2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Hyundai Santa Fe SUV

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Hyundai Santa Fe Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain All Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 276 hp @ 6300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe

  • Though it's a little short on style, the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe is a respectable choice for a crossover SUV.

  • 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 might be too firm for some; aging styling.

  • What's New for 2012

    The 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe receives just a few small improvements including the addition of standard hill-descent brake control and low rolling-resistance tires on GLS models.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (27 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

Loving it...

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Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe

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 2 people found this review helpful

Bad value

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Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe

I own two 2011 santa fe's and four 2005 santa fe's..the maintenance costs for the 2011's are triple the 2005's for the first 35, 000 miles. I wish I had not purchased the 2011"s. I am really disspapointed after owning the 05"s. they went downhill...I have gone thru 4 front hub bearings, 3 lower ball joints, 2 tierod ends, 4 sway bar links, 3 power steering pumps in the 2011"s and it is still not over.

Cost to own

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe

The good news is that this is a great road car and does a nice job in snowy weather. On mixed town and highway i'm getting 23.5 mpg. Now for the bad news, with just a little over $26,000 miles I'm looking at a total maintenance cost of just over $1,300. this is well over the Edmunds figure. the 15k service was $282. the 30k will be $550. I'm also expected to have serivce to the rear differential and transfer cases @$120 each. Finally, there is some filter that needs to be replaced at 30k that will cost $250.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

My last hyundai

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Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe

Bought a 2011 on 01/15/2011 started experiencing transmission prob late 2011, Jan 2012 vehicle no longer wants to go into park or reverse need to turn off and turn on. only driver and 8000 miles. Customer service is non-existent everyone bouncing me around cannot provide me with a loaner to get around my sales rep tells me he is no mechanic the dealer where bought sends me to another dealer really? I traded it and got me an escape trust this works better at least I know their customer service is way better having had a ford before

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

I really like my santa

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe

I bought the "bait and switch" car from the newspaper ad, so I think I got a very good price. It's stripped down, 4 cylinder, front wheel drive, but has the bluetooth, ipod connector, hands-free phone, and radio controls on the steering wheel. today, it's 1 year old, 10,000 miles. Mileage is about 22 in the city but rises to 26+ on the highway if I keep to 65 and use the "manual" feature of the automatic transmission to force it to stay in 6th gear. I also drive conservatively in general. It will get up and go if you ask it to, but mpg's will suffer.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Poor gas mileage

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe

The MPG, when having first purchased the Hyundai Santa Fe, was upwards of 25.5 on trips and around 22 to 23 in the city driving. This was the prime reason I got rid of my Dodge Dakota which was giving me 16MPG/18MPG city/highway respectively. My total driven miles since the lease of my Santa Fe are 3800 +/- as of 12/12/11. About a week ago, 12/05/11, the MPG had decreased to 19.0 MPG on trips and very little change in city driving. I filled the tank and noted that the MPG reading went back up to 24.0 MPG for a few miles then dropped back to 19.0 MPG whether I was on the road at a constant 60 MPH or driving in the city at 30 MPH . Checking the actual miles driven since the last fill-up (on 12/12/11) with the gallons of gas consumed, i.e. Miles/Gallons used, the MPG calculated to 18.0 MPG. Why?? The odometer resets the MPG after fill up. I’m up to 19.8MPG having driven 3 miles from the gas station and will continue to monitor the MPG to see if it reaches the expected MPG (the reason I purchased a Hyundai) I brought the car to the dealership (where leased on 09/12/11) to have the problem checked and they weren’t able to find any problem other than the tire pressure was down by 3 psi. Our temp had fallen to below freezing that day but even so, when the problem first occurred, the temp was in the 60’s. Has anyone else experienced a similar problem and if so, is there a solution?

Gas Mileage


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

Full 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

What's New for 2012

The 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe receives just a few small improvements including the addition of standard hill-descent brake control and low rolling-resistance tires on GLS models.


If the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe were a person, it would be a straight-talking, unpretentious guy. Sure, maybe he's not the flashy bad boy who'll sweep you off your feet, but he's quietly dependable and easy to like. He's the guy you marry, not the one you date in college.

Along those lines, there's nothing flashy about the Santa Fe, even compared to the other vehicles in Hyundai's lineup. Yet the fact that this relatively plain-looking crossover hasn't been restyled in a while doesn't necessarily detract from its good qualities. Topping the list is an interior that's larger than those in crossovers like the Chevy Equinox, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. An affordable MSRP, a generous list of standard features and lengthy warranty coverage also make it worthy of consideration.

The biggest issue for buyers looking at the Santa Fe might be the sheer number of newer, attractive choices in this segment. Sure, a family crossover is unlikely to have that bad boy personality, but several offer more style and personality than the Santa Fe as well as the best-selling Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. The Equinox and its GMC Terrain twin are among these, yet are plenty practical in their own right. The same applies to the Kia Sorento, which has the added benefit of a third-row seat. The smaller Hyundai Tucson is also worth considering if you value style over practicality.

But practicality is a big reason to buy a family crossover, and to this end, the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe has the kind of sensible personality with which it's worth settling down.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe is a five-passenger crossover SUV available in GLS, SE and Limited trim levels.

Standard equipment on the entry-level GLS includes 17-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, roof rails, heated mirrors, keyless entry, cruise control, full power accessories, air-conditioning with rear seat vents, a height-adjustable driver seat, a 60/40 split-folding rear seat, a trip computer, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and an iPod/USB audio interface.

The midrange SE gets 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglamps, a windshield wiper de-icer, roof rack cross rails and a rear spoiler. Inside there's leather and cloth upholstery, an eight-way power driver seat with adjustable lumbar, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, 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, full leather upholstery, heated front seats, a 115-volt AC household-style power outlet and a 10-speaker Infinity surround-sound audio system with a six-CD changer. The Navigation package besides the obvious adds the touchscreen and rearview camera.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS and Limited models come standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that puts out 175 horsepower and 169 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard on every Santa Fe, as is front-wheel drive. All-wheel drive is available as an option. The Santa Fe achieves EPA fuel economy estimates of 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and 20/25/22 with all-wheel drive.

A 3.5-liter V6 good for 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque is standard on the SE and optional on Limited models. In Edmunds performance testing, a V6-powered Santa Fe went from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds -- a strong performance for this segment. Despite its greater power, the fuel economy of the V6 is better than the four-cylinder. EPA estimates stand at 20/26/23 with front-wheel drive and 20/26/22 with all-wheel drive.


Every 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe comes standard with antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. There's also a new hill-descent brake control feature designed to help manage driving down steep hills with slippery surfaces. A rearview camera is optional. In Edmunds brake testing, a Santa Fe Limited came to a stop from 60 mph in 126 feet -- an average distance for the segment.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Santa Fe its highest rating of "Good" in its frontal-offset, side-impact and roof strength tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

Like the exterior, the Santa Fe's passenger cabin is on the plain side, with clear, easy-to-read gauges and simple, user-friendly controls. The quality of the materials is decent enough, with cheap-feeling hard plastics broken up by strategically placed bits of softer materials.

Up front, the unnaturally high seating position may feel awkward to some drivers, and long-legged drivers will likely find the short bottom cushions don't provide enough thigh support. The rear seat gets higher marks for comfort, though it lacks the ability to slide and recline as those in many other crossovers can.

When it comes to schlepping stuff instead of people, the Santa Fe shines with 78 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seatbacks folded down. That number beats the CR-V, RAV4 and Forester and actually comes pretty close to larger midsize models like the Ford Explorer.

Driving Impressions

Behind the wheel, the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe is about as exciting to drive as it is to look at. That is to say the handling is predictable though the driving experience is far from lively, marked by significant body roll and an artificial steering feel. The ride quality is good, though it can get a little harsh over rough pavement on models fitted with the 18-inch wheels.

With the 2.4-liter four-cylinder, acceleration is on par with similarly powered competitors. The 3.5-liter V6 engine delivers noticeably better performance and, considering the fact that the fuel economy numbers are so close, buyers who feel they need the extra power don't have much to lose for going that route.

Talk About The 2012 Santa Fe