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2023 Hyundai Santa Fe on a dirt trail - The most reliable Hyundai Santa Fe has high reliability ratings

Hyundai’s Most Reliable Car Is Also 1 of Its Oldest

Once known for producing unreliable cars, Hyundai has successfully transformed its reputation, becoming a highly regarded automaker. Surprisingly, one of its oldest models now stands as the most reliable Hyundai in the lineup.

Hyundai is one of the best-regarded car brands, but that wasn’t always the case. Not long ago, the South Korean automaker had a reputation for making low-quality, unreliable cars. The company has since turned that reputation around and become a popular automaker. And one of its oldest vehicles is now the most reliable Hyundai model.

What is the most reliable Hyundai model?

iSeeCars analyzes vehicle data, including reliability scores, and overall, Hyundai’s lineup is highly reliable.

Of the 10 Hyundai models receiving reliability scores, the worst performer is the Ioniq Hybrid. It has a 5.9 out of 10, which still ranks it in the middle of the pack of hybrids. Then there’s the Elantra GT, with a 7.1. That ranks it 21st among 51 small cars.

After that is the Ioniq PHEV, with a 7.2, making it the most reliable plug-in hybrid sedan. Meanwhile, the Veloster sports car has a 7.5 out of 10, and the Accent and Elantra have a 7.7. Similarly, the Ioniq EV and the Sonata Hybrid earned a 7.9. That makes the Ioniq EV the most reliable small EV and the Sonata Hybrid the third-most reliable hybrid sedan. The regular Sonata sits in second place with a reliability score of 8.1. It’s the eighth-most reliable midsize sedan.

Finally, there’s the Hyundai Santa Fe. The midsize SUV received an 8.5. That score is in the top three of its segment, making the Santa Fe the most reliable Hyundai model. 

Why is the Santa Fe the most reliable Hyundai model?

The Hyundai Santa Fe’s high reliability isn’t too surprising. The South Korean automaker has been producing this midsize crossover since the 2001 Santa Fe rolled off the assembly line. Since then, the company has redesigned the SUV four times, and it’s currently in its fourth generation. 

That lengthy history has allowed the automaker’s engineers and designers to refine the vehicle and fix its issues. That’s a significant reason why the Santa Fe rates well in reliability.

On the other end of the spectrum, Hyundai has several new models. Though many didn’t receive reliability ratings from iSeeCars, the Hyundai Ioniq’s poor reliability score isn’t a shock. 

The Ioniq is relatively young, and issues plagued the debut 2017 model. However, the Ioniq EV received a good score, likely because electric cars are typically more reliable than their gas-powered counterparts. But overall, new models tend to have reliability issues because they haven’t been tested as long in the real world as older vehicles.

The automaker has had many years to improve its oldest models

The 2023 Santa Fe isn’t the only old Hyundai model with an excellent reliability score. Second place on the iSeeCars list went to the Sonata, an even older model than the Santa Fe. The South Korean auto giant began producing that midsize sedan in 1985. The Elantra and Accent are also old cars, starting production in 1990 and 1994, respectively.

Those reliable Hyundai models are more evidence that vehicles in production longer tend to improve in quality and dependability. They’re old models because consumers like them enough to continue buying them throughout the years. That encourages automakers to refine those cars and resolve owner complaints.


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