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Hyundai Santa Fe (2006 and earlier)



  • The hitch that was originally installed on my Santa Fe was by U-haul (they had stated that it was actually made by Drawtite and relabeled as U-haul) but this is probably not factual considering the poor fit. The other difference could possibly be related to the fact that your Santa Fe is FWD and mine is AWD, which could also be the reason for the poorer fit (my unprofessional assumption).

    Anyhow, with the new factory hitch, I have not had any problems at all. I even had the fortunate pleasure of towing with my Santa Fe last week and it performed beautifully. I ended up towing a 5'x9' utility trailer, which was fully loaded, behind my Santa Fe . The Santa Fe pulled this trailer no problem. I took it on the freeway and before I knew it I was doing 75mph. It didn't even feel like I was towing anything at all. (Although this probably wasn't anywhere near the weight of a boat, I just thought I would share my towing experience.)

    As for gas mileage - I can never seem to get anywhere close to the rated range for my AWD Santa Fe. I had the same problem with my 2001 which was also AWD. I would like to know how some of you are achieving such high mileage. I am lucky if I get 17-18 mpg on the freeway in my Santa Fe.
  • lrchomelrchome Posts: 130
    I believe something is out of adjustment with your fuel delivery system,if you are only getting 17-18 mpg on the Interstate highways.
    I have a 2wd LX and get 22-23 local suburban driving and 26-27 on the Interstate. I live in Fla and drive on flat roads. I realize the 4wd units get less mpg than 2wd,but yours seems awful low.
  • This is long, but I hope it will be helpful for those investigating the Hyundai Santa Fe. It will be objective.
    As promised I am issuing a 10,000 mile update (car is 10 months old).

    Well at 10,300 miles on our Pine Green Santa Fe GLS 4WD V6, its time for my promised objective review. So here goes:

    5000 mile summary (I posted on this a while back, so I won't go into detail): At 469 miles the throttle position sensor failed and was
    fixed with a one day visit to the dealer. Slight rust on wheel hub was replaced (no cost) with a 1-hour visit to the dealer.

    Summary of 5000 to 10000 miles:

    Catastrophic (life threataning) problems: none. I'm still alive!

    Major problems (engine/tranny internals): none.

    Significant problems (parts peripheral to the drivetrain): none

    Minor problems: Clicking noise in belt driven components when cold. Dealer replaced belt-tensioner during regular oil-change. No inconvenience there.

    Annoying things (I'll repeat these in brief, no additional items since 5000 miles):
    STILL not REALLY enough driver leg room (I complained about it on my Lumina too!).
    The "brow" of the window sits low and I have to bend my head to look at red lights when I'm first in line at the light! (I guess I'd better run more yellow lights!). Otherwise, head
    room is fine.
    The 12V power adapters run ONLY when the ignition is ON. I'm sure this is a safety feature.
    Slight dash creak in colder weather (below 50 F) and on bumpy roads (which in PA is most roads!).
    Slight whistle at very high speeds ( &) to *) MPH....encrypted to avoid state police spies! ;-0 ).
    City gas mileage between 17-18, and Hyundai seems to acknowledge that on their 2003 stickers! Highway mileage (23 w/4WD) is right on, and maybe a bit conservative.
    Cool things (again, repeated with the exception of the final item on the GREAT handling in the snow):
    Rear cargo area is great. We've hauled a
    coffee table and a 6 ft dogwood tree.
    V6 is relatively quiet at cruising speed, which is why I wanted it. Power output is acceptable for the 4WD.
    LOVE the light can leave the lights on and when you turn the ignition off the headlights go off and when you open the door the dash light turns off. When you get back in, it all goes in reverse. Like having daytime running
    lights. A cool, unadvertised feature.
    Seats are comfortable and firm (needs more legroom, didn't I mention that?!).
    Interior is the BEST-designed of all the mini-SUVS.
    Exterior is a tad overdone but not ugly.
    Since I have driven the Santa Fe in TWO significant snowfalls recently (Dec 5 and Christmas), the performance in those conditions with ABS/Traction Control and AWD is .....

    All in all, we really like this car. Reliability-wise it has been no worse (and, mostly BETTER) than American cars we have owned. I thought Hyundai was a gamble but each day driving this vehicle confirms the fact that Hyundai is a real player in the market! If you've been afraid of buying a Hyundai, don't be. I hope this helped anyone looking. I'll hold off posting another review until about 20,000 miles unless other significant issues come up.
  • gator72gator72 Posts: 115
    I just got my new Santa Fe back from the dealer after they installed the bumper lights; took about an hour and cost $109 (parts and labor). They look great! They illuminate whenever the head lights/parking lights are turned on OR whenever the brakes are applied.

    My dealer was unable to order the wiring harness from Hyundai. However, they were able to cannibalize a harness from a Hyundai in their salvage yard.

    The lights look great! However, I'm considering switching to the LED bulbs for more brightness and less current.
  • jimbeaumijimbeaumi Posts: 620
    The manumatic works like an automatic when put into "D". When you move the shifter to the right into the shorter slot, then you can bump it up or bump it down, depending on if you are upshifting or downshifting. This allows you to shift when YOU want to shift, only without the need for a clutch. When you stop at a light it will automatically downshift back to first gear, but you have to remember to shift it yourself when light is green. I think you can get the stick in a Santa Fe, but only with the 4-cylinder.
  • gator72gator72 Posts: 115
    Hello All.

    A few weeks back, I purchased a white, 2003 Santa Fe LX (2WD). So far, everything is great.

    One question: I've noticed a high-pitched sound at highway speed (70 and above). It almost sounds like a jet turbine. When I take my foot off the gas, it stops. When I press the gas, it returns. It appears to be coming from the transmission.

    This might be normal, since the Demo I drove for 2 days did the same thing.

    Has anyone else noticed the high-pitched sound?

    BTW: On the Santa Fe Forum, someone posted instructions on how to add a cabin air filter to reduce interior dust; same filter used in the high-end Sonata. Has anyone here added the cabin filter to their S.F.?

  • Does anyone know why it's so hard to find a Santa Fe LX? We can only find a brown one 50 miles away (here in Austin, TX).

    Also heard that there is something wrong with the ABS installed on the new 2003 model and Hyundai has to fix it - and that's why they are delayed. Has anyone heard of that?
  • What kinds of pricing have people gotten? Edmunds lists 21624 as invoice with pack #8.l I just got a quote of 21,897 with 120 miles do you think this is a good price

    GLS 4X4 with ABS and 6cd changer stereo?????
  • gator72gator72 Posts: 115
    Dear "NeedSantaFeLX",

    Don't know about Austin, but LX's are plentiful all over the Gulf Coast; (Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi) {I looked all over for the best price before I bought my 2003 LX with moonroof}. I just got searched Hyundai's Houston website and found PLENTY of LX's in the Houston Dealers' inventories.

    BUT if you want more power, you might want to wait a couple of months (end of April 2003) til the bigger 3.5 liter V6 arrives in the LX models.

    No problems with the ABS on my 2003 LX. AND, I've not read about any such problems on the 2003 models.

    I just took a road trip of 1,000 miles thru all kinds of weather and never had a problem with the brakes. However, I still notice a tranny noise at highway speeds which might or might not be normal for this model; (sounds like the whine from a jet engine - only not as loud).
  • That 3.5 V6 engine sounds exciting. Are the new 3.5L Santa Fes going to arrive the local dealers around end of Apr. or been shipped from Korea? And which website do you go to search the dealer inventory? Can't wait to have one.
  • iusecadiusecad Posts: 287
    just going to be available in the LX's? Or will it be available in the GLS's as well?
  • gator72gator72 Posts: 115
    Dear "NeedSantaFeLX" and "IUseCad",

    Check the link below to learn more about the 3.5:

    I believe the article said it would arrive on dealers' lots in late April 2003. The big V6 will probably be offered only in the LX.
  • ezhopezhop Posts: 1
    I just recently brought a Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 2WD sandstone(color) for $18,799 after getting a $2,500 dealer rebate: MSRP was $21299 to include crossrails,mud guards,destination charge and bug deflector. Was this a good deal since the base invoice is without options is 18584 (holdback is about $418.00. Ilike the ride!!!
  • Sounds like you got a good deal ! Hard to compare. Mine is an LX its 3 months now 2003. I LOVE IT !!! Mine was $23,500. With woodgrain and coated. Mudflaps,croosrails and destination was included. I had to pay the taxes. I have put on 6,000 miles already. The 6 disc changer is awesome. I too went with the Sandstone. Have had lots of compliments ! Enjoy it !
  • dina7dina7 Posts: 1
    am looking to lease a sf gls w/abs and sunroof they are quoting me at 329.00 a month 2,000 down which includes everything. they say the suv is priced at 22,899.00 and that is all the can do. but i am see people get lx for this price. can anyone help. i live in nj but will go out of state.

    but i hav seen people get lx version for this amount
  • gator72gator72 Posts: 115

    Last month I bought a white, 2003 Santa Fe LX (FWD) with leather, sunroof, ABS w/traction control, and crossrails for roof rack. I paid $22,900 TOTAL.

    For the money, I'd go for the LX.

    JUST MY .02.
  • Does anyone have any more info on when this will come out on the LX model? I am interesting in buying one now but can wait 2 months for the new engine if that is all it will be. Anybody have any other articles on this new engine coming out on the Santa Fe? The dealer I spoke with had no info - typical huh? Will there be much of a reduction in MPG over the 2.7L? Thanks!
  • Is it possible to chip the ECU to get more power ? Someone said you can use a simple resistor with the right value. Not sure how that really is.
  • My deal on the LX was for $23,500 . I wanted the 4 wheel drive. Leather,sunroof,6disc c.d,had woodgrain and had the coating to protect the paint. Rails, mudflaps all included. So keep will love this vehicle! The only thing not included was the tax. Good Luck to you...mine handles incredibly in the snow !!!
  • I will contact the Hyundai rep and see if he knows when the new V6 is coming and if there will be any other changes. In the meantime, Hyundai is now shipping Santa Fe's with built-in running boards, which they did not have earlier. This feature can probably be retrofitted and looks great.
  • can anyone tell me where i can get crash bars (protect my bumpers)from? is there any place besides hyundai?
  • harry31harry31 Posts: 128
    Also, brush guards/crash bars on - if you do that.
  • Kirstie_HKirstie_H Posts: 11,025
    Are you an SUV owner who has taken special action since the anti-SUV backlash began? Have you traded in your vehicle, reconsidered your purchase, cut back on your use of your SUV, parked in more protected/secure areas, etc? If so, a magazine writer wants to hear from you.
    Please respond with your make and model to by February 28.
    Jeannine Fallon
    PR Director


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    Share your vehicle reviews

  • I got a firm deal, a 2003, LX, with moonroof, etc. for $21,500 - the deal is good for five more days.

    Does anyone have a clue, can the running boards be removed? One dealer said 'sure, no problem', the one I've got the deal with said he didn't feel comfortable removing them. But it's just five bolts, I don't know... but as a 5'5, petite female, the running boards make it a pain the leg to get out of the vehicle. Otherwise, it's the perfect SUV for me.

    Also, I can't find an LX loaded in Sandstone (which is my preference). The deal is on the blue (my 2nd choice).

    Now, the news of the bigger V6 engine, guess if I was 100% satisfied with the LX package in front of me (sans running boards, different color) I'd be happy, or am I just being too picky?!
  • I've got a deal on the table for a 2003, LX, 2WD, with moonroof, for $21,500.

    I went to three dealerships, 2 played games or wouldn't deal, the 3rd was great & want a sale.

    Ugh, if I could just get them to take the running boards off!

    Hope my experience this weekend was a little help to you, I'm new to posting here & locating specific threads/replies is very confusing to me (i.e., I'm lost) :)
  • Well, I'm in Houston, & I can tell you, there aren't any LX's with moonroofs in Sandstone (is that the 'brown' you mean?) down here.

    Tell you what, I'll buy this blue one, you buy the brown one & we'll meet in Columbus or La Grange & swap ;)
  • tidestertidester Posts: 10,059
    No buying, selling or swapping in Town Hall! ;-)

    tidester, host
  • harry31harry31 Posts: 128
    I'll buy that! =;-)
  • LX silver, 2WD, beside all the nice features (ABS, 6CD, Homelink, floor mat, auto-ac, etc.) it already carry, we added: sunroof, running board, and crossrail.

    Drive off price (includes tax, des. charge, etc.)
    $23,300. We also purchased a Hyundai extended warranty which extend the bumper to bumper warranty to 10 years. Be careful with the extended warranty, ours is offered by Hyundai so it can be used with any dealer. Some dealer offers their own extended warranty which is more expensive and not nice like this one. The price we paid for that is $1000.
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