With its strong 2.0-liter turbocharged engine and top safety ratings, the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport has been having a good run. This year, Hyundai adds a value package that delivers more popular features like heated mirrors, a proximity key with remote start, heated seats and LED daytime running lights.

The two-row Santa Fe Sport is the sibling of the larger, three-row Santa Fe. Both are available in front-drive or AWD. The Santa Fe Sport is a perfectly comfortable ride for four adults, five if the three occupants in Row 2 are not Shaquille O’Neal. If you’ve got little ones, they’d be comfortable in the three rows of the Santa Fe.

A direct-injection 2.4-liter four-cylinder that develops 185 horsepower is the standard engine in the Santa Fe Sport. The optional engine in my test Santa Fe Sport was a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that delivers 240 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque. The Santa Fe uses a 3.3-liter V6 that develops 290 horsepower. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard on all Santa Fe models.

The Santa Fe Sport would make a great choice for a first car, or a car that junior can hop into and head off to college. Parents should love that the 2018 Santa Fe Sport gets five safety stars from the government and is a “Top Safety Pick Plus” from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

The turbo 4 is an excellent engine that made quick work of merging into traffic on Interstate 10 and passing slower drivers on country two-lanes up in the Felicianas. Steering is linear and precise, though a little on the light side. Push the Santa Fe Sport around tight curves like the cloverleaf at Airline Highway and Interstate 12, and you won’t find significant body roll. The car stays flat and feels planted on the road. The smooth-shifting 6-speed transmission seemed like it always knew when to downshift and what in what gear the car belonged.

The turbo 4 is EPA-rated to deliver 20 miles per gallon in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 23 mpg combined.

Inside the cabin, the Santa Fe Sport is stylish yet practical, with a utilitarian layout and durable materials. Instrumentation and vehicle controls are intuitively placed.

Some cars use controller knobs to govern vehicle functions and systems, but the Santa Fe Sport opts for buttons. Even though there are more than 30 buttons on the center stack alone, the look manages to stay uncluttered. My wife actually prefers buttons, saying they’re more intuitive and simpler to use.

Headroom in the front seat is good at 39.6 inches, and just about as good in Row 2 at 39.1 inches. The hair atop my 6-foot-1 frame didn’t reach the headliner in the second row, even with the awesome power moonroof that stretched all the way back to the front edge of the cargo deck.

Total interior volume is 143.4 cubic feet. Cargo space behind Row 2 is 35.4 cubic feet. With the second-row seats folded down it’s 71.5 cubic feet, making flexibility a strong suit for this vehicle.

The Santa Fe Sport supports Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless integration with most smartphone functions, including navigation streaming audio and voice-controlled search capabilities.

For 2018 Hyundai is making a variety of services standard on Blue Link-equipped vehicles, including Connected Care and Remote Packages. Connected Care includes automatic collision notification, emergency and roadside assistance, a monthly vehicle health report and maintenance reminders.

The Remote Package features include remote start, remote lock/unlock, remote horn and lights, car finder, stolen recovery and slowdown, curfew alert, speed alert and valet alert.

Standard safety equipment includes all the required stability and traction control systems, seven airbags including driver’s knee, anti-lock brakes and hill-start assist.

You should go take a look at the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport. It’s a smart, safe and affordable ride.

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe Sport

Engine:

2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder

Horsepower/Torque:

240/260 lb.-ft.

Transmission:

6-speed automatic

Price:

$35,650 ($38,325 with options & freight)

EPA mileage rating:

20 mpg city/27 mpg highway/23 combined

Estimated highway range:

470 miles