Hyundai Santa Fe
2010 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited (US)
Manufacturer Hyundai Motor Company
Production 2000–present
Class Compact crossover SUV (2000–05)
Mid-size crossover SUV (2005–present)
Body style(s) 4-door SUV
Layout Front-engine, front-wheel drive / Four-wheel drive

The Hyundai Santa Fe (Korean: 현대 싼타페) is a mid-size crossover SUV based on the Hyundai Sonata platform. Named after the city of Santa Fe, New Mexico, it was introduced for the 2001 model year as Hyundai's first SUV, released at the same time as the Ford Escape/Mazda Tribute and Pontiac Aztek. The Santa Fe was a milestone in the company's restructuring program of the late 1990s because, despite receiving criticism from journalists for its obscure looks, the SUV was a hit with the American buyers. The SUV was so popular that at times, Hyundai had trouble supplying the demand. The Santa Fe quickly became Hyundai's best seller and contributed to Hyundai's success in the United States. As of 2007, the mid-size crossover SUV Santa Fe falls between the compact SUV Tucson and the related luxury crossover SUV Veracruz (which was preceded by the Terracan).

The 2nd Gen Hyundai Santa Fe was awarded 2008 Consumer Reports "top pick" and was among the top 10 vehicles for 2008 unveiled in the magazine's issue. The magazine's annual ratings, based on road tests and predicted safety and reliability, are considered highly influential among consumers.[1]

The 2nd Gen Hyundai Santa Fe topped the “20 least expensive 2009 vehicles to insure” list by According to research, the Santa Fe is the least expensive vehicle to insure. Low rates tend to reflect a vehicle’s safety.[2][3]

First generation[edit | edit source]

First generation (SM)
2004 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS (US)
Also called Hyundai Santa Fe Classic (Russia)
Huatai-Hyundai Santa Fe (China)
Production 2000–March 2006
Assembly Ulsan, South Korea
Taganrog, Russia (TagAZ)[4]
İzmit, Turkey (Hyundai Assan)
Engine(s) 3.5 L Sigma V6, 200 hp (150 kW)
2.7 L Delta V6, 173 hp (129 kW)
2.0L VM Motori CRDI I4 diesel
Transmission(s) 4-speed automatic
5-speed automatic
5-speed manual
Wheelbase 103.1 in (2619 mm)
Length 177.2 in (4501 mm)
Width 2001–02 Base: 71.7 in (1821 mm)
72.6 in (1844 mm)
Height 65.9 in (1674 mm)
Related Hyundai Sonata (EF)
Hyundai Trajet
Kia Optima (MS)

2001[edit | edit source]

In its first year in production, the Santa Fe was offered with one of two engine and transmission combinations. In North America, a fuel-efficient although underpowered 2.4 L four cylinder engine was standard equipment and could be mated with either a 5-speed manual or a 4-speed automatic. A 2,656 cc (2.656 L/162.1 cu in) Delta V6 offered more power than the four-cylinder but was only available with the automatic. Front wheel drive was standard (with traction control optional with the V6) and 4WD was optional. A 2.0 L Common Rail Turbo Diesel (CRTD) was offered outside the United States. Australian Santa Fes went on sale in November 2000 with only one engine/transmission choice - a 2.7L V6 mated to a four-speed semi-automatic transmission. 4WD was standard. A cheaper 2.4L four cylinder joined the range several months later in 2001, but was only available with a manual transmission. Along with the similarly-launched Ford Escape and Mazda Tribute, it was also the first car-based compact SUV with a V6 engine.

2002[edit | edit source]

The Santa Fe entered its second year without any changes. Demand for the Santa Fe continued to be up but owners had several suggested changes for Hyundai.


In a rare mid-year model change, Hyundai increased the size of the fuel tank from 17 to 19 U.S. gallons and reorganized the location of the badges on the tailgate. The interior layout of the console and the position of the clock were also changed.

2003[edit | edit source]

In 2003, Hyundai responded to some of the customer complaints and suggestions such as the fact that the hood used a prop and not gas struts, there was no light in the glove compartment, and the car itself did not have enough power. In 2003, Hyundai introduced the 3.5 liter V6 in addition to the other two gas engines in North America. The bigger engine came with a computer-controlled four-wheel drive system. Automatic transmission models were given a chrome shift gate surround as opposed to the matte silver plastic style used in the 2001 and 2002 models. A Monsoon high-performance sound system came standard on the mid-level GLS model and came with a 6-disc CD changer on the top-tier LX. Rounding out the changes in the 2003 model was the discontinuation of the highly unpopular Pine Green which in some owner circles has gained the nickname 'Yucky Green'. In Australia, the four cylinder Santa Fe was dropped in 2003, due to slow sales, leaving the 2.7L V6 automatic as the only model.

2004[edit | edit source]

Hyundai continued to post sales records with the Santa Fe as it rolled into 2004 with very minor changes. The manual climate controls on the base GL and mid-line GLS were revised very slightly. The remote keyless entry system was given a confirmation 'chirp' when the 'LOCK' button on the remote was pressed twice.


Midway through the year the AM/FM antenna was moved from on the glass in the rear drivers side window to a three inch (76 mm) rubber antenna in the center of the roof just above the tailgate.

2005[edit | edit source]

2005-2006 Hyundai Santa Fe (US)

The Santa Fe received its final face lift for 2005. Changes were made to the grill, taillights, rear bumper, interior instrument cluster. The instrument cluster was redesigned with the speedometer now reading 140 mph (earlier models only indicated 130 mph) and a better-designed toll ticket slot in the driver's sun visor. Both sun visors also received extensions so the sun could be blocked out better when coming in from the side. The base Santa Fe was discontinued that time, making way for the Tucson.

In Australia, all models received body-colored (painted) bumpers from 2005 on. The color 'Sandstone' was discontinued in favor of a slightly different color named 'Mocha Frost'. The GL trim was dropped as was the four-cylinder engine and its respective 5-speed manual transmission. The 2.7 L V6 took over duties as the base engine. A passenger airbag cutoff that prevents the airbag from deploying if the seat is unoccupied (or occupied by a small person) was also added. A 3-point seatbelt was added to the center rear seating position, as well. The calendar function, housed in the overhead console was removed and a compass took its place.

2006[edit | edit source]

The last year of this Santa Fe saw few changes. Two colors were discontinued for 2006, Merlot and Canyon Red. A rare color, Dark Emerald Green, was introduced mid-year. It did not appear in any sales brochures and could have only been ordered by a dealership. The LX trim level was renamed 'Limited' and got a corresponding tailgate badge, a first for the Santa Fe of any trim level. Another first was the availability of a monochromatic paint scheme, a departure from the contrasting gray cladding previously standard. The monochromatic option was only available on the Limited in black. In total, these options ran $1900, pushing the Santa Fe's total asking price to nearly $30,000.

In Europe, the new Santa Fe model was launched in April as a 2006 model, offering a new 2.2 litre diesel engine and updated 2.7 litre petrol V6.

Hawtai Santa Fe C9[edit | edit source]

Part of a joint venture with Hyundai Motors that began in 2002, a Chinese company, Hawtai Automobile, manufactured the first generation Santa Fe.[5] While it did make Hyundai-branded models for sale on the Chinese market,[5] one of the versions it debuted under its own brand name in 2009 was the Santa Fe C9.[6] Utilizing a Rover-acquired engine, it may have been priced at a significant discount compared to those bearing the Hyundai name.[7]

Hyundai ended its partnership with Hawtai in 2010.[8]

Second generation[edit | edit source]

Second Generation (CM)
2007-2009 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited (US)
Also called Inokom Santa Fe (Malaysia)
Production April 2006–present
Assembly Asan, South Korea
Montgomery, Alabama, United States
West Point, Georgia, United States
Kulim, Malaysia
İzmit, Turkey (Hyundai Assan)
Engine(s) 2.4L Theta II 174 hp (130 kW) I4 petrol
2.7L Mu V6 185 hp (138 kW) petrol
3.3L Lambda V6 242 hp (180 kW) petrol
3.5L Lambda II V6 276 hp (206 kW) petrol
2.2L CRDI VGT 150 hp (110 kW) I4 diesel
2.2L CRDI VGT 155 hp (116 kW) I4 diesel
2.2L CRDI VGT R-Line 200 hp (150 kW) I4 diesel
Transmission(s) 4-speed automatic
5-speed manual
5-speed automatic
6-speed automatic (2010 model)
Wheelbase 106.3 in (2700 mm)
Length 184.1 in (4676 mm)
Width 74.4 in (1890 mm)
Height 67.9 in (1725 mm)
Fuel capacity 19.8 US gal (75 L/16 imp gal)
Related Hyundai Sonata
Hyundai Veracruz/ix55
Hyundai Grandeur/Azera
Kia Optima/Magentis/Lotze
Kia Carens/Rondo
Kia Sorento

2007[edit | edit source]

The next-generation 2007 Santa Fe debuted at the 2006 North American International Auto Show. The first production Santa Fe rolled off Hyundai's Montgomery, Alabama assembly line on April 18, 2006. It shares this assembly line with the current generation Hyundai Sonata. The new generation sheds the old style's quirky design in favor of a more contemporary look.

2006-2007 Hyundai Santa Fe Elite (Australia)

2006–2009 Hyundai Santa Fe (Germany)

In the United States, the new generation is offered in GLS, SE, and Limited versions.[9] The new Santa Fe sees the return of a manual transmission, but only when mated with the 2,656 cc (2.656 L/162.1 cu in) V6. The 3,342 cc (3.342 L/203.9 cu in)[10] V6 (a retuned version of the same engine found in the Sonata) is standard on the SE and Limited and comes only with a 5-speed automatic. Both 2WD and AWD models with a 3.3 L have a fuel economy of 19 mpg-US (12 L/100 km/23 mpg-imp) city and 24 mpg-US (9.8 L/100 km/29 mpg-imp) highway.[10] The 2.2l diesel engine(not available in the US) with 186 hp (139 kW) has mixed cycle of 7.2l and a city cycle of 8.0l. The 4WD is a Borg-Warner Torque Management device,which diverts power to the wheels with best grip according to the amount of slip. If the front wheels spin a little the rear axle will engage at 10%. If the front wheels start to slip a lot and/or TC switches ON the maximum amount of torque(e.g. 50%) will go o the rear axle. Body lean in turns, a problem with the previous generation, has been curbed in the new Santa Fe. Both road and wind noise have been hushed, as well.

Newly standard on the latest iteration of the Santa Fe are all the safety features the previous model lacked or charged as extra. Electronic Stability Control (ESC), side-curtain airbags for all seating rows, a tire pressure monitor, active front head restraints, and anti-lock brakes are all standard.[9] A heated windshield wiper grid located in the front wipers' 'park' position helps to thaw ice buildup on the blades in colder climates. Some features like the tailgate flip glass and the lower body cladding were not integrated into the new model.

The interior has been upgraded as well with blue-lit dashboard controls, (unlike the green color used in other Hyundai models), a gated shifter pattern, illuminated cupholders, and higher quality leather on Limited models. The rear seat head restraints caused visibility problems in the previous model due to their size. The new style features 'shingled' head rests that when lowered completely, sit flush with the top of the seat, helping to maximize rear visibility. The middle rear seating position now comes with its own head restraint and a three-point seatbelt built in. LATCH child seat anchors are also standard, and an optional 50/50 third row seat allows Santa Fe to seat seven passengers.

Pricing remained competitive despite the upward move in size and feature content.

In Malaysia, Hyundai Santa Fe is available as a Complete knock down model rebadged as Inokom Santa Fe. The Inokom Santa Fe is only available in CRDi 2.2-liter I4 Diesel and 2.7-liter V6.

2008[edit | edit source]

For 2008, only minor changes were applied to the Santa Fe. A navigation system made by LG was offered and the Infinity sound system and the power glass sunroof were made standard on Limited models.[11] The non-metallic white paint trim was dropped, leaving the pearl white as the only white color available on the Santa Fe.

2009[edit | edit source]

2009 saw only minor changes for the Santa Fe. The 16" wheels on the base GLS model (USA specification) were dropped and replaced with black steel wheels and plastic covers. Additionally, the GLS received black plastic mirrors opposed to the body-colored mirrors of the higher-tier SE and Limited models. This cut in equipment was rumored to be a countermeasure to offset the price increase of offering an iPod plug-in for the stereo system. Because of the black mirrors and wheel covers, the additional cost of the iPod adapter was negated, leaving the base price of the vehicle unchanged.

2010[edit | edit source]

2010 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS (US)

A mid-cycle refresh designed in Germany for the Santa Fe was implemented for the 2010 model year. The grille now includes a horizontal and vertical gridded grille as opposed to the two bar vertical grille on the previous models, and are now color-coded instead of black. New rear taillights include all-red taillights with extensive chrome outlay, and new 5-split spoke alloy wheels replace the previous 5 and 6-spoke ones. All Santa Fes now include standard Bluetooth hands-free phone connectivity and steering wheel audio controls, new darker wood trim, and a metallic steering wheel inlay. Gauges receive a new font and backlight design. A new touch-screen navigation system with rear back-up camera is now available. Finally, for the US market, the optional third row seat was discontinued leaving the larger Veracruz to be the only currently sold Hyundai in the United States to seat more than five persons. [12]

Powertrain changes include a standard six-speed manual transmission and the replacement of a six-speed automatic transmission as opposed to the previous four- and five-speeds. A 2.4 liter four-cylinder and 3.5 liter V6 that is shared with the Kia Sorento. Both generate a higher power as well as obtain higher fuel economy than the previous model. Sales began in early January 2010.

2011[edit | edit source]

Only minor changes were applied to the Santa Fe for 2011. The 605-watt Infinity sound system became standard on Limited trim whereas it had only been previously bundled with the optional navigation system. Five new colors were added, as well, including Moonstone Silver, Frost White Pearl, Sonoran Red, Mineral Gray, and Espresso Brown.

On September 1st, 2010, North American production of the Santa Fe shifted to Kia's new West Point, Georgia assembly plant for the 2011 model year. This was done to free up production capacity at the Alabama plant for the new Sonata and new Elantra.

Safety award[edit | edit source]

The Second generation Santa Fe earned "Top Safety Pick" award by IIHS.[3] It also received maximum 5 star safety ratings by the NHTSA.[13] The Hyundai Santa Fe earned maximum five star safety rating from Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP).[14]

The Second generation Hyundai Santa Fe topped the “20 least expensive 2009 vehicles to insure” list by[2]

Alternative propulsion[edit | edit source]

There is a Hyundai Santa Fe FCEV fuel cell vehicle.

Electric versions[edit | edit source]

There is a Hyundai Sante Fe Blue Hybrid that is powered by gasoline engine coupled to a 30 kW (41 PS/40 hp) electric motor. The Santa Fe blue Hybrid uses a 270 V lithium polymer battery.[15][16]

Media coverage[edit | edit source]

Advertising Standards Bureau of Australia banned a Santa Fe TV commercial titled 'restless' or 'toddler', which ASB argued that it promotes illegal activity.[17][18] The ad was produced by Kim Thorp and Howard Greive from Assignment Group NZ and directed by Tony Williams from Sydney Film Company, with post via Frame Set + Match, Sydney.[19] The ad itself won the 2006 Fair Go Ad Awards in Best Ad Award category, and was also nominated in the top five in the Worst Ad category.[20]

See also[edit | edit source]

References[edit | edit source]

  1. "Hyundai wins top marks for two models". MSN.
  2. 2.0 2.1 The Most Expensive Cars to Insure Jun. 03, 2009, U.S. News Rankings & Reviews
  3. 3.0 3.1 "Hyundai Santa Fe earns 2007 Top Safety Pick award by IIHS".
  4. "ТагАЗ: Santa Fe Classic". Retrieved on 2010-10-08.
  5. 5.0 5.1 A New Bentley? No, It Is a Hawtai B11, August 17, 2010
  6. Huatai Santa Fe C9 goes on the market, September 21 2009 (Google cache)
  7. Huatai-Hyundai and Roewe hook up to stick 1.8T in SanteFe, October 11, 2007
  8. Hawtai to launch B35 SUV at years end, November 15, 2010 at 4:22 pm
  9. 9.0 9.1 "2007 Hyundai Santa Fe Review and Specs". JB car pages.
  10. 10.0 10.1 "Santa Fe Specifications". Retrieved on 2009-07-03.
  11. "2008 Hyundai Santa Fe Review". JB car pages.
  12. "2010 Hyundai Santa Fe Gets Refreshed, Two New Engines".
  13. "2008 Hyundai Santa Fe NHTSA Crash Test Ratings". NHTSA.
  14. Hyundai Santa Fe ANCAP
  15. "Hyundai Sante Fe Blue Hybrid Debuts in Paris". World Car Fans.
  16. "Hyundai Santa Fe Blue Hybrid revealed ahead of Paris". Autoblog Green.
  17. "More hysteria over suggestive ads: Hyundai yanks ad featuring baby behind the wheel". AutoMK.
  18. Bevin, Edith (February 23, 2007). "Parents raise copycat risk from TV's revhead tot", Archived from the original on September 4, 2012. 
  19. "Hyundai 'Toddler' commercial banned by ASB". Campaign Brief.
  20. "Hyundai ad wins Fair Go award". TVNZ.

External links[edit | edit source]

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