Advertisement

Why ads?
Popular at KBB.com
  • Midsize SUV Buyer's Guide
  • 10 Most Fuel-Efficient SUVs
  • Compact SUV Buyer's Guide
  • 15 Best Family Cars of 2015
Go

2012 Hyundai Santa Fe

Overview
Share this page
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?

2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

By

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)

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?

2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Consumer Reviews

Overall Rating
8.9
Out of 10

Based on 540 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

Paint is a real problem

By on Sunday, March 29, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 75,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
9/10
Value
8/10
Reliability
10/10
Quality
2/10
Performance
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Good price, rides well and nicely designed"

Cons: "Peeling paint destroys looks of car."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 2

"EXcellent reliability and appearance,but paint is a real problem. Hood paint peeled withing first year owning the car. Dealer repainted hood under warranty. Right after warranty expiration, the front and sides of roof peeled. The paint peeled down to the base metal. Dealer and Hyundai would not do paint even though it was a manufactures defect. Said it was out of warranty. It is basically a mess now and I have to decide whether to paint it or get rid of the car. Seems Pearl White can have this problem. I've seen two other cars exactly like mine that were peeling paint in the same places. Kind of leaves me between a rock and a hard place. Can't live with it looking like it does and can't sell or trade it without it losing a lot of value."

Love this car

By on Saturday, March 28, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 71,200

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

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

"This suv exceeded my expectations. I'm 2nd owner of it & love it. Minimal maintenance needed, great mpg, super soft ride. My 1st car with heated seats that I thought I'd never use living in the desert, but when it's 30F outside in the morning I really appreciate them!"

Highly Recommend this product.

By on Saturday, March 21, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 50,600

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
8/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Good value"

Cons: "Some blind spots when backing up."

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

"Have had virtually no problems with my Santa Fe in 5 years of ownership. Did have one occasion to use their roadside service and was over the top impressed with this service. Not only did they keep in touch with me ( phoned every 10 minutes until help arrived )but took the extra steps to make sure that I was in a safe place while waiting."

Great SUV for daily use

By on Sunday, March 08, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 47,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Cargo space, driving ease"

Cons: "Long trips"

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

"Santa Fe handles great in daily use-city driving and highway. 2012 with 47,000 miles and stock tires have good tread. Comfort rated 9 due to long day trips over 600 miles-not best car for comfort on long trips. Great for daily use. Cargo space is large, carry sound equipment weekly and plently of space. Turning ratio is great. Have had no mechanical issues."

Proof is in the performance and longivity

By on Sunday, March 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 191,000

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: "Safe, High Visibility, Comfort, Fun"

Cons: "none"

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

"I have 191000 miles on my Sante Fe and still going strong. It is sound and strong with no major problems just regular maintenance. No tears or fading in the interior. I travel from Mountains to the Coast regularly and it handles all the road conditions well. It can also accommodate my five grandchildren in car seats and their luggage/toys/messes. Cleans well and presents a clean stance. Wish I didn't show my age as well as my car....lol. I am now a Sante Fe devoted customer."

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

great car. good quality,reliability,endurance.

By on Thursday, February 26, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 42,200

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "real practical and great driving car"

Cons: "leather interior not high quality, split apart."

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

"This vehicle has all the needed comforts. quality, reliability, and style. good fuel mileage and rang. low maintenance. Easy repair access, and great custom features make this my best vehicle ever owned. still has good resale value and is desired in the market of small suv's...I really love this car. Only one problem with the leather interior, the passenger seat back magazine flap unglued/unstitched itself and needs repair. I tried various adhesives w/no success. Needs a leather shop fix...."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Share this page

Advertisement

Why ads?
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?