Opinions Needed: '04 2.7L 4WD vs. '05 3.5L FWD

motaybamotayba Member Posts: 2
edited August 2014 in Hyundai
Hey folks—
First post here. It's great to see how many of you all love your Santa Fe's. After doing a good bit of research, it seems like just about the best value you can get for a SUV. So I've been shopping, and I'm about to test drive two models, priced very similarly:

2004 GLS 2.7L 4WD @ 81K mi.
2005 GLS 3.5L FWD @ 85K mi. (with Traction Control System)

Of course I wish I could find a 4WD with the larger 3.5L engine, but then that would cost more. These are listed only a few dollars apart, just under $8,000.

I live in the Pacific Northwest and would like to hit the dirt roads to explore a bit for hiking and photography, but the car will mostly be used for my commute/city driving.

Would love to hear what people think: all other things being equal, which would you choose?

Thanks in advance!


  • dvancleavedvancleave Member Posts: 12
    For what it's worth, I have owned a 2002 Santa Fe 2.7L AWD and a 2006 Santa Fe 3.5L AWD. Both were bought new. I loved my 2002 and opted to replace it with the 2006 only because I got a REALLY sweet deal to trade. They were pretty much the same except for a few minor differences such as seat fabric. But I'm sure that you are more interested in the powertrain and performance. The 3.5L definitely beats the 2.7L in power with the AWD option. Unfortunately the 3.5L is also very thirsty too. I was able to average 25+ MPG combined on roadtrips with my 2.7L. But my 3.5L could only manage 20 MPG combined on the same trips. Of course the colder days of winter took their toll on those numbers for both vehicles. But the 3.5L dropped down to just 15-16 MPG!!! I had hoped that the 5-speed A/T and electronic AWD system on the 3.5L would help more than it did. After all the 2.7L had a 4-speed A/T and mechanical AWD system. But the numbers didn't lie. I wish I could have said the same for the sales person who told me that I'd only see 1-2 MPG difference.

    Overall, I loved both vehicles. My 2002 I traded only because I got a sweet deal on the 2006. But ultimately the horrible gas mileage got the better of me with my 2006 and I sold it. I had it for almost 4 years and it only had 25,400 miles when I sold it. Both were excellent SUV's and I highly praise them. And I am one who loves the style of the 2001-2006 body too. My only gripe is the gas mileage on the 3.5L. Oh, the AWD on either sure comes in handy if you drive on snow.

    P.S. The FWD versions of both seem to have a lot more pep off the line. My mom still has a 2006 Santa Fe 2.7L FWD and she loves hers! I've driven it and was surprised at how peepy the 2.7L seemed.
  • somedai1somedai1 Member Posts: 416
    i'm partial to AWD and 4WD myself - just love the idea of being able to get up and go without shoveling when it snows - go anywhere as I need to without worrying about getting stuck. I remember one year when cops were stopping people and detouring them if they didn't have 4wd or AWD to get thru some area hit by bad weather! And this is just NJ! They just give peace of mind in bad weather- if I had to choose - and could only have one - I would always go with AWD or 4WD - pays for itself everytime you see someone stuck!
  • motaybamotayba Member Posts: 2
    Thanks to you both for your posts!

    Turns out neither of those cars worked out for me once I saw them in person. The 2004 2.7L 4WD had body damage that was conveniently not shown in the autotrader.com photos, and a rear door that wouldn't open. Didn't even give it a test drive.

    I came close to buying the 2005 3.5L FWD. Really enjoyed the drive, but there were some issues which the dealer at one point agreed to address, and then reneged on when I was about to write the check. Then he has the nerve to say that someone else is interested in the car and willing to buy it as is. Called that bluff and walked out the door. Anyway, I'm still looking for a Santa Fe. Enjoyed my time with the car (but not the dealer!).

    Thanks again for your thoughts. Will keep them in mind as I keep shopping.
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