2011 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 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 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe

  • An affordable price tag, a long list of standard comfort and safety features and two impressive engines make the 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe a commendable midsize crossover SUV choice.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Lots of features at an agreeable price; spacious cabin; generous cargo capacity; strong and efficient V6 engine; great warranty; simple controls.

  • Cons

    Ride quality on SE and Limited may be too firm for some; design's getting on in years.

  • What's New for 2011

    After significant updates last year, the 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe carries over largely unchanged. The Limited trim gets a new, standard 10-speaker Infinity surround-sound system.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

1 of 2 people found this review helpful


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Vehicle: 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe

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

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Vehicle: 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe

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

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Vehicle: 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe

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

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

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

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Vehicle: 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe

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.

Full 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

What's New for 2011

After significant updates last year, the 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe carries over largely unchanged. The Limited trim gets a new, standard 10-speaker Infinity surround-sound system.


The 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe is the big kid in its class. Though its price, equipment and general character makes it comparable to the small crossovers from Chevy, Honda and Toyota, this plus-sized Hyundai boasts more interior space than them all. Unlike the big kid in the class, though, the Santa Fe has been bullied a bit over the years and hasn't enjoyed the popularity of its rivals. Yet that doesn't mean it's not worth a look, especially in light of the new engines introduced last year.

The Santa Fe is getting on in years, which would explain why it doesn't boast the same curvaceous styling inside and out as the Hyundai Tucson compact crossover. Yet the Santa Fe was one of the first vehicles from Hyundai to establish a reputation for durability, something the entire brand enjoys today. It also maintains the traditional Hyundai trademarks of a low price, generous equipment, a lengthy warranty and simple controls that can be figured out by young and old.

Like most vehicles in this class of big "compact" crossovers, the Santa Fe comes standard with a four-cylinder engine that should be powerful enough and fuel-efficient enough for most buyers. Much like the Toyota RAV4, however, the Santa Fe's V6 is the smart choice as it matches the smaller engine's fuel economy while besting it by 101 horsepower. That's what we call a win-win.

As a shopper, it can be difficult to choose in this category, since there's a wide range of impressive crossovers from which to pick. Of the bigger variety, we suggest checking out the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox, 2011 Honda CR-V, 2011 Kia Sorento, 2011 Subaru Outback and the 2011 Toyota RAV4. The RAV4 and the Sorento offer a third-row seat -- a feature the Santa Fe once had but has since been discontinued. a third-row seat -- a feature the Santa Fe once had but has since been discontinued. The 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe is getting along in years and isn't really a class leader, but if you're looking for the biggest of the biggest compact crossovers, it's your best choice.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe is a five-passenger crossover SUV available in GLS, SE and Limited trim levels.

Standard equipment on the base GLS includes 17-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, roof side rails, heated mirrors, keyless entry, cruise control, air-conditioning, rear seat air vents, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod/USB audio interface and satellite radio.

The Santa Fe SE gets 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, a windshield wiper de-icer, roof rack cross rails, an eight-way power driver seat with adjustable lumbar, leather/cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Premium package adds a sunroof, a rearview camera, a touchscreen navigation system and an upgraded audio system.

The Santa Fe Limited adds a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, full leather upholstery and a 10-speaker Infinity surround-sound audio system with a six-CD changer. The rearview camera and navigation system are also available for the Limited.

Powertrains and Performance

The Hyundai Santa Fe GLS and Limited come standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 175 hp and 169 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the GLS, while a six-speed automatic is optional on the GLS and standard on the Limited. Front-wheel drive is standard on all Santa Fe trims and all-wheel drive is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined with the automatic and 19/26/21 with the manual.

Standard on the SE and optional on the Limited is a 3.5-liter V6 good for 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, this engine brought the Santa Fe from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds -- a strong performance for this segment. EPA-estimated fuel economy is a solid 20/26/23.


Every 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe comes standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes, brake assist, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is optional. In Edmunds brake testing, a Santa Fe Limited came to a stop from 60 mph in 126 feet -- a perfectly average distance.

The Santa Fe has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash testing procedures. Its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to 2011 tests) were a perfect five stars in all frontal and side crash categories. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Santa Fe its highest rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side crash categories.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Santa Fe doesn't enjoy the organic modernistic curves of the cabin in Hyundai's newer Tucson, but it nevertheless offers a relatively elegant environment compared to the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Quality of materials and their fitment are pretty much par for the course, with plenty of hard plastics thankfully broken up by soft touch points. The Santa Fe benefits from extremely simple controls, even with the available navigation system.

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 offers an above-average level of comfort, but doesn't slide like many of its competitors' seats do.

Cargo capacity is a standout attribute of the Santa Fe, with its 78 cubic feet of maximum space eclipsing the RAV4, CR-V and Subaru Forester, while greatly outpacing midsize models like the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano. You'd have to step up to a large crossover to enjoy more.

Driving Impressions

On the road, the 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe offers predictable if not exciting handling, characterized by plenty of body roll and artificial feel to the steering. The ride quality is generally good, though models fitted with the larger 18-inch wheels tend to be a bit harsh on rough pavement. With either engine, the Santa Fe delivers good acceleration relative to other four-cylinder vehicles in its class, though the V6 is certainly the more impressive of the two, since it matches the lesser engine's fuel mileage as well.

Talk About The 2011 Santa Fe

Read more about the 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe

Gas Mileage


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