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2008 Hyundai Santa Fe

Overview
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2008 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

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The Hyundai Santa Fe is a unibody SUV made for tackling the urban jungle, not the rain-forest jungle. Since its introduction in 2000, almost half a million have been sold. The Santa Fe is right at home running the kids to soccer practice (made easier with the optional third-row seat), hauling groceries from the supermarket or heading to the mountains for the weekend. Combining attributes like a higher seating position, roomy interior, rugged good looks, a long list of standard equipment, a good warranty (10-year/100,000-mile powertrain) and a reasonable price, the 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe provides good value in the mid-size SUV category.

You'll Like This Car If...

If getting the most for your money matters, the 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe might be the SUV for you. The Korean manufacturers have improved quality over the years but still have to entice buyers with good value and an excellent warranty -- the Santa Fe has both.

You May Not Like This Car If...

Many people remember the cheap economy cars Hyundai sold in America starting in 1986. If you are looking to buy an SUV with the reputation and image of the Japanese brands, the Hyundai Santa Fe may not be for you.

What's New for 2008

The Limited trim receives a standard 605-watt Infinity Logic 7 Surround Sound audio system and a power tilt-and-slide sunroof. A new LG navigation unit is optional.

Driving the Santa Fe

Driving Impressions The Santa Fe rides smoothly and inspires confidence while cornering thanks to its responsive steering and well controlled body lean. Standard Electronic Stability Control helps during evasive maneuvers and is...

especially reassuring when driving in slippery conditions. Also standard is a tilt and telescoping steering wheel which makes it easy to find the perfect driving position. With the exception of some wind noise in the front and road noise from the rear, the cabin remains fairly quiet at freeway speeds. Acceleration with the 3.3-liter V6 is decent but is unfortunately plagued by some torque steer under harder acceleration. The Shiftronic automatic transmission responds quickly to manual gear selections, making driving on curvy roads an almost sporty experience.

Third-Row Seating
The optional back seats in the Santa Fe boost the possible passenger count to seven and are usable, not just for pets and briefcases. Children sitting in the third row will be comfortable and the occasional adult should have enough room to ride without complaint.

LG Navigation
Missing from last year's model, this navigation unit fits nicely with the Limited's upscale interior and its voice guidance feature makes map reading a thing of the past.

2008 Hyundai Santa Fe Details
Interior

The Santa Fe's interior conveys a feeling of quality thanks to sturdy plastics and low-gloss surfaces. The instrumentation is neatly laid out, easy to operate and at night glows with pleasant blue backlighting. The optional 50/50-split third-row seat is comfortable for children but also acceptable for adults over short distances. Unfortunately, entry to the third row is available only through one side of the vehicle, as the driver's side second-row seat does not flip forward to allow access. A Santa Fe without the third-row seat will have a hidden storage compartment instead. The second-row seats can be reclined; however the levers are placed on top of the seats, making adjustment while sitting very difficult.

Exterior

Hyundai showed good taste in moving away from the overly busy appearance of the previous-generation Santa Fe. The latest version features a much simpler approach, with design elements that are tasteful and purposeful. Body cladding is gone, replaced by smooth sheetmetal flowing into color-keyed bumpers. With its wide track, the Santa Fe has a much stronger stance. There are some carry-overs from the original, however, such as the tailgate's asymmetrical hatch release.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The Hyundai Santa Fe offers high value, as reflected by its standard equipment list which includes air conditioning, cruise control, a roof rack, dual exhaust, power windows, power door locks, power mirrors, and a six-speaker MP3-compatible CD player. To enhance safety, all trim levels include four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes (ABS), electronic stability control (ESP), traction control, front and side airbags for the driver and front passenger, side-curtain airbags that protect all three rows and active front head restraints.

Optional Equipment

Most popular options can be grouped together in packages that vary depending upon trim level. All-wheel drive is available for all Santa Fe models. Other options include third-row seating with third-row auxiliary climate control, heated front seats, steering-wheel audio controls, a power outlet in the cargo area and a power sunroof. A rear-seat entertainment system is available for SE and Limited models, and includes a DVD player with an eight-inch screen and wireless headsets. Unique to the Limited is the Touring Package with LG navigation, which will be available as a stand-alone option later in the model year.

Under the Hood

Hyundai offers two V6 engines for the Santa Fe. The 2.7-liter V6 in the GLS model is paired with a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic. SE and Limited models get the 3.3-liter V6 and a five-speed automatic. The extra $1,500 to move from the automatic-equipped GLS to the SE with its 3.3-liter engine is pretty reasonable considering you get 57 extra horsepower, gas mileage comparable to that of the 2.7-liter engine and other goodies, including 18-inch wheels and fog lights.

2.7-liter V6
185 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
183 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (2WD, manual), 17/23 (AWD, manual), 18/24 (2WD, automatic), 17/23 (AWD, automatic)

3.3-liter V6
242 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
226 lb.-ft. of torque @ 4500 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 17/24 (2WD), 17/24 (AWD)

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2008 Hyundai Santa Fe Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 530 Ratings for the 2007 - 2012 models.

Review this car
  • Value
    9.1/10
    Quality
    9.0/10
  • Reliability
    9.2/10
    Performance
    9.0/10
  • Comfort
    9.1/10
    Styling
    9.2/10

Been a great vehicle with a minor frustration

By on Thursday, January 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "great price, lots of space, comfortable ride"

Cons: "electronics issues"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited (2WD) was the first car that my wife purchased after she graduated from college. It has 110,xxx miles on it and is going strong. Here is a brief summary of the different aspects of the car. Paint - I've actually been pleasantly surprised with how well the paint has held up. My wife and I have taken it numerous times to brush and brush-less car washes and no scratches have come from that. She did have some scratches on the driver door but I was able to buff those out easily. Every year I have done a full exterior cleaning and protection (i.e. wash, dry, clay bar, cleaner wax, finishing wax) and the paint is as slick as glass. In fact, depressingly, it's smoother than my Infiniti FX35 after it gets the same treatment. The "spoiler" that was dealer installed has faded but I think that was painted by their paint shop and it just isn't the same. Powertrain - We've had the oil changed every 3k-5k miles and haven't had any issues at all. There is no oil leakage. Has quite a bit of power that hasn't seemed to fade. Drivetrain - No issues at all. I believe that the brakes and rotors have been changed once. The transmission fluid has also been changed once. Interior - We have a 70lb Golden Retriever and her claws haven't punctured the tan leather seats in the front or the rear. Every two years I've given the leather a solid cleaning using Zymol product (which a bit expensive but are amazing) and the seats do come completely clean with a bit of work. They feel like new after the leather conditioner has been applied. It is definitely not the quality of the leather that is in my Infiniti but it definitely doesn't feel cheap. The carpets have held up well. We still have the factory carpet mats that are showing a bit of wear but that is to be expected. None of the plastics have cracked and still seem to clean up well. The one minor exception is the clear plastic over the gauge cluster. It has some extremely minor swirl marks from the years of wiping off and cleaning. Electronics - I've saved this for last for a reason. I'll start with the good. The Infinity (brand... not to be confused with my car manufacturer) stereo sounds good and allows for a good bit of adjustment. Window actuators work great and the rear windows go down all the way (which is not the case in my Infiniti). The GPS was relatively accurate... from what I can remember. I say that because we have had nothing but problems from the stereo/navigation screen. It stopped working one morning 6 months after the car was purchased. The dealership replaced it. About a year later, it died again in the same fashion. The dealership replaced it again. Then, just as the electronics warranty ran up, it started having problems again. It didn't completely die this time though. There just seems to be a short in the screen that emits a high pitch whining sound which causes the screen to cut in and out. If you've ever had an intermittent screen on any piece of electronics, that's what it does. It works sometimes (more so in the summer) but in the winter, it just doesn't work very often. We've talked to Hyundai about this and they said that it is out of warranty and we could purchase a new one and, frankly, we have no faith in this component since this is the third one that has been in this vehicle and they've all had problems. So, we just don't use the radio or navigation much. In addition to that, near the end of last winter, the driver side heater stopped working. It just blows cold air. Granted, we don't live in an arctic tundra but it does get cold here and when the heater is blowing in the mornings, the passenger side blows hot air and the driver side is like it's venting from the outside. We have closed off the top vents but there's still the floor vent that doesn't provide a way to close it off. I've researched a solution and have found out it can be a couple of things but it's not likely to be a cheap fix. Summary - Would I buy another Hyundai again? Unequivocally, yes! However, if I were to decide to get the upgraded electronics packages, I would make sure I purchased an extended bumper to bumper warranty. Replacing the GPS unit itself can cost thousands of dollars and currently, they only warranty them for 12 months (it's in the fine print). If you're looking for a used model and the owner says that they haven't replaced that component, then you may be fine."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

A must have!

By on Sunday, January 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
10/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"Very reliable, excellent on gas and runs like a dream. Mine has the 3 rd row seat which hasn't been used as much as I thought but is great for smaller people! This vehicle has made 3 round trips from central Texas to Alberta Canada We have never had any problemson the trips and driving 10-12 hours a day the car remains comfortable"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

LOVE!!

By on Friday, January 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great SUV!!!! Best Buy!!!!!"

Cons: "USB Port needs special cord :/"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"I love this SUV, I bought it used last year, you can tell by the millage it was not really used. It is good on gas, it is very comfy on long road trips even for my boyfriend who is over 6 feet tall. I love the blue back lights at night. I love all the room it has and storage in the front. Everyone gives me compliments on how it. The ride is really smooth and turns well. The only thing I have yet to try it on is the snow, since we have not gotten any so far this winter. The only thing I do not like about this model is to use the usb port with my phone I have to have a special cord from the manufacturer, and it does not work with newer phones."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Best vehicle I ever had. Not one problem

By on Friday, January 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
10/10
Value
10/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
10/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Well made, great value and warranty"

Cons: "None"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10

"In 2008 I needed an vehicle to carry stuff for my new home in VA. I bought this vehicle and thought I would keep it for a few years. I love this vehicle. Not one problem. Oil changes and a battery. It still looks like the day I bought it. Everything works, no rattles. It is a pleasure to drive. Good power, great viability.Plenty of room for passengers and cargo. The pearl white paint looks great. my last two vehicles were BMW's. They cost a lot more and were not as reliable. The interior of X3 and 325i were worn pretty bad in just a short time. I kept this car for a long time because it has been so great. However,I am wanting a new toy"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Best people, grocery, and dog haulin' vehicle.

By on Wednesday, January 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
8/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "Great for short trips and shopping."

Cons: "Have not used it on a lengthy trip over 1 1/2 hrs."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This year in particular, 2009, was an excellent year for this vehicle. It just runs and runs with having proper servicing. I checked this model (and year) for the best trouble-free SUV. It has not disappointed me at all. I just recently bought new tires (2014) even though old tires were okay. I felt that it was time."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

OK....not great

By on Thursday, January 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 135,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Cons: "not a long term car"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1

"The car was fine when it was new, but as it aged went down hill fast. I like to keep my cars for ten years. This car will never last 10 years. I have had an emissions leak for 2 years, too minor to be found & fixed. Now moisture on inside of windshield is the newest problem. I have to scrape ice on the inside! Only car not to make ten years...will not buy a Hyundai again."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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Trading in or Selling? Know where you stand with the most up-to-date Kelley Blue Book Value at your fingertips. See your car's value

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