This is the first car I have owned since brand new that has even come close to having over 150,000 miles on it and still runs. To date, other than preventative maintenance and normal wear and tear, I've had the following problems: At 40k miles, a torn CV joint boot (warranty repair); At 60k miles the timing belt required replacement per scheduled maintenance ($600 @ dealership, including water pump and belt tensioner as precautionary replacements); At 130k miles replaced the timing belt, water pump and tensioner again a little late to schedule ($300 by family mechanic); At 152,000 miles the switch for the cruise control broke ($30 / 15 minute repair by myself); At 155,000 miles the alternator war replaced (2 hours, $275 parts/labor at a local shop). When you think about it, the alternator was really wear and tear as they do not last forever. And that's it. 160k miles and about $300 worth of repairs, $30 if you exclude the alternator. I maintain it religiously and take care of little things before they become big things. We've gotten our money's worth from this vehicle and then some. We don't off-road it or mistreat it, but it is not pampered by any means.
I bought it new in 2004. It has plenty of room for passengers and plenty of cargo room. The car has great power on take off. The biggest issue I have is they use bad paint. These hyundai's are peeling and fading. This in itself is why I won't buy the new 2013 Hyundai Sante Fe.
I just turned 95,000 miles on my 2004 Santa Fe. No problems so far except normal maintenance: windshield wiper blades every 2 years, tires every 4 years-usually worn out by then, change oil every 6 months or 6-7000 miles for conventional or 7-10000 miles on synthetic. I changed the transmission oil twice (drain and fill) at 40k miles, and again at 80k miles). Oh, I changed both front bulbs after one of the bulbs burned out at around 70k miles. Replaced front and rear brakes and rotors at 85k miles. I will do the timing belt sometime soon. No problems! Best car I have owned so far.
I got my Santa Fe with 68,000, and after 4 other lemons before that, I figured this car would be my knight in shining armor. So, naturally, the transmission went out 6 months after I bought it. Now a year and half later, it just wouldn't start one day. Long story short, I've now replaced the Mass Airflow Sensor, the Coolant Temperature Sensor, and low and behold, this morning I went to start it and its running crappy still and trying to die on me, obviously not trustworthy. The mechanics are stumped, and so am I. If this happens to you, the code reads, "Fuel temp sensor", get ready for a domino effect of electrical problems that mechanics won't be able to pinpoint.
Built solid, I loved my Santa Fe. engine purred like a kitten from mile zero all the way up to 142000 miles when I traded it in. Bought in 2004, traded in 2008 I still regret trading it in to this day. So many practical use reasons to own a Santa Fe.