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2009 Hyundai Santa Fe

Overview
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2009 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

By

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 2009 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 2009 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 resale values of the Japanese brands, the Hyundai Santa Fe may not be for you.

What's New for 2009

For 2009, all Santa Fe trims receive improved audio systems with USB/iPod inputs, while the SE Touring adds a power driver's seat and Homelink.

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.
Favorite Features

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
Available on Limited trims with Touring Package, this navigation unit fits nicely with the Limited's upscale interior and its voice guidance feature makes map reading a thing of the past.

2009 Hyundai Santa Fe Details
2009 Hyundai Santa Fe photo 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
2009 Hyundai Santa Fe photo

Hyundai showed good taste in moving away from the overly busy appearance of the first-generation Santa Fe. The newest 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.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

The 2009 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

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

Buying this car?

2009 Hyundai Santa Fe Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 489 Ratings for the 2007 - 2012 models.

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

Good looks, well fit interior, good engine.

By on Friday, April 18, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 21,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Well worth the price."

Cons: "Gas mileage fair for local and highway."

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

"Great all around vehicle. Exterior and interior hold up well to Northeastern weather. Engine is trouble free with sufficient power for transporting seven people or carrying heavy loads (has heavy duty suspension due to third seat). Comfortable seating space although third seat best suited for two children or one adult.Good front and rear vision. AWD is preferable to FWD in heavy snow although FWD performs well.Good, safe breaking and stability. Good driver seating position for short and taller drivers. I have been offered great trade-in deals but I am happy with what I have. Would pass on to family member rather than sell."

My Favorite Vehicle Ever

By on Monday, April 07, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 74,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Good price, great handling, comfortable"

Cons: "No daytime running lamps, doors don't auto lock"

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

"I absolutely love my SanteFe. When I am done with this one, I will be buying another one. It is comfortable, drives very well, handles great in the winter, is roomy but not huge. It is pretty good on gas, I really have no complaints. Mine is a 2008 and it doesn't have daytime running lamps, I wish it did. Hopefully they put this on newer models. I talked my mom and aunt into buying SanteFe's and they both LOVE theirs."

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Most reliable car I've ever owned.

By on Friday, March 28, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 104,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "The right price, has everything you need."

Cons: "the back gate should be self close."

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

"This car has only had oil changes on a regular basis. I've used semi-synthetic oil because of the miles I drive. I've replaced tires and filters. That's it. Nothing on the interiors has been broken. The car handles cornering and back roads like an upper end vehicle. I wouldn't bother spending the extra money for a fancy brand when, everything you need and more is currently in this SUV. Very quiet. No road noise as I've heard with the CRV. Just can't beat the value!!!"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Great value. No real mechanical issues.

By on Thursday, March 27, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 81,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"This vehicle is a great value in the SUV market. One or two small electrical glitches - gas filler door latch, passenger door lock. One mechanical issue - had to replace alternator due to accumulated oil drippings from the valve cover gasket. The absolute easiest brake pad replacement I've ever performed. Oil changes are a breeze (filter is a canister type in the engine compartment topside). It is not equal to Japanese brands, but it is well built and well engineered, and again, it is a great value. p.s. My gas mileage, highway, has consistently been 27mpg with the 3.3 liter"

1 person out of 1 found this review helpful

Love it, but wife has trouble get legs into car

By on Tuesday, March 25, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 24,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "good vision field, handles great, gas mileage good"

Cons: "passinger foot clearance poor, foot hangs up edge"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9

"I enjoy this vehicle, handles great, comfortable ride, wife has big problems bringing her feet inside in front seat. I had running Boards put on at Dealer. But it didn't help her at all!"

In love with a disappointment

By on Thursday, March 20, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,000

10 5.0
overall rating 5 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
5/10
Value
9/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
9/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Price, warranty, interior design, exterior design,"

Cons: "dependability"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 5

"I purchased this car in July of 2013. I love the body design. I love the interior. I loved everything about this vehicle. And then...I began to have problems. Twice I have been towed out of my driveway (electric issues) and I am now on my second battery. The radio comes on for no reason. Obviously I have electrical issues. There are other issues...gas pedal "surges" unexpectedly. I love the car but I am now alone and I can't have something that I can't rely on and am afraid to trust because It's "left" me without transportation. So I will sell and move to something else. But when it comes to looks and to the interior, I still love this vehicle best of all I looked at."

4 people out of 8 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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