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Hyundai Santa Fe (2006 and earlier)



  • Someone asked about Hyundai reliability. I had my first experience with Hyundai when purchasing my son a Scoupe back in 1995. Models prior to that, I found in doing research, were still under the control of the "old guard", and just a small step above the Yugo. Hyundai is now partially owned by Mitsubishi and is the beneficiary of their innovation. Although slightly underpowered, the Scoupe performed flawlessly. Never had to return to the dealer with a warranty item. In December, 1999 purchased my wife a 2000 Sonata GLS V6. Fun to drive, peppy in traffic, but would not want to be negotiating a slalom at high speed. Not what this vehicle was designed for. This car has also perfomed flawlessly for 14,000 mixed/use miles. It will make its first non-oil-change visit to the dealer this week because of a wiring recall (a sensor is too close to the exhaust manifold and is being rerouted) but never created a problem. Reason for writing? Taking delivery on a 2001 Santa Fe GLS this week. Never thought we would be a 3 Hyundai family, but the vehicles have proven themselves.
  • I'm looking at the Santa Fe 5 FWD speed with package 2. Is there anyone out there with this vehicle? How do you feel about the 4 cyl engine? I can not go over my $20,000 approved loan amount so I can not get the 4FWD.

    My question is at first I was looking at Sedans such as the Nissan Sentra or Honda Civic. When I saw the Santa Fe it changed my view of SUV's. So my question is will I be disappointed with the Santa Fe as packaged above. I just figured I would be getting more vehicle for my money.

    I a single female so the warranty looked REAL good also.

    Any comments would be helpful. I'm looking to purchase within the next few days.

  • We're looking into trading in our '96 Accent sedan and are intrigued by the Santa Fe. I've heard some pretty poor reports about competitors (Escape/Tribute) and feel the other "Mini-SUV's" are underpowered (Honda CRV). Should we take advantage of our previous Hyundai ownership experience, or test the waters of the other makers?
  • mkim1mkim1 Posts: 8
    As an automotive engineer at Big Three, I was intrigued by the value Santa Fe represents, so I checked it out at a local dealership. VERY impressive. Almost identical to Lexus RX300 in size (bigger cargo room), this is a very tightly assembled vehicle. The body panel gap is tighter than the Lexus', showing Hyundai's production capability.

    The best bang for the buck is the Base GL FWD with 5-spd. You get goodies like A/C, Power Windows, & CD player, all for $16,934 MSRP. The 4-cyl. with Automatic feels underpowered, but with stick, it's pretty peppy since you can use all of 156 ib-ft. of torque at only 3000 rpm. The best part about this package is that it gives you 21/28 mpg (city/hwy) fuel economy, which is unheard of in SUV's.

    My girlfriend has a '99 Tiburon with 34,000 miles already, and no problems whatsoever. Good luck shopping!
  • When doing city driving at 35-40 mph, is it more fuel efficient to be in 3rd gear at a higher rpm or 4th gear at a lower rpm? Some vehicles have overdrive that you can turn on or off. The Santa Fe doesn't have that. How does that affect the shifting? Is is more fuel efficient to shift yourself so the rpm's are higher when you shift into each gear? Thanks for any insight!!
  • What kinds of deals are people getting on the Santa Fe? The dealer is trying to say that "people are paying sticker" because they are moving so fast!! I do not pay sticker but wondering what types of deals others are getting.
    GL, GLS or LX Thanks in advance.
  • mkim1mkim1 Posts: 8
    The best way to get the best fuel economy on ANY vehicle is to shift at as low RPM as possible without feeling sluggish. I consistently get higher MPG than the EPA highway estimates, since I shift between 1750 - 2000 RPM. My friends call me a grandma, but by doing this I can drive the vehicle very smoothly and save gas. Give it a try. You'll be amazed how much money you save.
  • I just test drove the Santa Fe V6, and was suprised at what a solid vehicle this was. I already have a 2000 Toyota Solara that I love, but get bored with cars fast. I was looking at Rav 4, but do notlike the 4 cylinder whining engine. Santa Fe seemsed to have good power, and a nice firm feel, but was a bit loud when accelerating. The dealer I went to woud not go below sticker, and this was the secon time this has happened to me with SUV's. Is everyone paying sticker these days??? Between Rav 4 and Santa Fe, I cant figure why the dealers wont budge below sticker, and seem to have the same cars sitting on their lots for several weeks. Anyone have a suggestion, as I do not believe in aying sticker for a car.
  • In the past two weeks I've looked at and test driven most of the midsize SUVs currently on the market, and I can honestly say that the one I am most impressed with is the Santa Fe. I have now test driven the GLS twice. I like everything about it--the fit and finish are great, the V6 engine has plenty of power for my driving style, the interior is very roomy and comfortable, and it offers more standard equipment than anything else I've looked at. I plan on buying a FWD GLS as it seems the best value to me, and AWD isn't something I want or need here in Omaha. As far as price negotiations, I haven't started that process yet but will let you all know what happens.

    I had such a negative impression of Hyundai until I saw and drove the Santa Fe, but now have no hesitation in buying one.
  • I have been told that the GLS I have ordered is in transit and should be on the dealer's lot in a few days. I hope the information is correct, but if so, I must admit that the dealership will be as good as its word. I paid sticker, although I worked to get the price down. Part of my effort was placed in getting the car I wanted w/o certain "extras" I didn't really want: ABS, and the $180 rood rack bars. It seems that my choices were limited to pay sticker now, or wait it out....and the wait for a much lower price on the Santa Fe will be a while. Besides, the negotiating room on the Santa Fe is much less than in other cars of this type. Even at sticker, the Santa Fe comes in at a better value (it seems to me) than a comparable Tribute/Escape bought near invoice. And I think the Hyundai will be less troublesome. More on this after I finally get the car.

    Thanks to all in this forum for sharing their views. It has been very helpful.
  • We took the second and final drive 70 miles west (to Joplin, MO) last night and picked up our new 2001 2WD Santa Fe LX V6 in Black Obsidian.... Let me describe it in 3 words... SWEET, SWEET, SWEET!!!

    It was very comfortable driving home (got back by 10:30pm)... All in all, I KNOW we made the right decision in choosing this vehicle... It is extremely well-made and all the parts fit very well! The CD player sounds much better than it looks with the six speaker system that comes standard in the LX... The seat warmers word very well (I got too hot and had to turn mine off).. My wife took it to work today as she will be its primary driver so I will report more this weekend when I have more time in it...

    You can't go wrong with this vehicle!!! The only bad experience I've had with it is the dealer I bought it from (like any other)... But now that we are done with the deal, I'm looking ahead...

    BTW, our insurance for six months full-coverage is $334.80 with no tickets or wrecks on our record (and with all the safety devices installed on the SF)... Not bad but I am going to try to get a better rate elsewhere...

  • jcgsojcgso Posts: 7
    Hi all,

    After following this board and the Tribute/Escape boards for some time and test driving all three, I think I'm going to go for the Santa Fe tonight. It seems to be the best vehicle for the money. The one thing I'd really like as an option would be a sunroof.
    I'm going to offer $500.00 over invoice for a LX/AWD with ABS. The dealer said he thought the manager would accept that offer for an order. We'll see about that.
    Anyway, I would really appreciate reports from some owners like adamjrae on pros/cons/mpg/problems, etc. Thanks too all.

  • rde2rde2 Posts: 7
    Had my santa fe for approx 1 month now. LX white,problems encounted to date...Broken door lock on glove box on first day,both hooks that hold down the floor mats have broken off into pieces by driver and passenger hitting them with their heels of their shoes while entering/exiting the vehicle and last complaint is the armrest center is too low and to small. Other then first years vehicle problems,nothing else to report. Had traded in a 98 Grand Gh Jeep ride is 100% better for santa fe
  • I was wondering if anyone in the Houston area has purchased a Santa Fe yet, and if so from which dealer. Did they try to sell above MSRP or not?

    I will be purchasing a Santa Fe, in the next 3 to 4 weeks so I am very interested to know. Counting down the last 980 miles on my 'ol 86 F150 to hit that 300K mark and trade her in.
  • Can somebody help me to understand "edmund's" description about V6 GL AWD?

    It says :in addition to GLS equipment (which is Front and rear colored bumpers;
    colored bodyside cladding; additional exterior lights include front fog/driving lights; driver's and passenger's
    power remote body-colored heated folding outside mirrors; 6 speakers; cruise control with steering wheel
    controls; power door locks, remote keyless entry; first aid kit; panic alarm, security system; fixed-interval rear
    wiper, rear window defroster; premium cloth seats, leather-wrapped gearshift knob; leather-wrapped steering
    wheel; cargo cover, cargo net; colored grille and body-colored door handles)it has Full-time AWD; front and rear
    body-colored bumpers; body-colored bodyside cladding; driver's and passenger's manual remote black folding
    outside mirrors; 4 speakers; cloth seats, leatherette door trim insert; body-colored grille and black door

    Is it my understanding or that what it is? And one more question to experts: Full time AWD means you cant switch to 2WD when you want? Your response will be very much apreciated.
  • I believe that Edmunds made a misprint. It should be "in addition to the GL". The stuff you mention is on the GLS but an option on the GL, and is listed as a 995 dollar option. AWD on the Santa Fe is front wheel drive but engages the rear wheels when the front wheels slip and it is full time. No switch to turn it on and off. hope this helps some.
  • Anyone had their santa Fe in the mud, snow etc. to see how it does?
  • Thank you,Schooner, very much. Your response helped. I want to make sure, like you said,rear wheels only engage when front slip only.I understand it: rears are not engaged while you are driving on normal road,without rain and slip. Or they are engaged all the time? Sorry for being pain in the neck,but it's important for me. Thank you.
  • Did somebody hear about these minivans? Are they going to be on American Market or it's Korean - European Markets only?I found them at If somebody has any information,please share it.Maybe these vehicles will come on American market next (2002) year?
  • Referring to that web page - it may not be able to open. If not - try

    Then find either "Showroom" or "RV"
  • correct... only front wheel drive unless they slip and the rear wheels kick in in a 60/40 front to rear split. Some AWD vehicles are AWD all the time, but not the Santa FE and not the Escape or Tribute either. But the Escape/ Tribute do have a switch to turn on 4wd.
  • Thanks a lot, now I got the idea.
  • Still considering purchasing a Santa Fe in the spring,however every article I seem to read has a different towing capacity rating! The pre-release brochure (Canada) I have, rates it at 3500 lbs, the new brochure rates it at 2200 lbs, and I've seem ratings as low as 1200 lbs (V6)on some sites, something about if you have abs or not(??????)
    My concern is that we own a 15.5 foot fibreglass bowrider, when loaded with our camping gear, probably weighs in close to this limit(2200 lbs). I'm really leaning towards the Santa Fe, but I'd hate to have to go to my second choice (Tribute) simply because the towing capacity is inadequate. The 'Fe already comes with a transmission fluid cooler, so adding that won't increase capacity. We currently own an MPV (V6) which has a towing package (4500 lb cap. tranny fluid cooler, larger fan, and air leveller shocks) which puts out 150 HP,I believe, and it pulls the boat no problem. Note that here in Canada, only the AWD version is available, and some people have told me that the FWD version would have a higher towing capacity. I still have not test driven one yet, as every time I pop in to the dealer, they have just sold the last one. Any thoughts?
  • I just got my Santa Fe GLS FWD yesterday. I was very pleased with the deal. It had a MSRP of $19,994 (included crossrails and carpeted floormats). The dealer had already added a paint protectant ($99) and pin striping ($49). I got the vehicle for $19,418. The three dealers in my area did not have the GLS FWD. In fact, I was told either that it does not come with the FWD or that I would have to order it from the factory and wait. So I used Autobytel and got a call from a Dealer that was about 70 miles away that had what I wanted on the lot. The dealer was Kerry of Florence (Kentucky).
  • I have been shopping for a Mini to Midsize SUV for the past few weeks -- yet my 'shopping' has only consisted of Internet research as well as reading the lastest Consumer Reports edition on '2001 New Car Previews'.

    So far I have considered the 2001 Toyota RAV4, Subauru Forester S, and just recently the Santa Fe. Never having owned a non-US made vehicle, I am skeptical of all three - but especially the Subaru and Hyundai. What adds to my worries is that living in Central WI, the nearest dealers of all three of these are between 20 - 35 miles away.

    But specifically, and contributing to my skepticism is HOW can the Hyundai be so inexpensive with all the equipment it has??? Apart of me says that Korea manufacurers (from TVs to Microwaves) has not been a hot-bed of quality, and everyone has heard the saying 'you get want you pay for'....

    So I ask for everyone's help. Convince me. How can Hyundai combine quality with low price?

    My thanks to all in advance...
  • This is what the Owners Manual for the 2001 2WD Santa Fe LX V6 says about towing:

    Do not do any towing with your car during it's first 1,200 miles (2,000 km) in order to allow the engine to properly break in. Fialure to heed this caution may result in serious engine or transaxle damage.

    -Keep the tongue load 10% of the total trailer load
    -Total Trailer Weight divided by Tongue Load x 100 = 10% (MAX)
    -Tongue loads can be increased or decreased by re-distibuting the load in the trailer. This can be verified by checking the total weight of the loaded trailer and then checking the load on the tongue.

    1. Never load the trailer with more weight in the back than the front. About 60% of the trailer load should be in the front half of the trailer and the remaining 40% in the rear.
    2. The total gross vehicle weight with trailer must not exceed the Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) shown on the vehicle identification plate. The total gross vehicle weight is the combined weight of the vehicle, driver, all passengers and their luggage, cargo, hitch, trailer tongue load and other optional equipment.
    3. The front or rear axle weight must not exceed the Gross Axle Weight Rating (GAWR) shown on the vehicle identification plate. It is possible that your towing package does not exceed the GVWR but exceeds the GAWR. Improper trailer loading and/or too much luggage in the cargo area can overload the rear axle. Redistribute the load and check the axle weight again.

    The following specifications are recommended when towing a trailer. The loaded trailer weight cannot safely excced the values shown below:
    1a. Engine -2.4(2WD) w/brake - Max Trailer=1200lbs Max Tongue=120lbs
    1b. Engine -2.7(2WD) w/brake - Max Trailer=2700lbs Max Tongue=270lbs
    2a. Engine -2.4(2WD) w/o brake - Max Trailer=1000lbs Max Tongue=100lbs
    2b. Engine -2.7(2WD) w/o brake - Max Trailer=1200lbs Max Tongue=120lbs
    2c. Engine -2.7(4WD) w/o brake - Max Trailer=1200lbs Max Tongue=120lbs
    3a. Engine -2.4(2WD) w/o brake+ABS - Max Trailer=1200lbs Max Tongue=120lbs
    3b. Engine -2.7(2WD) w/o brake+ABS - Max Trailer=1500lbs Max Tongue=150lbs
    3c. Engine -2.7(4WD) w/o brake+ABS - Max Trailer=1500lbs Max Tongue=150lbs

    Hope this helps you and everyone else!

  • Thanks for the info Mr Twix!
    While Mazda "HAS PUT THE S BACK IN SUV" it seems Hyundai has forgotton about it!!!!!!
    Where did the 2200 lbs rating in my brochure go to? Hyundai should of perhaps considered people who might buy this vehicle might be boaters or campers. I did a little research today, and calculatated that my boat, motor and trailer weigh in at about 1300 pounds. That's cutting it a little too close.Even the new LIGHTWEIGHT tent trailers today weigh about 1500-1700 lbs., so it seems that Hyundai has cut off a lot of potential customers, in my opinion. How can Mazda up their cap from 2000 to 3500 lbs with just the addition of an ENGINE OIL COOLER, when Hyundai can't even get a 2000 lbs rating. I don't expect to tow a huge house trailer, just a small boat and motor!!! Putting BRAKES on my boat trailer in not an option I would consider,it's only a 15.5 foot boat!!!!!!!
  • khjkhj Posts: 22
    I went to my dealer today to actually purchase or atleast put a deposit down on a Santa Fe. I actually thought I was getting a decent (fair) price being I was quoted $350 over invoice. I have been talking with this dealer since July/Aug. when I was looking into the Mazda Tribute until I saw the Santa Fe sitting in the showroom next door. She said the $579 Advertising Fee is what the dealer paid to purchase the car & I would have to pay it if I want the car. They also gave me a copy of the invoice showing this but I'm not quite so sure its official. For $579 I should get my own commercial! There are 2 columns - 1) MSRP - which doesn't include Adv. fee - as if it was already included in the suggested price & 2) the Dealer Cost column - which does include this price. If I was buying the Tribute - I was told this adv. fee is already included in the price & that's why you don't see it.

    Have any of you who have purchased been told or seen this advertising fee & how much was it?
  • Dealers can wave any piece of paper in front of you, but that doesn't make it so. Why does a dealer need to charge $579 to get a car? Don't they buy the car and resell it to you? I would simply say "no".If they want to sell you the car, they will drop that charge. If not, then walk away. Not to disparage Hyundai, but they do have a less than steller reputation for quality, and all first year model cars are prone to teething problems, so, if you have your heart set, you would be better off putting off the purchase of a Santa Fe, when dealers are less likely to stick you and when the car is likely to be better.
  • ffitzffitz Posts: 13
    In response to the skepticism by some (#342), it is a matter of economics that Hyundai can sell their vehicles with great content at a lower and dare I say "fair" price. They are doing what Toyota, Nissan (Back then Datsun), and others did when they first began really selling their vehicles here in the U.S. They can build them cheaper, so they can sell them cheaper. I have been to Korea while I was in the Air Force and there was a big difference between the dollar and the Korean currency (WON). This is the reason so many manufacturers are having their vehicles built in Mexico, and with vehicles being expensive to produce in Germany, Some (BMW & Mercedes) have turned to the U. S. in order to keep prices down on some of their models.

    I have looked at the Sante Fe and must say that it is quite a vehicle for the money. I have not driven one yet, but through the wisdom of learning the value of a dollar, reality takes precedent over wanting something with "prestige".I have sat in one and played with every feature. It was an LX w/leather. The switches do not feel cheap. The fan blower is quiet at full speed. Folding the rear seats is painless. Yet it still looks rugged. I too had my concerns w/resale value and reliabilty. But Hyndai is ranked near the top of the J.D. Power survey for customer satisfaction. Everyone who I have spoken with who has one is more than happy with it. As for resale value, it also equals supply and demand. I live in Alaska, and for what this vehicle is, and pretending not to be an all-out off roader also (as many do), it seems to be a solid entry. I have a brochure right next to me and I will be taking the plunge as soon as a couple of other priorities are taken care of. I cannot justify paying close to 30k for a vehicle when a vehicle at 22-23k will do the same, unless you are into what your neighbors will think. You cannot go wrong with Hyundai's 10 year-100,000 mile powertrain warranty;5 year 60,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty; 5 year roadside assistance (you never know when you may need it). Factor in those intangibles along with the gas mileage, and you can appreciate what you are getting for your money. I had an Isuzu Trooper and sold it last year. I was looking for something smaller that would still be versatile. In the Hyundai Sante Fe, I think that I have found it. Sorry for being so long winded. This is ny first post! Good Luck everyone.
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