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The Hyundai Santa Fe is known for being a decent option in the midsize SUV segment that has a solid balance of features, but it’s not a perfect car by any means. Just like with most other cars, the Santa Fe has its share of maintenance issues, and that’s especially true for a few model years. Here’s a look at the four worst Hyundai Santa Fe model years based on what their owners had to say about them.

2011 Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs sitting on a dealership lot.
2011 Hyundai Santa Fe | Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

1. 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe

The 2011 version of the Santa Fe had many problems, especially in regard to its engine, according to CarComplaints. Those engine problems were reported both by owners on the site, as well as by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). The most common engine-related maintenance issue had to do with the car stalling.

Owners reported that this happened to them when the car had about 54,000 miles on its odometer. The car can stall at seemingly random times, and owners were unsure of why this was happening to them.

As a result, there’s no consensus on how much it’d cost to fix this issue. Drivers rated this problem as “pretty bad”, and many were afraid of driving their Santa Fe. 

2. 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe

Despite being a year younger than the 2011 version of the Hyundai SUV, the 2012 model year actually had significantly more reported problems from owners on the site. On top of that, the main problem area was, once again, the engine. Owners on the site as well as the NHTSA agreed that this was where the SUV’s most common problems occurred. 

Many drivers reported that their 2012 Santa Fe would randomly stall, just like the prior model year did. However, the SUV’s most common problem was that its engine would fail. This happened after drivers had about 91,000 miles on their odometer, and the only solution was to simply replace the engine.

Owners said that they had to pay about $5,000 to do that. Overall, CarComplaints wrote that the 2012 model year was the car’s worst model year.

3. 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe

The South Korean auto giant redesigned the Santa Fe, and the SUV’s third generation debuted with the 2013 model year. Unfortunately though, the 2013 version of the SUV had even more reported problems than the 2012 or 2011 versions did.

Since the midsize SUV was redesigned, its problems were more spread out. Owners reported numerous problems with the accessories, the HVAC system, the steering, and more.

Once again though, the most common problem according to owners and the NHTSA was related to the engine. Few owners reported the engine stalling, but the engine was still prone to fail. This happened at an average mileage of about 89,000 miles, and replacing the engine was the most common solution. That came at an average cost of about $3,700.

4. 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe

The 2014 version of the South Korean SUV did better, as it had fewer complaints than the 2013 version did. Once again, however, this version of the Santa Fe still had to deal with engine issues. There were two main engine problems that the SUV dealt with, and the most common problem was that the engine would randomly stall. 

That happened at about 60,000 miles, and just like with the prior model years, owners weren’t sure about why the car was doing that. As such, they weren’t sure about how to fix it. The second common engine issue was that the engine would blow at about 62,000 miles. This was fixed by replacing the engine, and that cost an average of $7,500.


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