring, blind spot detection, 19-inch alloy wheels (making the smooth ride all the more remarkable), automatic headlamps, heated dual power side mirrors with integrated turn signals, rear parking sensors,  a hands-free power liftgate, smart key and pushbutton start, leather on the seating surfaces, shift knob and steering wheel, dual automatic temperature control, a multi-view camera system, memory drivers seat, a touchscreen surround sound audio and nav system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto and the thing that got the most oohs and aahs, a panoramic sunroof that spans the length of the vehicle.

Instrument cluster of 2017 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport
2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport instrument cluster.
In fact, the only option was the Ultimate Tech Package (smart cruise control, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, electronic parking brake, dynamic bending light, high beam assist and auto-leveling headlamps) for $1,600.  Oh, and floor mats for $125. Fold in $950 for inland freight and handling and the bottom line is $38,325.

With its combination of fuel economy (EPA estimated 20 city/27 highway), cargo capacity, good handling and smooth ride, the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport can expect to find a home in a lot of American driveways.  And we won't at all be upset to see another come our way for a test.