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2012 Hyundai Santa Fe

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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
9.0
Out of 10

Based on 568 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

Love this car

By on Tuesday, April 26, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 119,000

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
9/10
Comfort
9/10

Pros: "Right size, easy to drive/maneuver, comfortable"

Cons: "Black color - mistake other cars for mine"

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

"I purchased this 2008 Santa Fe new. Still have it with almost 120,000 miles. It has been faithfully maintained. No major problems. Handles well in snow. Gas mileage averages 19.5. Easy to drive, park and maneuver. Back seat folds down to accommodate large loads. Will keep it until it tells us it is done. Will probably get another Santa Fe. It is just the right size vehicle for me. 60 yo lady. Only gave 9's because nothing is perfect."

Excellent Car Condition

By on Sunday, April 17, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 51,000

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
10/10
Styling
10/10
Comfort
10/10

Pros: "Great price, drives very smoothly, very comfortabl"

Cons: "No navigation system"

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

"This car has been very reliable. It is in excellent condition. It has been parked most of the time in a garage. The paint of the car is immaculate. Hurry up, this car will go fast."

Best value ever, with great warranty.

By on Friday, March 18, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 45,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Great Warranty, size and fuel economy."

Cons: "Needs more power, but I fine with it's 4 cyl."

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

"I purchased this SUV for it's size, cargo room, warranty and value. I was on home dialysis at the time and needed a large cargo area to travel with all my supplies if I left home for more than one day.It had to reliable, so that if a call came for a transplant, I could make the rapid trip. The warranty was the most important since it would be the last new vehicle I would buy. It handles great even in the snow.(I have AWD) The fuel economy is great. It is very confortable and has many great features. My wife and I are not into all that tech stuff,but this SUV has everthing I could want. Got a great deal since it was the end of the syle type in 2012. My nephew bought a older used one in the Buffalo area and he loves it. He and his wife sold me on it. Then my niece was moving to Florida and bought a used one too. Great SUV !"

2 people out of 2 found this review helpful

Great Value

By on Friday, February 26, 2016

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

10 9.0
overall rating 9 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

Pros: "Nice features - good price - so far so good"

Cons: "paint could be better."

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

"I purchased new in 2009. Have had no major issues. I do have one complaint, the paint chips and scratches easily. The ride is what is to be expected in an SUV, a little on the rough side. Gas mileage is not the greatest in town, but acceptable on the highway. We are all around 6' and have plenty of room in the front and rear. Love the fact that the rear seats can be reclined, (almost like a lazy boy chair). Have only changed the tires and battery in the past 7 years. Do regular oil changes with synthetic oil only. Overall a great value. Hope to drive it well over the 100K mark."

2 people out of 4 found this review helpful

Completely reliable, amazingly roomy, I love this

By on Tuesday, February 16, 2016

I own this car - My approximate mileage is 87,000

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

Very roomy! Kids love falling asleep in the comfort of this vehicle

"I bought this Santa Fe a few years ago and it has been a great vehicle for my girls and I. It was either this or the Ford Edge and I went with the Santa Fe because of the enormous cargo space in the rear for strollers and groceries. Yes, at the same time! It’s been almost three years and I love the SUV experience. Maintenance has been inexpensive; it has 17 inch tires, and a good suspension. It maneuvers well in traffic with some body roll. The inside is very comfortable and surprisingly roomy. It has hands free features like Bluetooth in the steering wheel and a well-lit dashboard when it’s dark outside. You can set the cruise to 74 and still be on eco. I’m a single mom and I truly love and rely on this vehicle. Those who cannot afford it, even going on for a second hand deal is not a bad idea, you won’t be disappointed."

6 people out of 11 found this review helpful

Very roomy! Kids love falling asleep in the comfort of this vehicle

best vehicle ever

By on Monday, January 04, 2016

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

10 10.0
overall rating 10 of 10rating details

Reviewer Ratings

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

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

"I would recommend this vehicle to anyone. This is my second Santa Fe and I have had zero issues with either one. I will buy another one."

6 people out of 9 found this review helpful

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