Trucks & SUVs

Is the Hyundai Santa Fe a Good Used SUV?

There are a lot of options that open up when you want to buy a used car. Not only can you buy past model years of cars that you like, but you can also buy models that aren’t produced anymore. Here’s everything you need to know before buying a used Hyundai Santa Fe.

What’s typical in a Hyundai Santa Fe

While there are many model years of the Santa Fe to choose from, buyers can expect a couple of things to remain relatively constant throughout the years. For one, the Santa Fe has continued to be an SUV ever since it was introduced.

This means that Hyundai has designed each and every Santa Fe with traits that can be found in any other SUV. Some of these traits include things like spaciousness and sportiness.

For example, in terms of seating, most Santa Fe model years only offer seating for five people. However, since the third generation of the Santa Fe, which was produced between 2012 to 2017, Hyundai started offering Santa Fe trims that had third-row seats.

This increased the passenger capacity of the Santa Fe to seven people. However, Hyundai has since introduced the Palisade, which will replace the Santa Fe trims with third-row seating.

When it comes to sportiness and power, the Santa Fe has of course gotten more powerful with time. That said, it’s never been the most powerful SUV on the market, so no model years of the Santa Fe boast too much power.

This is the same story for its price. Consumer Reports says that the average Santa Fe can retail at $2,400 for its 2001 model year up to $32,000 for the 2019 model year.

Which Santa Fe model years are bad?

Even the best cars from the best carmakers can have a bad model year or two, and the Santa Fe isn’t an exception. While Consumer Reports says that most model years of the Santa Fe had average or good ratings for reliability and owner satisfaction, a couple of model years stick out as being worse than the rest. 

These model years were the 2013 model year, the 2010 model year, and the 2005 model year of the Santa Fe. The 2013 model year was the first model year of the third generation of the Santa Fe, so it had some problems that Hyundai needed to iron out. As a result, Consumer Reports gave it a 1 out of 5 for reliability and 2 out of 5 for owner satisfaction. 

The 2010 and 2005 model years were simply problematic model years. Consumer Reports says that the 2010 Santa Fe had a 2 out of 5 for reliability and 1 out of 5 for owner satisfaction. The 2005 Santa Fe scored 1 out of 5 in both areas. 

Car Complaints says similar things. Those three model years were problematic, but the worst year was the 2012 Santa Fe. The most common problem was that the Santa Fe’s engine would fail, and obviously, that would cost a lot to fix.

The average price for that was over $5,000. That said, the 2007, 2008 and 2009 model years also had an issue with their airbags. This issue led to a major recall that affected thousands of cars.

The verdict

Other model years tended to be fine or relatively problem free. Of course, like any other car, there were problems here or there, but nothing as bad as the airbag or engine issue. Overall, the Santa Fe throughout its years is a pretty good SUV that’s been near the top of its segment in terms of quality. As long as you avoid those model years, the Santa Fe should be a great used SUV.