Hyundai Santa Fe (2006 – 2012) At A Glance
At the risk of upsetting Ken Livingstone, between 1996 and 2005 the UK market for what he calls "4x4s" has grown by 1,310 per cent. Hyundai sells 9805 a year, which gives it a 6.9 per cent of this lucrative business. Between 2001 and 2005 Hyundai sold 17,462 of its Santa Fe model alone. This probably has less to do with the Santa Fe's off road ability than its on road ability to shrug off speed humps without damaging either itself or its occupants. The people who drive them are far from the "idiots" Ken brands them as. That description might be more appropriate to the people who ordered the installation of the road humps that inevitably led to this change in the type of vehicle so many people now drive.
Meanwhile Hyundai has not let the Santa Fe rest on its muscular haunches. Instead the company presents us with a bigger, better and altogether new Santa Fe; one that can comfortably seat the same seven people as the average 50 seater bus carries, or, alternatively, rids city streets of as many as six unnecessary single-occupant cars.
Instead of the original organic look, Hyundai has gone for clean lines and a soft, pedestrian-friendly front, retaining only the sensible, chunky rear door handle of the original and, less successfully, its 2.7 V6 engine with 4-speed automatic transmission.
Hyundai Santa Fe 2006 Road Test
Hyundai Santa Fe 2010 Road Test and Video
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Reviews for Hyundai Santa Fe (2006 – 2012)'s top 3 rivals
Ask Honest John
Does my 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe need a timing chain replacement?
"My Hyundai Santa Fe has 130,000 miles on it and I’ve read that the timing chain should be replaced after 100,000 miles. Is that right, or is it still safe to drive until noticing some symptoms? I guess a chain shows more noticeable symptoms compared to a belt?"
The timing chain is designed to last the life of the car. Unless the chain is showing signs of problems (rattling or causing the engine to stutter) it should be fine.
However, due to the age of the car, it'd be wise to have the chain checked at the next service.
Can you recommend a towing vehicle for a small budget?
"I want to buy an SUV which tows at least 2-tonnes, it must be auto and ideally have 4WD as well. I tow a horse trailer which has a 1600 kg MAM and travel about 250 miles per week to work. But I only have about £4000-6500 to spend. I have looked at the Kia Sorento (would be about a 2004-2006 model with 80,000-100,000 miles at this price), Hyundai Santa Fe (can find slightly newer than the Sorento), also Tiguan, Shogun (possibly a bit too much for what I need), Land Cruiser (same as Shogun, but a lot pricier). I have avoided anything Land Rover due to reliability issues I have read about. Are there any you would recommend for this purpose in this price bracket, any you'd strongly avoid, or any I may have not considered? Thank you."
You're certainly thinking along the right lines - we'd be avoiding Land Rovers at this price, too, and the Kia Sorento/Hyundai Sante Fe/Mitsubishi Shogun/Toyota Land Cruiser all sound like more sensible options. Have you considered a SsangYong Korando? They're very popular with the towing fraternity due to their two-tonne towing capacity. You should be able to find a fairly tidy 2012 model within budget. We'd also recommend a Honda CR-V. Certain models can tow up to 2000kg. It should be a very reliable choice, too.
What SUV would you recommend that can fit three young children in?
"We need to get a new car to accommodate a new child next year, which will give us three children under five. I'd really like an SUV (we live in the hills) but don't really want a seven seater. We probably have about £8k to spend or a £1.5k deposit plus max £200 a month. What would you recommend?"
I'd look for a Hyundai Santa Fe. Your budget will get you a late example of the 2006-2012 model. There's plenty of space but not as much as an MPV. As much as I understand your reluctance, you might find something like a Kia Carens suits family life better.
Are Hyundai liable to pay for a new engine on my 2011 Santa Fe?
"My 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe, 125,000 miles, recently suffered catastrophic engine failure. Around 18 months ago, a new engine was fitted under guarantee. The cost of a replacement engine is higher than the cost of the car. Is it normal for the part, which caused the damage, to fail within this time? The garage have told me that the original engine was replaced due to a head gasket leak. Upon removing the cylinder head they found the cylinder head and engine block had slight pitting. As this model cannot have the cylinder head or the engine block skimmed, it was authorised to replace both parts. The failed part on this occasion is the engine oil cooler. It appears the internal seal has blown, allowing the oil to be pumped straight into the coolant system creating complete oil loss and filling the coolant and heating systems with oil. This was an original part that was transferred from the original engine along with all other auxiliary parts, 31,000 miles ago. This caused the engine to run without sufficient lubrication causing crankshaft and camshaft damage and all bearings related. In addition, the engine got very hot possibly causing damage to other components. Do you think I might have a case against Hyundai? I would have expected the engine oil cooler to last a lot longer than 125,000 miles."
This will all be documented in the Santa Fe and Kia Sorento car by car entries where it may help anyone else with the same vehicles. You will not have a case against Hyundai after 125,000 miles though.