KBB Editors' Overview
By KBB.com Editors - Updated Date: 4/1/2011
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.
You'll Like This Car If...
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.
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 Significant About This Car?
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.
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.
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.
Notable Standard Equipment
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.
Notable 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 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.
Under the Hood
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
The 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) of around $22,500, while all-wheel drive and an automatic transmission bump that closer to $25,500. The SE model starts at about $26,500, and a fully loaded Limited tops out around $33,000. Before you buy, be sure to check the Santa Fe's Fair Purchase Price on kbb.com to see what it is typically selling for in your area. While pricing is close to that of a Toyota RAV4 or Honda CR-V, the Santa Fe's resale values fall far below its Japanese competitors. The Santa Fe does, however, hold stronger resale values than the Suzuki Grand Vitara and Mitsubishi Outlander.