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 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 276 hp @ 6300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/26 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

  Average Consumer Rating (6 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

Loving it...

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I am very pleased with my Santa Fe! It is just the right car for me... size, performance... value... All the things that matter.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Ok so far...

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

Just traded an 08 Nissan Rogue with a myriad of problems for the 11 Santa Fe. So far, it's been ok. We went for the V6 SE FWD because that is all that was on the lot at the time. Would have preferred the AWD as we live in midwest with unpredictable winter weather, but hoping for the best. Gas mileage has been the best thing so far. I drive 90m round trip daily in combined city/hwy. We are getting 23mpg combined average. Better than the Rogue. It drives ok. Nothing to rave about, but not terrible either. The drivers seat is a little uncomfortable. It is power adjustable, but neither my husband or I can get comfortable in it yet. Hoping it's just from being new and will soften a bit.

6 of 47 people found this review helpful

Not impressed with my santa

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Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I am pretty disappointed with the Santa Fe I bought, I am 21 and I bought myself a brand new vehicle and what do you know less then 4000km on it the sun roof breaks. I live 4hours away from the nearest Hyundai dealership!! They told me I was not allowed to get it fixed by any local mechanics so I had to spend literally hundreds of dollars on this piece of crap vehicle travelling almost every other week to try and get it fixed all this money is coming out of MY pocket. At about 120km/hr it starts to vibrate like crazy on the highway. Never again will I buy a Hyundai. I'll stick with Toyota from now on!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

Great buy !

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

This was a great buy for the money.Lots of extras included in the base price and other options available at reasonable markup. With the V6 putting out 276 hp it has excellent acceleration and handles reasonably well. More than ample cargo space , attractive interior[love the blue lights] and one of the worlds best warranties makes this a great choice of a mid size SUV. Oh did I mention the price ??? But to be fair I have mention that it does not have the smoothest ride. All in all I have to say that I love this Vehicle for the price.

31 of 31 people found this review helpful

Wanna know about the new

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

Got the vehicle on Thanksgiving. Had a 2005 CRV, traded it in. The Santa Fe SE is a better SUV. I have been an industrial mechanic and Honda owner for 35 years. Hyundai won me over. I got the SE 3.5 version. As hard as I could try the only thing I didn't like was the harsher ride than the Honda, but more quiet inside. It feels a little more sporty, on smooth roads, but all in all I don't think you can go wrong. This car is well built, and designed, the engine had plenty of power if you put the pedal to the metal (its too new to do it too often) it is truly a little pocket rocket, pulls some G's! Considering the warranties and Consumers Reports rating its better than Toyota or Honda overall!

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Great performance suv for a

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe SE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

It took one test drive in the Santa Fe SE to seal the deal for me. I am 6'4" and this car has enough room for five of me. It drives and handles like a truck; if you're into sharp handling this may not be for you. It handles bumps and rough terrain really well, and is loaded with power options, bluetooth, and other neat accessories. On my model there is a beautiful wood trim lining that accents the interior, and the paint is sharp and glossy. On the freeway, the shifting is smooth, the kick down with the V6 gets you to a quick 80-90 mph boost in no time, and braking is a breeze.

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

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Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs