Hyundai Santa Fe (2006 – 2012) Review

Hyundai Santa Fe (2006 – 2012) At A Glance


+Relaxed motorway cruising. Comfortable ride. Excellent on very rough tracks. Available with seven seats. Good value. Much improved from 2010 with new 2.2-litre diesel.

-2006 - 2009 five-speed manual has big gap between 2nd and 3rd gears. Plastics on early cars felt a little scratchy.

Insurance Groups are between 26–30
On average it achieves 84% of the official MPG figure

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


Real MPG average for a Hyundai Santa Fe (2006 – 2012)


Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance


Real MPG

16–44 mpg

MPGs submitted


Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.

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Ask Honest John

What's the best large SUV for £8000?

"What large SUV that can tow 2500kg has the best MPG? Budget of £8000 and looking for the best economy and best spec large SUV."
Any vehicle capable of towing 2500kg is going to require a relatively powerful engine, so they are never going to offer high levels of economy. However, we would suggest looking at the Hyundai Santa Fe or Kia Sorento with the 2.2-litre CRDi engine, as these models can tow up to 2500kg and are available within your budget.
Answered by David Ross

What's the best seven-seater with a large boot for £10,000?

"I want to buy a seven-seater car with a large boot. I have a budget of £10,000 but would like to spend less (if possible). I have shortlisted the Ford S-MAX, Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe. What car would you recommend? "
Between the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe for your budget we'd be going for the Santa Fe, because you'd be looking at a second-generation Sorento and a third-generation (2012 on) Santa Fe. As the third generation Sorento didn't arrive until 2015 the newer style of Santa Fe is a much more modern-looking and feeling car, with plenty of equipment and a decent driving experience. Having said that, unless you need the off-road ability the Ford S-Max is nicer to drive than both, with a more car-like feel and better quality interior.
Answered by Lawrence Allan

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.
Answered by Dan Powell

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.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Hyundai Santa Fe (2006 – 2012) cost?