Hyundai Santa Fe Years To Avoid

Hyundai Santa Fe Years To Avoid – Which Ones Are Worst?

Are you looking to purchase a used Hyundai Santa Fe and you are looking for the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid? Well, if that is the case, then you are at the right place because there will be quite a lot to cover on this topic and we are going to elaborate on everything in great detail.

Doing your own research before you decide to spend a ton of money on a new or used car should be one of your top priorities. Why we are saying this? Well, because it is true. You just need to be very vigilant when trying to purchase a used or a new car. Cars have gone up with prices lately and each purchase can get rather expensive if you are not aware of what you are getting yourself into.

There are repairs that can cost hundreds or even thousands of dollars if you don’t choose right. So, you understand why research is key if you want to save some money in the long run. This is why you need to learn all the possible problems with each generation and be aware of them before you buy. And this is why we are here to help you out.

First, we are going to learn what is the Hyundai Santa Fe and learn about this model in general. Then we are going to discuss all four generations of the Santa Fe and we will learn some of the specs, common problems, best years, and the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

Hyundai Santa Fe

Now before we dive into more complex topics like the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid, let’s take a look at what the Santa Fe is in general. I bet that there are a lot of confused people that are not already familiarized with this model. So, this would be a nice introduction for them.

Nevertheless, the Santa Fe in general is a sport utility vehicle or SUV as most people refer to them. This model was one of the first vehicles in this segment of compact crossover SUVs that entered the market in the early 00s.

Hyundai Santa Fe Years To Avoid

This vehicle as of today was released in four different generations in total and there are a lot of these cars on the streets. So, you should never be afraid to get one in terms of parts and other maintenance factors because you can easily maintain them in any Hyundai dealership.

The important thing to note is that from 2000 to 2005 this model was a compact crossover SUV. But After the second generation was released, the model became bigger with a long wheelbase and fell under the mid-size SUV class. This is still the case today.

The Santa Fe is placed between the Tucson and the bigger Palisade model. So, if you are looking for something smaller or bigger than the Santa Fe, these two models might be it. But what about the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid? More on that, we are going to cover it in a bit.

Hyundai Santa Fe Generations

Now let’s move on and start discussing more about the generation of the Hyundai Santa Fe. As we mentioned previously, there are four generations in total.

In the following chapters, we are going to cover some of their specs, common problems, reliability, best years, and also the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid. So, if you want to learn more, follow along.

First Generation Hyundai Santa Fe (2001 – 2006)

The first generation of the Santa Fe debuted in 2000 and 2001 was the first model year of this new generation. This model was produced until 2006 for the US market. But in some parts of the world like China, it was produced to 2016.

This model was Hyundai’s take on the compact crossover SUV segment. And fought in this segment against the Honda CR-V along with other legendary models.

The first generation had a wheelbase of 103.1 inches and an overall length of 177.2 inches. The curb weight of the model ranges between 3,393 and 4,012lbs depending on the engines and transmissions used in the specific model.

In terms of trim levels, there was the GL which was the base model, the GLS, and the GLX. But what about the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Engines & Transmissions

In terms of engines, there were two options. A 2.4L inline-4 engine that produced 149hp and 156lb-ft of torque. And a 2.7L V6 that produced 181hp and 177lb-ft of torque.

In terms of transmissions, there were two. A 5-speed manual and a 4-speed automatic.

Fuel Economy

The fuel economy of this model was rather good. The 2.4L got 18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined. The 2.7L got 17 mpg in the city, 24 mpg on the highway, and 20 mpg combined. But what about the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Safety

In terms of safety, we can say that this model performed rather well. On the IIHS crash safety tests, it got Good scores on most of the tests. Still, when it comes to the seats, the model was lacking and this ruined the overall grade by a small margin.

Problems With Hyundai Santa Fe

In terms of problems, this generation of the Santa Fe didn’t suffer quite a lot. Not that there have not been problems. But no major issues whatsoever.

The biggest issues were with the fuel system and the car simply hesitated when it came to delivering fuel. Also, some owners reported issues when it came to the car’s inability to start after refueling the fuel tank. This problem was reportedly due to a bad fuel pressure control valve.

Another problem reported that is worth noting is the paint peeling off. This problem is fairly common in cars from this era. There were also other minor issues. But overall, this generation has the least reports. You can find more details on these issues on carcomplaints.com. But what about the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Hyundai Santa Fe Reliability

The overall reliability of the first generation of the Santa Fe is rather good. This problem does not have any major issues whatsoever.

So, we can definitely recommend it to you. The only drawback concerning it might be its age. This model is 20 years old and these vehicles are pretty worn out. But this is rather expected. But what about the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid? More on that in a bit

Best Hyundai Santa Fe Year

When it comes to the best year of the Hyundai Santa Fe, we would recommend the most recent one. Namely, the 2006 model.

Hyundai Santa Fe Years To Avoid

When it comes to the Hyundai Santa Fe years, to avoid, we would definitely recommend avoiding the 2001 model year. Mainly because the first model years are overall more problematic than others.

Second Generation Hyundai Santa Fe (2007 – 2012)

The second model debuted in 2006 and the first model year was 2007. This model stayed in production until 2012 when it was replaced by the third generation. This model was assembled at the factory in Montgomery, Alabama.

This model shares the same platform as the Sonata. This generation of the Santa Fe grew in size and from this generation belonged to the mid-size SUV class.

The dimensions of this model are 10.6.3 inches in wheelbase and 184.1 inches when it comes to overall length. The curb weight is about 4,200lbs. But what about the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid? More on that we will cover in a bit.

Engines & Transmissions

In terms of engines, this model keeps the same 2.7L V6 engine as the previous generation. This engine produces 185hp and 183lb-ft of torque.

There is a new engine starting this generation and this is a 3.3L V6 that is producing 242hp and 226lb-ft of torque.

The transmissions used in this model are the 5-speed manual and 5-speed automatic. But what about the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Fuel Economy

The fuel economy of this generation is good. The 2.7L engine gets 17 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway, and a combined fuel economy of 19 mpg.

The bigger 3.3L engine also performs similarly and gets 19 mpg combined.

Safety

The new generation of the model was tested by the IIHS and on most of their tests got Good scores and performed really well. The 2007 model also got the Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS. But what about the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Problems With Hyundai Santa Fe

This generation also has problems with the fuel system and quite often there are problems with the gauge not reading correctly and the check engine light. As well as the difficulty of starting the engine after filling it up to the filler neck. This was probably due to a bad fuel sensor or a fuel pressure regulator.

The new 3.3L engine had issues with the valve cover gasket leaking oil. But this is no big issue since this can be fixed easily. But what can do is the oil can leak on the alternator and foul the alternator in the process. So, detecting this leak on time is really important.

There was also a problem with misfires, specifically, ignition coil number 5 was rather problematic.

Hyundai Santa Fe Reliability

Overall, except for the valve cover gasket leaking on the alternator and the problems when fueling, the model is quite good and reliable.

Best Hyundai Santa Fe Year

When it comes to the best year for this model, we would recommend getting the 2010 and 2011 model years. These model years have the least complaints of all other production years.

Hyundai Santa Fe Years To Avoid

When it comes to the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid, we would recommend avoiding 2007, 2008, and 2009. These model years have the most complaints of all other production years.

Third Generation Hyundai Santa Fe (2013 – 2018)

The third generation of the Santa Fe debuted in 2012 and 2013 was the first production year of this model. This model was in production until 2018 when it was replaced with the new generation.

This new model was a completely new clean sheet design that still looks quite modern, even though it was introduced in 2012.

The third generation of the model came with a short wheelbase and a long wheelbase. The short wheelbase was 106.3 inches while the long was 110.2 inches. The overall length for the short was 185 inches and for the long wheelbase, it was 110.2 inches. But what about the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Engines & Transmissions

This new model came with the new Theta engines. The smallest engine was the 2.0L turbo which produced 264hp and 269lb-ft of torque. The next was the 2.4L naturally aspirated that produced 190hp. And the last was the 3.3L V6 which produced 290hp and 252lb-ft of torque.

The only transmission available was the 6-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel Economy

The fuel economy on the 3.3L was good. It got 18 mpg in the city, 25 mpg on the highway, and 21 mpg combined. The 2.4L performed a bit better. It got 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. With 22 mpg combined. The 2.0L also performed well, with 20 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and 23 mpg combined. But what about the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Safety

The Santa Fe of 2013 also performed well on the IIHS tests. It got a top safety pick award in a similar fashion as the previous generation. Even though, the structure of the cage this time was put to the test and failed. So, it is not quite the best.

Problems With Hyundai Santa Fe

When it comes to the Santa Fe problems, we can say that the Theta engines were not particularly good. Both of them, the 2.0L Turbo and the 2.4L were prone to failure. The rod bearings spun and the engine failed in most cases.

There were also issues with the steering and many owners reported that the vehicle simply loves to wander. This is also a potentially dangerous situation.

In some cases, the seat will come loose and move on the tracks forward and backward. But what about the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid? More on that we will cover in a bit.

Hyundai Santa Fe Reliability

When it comes to the overall reliability of this model we cannot say that the vehicles are particularly good. Especially with the 2.0L and 2.4L engines.

Both of these engines are prone to catastrophic engine failures. So, keep this in mind.

Best Hyundai Santa Fe Year

When it comes to the best model years of this generation, we would definitely recommend something newer like a 2017 or 2018 model. These are the least prone to engine failures. But what about the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid? More on that we are going to cover next.

Hyundai Santa Fe Years To Avoid

When it comes to the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid, we should recommend that you should avoid the 2013, 2014, and 2015 model years. Mainly because of the catastrophic engine failures of their engines. So, if you don’t want to pay thousands of dollars on engine replacements, go for a newer model year and avoid the earlier ones. Now let’s move on to the next generation.

Fourth Generation Hyundai Santa Fe (2019 – Present)

The fourth generation of the Santa Fe debuted in 2018 and 2019 was the first model year. This model is still in production as of 2022. the chances of going away are really less likely.

This new model is based on two different platforms. One before the facelift is known as Y6 and the new platform after the facelift in 2020 is known as N3. These platforms are shared between Kia and Hyundai. So, the Kia Sorento is basically a mirror image of the Santa Fe but in different packaging.

Hyundai Santa Fe Years To Avoid

These new models implement a ton of different tech inside and basically offer more than other vehicles in their class for the least money. In other words, the Santa Fe is an excellent value for your hard-earned dollar.

Nevertheless, the wheelbase of the Santa Fe is 108.9 inches and the overall length is 187.8 inches. The weight ranges from 3,704 to 4,398lbs depending on the engine. But what about the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid? More on that we are going to cover in a bit.

Engines & Transmissions

The new Santa Fe came with the 2.4L inline-4 engine making 185hp and 178lb-ft of torque. And the 2.0L turbo inline-4 makes 235hp and 260lb-ft of torque. But as of 2021, there is only one engine. And that is the 2.5L inline-4 engine that is producing 191hp and 181lb-ft of torque.

Fuel Economy

The fuel economy on the 2.5L is excellent, it easily gets 25 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway, and 26 mpg combined.

Safety

The safety aspect is also improved in comparison to the previous generation of the Santa Fe. And the 2021 model got the Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS.

Problems With Hyundai Santa Fe

This generation also has some of the known problems with the Theta engines. So, you can expect that, even though to a much lesser extent.

Other problems that were reported were with the windshield wipers. They performed rather poorly and scratched the windshield.

What is interesting is that there were 5 reports on carcomplaints.com for the 2021 model concerning the transmission and 3 of them indicated transmission failure. But what about the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Hyundai Santa Fe Reliability

When it comes to the overall reliability of this model, we can say that it is rather good. Much better in comparison to the previous generation based on the information that we can find on carcomplaints.com. But what about the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid? More on that in a bit.

Best Hyundai Santa Fe Year

When it comes to the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid, we would definitely advise that you go for a 2020 model or a 2021 model. These vehicles are still under warranty and if you have any issues, they will probably going to sort them out.

Hyundai Santa Fe Years To Avoid

When it comes to the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid, avoid the 2019 model. Mainly because it is the first production year, and as we all know, these first years have more problems.

Conclusion

In this article, we have covered quite a bit when it comes to the Hyundai Santa Fe. First, we learned what this model is all about and the core concepts of the Santa Fe.

Then we covered the last four generations. We learned their basic specs, common problems, best years, reliability, and also the Hyundai Santa Fe years to avoid.

F.A.Qs

Now let’s answer some frequently asked questions.

Is A Hyundai Santa Fe A Good Car

Yes, the Santa Fe is relatively a good car. Especially the first generation was really bulletproof. The only drawbacks of the Santa Fe are the Theta engines that were rather problematic. Except for that, a pretty good SUV.

Are Hyundai Santa Fe Reliable

The reliability aspect really depends on the model. Avoiding the Theta engines, or at least the first generation might be a great idea. Namely, this will guarantee that you avoid some hurdles that these engines are prone to.

How Much Is A Hyundai Santa Fe

The base MSRP for the Santa Fe is $28,500. But remember that this is the MSRP, and after options and other fees that you will have to pay, the price can go up for a few grand.

Is The Santa Fe Bigger Than The Tucson

Yes, the Santa Fe is placed above the Tucson and below the Palisade. This means that the Santa Fe is somewhere in between in terms of size.

What Is The Best Hyundai SUV

My personal favorite is the Santa Fe. Mainly because the Santa Fe is roomy enough for almost anything. If you need something smaller, the Tucson will be a perfect candidate since this SUV is one of the best in the game when it comes to looks and fuel economy.

Which Hyundai Santa Fe Is The Best

The first generation produced between 2001 and 2007 is probably the best with the least problems reported on it. Even though the second and fourth generations are also good. The third generation is somewhat problematic with the notorious Theta engines. Avoid these engines and you will probably be good, or go for a later production year.

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