2003 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

Pros & Cons

  • Reasonable price, super warranty, roomy interior, long list of standard features, solid construction.
  • Underpowered without the 3.5-liter engine, unusual styling won't please everyone.
List Price Estimate
$1,413 - $2,761

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Odd design elements aside, the Santa Fe offers a consumer-friendly blend of space, comfort, features, performance and value.

2003 Highlights

For 2003, side airbags become standard equipment for every Santa Fe. New this year is Homelink and a Monsoon sound system with a six-CD changer -- these are standard items on the LX, and the audio upgrades are optional for the GLS. There is a newly available 3.5-liter V6 which will be offered in addition to the 2.4-liter inline four and the 2.7-liter V6. The 3.5-liter engine replaces the 2.7-liter unit and is now standard on the LX as is a new five-speed automatic transmission.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Mileage Gem
Howard F. Morgan,12/16/2015
GLS Fwd 4dr SUV (2.7L 6cyl 4A)
Keep your vehicle maintained. As others have stated, the paint is not the best. I have 280,000 miles on this vehicle which was a program vehicle and had 11,000 when I purchased it. I have spent about $ 3,000 on it during a period of 12 years (repairs)
2003 Santa Fe LX 2.7
My wife and I bought it with 60,000 miles. We had a couple of minor issues right of the bat that the dealer didn't want to handle. I did replace the plugs and wires twice within the first two years because of the same problem. It was a little time consuming but not impossible. Definately cheaper then taking it into the dealer. Other then that it has been very reliable. Gas mileage could be a little better. I think we average around 17-18mpg. We orignally bought it because we were told it could handle a boat. Later found it the towing capacity wasn't great. But would definately buy another one.
I love my 2003 Hyundai Santa FE GLS 2.7 liter
I bought my 2003 Santa FE brand new. I now have 175000 miles on it. I have had its maintenance done regularly which has included the timing and serpentine belt twice, replaced the battery once, 2 sets of front brake pads, 1 set of rear brakes pads, and replaced one set of tires. This has been absolutely worth the money I have spent for the car. Some of the 'problems' that other reviewers have posted are not problems but regular maintenance items. Everything thing wears out people and may need to be replaced! Some of the fuel economy issues can also be attributed to poor fuel quality. If you put crap gas in your car it will cause problems first with poor mpg's then eventually emission issues.
Great Used Car for Teens & College!
Bought a 2003 Santa Fe with 125K GLS 2.7L for my son his senior year of HS, he took it to college...had to replace a rear trailing arm & a coroded battery cable, other than that I did the timing belt, plugs & wires, new tires, and most fluids. GREAT car for the money, love the styling (its now a classic), modern interior, and perfect for teens and college age kids for room and safety. Decent sound system, side airbags and lots of metal, smooth ride and quiet engine...you can do a lot worse, just stay away from the 4-cylinder.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Not Tested
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe

Used 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe Overview

The Used 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe is offered in the following submodels: Santa Fe SUV. Available styles include Fwd 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 4A), GLS Fwd 4dr SUV (2.7L 6cyl 4A), GLS AWD 4dr SUV (2.7L 6cyl 4A), LX Fwd 4dr SUV (2.7L 6cyl 4A), GLS AWD 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), GLS Fwd 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), LX AWD 4dr SUV (2.7L 6cyl 4A), LX Fwd 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A), Fwd 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 5M), and LX AWD 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe?

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Which used 2003 Hyundai Santa Fes are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe.

Can't find a used 2003 Hyundai Santa Fes you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Hyundai Santa Fe for sale - 6 great deals out of 24 listings starting at $24,005.

Find a used Hyundai for sale - 8 great deals out of 8 listings starting at $8,218.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai Santa Fe for sale - 7 great deals out of 11 listings starting at $20,511.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai for sale - 9 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $25,587.

Should I lease or buy a 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

Check out Hyundai lease specials
Check out Hyundai Santa Fe lease specials