2006 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Hyundai Santa Fe Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.7 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 4-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 170 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 17/23 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe

  • The 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe offers a consumer-friendly blend of space, comfort, features, performance and value that make it a compact SUV worth considering.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Reasonable price, strong warranty, roomy interior, long list of standard features, solid construction, good crash test scores.

  • Cons

    The 3.5-liter V6 is thirsty at the pump, soft suspension limits handling ability, no side curtain airbags.

  • What's New for 2006

    A new Limited trim level has been added, featuring leather seating, automatic climate control and a trip computer. The GLS gets an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and Limited models can be equipped with an all-black monochromatic color scheme.

Full 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

What's New for 2006

A new Limited trim level has been added, featuring leather seating, automatic climate control and a trip computer. The GLS gets an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and Limited models can be equipped with an all-black monochromatic color scheme.


Introduced for the 2001 model year, the Hyundai Santa Fe cuts to the heart of what most American SUV buyers really want -- the ride and handling characteristics of a car melded with the styling and tall seating position of a truck. At the same time, it's big on value. While priced to match compact competitors like the Tribute and RAV4, the Santa Fe is based on Hyundai's previous-generation Sonata sedan platform, which means that it's technically a midsize SUV and accordingly offers more room for passengers and cargo.

Like other Hyundai vehicles, this one is packed with desirable standard features and comes with a strong standard warranty. And the Santa Fe's crash test scores have generally been very good. The Sante Fe is now in the sixth year of its model cycle, but Hyundai has made continual improvements over the years to keep it competitive among budget SUVs. Most significant among these was the arrival of a 3.5-liter V6 and a five-speed automatic transmission, a combination that vastly improved its acceleration. When equipped with all-wheel drive, this Hyundai SUV can handle well-groomed dirt roads, but it's not a serious off-roader like the Xterra or Sorento. However, we would certainly recommend the 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe to the general consumer looking for a good deal on a family vehicle that doesn't have any serious faults.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The four-door Hyundai Santa Fe is sold in GLS and Limited trims. Standard equipment on the GLS includes side airbags; air conditioning; power windows, mirrors and locks; a CD player; 16-inch alloy wheels; a full-size spare tire; an auto-dimming rearview mirror; and foglights. Options on the GLS include a power sunroof and a Monsoon sound system with an in-dash CD changer. The Monsoon stereo comes standard on the high-line Limited, along with automatic climate control, a power driver seat, leather upholstery, heated seats and a trip computer.

Powertrains and Performance

The GLS model comes standard with a 2.7-liter V6 rated at 170 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque; it's paired with a four-speed automatic transmission. Optional on the GLS and standard on the Limited is a 3.5-liter V6 good for 200 hp and 219 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes with a five-speed automatic. Both front-wheel-drive and all-wheel-drive models are available on this Hyundai SUV. Although the smaller V6 is rated for up to 26 mpg on the highway, the 3.5-liter turns in poor fuel numbers for a small SUV application -- just 16-17 mpg in the city and 21-22 on the highway.


Four-wheel antilock disc brakes, traction control and side airbags (for front occupants) are standard on all models. In government crash tests, the Hyundai Santa Fe received four out of five stars for driver protection in frontal impacts and five stars for the front passenger. Side-impact testing resulted in a five-star rating for front- and rear-passenger protection. In frontal-offset crash testing conducted by the IIHS, the Santa Fe received a "Good" rating (the highest possible); in IIHS side-impact testing, it earned an "Acceptable" rating (the second highest).

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside, the Hyundai Santa Fe offers reasonable accommodations for five and a 29.4-cubic-foot cargo bay; fold down the 60/40-split rear seats, and you get a generous 78 cubes. The cabin boasts a sharp two-tone color scheme and feels high in quality, as Hyundai has fitted it with low-gloss plastics and solid switchgear. The seats are comfortable, but legroom can be a bit tight for adults in back, and unlike the Equinox and CR-V, the Santa Fe doesn't offer fore/aft adjustment for its rear bench.

Driving Impressions

The 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe has just what most family-oriented buyers want: adequate power and a smooth, quiet ride. Its handling capabilities provoke little excitement but unless you're a driving enthusiast, you probably won't mind the soft setup. If you opt for an AWD Sante Fe, you'll have a bargain-priced, all-weather family vehicle.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

10 of 10 people found this review helpful

Great reliable suv

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 4dr SUV (2.7L 6cyl 4A)

Driven 100000 plus miles on it already and planning to drive another 100000 on it for another 5 years. It drives good in Michigan road in winter on a virgin snow of up to 4 inches.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Reliability with a capital 'r'

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 4dr SUV AWD (2.7L 6cyl 4A)

Believe it or not, in 4 years I have put 160,000 on this vehicle and it's rock solid. No issues whatsoever. No power loss, nothing. All I've done is regular oil changes (synthetic) and the up-scale filters. I have changed the front rotors once. This vehicle is just a dream and should be considered by all who are in for a reliable used. Forget the Japanese, they are just too much money for nothing. They don't even look good. I guess people are noting that in a hurry now. The Santa Fe is already the largest selling import SUV in Canada. Good job Hyundai. My next vehicle would also be a Hyundai. The Veracruz or if they come up with a larger SUV then that'd be it.

1 of 8 people found this review helpful


by on
Vehicle: 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 4dr SUV AWD (2.7L 6cyl 4A)

I bought the Santa Fe in 2006, within a couple of months I was in having the Cruise control switch replaced and a year later I started having problems with the down shifting to 3rd. They changed out a sensor. In the winter of 09 it didn't want to go into drive when cold brought it in. Couldn't duplicate so there was "nothing wrong". Still having problem. On 4/29/10 the shifting problems started again, so I brought the car back into the shop to have them say "nothing wrong" so they reset the computer. So I picked up my car and two days later I was stuck in the parking lot not able to go anywhere. Lets say it is in the shop waiting approval for new transmission!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Can't get rid of it....

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 4dr SUV (2.7L 6cyl 4A)

I bought my first HY back in July of 2009. For $12K I got 2006 HY SF GLS 2.7 V6 2WD with 25K miles. Since then I have put 10K miles on it. This car has so far exceeded my expectations. As a guy, I have never fallen in love with exterior of the old style SF, but my wife did and since the car was mainly for her I relented. Gas Mileage is better than the Tahoe and even my current 2003 V6 Ford F150. To be honest, I tried very much to rationally to find a valid reason to upgrade to a newer vehicle with all the recent deals, but for what we paid for and how surprisingly functional it has been and how much the wife likes it, I canít justify letting it go. I have grown to respect it.

Best of the best

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

We switched from Ford in 2002 and bought our first Santa Fe. Since then we have owned three and have loved every one. Only expenses have been regular maintenance and tires. Warranty has never been a problem with our dealer and all work has been done in a timely manner. I have also owned an Accent and now have an Elantra and would recommend any of them. Fuel economy on the Santa fe is 24 to 27 on the road at freeway speeds. We have 67000 miles on it and never had any problems.

Great suv

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I just purchased a used Hyundai Santa Fe limited with 4WD and the 3.5 V^. It is fully loaded from leather seats to heated seats and moon roof and 6 disc changer. So far I love the ride even though it is used still drives like a new vehicle.

Talk About The 2006 Santa Fe

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Gas Mileage


  • 17
  • cty
  • 23
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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