The Hyundai Santa Fe is a South Korean mid-size SUV that was first introduced back in the year 2000. Given the fact that the recent decade has seen a stark increase in SUV popularity, the Santa Fe also became one of the most important models in the entire Hyundai lineup. This is why you can see a huge bump in quality in recent models as opposed to the two first generations.
When it comes to reliability, the new Santa Fe manages to be one of the most reliable cars in the segment. With a stellar 5-star reliability rating, Hyundai manages to make the Santa Fe an incredibly popular car on today’s market. However, even 5-star-rated cars are prone to issues, and we will share with you the most common problems with Hyundai Santa Fe.
For starters, the Santa Fe engine is known to consume lots of oil, and it can sometimes stall and emit weird noises. The brakes are also known to cause issues on both newer and older Santa Fe models. The newest models tend to experience certain electrical issues as well. Equipment-related issues are a common occurrence on all new Hyundai models including the Santa Fe.
All in all, the Santa Fe is a really reliable SUV, especially when compared to much more expensive and more complex SUVs in this segment. This is why Hyundai manages to sell a ton of these and why the latest Santa Fe generation is one of the world’s leading SUVs when it comes to outright sales.
Hyundai Santa Fe – Engine issues
According to most online surveys and charts, the most complained about issues with the Santa Fe are all engine related. This does seem worrying at first as the engine is the beating heart of any car, but it seems like these issues are mostly down to poor maintenance and can be easily resolved. Engine stalling while driving is a common complaint, and so is excessive oil consumption.
The engine crankshaft seems to be designed in a peculiar manner which can cause excessive wear on the bearings. The connecting rods inside the engine are known to wear out prematurely and are the reason why the Santa Fe engine tends to suffer from knocking noises. The best thing you can do is to take your Santa Fe to the dealer whenever you sense any of these.
Hyundai Santa Fe – Brakes issues
Hyundai Santa Fe models manufactured between 2015 and 2020 seem to be suffering from brake-related issues, with the 2017 model year being the worst one of them all. It seems like the most common brake-related issue is due to a faulty ABS (Anti-Lock Brake system) module that tends to cut off power and can cause wheel lock during braking.
Not only that, but some owners even reported that this ABS issue led to a fire which in some cases even totaled the car. Hyundai did recall the Santa Fe because of this issue which means that a fix should come free of charge, so be sure to check if the car you are looking at has had this issue resolved.
Hyundai Santa Fe – Electrical issues
Modern-day Hyundai models are no strangers to various electrical issues and it’s the same story with the Santa Fe. Some reported issues with the car’s alternator/battery system, others reported issues with various in-car electrical accessories such as the infotainment system failing or the phone connectivity suite not operating as intended.
The newest Santa Fe models can suffer from overheating wireless phone charger pad which means that you can’t charge your phone for more than a few minutes at a time. The fuel gauge is known to misinform you about your fuel level, but thankfully this issue is mostly reserved for older 2006 to 2009 models and isn’t present in the newest models.
The Santa Fe can also experience small niggles associated with the car’s equipment. One owner stated that the car’s left windshield isn’t all that particularly effective and thus lowers your overall visibility during the rain. Some said that the car’s headlights weren’t particularly well set up either because they were known to not cover the ground as intended.
Finally, probably the worst issue that can happen to a Santa Fe, in general, is the one where the sunroof explodes over your head without an apparent reason. Hyundai recalled a bunch of models due to this issue, but it seems like many newer Santa Fe models are still affected.
Should I buy a Hyundai Santa Fe?
The Hyundai Santa Fe is a really popular mid-size family SUV for a variety of reasons. It is well priced, well-equipped, really safe, relatively comfortable, spacious, and reliable. This means that it covers all the most important aspects a modern-day daily driver needs to have. Therefore, it makes perfect sense to consider the Santa Fe as your next new car.
On the other hand, if you are coming from the luxury segment, you are going to notice lower running costs and cheaper maintenance. However, you are also going to notice that the Santa Fe is not a luxury SUV.
Is the Hyundai Santa Fe an off-roader?
Long gone are the days when an SUV was designed for off-roading because most current SUVs aren’t. The Hyundai Santa Fe is available with an intelligent 4WD system, but isn’t in no shape or form an off-roader. This means that you can use it for mild off-roading such as snow, gravel, or grass, but anything more than that is not recommended.
This isn’t really a surprise as most people who are interested in buying the Santa Fe tend to use it in town more than anywhere else.
Is the Hyundai Santa Fe the largest Hyundai SUV?
The Hyundai Santa Fe used to be the largest Hyundai SUV, but that crown now goes to the Hyundai Palisade which isn’t just the largest Hyundai SUV, but the largest Hyundai passenger car in general. Some markets around the world don’t even get the Palisade (Europe) which is where the Santa Fe is still the largest and most spacious Hyundai SUV you can get.