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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 530 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

Been a great vehicle with a minor frustration

By on Thursday, January 22, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 110,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
8/10
Quality
5/10
Performance
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Pros: "great price, lots of space, comfortable ride"

Cons: "electronics issues"

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited (2WD) was the first car that my wife purchased after she graduated from college. It has 110,xxx miles on it and is going strong. Here is a brief summary of the different aspects of the car. Paint - I've actually been pleasantly surprised with how well the paint has held up. My wife and I have taken it numerous times to brush and brush-less car washes and no scratches have come from that. She did have some scratches on the driver door but I was able to buff those out easily. Every year I have done a full exterior cleaning and protection (i.e. wash, dry, clay bar, cleaner wax, finishing wax) and the paint is as slick as glass. In fact, depressingly, it's smoother than my Infiniti FX35 after it gets the same treatment. The "spoiler" that was dealer installed has faded but I think that was painted by their paint shop and it just isn't the same. Powertrain - We've had the oil changed every 3k-5k miles and haven't had any issues at all. There is no oil leakage. Has quite a bit of power that hasn't seemed to fade. Drivetrain - No issues at all. I believe that the brakes and rotors have been changed once. The transmission fluid has also been changed once. Interior - We have a 70lb Golden Retriever and her claws haven't punctured the tan leather seats in the front or the rear. Every two years I've given the leather a solid cleaning using Zymol product (which a bit expensive but are amazing) and the seats do come completely clean with a bit of work. They feel like new after the leather conditioner has been applied. It is definitely not the quality of the leather that is in my Infiniti but it definitely doesn't feel cheap. The carpets have held up well. We still have the factory carpet mats that are showing a bit of wear but that is to be expected. None of the plastics have cracked and still seem to clean up well. The one minor exception is the clear plastic over the gauge cluster. It has some extremely minor swirl marks from the years of wiping off and cleaning. Electronics - I've saved this for last for a reason. I'll start with the good. The Infinity (brand... not to be confused with my car manufacturer) stereo sounds good and allows for a good bit of adjustment. Window actuators work great and the rear windows go down all the way (which is not the case in my Infiniti). The GPS was relatively accurate... from what I can remember. I say that because we have had nothing but problems from the stereo/navigation screen. It stopped working one morning 6 months after the car was purchased. The dealership replaced it. About a year later, it died again in the same fashion. The dealership replaced it again. Then, just as the electronics warranty ran up, it started having problems again. It didn't completely die this time though. There just seems to be a short in the screen that emits a high pitch whining sound which causes the screen to cut in and out. If you've ever had an intermittent screen on any piece of electronics, that's what it does. It works sometimes (more so in the summer) but in the winter, it just doesn't work very often. We've talked to Hyundai about this and they said that it is out of warranty and we could purchase a new one and, frankly, we have no faith in this component since this is the third one that has been in this vehicle and they've all had problems. So, we just don't use the radio or navigation much. In addition to that, near the end of last winter, the driver side heater stopped working. It just blows cold air. Granted, we don't live in an arctic tundra but it does get cold here and when the heater is blowing in the mornings, the passenger side blows hot air and the driver side is like it's venting from the outside. We have closed off the top vents but there's still the floor vent that doesn't provide a way to close it off. I've researched a solution and have found out it can be a couple of things but it's not likely to be a cheap fix. Summary - Would I buy another Hyundai again? Unequivocally, yes! However, if I were to decide to get the upgraded electronics packages, I would make sure I purchased an extended bumper to bumper warranty. Replacing the GPS unit itself can cost thousands of dollars and currently, they only warranty them for 12 months (it's in the fine print). If you're looking for a used model and the owner says that they haven't replaced that component, then you may be fine."

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

A must have!

By on Sunday, January 18, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 63,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"Very reliable, excellent on gas and runs like a dream. Mine has the 3 rd row seat which hasn't been used as much as I thought but is great for smaller people! This vehicle has made 3 round trips from central Texas to Alberta Canada We have never had any problemson the trips and driving 10-12 hours a day the car remains comfortable"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

LOVE!!

By on Friday, January 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 17,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great SUV!!!! Best Buy!!!!!"

Cons: "USB Port needs special cord :/"

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

"I love this SUV, I bought it used last year, you can tell by the millage it was not really used. It is good on gas, it is very comfy on long road trips even for my boyfriend who is over 6 feet tall. I love the blue back lights at night. I love all the room it has and storage in the front. Everyone gives me compliments on how it. The ride is really smooth and turns well. The only thing I have yet to try it on is the snow, since we have not gotten any so far this winter. The only thing I do not like about this model is to use the usb port with my phone I have to have a special cord from the manufacturer, and it does not work with newer phones."

2 people out of 3 found this review helpful

Best vehicle I ever had. Not one problem

By on Friday, January 16, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 32,000

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
9/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Well made, great value and warranty"

Cons: "None"

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

"In 2008 I needed an vehicle to carry stuff for my new home in VA. I bought this vehicle and thought I would keep it for a few years. I love this vehicle. Not one problem. Oil changes and a battery. It still looks like the day I bought it. Everything works, no rattles. It is a pleasure to drive. Good power, great viability.Plenty of room for passengers and cargo. The pearl white paint looks great. my last two vehicles were BMW's. They cost a lot more and were not as reliable. The interior of X3 and 325i were worn pretty bad in just a short time. I kept this car for a long time because it has been so great. However,I am wanting a new toy"

1 person out of 2 found this review helpful

Best people, grocery, and dog haulin' vehicle.

By on Wednesday, January 07, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 54,000

10 8.0
overall rating 8 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great for short trips and shopping."

Cons: "Have not used it on a lengthy trip over 1 1/2 hrs."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 8

"This year in particular, 2009, was an excellent year for this vehicle. It just runs and runs with having proper servicing. I checked this model (and year) for the best trouble-free SUV. It has not disappointed me at all. I just recently bought new tires (2014) even though old tires were okay. I felt that it was time."

2 people out of 5 found this review helpful

OK....not great

By on Thursday, January 01, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 135,000

10 7.0
overall rating 7 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

Overall Rating
7/10
Value
7/10
Reliability
7/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
8/10

Cons: "not a long term car"

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

"The car was fine when it was new, but as it aged went down hill fast. I like to keep my cars for ten years. This car will never last 10 years. I have had an emissions leak for 2 years, too minor to be found & fixed. Now moisture on inside of windshield is the newest problem. I have to scrape ice on the inside! Only car not to make ten years...will not buy a Hyundai again."

6 people out of 9 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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