By KBB.com Editors
KBB Expert Rating: 6.9
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, hauling groceries from the supermarket or heading to the mountains for the weekend. Combining attributes like a high 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 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe provides good value in the mid-size SUV category.
If getting the most for your money matters, the 2011 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.
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.
For 2011 there are few changes to the popular and well-equipped Santa Fe. Solar glass is standard and a 605-watt Infinity Logic 7 Surround Sound AM/FM/CD-changer/MP3 audio system with 10 speakers (including subwoofer) and external amplifier is standard on the Limited trim level. There are also five new colors.
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. The Shiftronic automatic transmission responds quickly to manual gear selections, making driving on curvy roads an almost sporty experience.
3.5-liter V6 Engine
Not only does the V6 deliver more than 100 horsepower more than the four-cylinder engine, it also has roughly similar EPA fuel economy ratings.
Available on SE and Limited models, this navigation system's voice guidance feature makes map reading a thing of the past.
The 2011 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. Behind the second-row seat is 34.2 cubic feet of cargo space, which should be ample room for luggage for five passengers.Exterior
Hyundai showed good taste in moving away from the overly busy appearance of the first-generation Santa Fe. The current version features a simple and clean approach to exterior design, with elements that are tasteful and purposeful. Thankfully, there is no body cladding and the sides feature smooth sheetmetal flowing into color-keyed bumpers. With its wide track, the Santa Fe has a strong visual stance on the road.
The 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe offers high value, as reflected by its standard equipment list which includes air conditioning, cruise control, a roof rack, power windows, power door locks, heated power side mirrors, steering-wheel audio controls, a six-speaker MP3-compatible CD player and Bluetooth. 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 and active front head restraints.
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 heated front seats, a power outlet in the cargo area, a power sunroof and a navigation system with a 6.5-inch screen and rearview camera.
Hyundai offers two engines for the 2011 Santa Fe: a 2.4-liter four-cylinder or a 3.5-liter V6. The four-cylinder is standard on the GLS and Limited models, while the V6 is standard on the SE and optional on the Limited. Both engines are paired to six-speed transmissions. The four-cylinder is more than just acceptable, but the V6 delivers substantially more power and roughly comparable fuel economy.
2.4-liter in-line four
175 horsepower @ 6000 rpm
169 lb.-ft. of torque @ 3750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 (2WD, manual), 20/28 (2WD, automatic), 21/25 (AWD, automatic)
276 horsepower @ 6300 rpm
248 lb.-ft. of torque @ 5000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26
By Rick on Monday, July 21, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 72,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Minimal mechanical issues,turning radius,hatch rm"
Cons: "2 airbag recalls,gas tank repair, gas cover broke"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8
"Mechanically strong with no major issues with engine repair. Good turning radius due to extended Sonata body for parking in tight areas. Exterior color good quality even after 7 years old. 2 airbag recalls & strange issue with gas tank that needed $600 part just to show correct fuel level. Did not care for interior, but partially because of the light tan color we chose. Liked room in hatch for this mid-size SUV vehicle. AWD was nice for winter driving as needed & to be able to lock in. Overall would recommend. Still going strong after 72K miles."
By Kukla on Sunday, July 13, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 49,000overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Fun to Drive"
Cons: "The side of the window has a pretty lg blind spot."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I enjoy driving my Hyundai. It has a good turning radius which makes it convenient to drive and park. It's been reliable and I would buy another Santa Fe in a minute."
By Dave on Friday, July 11, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 35,768overall rating 9 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great MPG and comfortable."
Cons: "Interior noise is high and stiff ride"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"The car gets great gas mileage. I can get as high as 29.8 MPG on highway and as high as 24 MPG in town. The road noise and window noise is louder than what I would expect, but it is bearable with the music on. Seats are comfortable on long trips."
By Rainman on Tuesday, July 08, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 38,600overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Pros: "Great deal. Heated seats for the winter, you got to love that."
Cons: "When you push down on the accelerator, the car tends to lurch. The Excelerator is extremely touchy."
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 9
"I love the car. The only thing I'd like to see with the V6 is a little better gas mileage. Everything else is top-quality and very comfortable. Haven't driven it in the winter yet but I suspect the the all wheel drive will handle it."
2 people out of 4 found this review helpful
By RyanSFdriver on Sunday, July 06, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 82,000overall rating 5 of 10rating details
Pros: "Decent value"
Cons: "Frustrating amounts of issues"
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 1
"I bought it used at 18k miles. The bad: A defect common to this make/model resulted in the transmission dying suddenly in an intersection at 26k. There was a service recall to fix an issue where the gear shift would either lock itself into park or lock itself out of park. After getting all of these issues fixed, there is still a persisting noise when driving that makes it sound and feel like someone is bouncing a basketball off the right side of the car. For such a small, 4-cylinder engine, it doesn't get very good gas mileage (average down to 18-20 mpg). Not much leg room for kids means much seat kicking (or much discipline!) The good: it's a decent value for the vehicle body type. The under-floor storage and seat folding makes for good capacity. I'm sure there are one or two other decent-but-not-great things about it, I just can't think of them right now."
By KM on Wednesday, July 02, 2014
I own this car - My approximate mileage is 70,000overall rating 10 of 10rating details
Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 10
"Having driven 3 series BMW for 10 years - I didn't want another car because I knew I'd just be comparing - so I chose to get an SUV. Because I never drove an SUV and didn't know if I'd like it - I bought a used 2007 Santa Fe with low miles and clean upkeep. I LOVE IT. Favorite feature: heated seats - which I didn't have in my previous cars!! In 2 years of ownership (7 year old car) - it's been very reliable with no problems. (knock on wood!). I recommend this SUV to all!"
3 people out of 4 found this review helpful