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2012 Hyundai Santa Fe

Overview
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2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

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KBB Expert Rating: 6.2

The Hyundai Santa Fe started life as a low-cost but well-equipped alternative to more-popular compact SUVs. Over time, the Santa Fe has grown in size and price, but its initial mission remains the same. The 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe compact SUV isn't so compact anymore. Its previous quirky styling has been replaced with a much more cohesive and upscale look. Made for tackling urban commutes as opposed to off-road jaunts, the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe is an excellent vehicle for fetching the kids from soccer practice, hauling back antiques from weekend shopping expeditions, or escaping to a snowy mountain ski resort for a weekend's worth of fun. Although the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV does not offer a third-row seat, its long list of standard and available features, good fuel economy, and outstanding 10-year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty makes it worthy of serious consideration by compact SUV shoppers.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you know how to pinch a penny, you'll appreciate all the good features Hyundai puts into the 2012 Santa Fe while keeping it one of the most affordable compact SUVs.

You May Not Like This Car If...

If you need the added utility of a third-row seat, eliminate the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe from your shopping list. Also, those looking for newer or more edgy styling should look to the Chevy Equinox or the Honda CR-V.

What's New for 2012

For 2012, the Santa Fe receives only minor changes. These include a new grille, some new color choices and the addition of Downhill Brake Control (DBC) on all models.

Driving the Santa Fe

Driving Impressions For such a tall vehicle, the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV delivers a smooth and confident ride, with minimal lean and roll during hard cornering. Even when pushed into emergency...

like maneuvers, the standard (and government-mandated) electronic stability control kicks in to keep things from getting ugly on wet or slippery pavement. It's easy to find a comfortable driving position in the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV, although our front passenger complained about the rather flat seat bottom that, unlike on the driver's seat, cannot be angled upwards. With the exception of some wind noise in the front and road noise from the rear, the cabin remains fairly quiet at freeway speeds.

3.5-liter V6 Engine
Not only does the 2012 Santa Fe SUV's 276-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 deliver 100-plus more horsepower than the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, it also offers similar fuel economy.

Standard Features
One way Hyundai is muscling its way onto the shopping lists of long-time Toyota and Honda buyers is by offering a long list of standard features on its vehicles. The 2012 Santa Fe's long list of standards is enough to cause many to switch loyalties.

2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Details
Interior

The 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe is full of high-quality plastics artfully blended with faux wood and, on some models, contrasting lower dash and door panels. The Santa Fe's instruments are neatly arranged under a hooded covering. Heating and audio controls are clustered together one atop the other and are easy to see, reach and operate. At night, the entire panel glows with blue backlighting, which produces mixed results: It makes the instruments easy to read after nightfall, but harder to see at dusk. Behind its roomy rear seat is 34.2-cubic-feet of cargo space. If you need more room, the 60/40 split folding second-row seats can be folded flat, creating 78.2 cubic-feet of level storage space.

Exterior

The Santa Fe compact SUV is a very different creature than the first vehicle to wear the Santa Fe name. Quirky lines and odd-looking grilles have given way to clean flowing lines, flush-mounted headlamps and taillights, and handsome alloy wheels. You won't find any tacked on body cladding on the 2012 Santa Fe. Unlike some smaller SUVs, it makes no pretense of being an off-road vehicle. A wide track helps give the Santa Fe a more substantial look that, from a distance, might easily be mistaken for a small Lexus SUV.

Notable Equipment
Standard Equipment

One way Hyundai is muscling its way onto the shopping lists of long-time Toyota and Honda buyers is by offering a long list of standard features on its vehicles. The 2012 Santa Fe's long list of standards is enough to cause many to switch loyalties.

Optional Equipment

Most popular options can be grouped together in packages that vary depending upon trim level. All-wheel drive (AWD) is available for all Santa Fe models. Other options include heated front seats, a power outlet in the cargo area, 360-watt premium audio system, 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 2012 Santa Fe SUV: a 175-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder or a 276-horsepower 3.5-liter V6. The 4-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 6-speed transmissions. The 4-cylinder is more than just acceptable, but the V6 delivers substantially more power and roughly comparable fuel economy.

2.4-liter in-line 4
175 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
169 lb-ft of torque @ 3,750 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 (2WD, manual), 20/28 (2WD, automatic), 20/25 (AWD, automatic)

3.5-liter V6
276 horsepower @ 6,300 rpm
248 lb-ft of torque @ 5,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/26 (2WD), 20/26 (AWD)

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2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 522 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

Problems with transmission Santa Fe 2010 3.5 6 Cyc

By on Thursday, November 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 85,000

10 3.0
overall rating 3 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
3/10
Value
4/10
Reliability
1/10
Quality
1/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "comfortable when the car does not shut down."

Cons: "car shuts downs just as we get comfortable."

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

"I have had this car almost 3 years now and it`s been nothing but headaches. The car completely shuts down while driving. I must pull over, shift it to Park and then it restarts. The car is still under warranty but no dealer has yet to solve this. Whats more annoying is that this happens only during the summer days, when its hot and humid. The transmission is very jumpy and quirky. I have had practically every piece changed, from alternator to cables, to inhibitor switch, throttle body and my left and right shocks change twice on and on - in 3 yrs - can you imagine when my warranty finishes! On top of this my radio shuts while i am driving. Then it turns back on. It is no longer on warranty. The drivers side window goes up when i want it to go down. I have had a Sentra, RAV4, Acura and this terrible terrible headache of a car. I have been at the dealer once a month for the last 2 years. I am fed up. Car for sale!"

4 people out of 10 found this review helpful

Great investment so far

By on Thursday, November 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 95,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Durable, comfortable"

Cons: "Rides Rumbly, poor gas mpg"

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

"I have driven my 2012 Sante Fe 96K miles in 2.5 years. my tires lasted 75k & I still haven't needed brakes. Don't be fooled by the sticker on MPG though. I have never done ANY better than 24mpg on the highway"

3 people out of 5 found this review helpful

Dissapointed

By on Monday, November 03, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 77,000

10 4.0
overall rating 4 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
4/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
4/10
Quality
4/10
Performance
3/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
4/10

Pros: "great price and spacious"

Cons: "Bumpy ride, electrical defects, bad transmission"

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

"- Driving is not smooth, bumpy ride - Engine power is not there, very slow and lethargic pick - Transimission was changed once before warranty. even after that the new transmission is very finicky."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

excellent car except the ride is not as comfortabl

By on Monday, October 06, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 57,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
Not Rated
Reliability
Not Rated
Quality
Not Rated
Performance
8/10
Styling
8/10
Comfort
8/10

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

"parking is not as smooth as we would like..does not line up with space lines as it appears from the inside..other people have told me the same thing..some even got back inside car and reparked."

10 people out of 19 found this review helpful

great car and prove safe

By on Friday, September 26, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 67,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Cons: "none but, buy full loaded"

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

"We bought a Santa Fe Limited new from the dealer in 2010 and loved it. Very sporty drive compared with its competitors. Excellent value after 67,000 miles in 4 years. Twice it's agility kept accidents from being worse that they otherwise would have been; both were the other driver's fault and my wife's driving, coupled with the car's responsiveness avoided what would have otherwise been fatal encounters. The first was a couple thousand of repair and the second accident totaled the car. Driver ran a red light going 45mph+ in a F150 truck; it spun our Santa Fe a full 360 degrees and across two curbs - all airbags deployed and our family of four (3yo and 5yo kids) all walked away without a scratch."

6 people out of 8 found this review helpful

Love it

By on Tuesday, September 23, 2014

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 80,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Love this vehicle --- It's my second Sante Fe. Would definitely get another when the tie is right. Good Value - Good Mileage."

4 people out of 5 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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