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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 552 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

Nice Runner!

By on Wednesday, July 15, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 58,000

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Reliable"

Cons: "Heavy Car for 2.7 engine (6 cyl)"

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

"Owned this car from new and have had no issues at all. Recently took it in for the 60,000 mile maintenance at which time the serpentine belt was replaced (only because it is recommended). We 'baby' the car and like to keep it in tip-top shape. Very pleased with my purchase some 7 years later!"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Most reliable car I have ever owned!

By on Monday, July 06, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 106,500

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
9/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
7/10

Pros: "Reliable, Great Gas Mileage, Excellent Pick Up"

Cons: "Very light so on the highway could get blown aroun"

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

"This is the first car in 20 years that has gone the distance with me and never had anything done other than scheduled maintenance. It got better miles to the gallon than my previous utility vehicles and had excellent pick up for a lighter car."

6 people out of 10 found this review helpful

THIRD SANTA FE I HAVE OWNED.

By on Wednesday, June 24, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 41,000

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
8/10
Styling
7/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "COMES WITH EXTRAS. WARRANTY IS GREAT."

Cons: "CARPETS SHOWED WEAR FAST."

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

"I WISH THE GAS MILEAGE WAS BETTER. ON ROAD TRIPS I ONLY AVERAGE AROUND 19 MILES A GALLON. THE INTERIOR DOES NOT STAND UP TO NORMAL WEAR & TEAR. THE PART OF THE DASH WITH THE WOOD LOOK HAS CRINKLED UP. OVERALL, I LOVE MY SUV AND HOPE TO BE PURCHASING A NEW ONE SOON."

7 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Dependable, comfortable, economical, enjoyable

By on Saturday, June 13, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 55,000

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
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great car"

Cons: "Can't think of any"

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

"One of most dependable cars I have owned in sixty years of driving. Ample room for legs and hips on firm seats. For the size and weight of the car, over the road I achieve 24 to 25 mpg. For city driving about 14 mpg. It is quiet, stable and fun to drive. On numerous occasions the third row made it possible to take only one car as room for six or seven persons made it convenient. I have another five passenger car and on occasion two cars were needed to accommodate six passengers."

6 people out of 13 found this review helpful

Best vehicle I've owned out of 14

By on Wednesday, June 03, 2015

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 30,212

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
9/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Quick, fun, handles great"

Cons: "My wife is driving it now."

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

"No repairs in 4.5 years, just normal maintenance. Still rides like new. Great on trips with 4 of us plus vacation stuff in back. This V6 SUV handles better than a new Impala I've rented recently. Made the mistake of letting my wife drive it to and from work a couple of months ago. Now she is driving my all time favorite, as she spends more time on the road than me. Now her next car will be a new Hyundai Santa Fe."

6 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Love the looks but the car itself isn't my favorit

By on Friday, May 29, 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
8/10
Reliability
9/10
Quality
6/10
Performance
7/10
Styling
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "its a car....fun to drive...na"

Cons: "I have lots of cup holders."

Likely to recommend this car? (1-10): 6

"I have never had to put more headlights in a car in my life. It eats them. I love the look of both the interior and the exterior. Not great pick up when it comes to speed. Ride is reasonably smooth. Horrid sound when opening a back window and road noise fairly loud. Gas mileage fair to good. I really haven't had to do many repairs. All in all it is an ok car."

1 person out of 3 found this review helpful

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