2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Review
Though the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe is practical and reliable, reviewers say that it’s not very interesting to drive or look at.
In recent years, Hyundai has made its vehicles competitive with the best of their classes by adding more standard features and an element of fun to their performance. Now that the Hyundai Sonata, Hyundai Elantra and Hyundai Accent are ranking fairly well in their classes and posting good sales numbers, reviewers say it’s time Hyundai updates the Santa Fe.
The Santa Fe comes with most of the things that help other Hyundais rank well: an exceptional warranty, good fuel economy and great value for the money. The brand is known for its long powertrain warranty coverage, which matches Kia’s and Mitsubishi’s and outlasts the rest of its rivals. Both of the Santa Fe’s engine options get above-average gas mileage, even when equipped with and all-wheel drive. The Santa Fe also includes more standard features than most of its rivals.
Still, test drivers say that some of the Hyundai Santa Fe’s interior materials look cheap and they have noticed some shoddy craftsmanship. It’s not very fun to drive by any account, with test drivers noting that the ride can be slow, sloppy and harsh, depending on how the SUV is configured. Though it gets a new grille this year, test drivers say it still looks dated and boring.
Fortunately, Hyundai says it’s replacing the Santa Fe next year. If you need to buy right now, the current 2012 Santa Fe offers an attractive combination of fuel economy, reliability and value. But the 2013 model might see the same improvements that Hyundai has been making across the rest of its lineup, so next year’s Santa Fe might be worth the wait.
Other SUVs to Consider
The Kia Sorento is another affordable midsize SUV that’s on the small side for the class, but unlike the Santa Fe, offers a third row. It starts at about the same price as the Hyundai Santa Fe and offers more standard features than many of its competitors. Though test drivers say the Kia’s third row isn’t big enough for adults and cuts down on cargo space, it’s a good choice for shoppers on a budget who want a third row.
If you like the Santa Fe for its reasonable price and cargo space, but want a vehicle that feels a bit more upmarket inside, take a look at the Ford Edge. It starts at a significantly higher price than the Santa Fe, but comes with an interior that’s classier than most competing brands and a fairly long list of standard and available features. Plus, it gets comparable fuel economy to the Santa Fe.
Details: Hyundai Santa Fe
The 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe comes in three trims: GLS, SE and Limited. All-wheel drive is available on all trim levels. Its only changes for 2012 are standard downhill brake control, some exterior color changes and standard low-rolling resistance tires on the base trim.
See the full 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe specs »
- "If the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe were a person, it would be a straight-talking, unpretentious guy. Sure, maybe he's not the flashy bad boy who'll sweep you off your feet, but he's quietly dependable and easy to like. He's the guy you marry, not the one you date in college. … But practicality is a big reason to buy a family crossover, and to this end, the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe has the kind of sensible personality with which it's worth settling down.” -- Edmunds
- "Santa Fe is a competent and capable midsize SUV with a comfortable interior and great cargo-carrying flexibility. The 4-cylinder engine has decent power; fuel economy is also good considering this is a fairly heavy vehicle. A floppy suspension hurts the ride, and we have some concerns about the long-term durability of the interior materials. Still, aggressive pricing and Hyundai's strong warranty mean Santa Fe is worth a look if you're in the market for a 5-passenger crossover.” -- Consumer Guide