VIDEO: Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Aces Crash Tests

The 2017 model-year Hyundai Santa Fe Sport — when it’s equipped with optional front crash prevention — is now a Top Safety Pick+ award winner.

Thanks to a beefed-up occupant compartment, the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport recently improved its performance in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s small overlap front crash test — upgrading its score from “marginal” to “good.” (To view video footage of the test, click on the photo or link below the headline.)

The mid-size SUV also earned “good” ratings in the moderate overlap front, side, roof strength and head restraint tests to qualify for the IIHS’s top honor.

Prior to the occupant compartment changes, the Santa Fe Sport’s structure failed to hold up in the small overlap test, IIHS said. This test replicates what happens when the front corner of a vehicle collides with another vehicle or an object such as a tree or utility pole. Intrusion measured as much as 10 inches at the lower door hinge pillar. The dummy’s head barely contacted the front air bag before sliding off, as the steering column was pushed to the right.

“In contrast, the 2017 model’s driver space was maintained well, with maximum intrusion of 3 inches at the footrest,” IIHS said in a released statement. “The dummy’s movement was well-controlled, and the head stayed on the front airbag until rebound.”

To qualify as a Top Safety Pick+ award winner, a vehicle must also have an available front crash prevention system earning an “advanced” or “superior” rating. The Santa Fe Sport's optional front crash prevention system drew a “superior” rating.

The vehicle avoided collisions in IIHS track tests at 12 mph and 25 mph. The system also has a forward collision warning component that meets National Highway Traffic Safety Administration criteria.

Both the “good” small overlap crash test rating and the Top Safety Pick+ award for the Santa Fe Sport don't apply to the larger Santa Fe model.