Hyundai Santa Fe (2001 – 2006) Review

Hyundai Santa Fe (2001 – 2006) At A Glance


+Pleasant, relaxing drive. Kitted out generously. V6 makes a good sound. A lot of 4x4 for the money.

-A RAV4, CR-V and Freelander all drive better. The styling is an acquired taste. Diesel auto is a sluggish combination. Awful stereo.

"Organic" is the best word to describe it: a bit like H. Gigor's sets for the original Alien movie. Pop the bonnet and you half expect something with a lot of teeth to jump down your throat. Instead, you find a transverse V6, like the one in the Lexus RX300.

Hyundai prefers to call it "muscular". And that's how the 2.7 V6 sounds when you fire it up. You feel like you're in a big Surrey School Run SUV, yet you only forked out £17,995 for it, brand new with a five year warranty.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2004 Road Test

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Ask Honest John

Faulty Hyundai Santa Fe who's liable for the repair costs?

"An elderly friend of mine has bought a 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe. He paid £2800 about a month ago and lives a long way from the dealer as it was the only car that matched his budget. He thought the handbrake was faulty so took it to his local Hyundai dealer. They have said that the driveshafts need to be removed to get to the discs, but they cannot remove them as they have rusted on. They have had the car for over a week and now want him to pay £900 labour charge for their attempts to repair - the car cannot be driven and would need to be trailered away. Or, for £1800 they will replace the driveshafts and fix the handbrake. Where does he stand please? "
He should not have commissioned the work with his local Hyundai dealer. That was his mistake. He should have contacted the dealer who sold him the car who would have been liable for any serious fault that pre-existed the purchase, and could have refunded the purchase price, but is not liable for the expensive work that your friend commissioned. Faults like this are anyway to be expected on a 13 year old vehicle.
Answered by Honest John

Black smoke from a Hyundai Santa Fe

"For a couple of months now, I've had an intermittent problem with black smoke from the exhaust coupled with a reduction in power. Recently it's become less intermittent. Motorway driving is fine as even with the problem happening, I can gradually get the car up to 60mph, put it in cruise control and gently get home. However come off the motorway and try to get up and down steeper hills and it really struggles. My local garage (here in France, and not a Hyundai dealer), did a diagnostic test and identified a "problem" with the Air Mass Sensor - so we replaced it. All was well for a couple of weeks then the problem came back. Garage said new diagnostics test showed "No Faults". They suggested perhaps a problem with dirt in the fuel (diesel, by the way). This weekend, I changed the air filter and the fuel filter under the bonnet and, although I did a 100 mile round trip on the motorway yesterday with no problem, today the problem has reared its ugly head once again. Unfortunately my local garage are closed for hols at the moment so I'd be grateful for any thoughts."
With a diesel, black smoke and lack of power usually means that the turbo oil seals are failing because the turbo is getting too hot because the oil feed pipe to the turbo bearing and the oil return pip back to the block are choked with carbon. The other reason with an old engine, of course, could be failing valve stem oil seals.
Answered by Honest John

Hyundai Santa Fe engine failure - what are my rights?

"In May 2011 I bought a 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.2 automatic. I have kept up the maintenance schedule and driven it carefully, with 94,000 miles on the clock. I had the cam belt replaced at 60,000 miles, even though it didn't need it for peace of mind. However, last week, I was driving along the motorway when the oil pressure light came on and it started sounding very rough. I pulled off at the next junction (about two miles), turned off the engine and called out the RAC. I have just been told by the garage that I need a replacement engine. Would I have any recourse with Hyundai for this as I cannot afford a replacement car or a new engine and I cannot see any reason why this would happen to such a low mileage and well maintained car. I appreciate it is almost nine years old but I really wasn't expecting this from what is supposed to be a reliable manufacturer."
No, the car is more than 6 years old so you have no rights against anyone except, perhaps, the servicing garage. Oil pressure light and tappety noise reads like either the oil pump failed or the oil strainer became so clogged up that oil could not be pumped around the engine. If that was the reason then the cause was probably siphoning the old oil out at oil changes instead of draining it via the sump plug. I have heard of one case where engine failure was caused by carbon build up, but that does not fit your description.
Answered by Honest John

Car cuts out when towing a caravan

"When towing my caravan, the engine in my 2005 Hyundai Sant Fe cuts out tackling steep hills or pausing at a roundabout. The car will restart after 30 seconds and run fine. My local garage has found some fault codes and the first was: ECM fault P1181. They changed the fuel filter and the crankshaft sensor, but the fault continues. Do you have any ideas?"
Probably overheating. Either the engine or the transmission fluid.
Answered by Alan Ross
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