Hyundai Santa Fe: The Most Common Complaints Shouldn’t Stop You From Buying

Drivers are looking for good value, lots of standard features, and the versatility of an SUV like the Hyundai Santa Fe. It’s a vehicle that has impressed reviewers in 2020, but models in the past have received some complaints from their owners. What are the most common complaints? Are things up to par in the newer models of the Hyundai Santa Fe?

A troublesome engine problem in the Santa Fe

Unfortunately for this Hyundai, the Santa Fe had a far-reaching problem with just about every one of its engines. Additionally, this wasn’t just a minor problem, it was one that could cause the vehicle to simply stop on the road in the middle of driving – an incredibly dangerous situation. The problem spanned every year the Hyundai Santa Fe was made up until 2017. 2018, 2019, and 2020 Santa Fe models are free from the problem. 

The issue is the failure of the crankshaft position sensor, which can cause an array of different problems. Sometimes the Santa Fe wouldn’t start. Other times it would die in the middle of the road and then restart after sitting for a while. Other drivers experienced lurching, or the vehicle deciding not to go over 10 miles per hour. 

The crankshaft position sensor failure affected quite a few engines in the Santa Fe lineup, including Hyundai’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder, 2.4-liter four-cylinder turbo, 2.7-liter V6, 3.3-liter V6, and 3.5-liter V6 engines. The problem occurred at an average mileage of 103,710 miles. 

Transmission stutter

Another problem some drivers encountered was a stutter in the transmission. This was reported in Hyundai Santa Fe years 2001 through 2014 with automatic transmissions. Both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive models were affected. Drivers said that the vehicle would shutter when changing from second to third gear and that it jerked as if it didn’t know what gear to go into.

Most drivers said this happened when they were first driving the vehicle and not once it had warmed up. Others complained that the Santa Fe jerked when changing from “park” to “drive.” 

No complaints about the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

When CarFax test-drove the 2020 Santa Fe Limited, they had a lot of nice things to say. They reported a smooth transmission, high quality and comfort, and a nice quiet interior. Reviewers are impressed with the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe’s amenities, including wireless smartphone charging, heated front and rear seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and a heated steering wheel. The Limited trim also adds a full-color heads-up display, so you never have to remove your eyes from the road. 

The 2020 Santa Fe is a good-looking SUV with 5 different trims to choose from – SE, SEL, SEL 2.0T, Limited, and Limited 2.0T. Driver-assist features abound, with blind-spot collision avoidance, lane-keeping assist, high beam assist, driver attention warning, smart cruise control with stop and go, rear cross-traffic avoidance assist, and ultrasonic rear occupant alert all standard as part of Hyundai Safety Sense. 

The Hyundai Santa Fe’s awards and accolades

The 2020 Santa Fe has earned several awards that prove it’s one to look at. These include Kelley Blue Book’s “5-Year Lowest Cost to Own” award and U.S. News and World Report’s “Best 2-Row SUV For the Money,” and it’s a 2020 IIHS Top Safety Pick. 

Even considering the crankshaft position sensor issue and the transmission stuttering in early models, the new 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe is a good bet. Driver-assist features, solid engine choices, and an affordable price tag will keep the Santa Fe competitive with other small SUVs in its class.