2010 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2010 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV

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Hyundai Santa Fe Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 175 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 19/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe

  • An affordable price tag, a long list of standard comfort and safety features and two new more fuel-efficient engines make the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe a commendable midsize crossover SUV choice.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Attractive interior, top-notch crash test scores, lots of features at an agreeable price, great warranty.

  • Cons

    Ride quality on SE and Limited models may be too firm for some buyers.

  • What's New for 2010

    The 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe gets two new engines and six-speed transmissions that deliver both better performance and improved fuel economy. There are minor exterior styling revisions, including new taillights and grille. Inside, Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and a USB audio input jack are now standard on all models. The side curtain airbags now incorporate a rollover sensor. Finally, the third-row seat option has been dropped.

Full 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

What's New for 2010

The 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe gets two new engines and six-speed transmissions that deliver both better performance and improved fuel economy. There are minor exterior styling revisions, including new taillights and grille. Inside, Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and a USB audio input jack are now standard on all models. The side curtain airbags now incorporate a rollover sensor. Finally, the third-row seat option has been dropped.


It's human nature: Everyone wants to feel like a smart shopper -- like they've discovered a little-known product that delivers big-time bang for the buck. Perhaps something along the lines of the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe, for example. While this affordable midsize crossover has struggled to achieve household-name status, a growing number of savvy buyers in recent years have found that the Santa Fe has some distinct advantages over its higher-profile competitors. Now, a few key improvements promise to make the 2010 model just that much more attractive.

While the Santa Fe's freshened exterior styling may be the most obvious change, the big news here is actually under the hood. The base engine is now a 175-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder that replaces last year's 185-hp 2.7-liter V6. It's paired to a new six-speed automatic transmission, and the combination provides significantly better fuel economy as well as quicker acceleration The optional 276-hp 3.5-liter V6 is also new; it, too, provides better performance and fuel economy compared to last year's 3.3-liter V6.

The Santa Fe's already long list of standard comfort and convenience features also grows a little longer for 2010. Some desirable extras -- like leather upholstery and a sunroof -- are still available only on the top-of-the-line Limited trim level, but Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a USB audio jack have now trickled down to become standard across the model lineup. The optional touchscreen navigation system is also now offered on all three trim levels.

One notable deletion from the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe's options list is the third-row seat. While going from a seven- to a five-passenger interior may put off some buyers, we don't consider it a great loss because that way-back seat was so cramped and difficult to access it was really only fit for small and nimble children.

While the Santa Fe has a lot going for it, it's not right for everybody. Those in search of a sportier driving experience would likely be happier with the Mazda CX-7 or Nissan Murano. If you're one of those folks who really needs a third-row seat, we'd suggest you check out roomier seven-passenger crossovers like the Chevrolet Traverse or Toyota Highlander.

That said, when you put these improvements together with an affordable MSRP, top crash test scores and a generous 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, the Santa Fe begins to look like a pretty smart purchase indeed.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe is a midsize crossover SUV that's offered in three trim levels: base GLS, sporty SE and top-of-the-line Limited. The entry-level GLS comes relatively well-equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, rear privacy glass, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, cruise control, a trip computer, full power accessories, 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks and a six-speaker CD stereo with satellite radio and auxiliary audio and USB jacks.

The midrange SE model adds 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglamps, a roof rack and a rear spoiler. Cabin upgrades include unique cloth upholstery with leather inserts, a leather-wrapped steering wheel/shift knob, a power driver seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass.

Spring for the Limited and you get a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats and a premium Infinity audio system with a six-disc CD changer. The Limited's sunroof and audio system are optional on the GLS and SE, as are heated front seats (SE only) and a navigation system with rearview camera.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS and Limited come standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that puts out 175 hp and 169 pound-feet of torque. A new six-speed manual transmission is standard in the GLS, while a new six-speed automatic is optional and standard with the Limited. All-wheel drive is optional. EPA fuel economy estimates range from 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined for front-wheel-drive models equipped with the manual gearbox to 21/27/23 mpg for all-wheel-drive versions fitted with the automatic.

A 3.5-liter V6 that's rated at 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque is optional on the Santa Fe Limited and standard for the SE. The six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered here. V6 mileage estimates hardly dip from the four-cylinder, with an estimated 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.


Electronic stability control, antilock disc brakes, active front head restraints, side-impact airbags for front seat passengers and rollover-sensing side curtain airbags are all standard on the Santa Fe. In government crash testing, the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe earned perfect five-star ratings in both frontal and side impacts. Likewise, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Santa Fe its highest possible rating of "Good" in both frontal-offset and side-impact tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Santa Fe's passenger cabin offers more than you might expect from a value-priced vehicle. The interior features attractive styling and quality materials that give it an upscale feel, especially on Limited models. A number of high-end standard features and options, including a navigation system with rearview camera, add to the feeling that you're somehow getting more than you paid for.

Some buyers may find it hard to get comfortable behind the wheel because of the overly high seating position and short bottom cushions that offer taller drivers minimal thigh support. The second row is another story, however, as it offers an above-average level of comfort.

The interior is also relatively cargo-friendly, with 60/40-split rear seatbacks that can be folded down to make a flat load floor. Maximum cargo area is 78 cubic feet, a number that's on par with comparably sized crossovers.

Driving Impressions

On the road, the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe offers predictable if not exciting handling. The ride quality is generally good, though models fitted with the larger 18-inch wheels tend to be a bit harsh on rough pavement.

While we understand the thinking behind dumping the outgoing model's uninspiring 2.7-liter V6 for the much less thirsty new four-cylinder, the real-world fuel economy advantage it offers is negligible. If you can swing it, the new 3.5-liter V6 is the way to go.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

2 of 4 people found this review helpful


by on
Vehicle: 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I am into my 3rd transmission for a car that is 4 years old and 30,000 miles. Dealer cannot explain why my car keeps destroying the transmissions. But when engaging my car into gear there is a delay and then bangs into gear. I am totally disgusted and am getting rid of this car. I will never recommend this car to anyone.

Very poor customer and dealer

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

Our vehicle is going on 4 yrs, with numerous recalls (and some others issues mentioned). But, the real problem is when you have to deal with a dealer. Our vehicle suddenly has paint bubbling up everywhere from a poor factory paint job. I've never seen a problem like this with any other vehicle we've owned. The dealer was very unhelpful (I'm sure ours isn't the only vehicle with this problem). He downright just didn't want to deal with us. When I emailed Hyundai and told them I was disappointed in their dealer attitude and build quality, their response was a legalistic you're out of warranty response. Never will buy another Hyundai after this.

A very solid vehicle

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

Mine is a Limited, FWD. Bought in June of 2010. Just turned 37,000 miles. Runs great. Nice power and handling. 20-22 mpg combined winter and summer--all right for v-6 w 276hp. Has been completely reliable thus far with absolutely no mechanical issues at all! The only complaints I have are the road noise at highway speeds and its sensitivity in acceleration from a standstill, it wants to jump right out there...not much room for finesse. If you need to floor it to pass or maneuver, it takes a noticeable lapse of time where it does nothing ( like a turbo hesitating before it kicks in) and then it snaps to and takes off. Aside from these things, it's been a great vehicle.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Waste of money.. a lemon!!

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Vehicle: 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

My car has now been in the shop for 44 days and have not had a call from the dealership for a week. purchased the car from West End Hyundai in Edmonton On Oct 20, 2010 and have had nothing but problems since. drove the Coquahalla in severe weather conditions only to find there was no wrench to change the tires if we had a flat.. contacted the dealership but never got a reply.. then the troubles really started,the window would not go down, the truck would not open, car would not go into gear, no reverse, took the car to service centre for the 5th time. More tests.They said 1O Days to have part come from Korea BY BOAT! now 44 days later no car, no loaner, huge disappointment!!

16 of 16 people found this review helpful

No issues when driving in

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Vehicle: 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

Always loved the look of the the Santa Fe so when the time came to purchase a new car it was at the top of my list. The added bonus of a top safety rating and comfortable interior sealed the deal. Two years later, after intermittent shifting issues that "could not be replicated" by my dealer, I now have a beautiful car that only moves forward reliably when in neutral attached to the back of tow truck. Hoping that it's current failure to move at all when in "drive" makes the situation a little easier for the dealership to figure out. Might be worth taking a peak at the transmission this time (?) So far, the only bright side is that I've never had any issues when driving in reverse ;)

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Very good with one stinking

by on
Vehicle: 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

A very good dependable vehicle with a couple issues. The ride is nice. Handling is very good. The 3.5 V6 has plenty of power and speed. Fuel mileage is good too. It doesn't feel or look cheap. I have been in comparable Lexus and it is just as nice. Why pay double the price just to drive a Lexus?? It is comfortable except it needs a little more leg room in the drivers area. I feel too close to the pedals. Other cons may be freeway noise at high speeds. The one major flaw is the odor from the A/C that many owners seem to have. Hyundai needs to step up and fix this.

Talk About The 2010 Santa Fe

2010 Hyundai Santa Fe Discussions See all Started By

I cant seem to find the answer: Does my 2010 2.4L santa fe have the belt or chain? I have found conflicting info online - Help....

I'm interested in buying a used year 2010 - 2012 mid-sized SUV and I'm trying to decide between a Hyundai Santa Fe and a Toyota Highlander. I'm looking for it to have around 20K - 30K miles or so. I'v...

I just purchased a 2010 Santa Fe Limited AWD. Got a good deal. Looked at Land Rover LR2 but decided that the Santa Fe had better realiability and warranty. Had it for a week. Drives like a dream....

Read more about the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe

Gas Mileage


  • 19
  • cty
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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