The Hyundai Santa Fe is a mid-size family SUV that was first introduced back in the early 2000s. The first two generations of the Santa Fe were popular with families, but the real jump in popularity came with the latest two generations, especially the newest model. As such, the Santa Fe is now one of the most popular mid-size family SUVs, but is Hyundai Santa Fe a good car?
Yes, the newest Santa Fe model is undoubtedly a really good car as it won quite a few awards for that very reason. For starters, the engines are sophisticated, efficient, and relatively powerful. The new Santa Fe looks like a true 2020s SUV thanks to a futuristic and elegant interior and exterior design. The driving experience isn’t anything special but will do for most people.
As far as reliability is concerned, the Santa Fe manages to be in the top 10-20% of most reliable mid-size SUVs on the market, but there are some issues worth talking about in greater detail. These include engine troubles, issues with the brakes, electrical issues, and issues with various equipment pieces and functions.
Value-wise, the Santa Fe belongs in the “affordable” mid-size SUV bracket and manages to hold its value decently on the 2nd hand market. Practicality is on par with other SUVs from this segment which means that it can easily be used as a family transporter.
Hyundai Santa Fe – The powerplant
The latest Santa Fe was facelifted about a year ago when Hyundai decided to drop all diesel engines from its lineup. As such, the gasoline engine lineup consists of a 2.5L 4-cylinder turbocharged engine that comes in two stages of tune. The weaker model gets 194hp and 182lb-ft of torque while the more powerful model gets 281hp and 311lb-ft of torque.
If you want a diesel Santa Fe, you will have to go for the pre-facelift models which come with a singular 2.2L 4-cylinder diesel engine with either 193hp or 203hp. You can also get the Santa Fe in two hybrid iterations. One gets a 1.6L inline 4-cylinder engine with 265hp combined with an electric motor while the other one uses the same setup but gets 230hp total.
The Santa Fe is available either as FWD car or a full-on AWD car which should be your choice considering that this is a mid-size SUV after all. Efficiency-wise, you can expect to get around 41MPG with older diesels, 28MPG with current gasoline models, and up to 140MPG with the hybrid models.
Hyundai Santa Fe – Design and chassis
The latest Hyundai Santa Fe model looks considerably better when compared to the previous generations which weren’t all that memorable. A mixture of a boxy SUV design with futuristic elements, slim headlights, and a large grille increases the car’s overall road presence by quite a bit. The interior is nicely laid out with lots of class, but it isn’t on a true luxury SUV level.
The chassis and suspension tuning is tailored towards ease of use and comfort. The car rides over bumps reasonably well and leans into corners a lot which means that it isn’t a sporty SUV by any means. All in all, the Santa Fe drives like most other mid-size SUVs in this segment.
Hyundai Santa Fe – Reliability and common issues
When it comes to reliability, most online reputable sources such as J.D. Power, RepairPal, and Consumer Reports state that the Santa Fe belongs in the “most reliable mid-size SUV group”. This means a lot because mid-size SUVs are notoriously expensive to repair, especially newer models with loads of equipment and technology.
The most common Santa Fe issues include stalling of the engine, excessive oil consumption, and electrical issues related to the car’s infotainment system and the battery/alternator. We also need to mention problems with the ABS module, an exploding sunroof, and potentially even possible fire hazards.
Hyundai Santa Fe – Value and practicality
The base price of an entry-level FWD SE model is firmly under $30,000 which is a really good price considering what you are getting. A fully loaded Calligraphy model is going to set you back for $41,000 really easily which is a bit more difficult to swallow as $40,000 can get you some plush SUVs that are both larger and more powerful.
Practicality is nothing to be ashamed about because the Santa Fe offers large accommodating seats, a large trunk space, and great all-around visibility. It is packed with loads of family-friendly features such as interior storage spaces, USB ports, wireless charging pads, and sun blinds. It is also easy to get in and out of the Santa Fe thanks to higher ground clearance.
Which cars rival the Hyundai Santa Fe?
The closest competitor to the Hyundai Santa Fe is the Kia Sorento which uses more or less the same powertrain and other underpinnings. Other competitors include the Subaru Forester, the Honda CR-V, the Nissan Rogue, the Toyota RAV-4, the Jeep Cherokee, the Chevy Equinox, the Mazda CX-5, and the Ford Escape.
This is an extremely competitive segment which means that there are many more SUVs that can compete with the Santa Fe, but these are the most popular ones overall.
Is the Hyundai Santa Fe a luxury SUV?
A fully loaded Hyundai Santa Fe with the most powerful engine, AWD, and Calligraphy trim levels is going to set you back for around $40,000-$42,000 which certainly is a lot of money. However, the “cheapest” true luxury competitor is the Volvo XC90 which starts at a little under $50,000. The Mercedes GLE is closer to $60,000 while the BMW X5 is well over $60,000.
This means that the Santa Fe is somewhere between a cheap SUV and a luxury SUV, but it can’t compete with true luxury SUVs at all.
How long should a Hyundai Santa Fe last?
It’s difficult to predict how long any car can last as that is mostly dependent on how well you take care of it. However, if we were to predict, we’d say that the Santa Fe should easily be able to do 200,000 -250,000 miles without needing major overhauls.