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Hyundai Santa Fe Real World MPG



  • I wish you the best of luck in pin-pointing the problem. I had a 2002 Santa Fe AWD with a 2.7L v6 that did really well on gas mileage. I traded it for a 2006 Santa Fe AWD with a 3.5L v6 and it was TERRIBLE. My 2002 got 27 MPG on the highway with A/C on low and cruise set to 70 MPH int he summer. My 2006 NEVER got more than 20 MPG along the same drive and conditions. They just laughed and told me that it was normal for that powertrain. But the sticker on the 2006 said it should have gotten better. I loved that SUV too but finally sold it last Spring with only 25k miles on it because of the lousy gas mileage.

    I'm still a big fan of Hyundai. My 2002 Santa Fe did great! And my 2005 Elantra consistently gives me 30 MPG in mixed driving with 140k miles on it.

    You might ask them to check the oxygen sensors. Those don't always send a code when they are acting up. And they can definitely affect you gas mileage. There are a lot of electronics on the engines these days.
  • somedai1somedai1 Posts: 416
    I agree... BUT- you would have to stay with the oem tires - any other tire will have a different rotation per mile and may change the mpg for better or for worse... and this is definitely more significant if you change from the oem tire size - there are options that will fit that are not the oem size...
  • My 2007 SF AWD V6 (3.3 I think) is getting similar terrible gas mileage averaging 15 in town & maybe 18 hwy. We are incredibly disappointed. I love my SF except for this. Is there anything that can be done?
  • Well....we believe we were "duped" by the dealer. The sticker on the car was extremely misleaading! A Honda Civic is the only solution. We've been working with multiple dealers for almost a year with little or no improvement. We're getting 19-20 HWY, which is better than the 15 we were getting. But, gas prices are rising....we checked out the Chevy Equinox and actually spoke with drivers...all are very happy and very very pleased with gas mileage over 25 HWY and close to 20 in town.
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
    How do you figure you were duped by the dealer? The federal government is the one that estimates fuel economy. I would say you were duped all right. By the Government. Actually I think the admin we have now has been duping us since day one.
    2012 Highlander Limited AWD V6 and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • Easy with the political jibes, mtnman. People come here to get away from that stuff.

    I have a 2007 Santa Fe. My wife have a different driving style than mine, and regularly gets around 17-22 mpg. I drive with a much lighter foot, and let the transmission row through the gears more gradually, and average several miles per gallon. I find the car accelerates just fine ... but you don't want to floor the accelerator, or kick down gears. Aggressive driving in the mountains or in commuter traffic makes the mileage drop off for exactly that reason.

    I also use midgrade gasoline, which seems to improve both the Santa Fe's performance and mileage, and keep the tires inflated to the recommended pressure. I also swapped out the OEM tires for something different. All of these things make small improvements.

    All time best mileage I've managed in my Santa Fe is 27 mpg - which I managed for a 200 mile trip on the interstate, driving mostly downhill, with a tailwind.
  • 2008 Limited FWD, 40k miles. Right now it has fresh Pennzoil Platinum 5w-20 with a Hyundai filter. I also have a K&N drop in air filter that is cleaned regularly and never over-oiled. My wife drives 70% city and averages 20.5 based on the computer. I've always been too scared to check by calculation. I just put Nitto NT850 Premiums on it in the stock size and they are great tires, mpgs stayed the exact same. I've noticed that it'll drop down to 19-19.5 about every 6 months. I read somewhere to pull the negative battery cable and reset the computer, since it learns your driving habits. I did this a month ago with the oil change and it's back up to 20.5 or so. She works out of her car and carries 200+ lbs of therapy toys all the time with the 3rd row seats down. The therapy stuff comes out for trips.

    We've got as high as 27 on the highway, but the mileage falls off considerably above 75mph. 25-27mpg at 70-75mph, 80+ is 22-23.

    On the plus side (knock on wood), it's never been back to the dealership for anything. I change my own oil, so no issues so far.
  • Hi graceh...just wanted to ask you, are you getting your mpg average directly from your car or are you averaging it yourself the old fashioned way with a pen and paper at the gas pump? Just asking because I just bought a 2011 SF & my car computer is telling me that i'm getting 24.3 mpg average, but when I fill up at the pump and do the math myself...i'm really only getting about 16 mpg.
  • rppautorppauto Posts: 28
    car's mpg calculator is not very dependable.
    There is a reset button on the panel. Reset it and then see how it goes.
    I also heard that it resets automatically when you refill your tank (i doubt this though).

    my 2011 SF AWD SE gives me 18mpg combined and 22mpg highway @ 70mph.
    Yeah, it is not good.
    However, it gives 27mpg @ 55mph.
  • gracehgraceh Posts: 8
    My husband drives highway 65-70mph. Best he can get is 18.1 to 18.8mpg. Nothing has improved, even after investing a ton of money at multiple dealers. We believe our car is a "lemon" and will never buy another Santa Fe again! We haven't tried to check the old fashioned way.....maybe we should. But, I'm afraid it will bring worse news than what we already have. we're stuck with the car because our trade in would be an enormous loss in $$$. Good Luck!
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
    edited March 2011
    Until you do it manually with a calculator you will never know the true mileage. Do not rely on the computer in the car. I have found that in most cases the computer reads a little higher than the real MPG. In the case of my Ford Fusion it sometimes reads a mile less when I compare it with my calculations using a calculator. In recent weeks my 2011 Sorento V6 has only gotten about 25 Mpg Highway and 18 City. A few weeks ago I took my youngest son up to visit a college campus about 90 Miles from home. Round trip right after filling before we left actually was only 19MPG running 70 mph and half on two lane country roads at about 55 mph. I attribute that to the fact that it is cold and from what I was told by a Firestone Mechanic that the gas stations recently changed over their fuel mixtures to the summer grade. Said this will cause a temporary drop in Fuel Economy. Your's might be a unique problem for that vehicle. If so, I would be disappointed as well.
    2012 Highlander Limited AWD V6 and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • ncsu602ncsu602 Posts: 5
    Not sure if this will help any of you guys but it's worth a shot. We've got a 2008 Limited FWD that my wife drives. Normally she's about 70%/30% city in stop and go traffic and the computer says anywhere from 20-21 mpg. On the highway it normally says 25-26, but drops severely after 70mph to around 21-22 at 80. I'm actually scared to check it manually, I'm afraid as to what it would say. I'll live in my fantasy world.

    What I've noticed and read somewhere is over a 6-8 month period, the mpg will go down into the 19s. If you pull the battery cable, it resets the computer. The computer learns how you drive and adjusts things to you. It will go from 19.5 to almost 21 in 3 or 4 days after resetting. Give it a try, I do mine with every oil change and run synthetic oil with a factory Hyundai filter. I've got almost 45k and knock on wood it's never been back to the dealership. Good luck!
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
    First off driving 80mph is not only a bit reckless, but against the law. Sorry my oldest is a city cop. Anyway driving faster is going to reduce your MPG. That's a no brainer. I get optimum MPG between 55 to 70 mph. I use my cruise contol always on the open road. I think people that do not use the cruise tend to fluctuate their speeds which will defintely have an effect. Of course, finding open road anymore is getting more difficult especially around large metro areas. Driving to visit family in Pittsburgh from Columbus on I-70 can sometimes be impossible to use cruise. If you are driving 70mph cars are blowing by you. We take an alternate route which is about 70% 4 lane highway and at times 2 lane curvey road. But traffic is generally light and almost no trucks. There I have been running 25 to 26 Mpg for the entire trip in our Sorento FWD V6. This is over some very hilly to Mountainess (If that's a word) terrain. I will consult a mechanic about your tip.
    2012 Highlander Limited AWD V6 and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • lca2lca2 Posts: 1
    Has anyone had major mileage decrease after the dealer "fixed" a hesitation?
    Theyclaim to have adjusted the PCM module. My miles went from19/21 in town to 16.3 and on the current tank it is down to 14.3 on the dial. I haven't yet checked fill-up amount against mileage.

    Since the dealer made the change on Apr 9th 2011 I have gone ~350 miles and have gone through the equivalent of 2 tanks of gas.

  • "First off driving 80mph is not only a bit reckless, but against the law."

    I'm guessing you've never been to Wyoming?
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
    Your guess would be correct. Have been through New Mexico, Oklahoma, Kansas, and Western Texas several times and yes I get your point. I'm thinking totally in terms of the Midwest and East where there is tons of traffic and the roads can be a bit bumpy, curvy, and hilly. Not to mention many pot holes during winter and early spring until they fill them or resurface. I was just making a joke. Like I said my oldest Son is cop and he drives too fast in his own vehicles. He has been pulled over several times, but when they find out he is a cop they let him go. The only exception to that is the Ohio State Troopers. They don't care if your the President. You are getting a ticket if you are breaking the law.
    2012 Highlander Limited AWD V6 and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • i get 21-23 mpg for city and when we were on the highway from ga to mass the car's computer estimated we got between 24.6 to the most was 26.9 !!
  • rppautorppauto Posts: 28
    edited July 2011
    1) Check your speed and RPM for your vehicle.
    2) Calculate time taken for the same distance (in this case 10 miles)
    3) Fuel spent is a factor of your RPM and how long (time)

    Below is for a 2011 Hyundai Santa FE SE AWD on a leveled highway

    Calculate best speed for best mpg

    Speed-----------RPM------Time taken-----Fuel spent factor = rpm x time
    60--------------1600-----0.166666667----266.6666667 (best as lowest)
    75--------------2100-----0.133333333----280 (2nd best at this speed if you are in a hurry)

    Distance 10 miles
    Time taken = Distance / Speed
  • karhanterkarhanter Posts: 5
    edited August 2011
    I have a 2011 Santa Fe GLS FWD. I bought it in Nov 2010. It has 14,000 miles on it now.

    Recently i completed a 2843 mile drive from CA to PA. All the miles(except 20 miles) are highway miles on I-80. here are my observations.

    when driving at 65-70 MPH (20% of the trip) i got 29 MPG.
    when driving at 70-75 MPH (60% of the trip) i got 25-27 MPG.
    when driving at 75-80 MPH (20% of the trip) i got 23-24.7 MPG.

    The average MPG for the trip came at 25.9 MPG. I am really happy with it.

    for 2843 miles it took 109.73 gallons
    In Jan 2011 i completed a 1500 miles trip from Houston, TX to Las Vegas. In That trip i got average MPG of 22.5.
    I think the reason for difference in MPG on these trip may be the less weight of the cargo and people in the car.

    For the TX-to-LV trip there were 2 people and 350 LB luggage in the car. Also for 200 miles i was driving at 90 MPH speed (Posted speed limit is 85 MPH). At 90 MPH i got 14 MPG.

    For the CA-to-PA trip i drove alone and around 130 LB of luggage.
  • That is a great result. I have the same vehicle, and I get murdered on around-town driving with all the hills here in So Cal. But on the highway, I see 27-30 on readout on level road at 70+ mph.

    I've been experimenting with using the manual mode on the trans and "short-shiting" at 2200 RPM where possible. The trans works great for this - it WILL NOT downshift on its own - just like I want it to. Too soon to report mileage using this method - bot very happy with the vehicle for long trips. A roomy, comfortable, smooth, quiet cruiser !
  • I agree with graceh.... I have a 2005 Sante FE with the 3.5... recently acquired from a mother in law and the price was so good I couldnt pass it up... has been babied, dealer serviced and has only 65,000km's on it... with around town and a bit of highway, I am getting at the best 17.5mpg, and that doing my own calculations between gas put in and mileage, and I have done them several times... so I am right on with my estimate... If I didnt get such a great deal on the truck from my father in law, I would sell it... gas mileage is brutal... I was going to do what everyone else has done... tune up, air filters, spark plugs, tire change... but from what I have read, I will be wasting my money...
  • mtnman1mtnman1 Central OhioPosts: 431
    I have a 2011 Sorento EX V6. We get about the same mileage as you state under similar circumstances sometimes as low as 16.5 mpg. It is only rated at 18 around town anyway. We were doing better in the warmer months due to the difference in the Gas mixture between summer and winter I believe. Also it seems when it is cold we have always gotten less mpg. On a trip this past weekend from Columbus to Pittsburgh we got only about 23 mpg on the highway. In warmer months we get close to 26 and sometimes better than that. That's with the AC on.
    2012 Highlander Limited AWD V6 and 2015 Ford Fusion Hybrid SE
  • Well I dunno is that really so bad? The 2005's are rated by the EPA to be18-20 combined mpg depending on engine and 2 or 4 wheel drive. 17.5 mpg is only 3% less than the lower end of that range. Some models are only 16 mpg city.

    The 2012's get a combined mileage of 21-23 mpg and mine is getting right in that range (4 cyl, 2.4L 4WD). The lowest I've gotten is about 20 mpg. Sure it'd be great if it got 30 mpg - but for its size I think that's pretty good mileage.
  • Anyone know why the EPA ratings on the Kia Sorrento V6 AWD Automatic is listed as 18/24, while the Hyundai Santa Fe V6 AWD Automatic is listed as 20/26? I'm looking at the 2012 models here on Edmunds. I think the two are the same platform and the engine/transmission specs look identical.
  • erchphserchphs Posts: 2
    Recently bought an 08 Santa Fe with the 3.3L engine and 5 speed tranny. Most of the driving is a mix of rural 2 lane (40%), suburban (20%),and highway (40%). After about 5 fill ups we are averaging right on what the computer read says. Mostly around 24-27 mpg. I drive slowly and it seems to make a difference. Really enjoy the car - especially the heated seats and dual air.
  • erchphserchphs Posts: 2
    Addition to first post. Today we traveled about 160 miles in north central Ohio (hilly terrain) with most of the roads being rural country two lanes and some interstate. Averaged a little over 27 for the whole trip. Could see the mileage dropping as the speed went above 60, but to avoid getting run down I do at least drive the speed limit on the interstate.
  • sfprestsfprest Posts: 1
    Tire Pressure may be low. Air filter may be clogged, check this first. at 75000 miles the timing belt should have been replaced at 60000 engine would tend to stumble.
  • nacenace Posts: 45
    EPA finds Hyundai, Kia overstated gas mileage
    By TOM KRISHER | Associated Press – 1 hr 33 mins ago

    Enlarge Photo
    Associated Press/Nam Y. Huh - In this Thursday, Oct. 4, 2012, photo, a Hyundai Elantra is seen inside of a Hyundai car dealership in Des Planines, Ill. Major automakers are reporting Thursday, Nov. 1, 2012, …more
    DETROIT (AP) — Hyundai and Kia overstated the gas mileage on most of their models from the past three years in an embarrassing blunder that could bring sanctions from the U.S. government and millions of dollars in payments to car owners.
    Because of the inflated mileage, discovered during an audit by the Environmental Protection Agency, the Korean automakers must retrofit the window stickers on the cars, reducing their fuel economy figures by one-to-six miles per gallon depending on the model, the agency said Friday.
    "Consumers rely on the window sticker to help make informed choices about the cars they buy," said Gina McCarthy, assistant administrator of the EPA's air-quality office. "EPA's investigation will help protect consumers and ensure a level playing field among automakers."
    The EPA said its inquiry into the errors is continuing, and the agency would not comment when asked if the companies will be fined or if a criminal investigation is under way. But the EPA said it's the first case in which erroneous test results were uncovered in a large number of vehicles from the same manufacturer. Only two similar errors have been discovered since 2000, and those involved single models.
    Hyundai and Kia executives apologized for the errors, said they were unintentional, and promised to pay the owners of 900,000 cars and SUVs for the difference in mileage. The payments, which will be made annually for as long as people own their cars, are likely to cost the companies hundreds of millions of dollars.
    Automakers follow EPA procedures to do their own mileage tests, and the EPA enforces accuracy by auditing about 15 percent of vehicles annually.
    The EPA said it began looking at Hyundai and Kia when it received a dozen complaints from consumers that the mileage of their 2012 Hyundai Elantra compact cars fell short of numbers on the window stickers. Staffers at the EPA's vehicle and fuel emission laboratory in Ann Arbor, Mich., included the Elantra in an annual audit that focused on cars that lead their market segments in mileage.
    The audit turned up discrepancies between agency test results and data turned in by Hyundai and Kia, the EPA said. As a result, the two automakers will have to knock one or two miles per gallon off the mileage posted on most of the models' window stickers. Some models will lose three or four miles per gallon, and the Kia Soul, a funky-looking boxy small SUV, will lose six mpg from the highway mileage on its stickers.
    Hyundai and Kia are owned by the same company and share factories and research, but they sell different vehicles and market them separately. The companies said the mistakes stemmed from procedural differences between their mileage tests and those performed by the EPA.
    "We're just extremely sorry about these errors," said John Krafcik, Hyundai's CEO of American operations. "We're driven to make this right."
    The changes affect 13 models from the 2011 through 2013 model years, including seven Hyundais and six Kias. Window stickers will have to be changed on some versions of Hyundai's Elantra, Sonata Hybrid, Accent, Azera, Genesis, Tucson, Veloster and Santa Fe models, as well as the Kia Sorrento, Rio, Soul, Sportage and Optima Hybrid.
    Michael Sprague, executive vice president of marketing for Kia Motors America, also apologized and said the companies have a program in place to reimburse customers for the difference between the mileage on the window stickers and the numbers from the EPA tests.
    The companies will find out how many miles the cars have been driven, find the mileage difference and calculate how much more fuel the customer used based on average regional fuel prices and combined city-highway mileage. Customers also would get a 15 percent premium for the inconvenience, and the payments would be made with debit cards, Sprague said. The owner of a car in Florida with a one mpg difference who drove 15,000 miles would get would get a debit card for $88.03 that can be refreshed every year as long as the person owns the car, Sprague said.
    If all 900,000 owners get cards for $88.03, it would cost the automakers more than $79 million a year.
    For information, owners can go to or .
    Sung Hwan Cho, president of Hyundai's U.S. technical center in Michigan, said the EPA requires a complex series of tests that are very sensitive and can have variations that are open to interpretation. The companies did the tests as they were making a large number of changes in their cars designed to improve mileage. The changes, such as direct fuel injection into the cylinders around the pistons, further complicated the tests, Cho said.
    "This is just a procedural error," he said. "It is not intended whatsoever."
    Krafcik said the companies have fixed testing procedures and are replacing window stickers on cars in dealer inventories. Owners can be confident in their mileage stickers now, he said, adding that Hyundai will still be among the industry leaders in gas mileage even with the revised window stickers.
    The mileage was overstated on about one-third of the Hyundais and Kias sold during the three model years, he said.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,042
    If you are a Hyundai or Kia owner and have a reaction to the company’s announcement today re: EPA fuel economy ratings, please email today to talk with a reporter.


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  • I have a 2.4L FWD 2013 Sport. The new combined mileage figure represents a 7.7% reduction in fuel economy. Taken with all of the other models affected and over a period of three years, the data suggests fraud, not incompetence.

    The reimbursement program does not come close to addressing the financial impact of the revised numbers to existing and potential owners. A number of similar sized SUV's now outperform the Santa Fe ( fuel efficiency-wise ) and the new performance information will directly affect initial sale price, and certainly resale price.

    I have sent a letter to Hyundai requesting a buy-back. That may be optimistic, but I think a class action suit is a certainty.
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