2007 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

Pros & Cons

  • Upscale interior with high-quality materials, competitive price, long warranty, many standard safety features, optional third-row seat.
  • Overly firm ride on SE and Limited trims, automatic transmission sometimes slow to respond, unimpressive brakes.
List Price Range
$3,900 - $6,495

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Fully redesigned, the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe is still no athlete, but it's a thoroughly competent midsize crossover SUV with plenty of style inside and out. We consider it one of the top values for the 2007 model year.

Vehicle overview

For many suburban families, the midsize crossover SUV represents the ideal vehicle. It's less cumbersome than a full-size SUV but still big enough to haul around the kids, the dogs or the latest desirables from Pottery Barn. Weather-beating all-wheel drive is usually available and, as the top bonus for many people, it's not perceived as being geeky like a minivan. Perhaps not coincidentally, then, this midsize sweet spot is exactly where Korean automaker Hyundai has positioned its fully redesigned 2007 Santa Fe.

The original Santa Fe, while certainly competent, never quite matched up to top offerings from Japanese automakers in terms of refinement. Looking toward improvement, Hyundai designed the second-generation Santa Fe on an all-new, purpose-built unibody crossover platform. Its wheelbase is longer than before and overall length is up nearly 7 inches. Hyundai says that this chassis was specifically designed to deliver a better balance of ride and handling. The body structure is also considerably stiffer, and new suspension geometry has actually tightened the Santa Fe's turning circle.

On the outside, the new Santa Fe has a much sleeker look and is about the same length as a Toyota Highlander. Inside, the new body pays dividends in terms of interior space. A third-row seat is now optional and overall headroom, legroom and shoulder room measurements are equal to or better than those of many competing SUVs. Hyundai spent a lot of time on interior design, and the result is a very attractive dash and high-quality materials.

Mechanically, the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe features two- or four-wheel drive and two available V6 engines. The base engine, standard on the Santa Fe GLS, is a 2.7-liter V6 that was available in the previous Santa Fe but now offers the added benefit of variable valve timing. Replacing the previous Santa Fe's cast-iron 3.5-liter V6 is an all-aluminum 3.3-liter V6 that also sees duty in the redesigned Sonata sedan.

Overall, Hyundai has put together a pretty impressive package. Typical core strengths for a new Hyundai -- plenty of features for the money and a strong warranty -- hold true for the Santa Fe, and the old model's gawky styling is thankfully long gone. It should serve suburban families quite well, and we recommend that shoppers interested in this segment consider the Santa Fe one of the top choices.

2007 Hyundai Santa Fe models

The 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe midsize crossover SUV is available in three trim levels. The base Santa Fe GLS starts things out with 16-inch wheels, power windows, power heated outside mirrors, keyless entry, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, cruise control and an MP3-compatible CD player. The SE trim features a larger engine, 18-inch alloy wheels, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, automatic headlights, a trip computer and steering-wheel-mounted audio controls. The top-of-the-line Santa Fe Limited has the SE's equipment plus leather seating, heated front seats, a power driver seat and dual-zone automatic climate control. All three trim levels are also available with XM satellite radio.

Additional features are available through a variety of option packages. Highlights are a third-row seat with auxiliary rear climate controls, a sunroof and, for the SE and Limited only, a DVD entertainment system and a 115-volt power outlet. An upgraded audio system with a six-disc CD changer is available on the SE, and a premium Infinity surround-sound audio system is available on the Limited. Hyundai says it will also have a navigation system available later in the model year.

2007 Highlights

The Hyundai Santa Fe has been redesigned for the 2007 model year. Compared to last year's model, the new Santa Fe is larger, safer, more powerful and more luxurious.

Performance & mpg

GLS models come with a 2.7-liter V6 that makes 185 horsepower and 183 pound-feet of torque. The SE and Limited feature a 3.3-liter V6 good for 242 hp and 226 lb-ft of torque. For the smaller engine, Hyundai offers a standard five-speed manual transmission (late availability) or an optional four-speed automatic with sequential shift control. The larger V6 comes standard with a five-speed automatic and sequential shift control. All three Santa Fe trim levels come as either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive (AWD). For the latter, a driver-selectable AWD lock feature provides a continuous 50/50 torque split between front and rear wheels during off-road situations. Properly equipped, the SE and Limited have a 3,500-pound tow capacity.


All of the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe's safety features come standard. This includes four-wheel antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, front seat-mounted side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, front active head restraints and a tire-pressure monitor. In IIHS frontal-offset crash tests, the Santa Fe earned the top rating of "Good."


Hyundai describes the 2007 Santa Fe's handling as "engaging" and we think that's about right. The trade-off is that the ride on models equipped with the 18-inch wheels can be very busy on the highway. (Models with 16-inch wheels offer a better overall ride but aren't eligible for the bigger V6.) Pushed hard, the Santa Fe is easy to control and handling is predictable. Around town the brake pedal feels about right, but can get soft during hard braking. Overall braking distances on a FWD Limited model we tested were longer than expected for this class of SUV. The GLS model's 185-hp 2.7-liter V6 might seem underpowered for some consumers, but it does return decent highway mileage. If you're planning on getting an AWD model and/or frequently hauling passengers or cargo, the 242-hp 3.3-liter V6 is probably a better choice. Although the 3.3 V6 with the five-speed automatic is generally competent, some drivers found that transmission a little slow to respond at times.


The Santa Fe can seat up to seven passengers when equipped with the optional third-row seat. Naturally, the third row is really only suitable for children, but overall interior room is very good for this class of vehicle. The third-row seat is split 50/50 and can be folded flat, as can the 60/40-split second-row seat. Total cargo volume is 78.2 cubic feet, and there's plenty of storage space. Additionally, high-quality interior materials and a few unexpected touches, such as blue illumination for the dash and rear air vents mounted in the doors rather than on the back of the center console, create an upscale atmosphere. One of our few complaints about the Santa Fe's interior involves the driving position: The seats are mounted too high up front, and short seat-bottom cushions provide minimal thigh support for taller adults.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Saved my life
Traded in my 2002 Santa Fe for the 2007. 6 days after purchasing I was broadsided in drivers side door and front tire by a large landscape truck towing a trailer with lawn equipment going 45+mph who completely blew a red light. I was thrown into a bridge, cut out of the SUV and lived! I have every fireman I know who was at the accident stunned by my survival. They said if I didn't have that car I probably would not have lived. I suffered two broken vertebrae, broken sternum, internal bleeding and multiple contusions. Sounds bad, but could have been much worse. Needless to say, I am extremely happy with the safety features.......and it looked nice too. :)
Santa Fe alright by me
GLS 4dr SUV AWD (2.7L 6cyl 4A)
I bought my 2007 Santa Fe in 2010 when it had 58xxx miles. It now has 166xxx miles. I've never reviewed a car so I'm going to throw it all out there. The car is a stud, I've had it through winters in both Colorado and New York. The AWD is exceptional and even in 2 feet+ of snow the vehicle pulls like a beast, even with the smaller engine. I've been stuck in a snowstorm pulling a 5x10 uhaul trailer and buzzed right passed all the stranded vehicles. I have the 3rd row seating model and it has been perfect for all my kids. I added a Phillips rear entertainment system and it wired in easily. Also replaced the head unit with a Sony Bluetooth/XM model. UPDATE*** Edmunds sent me an email and asked me to update the review. Since I posted this review the vehicle now has 187k on it. It is falling apart slowly but surely. About 175k it needed about 3k in front end work. Now some sensors have went out and it shuts off intermittently, it needs another 3k or so of work so it just sits outside and I use it on real snowy days. In all honesty I'd still buy another one but I have newer vehicles. It pulled trailers from New York to Colorado back to Georgia to New York again and back west to Colorado. If I didn't pull trailers all the time it probably would of held up longer. I can't say I regret purchasing the vehicle, it has never needed any major work and all the work it has needed has been well over 100k.
Strong Looking Vehicle
I just made it to 1,200 miles for the proper break in period. The Santa Fe has performed better than I expected, and I am averaging 20 mpg.It is great fun to drive. I get compliments from eveybody I know.I am suprised that every one thinks I bought a Lexus SUV. Congratulatios Hyundai!
Nicely Refined SUV
This vehicle drives beautifully smooth. Feels solid and interior is elegant and functional. Gas mileage is the same as advertised. Already driven it in icy and wet conditions with no problems (it is not the AWD model). The ESC feature rocks. The rest of the features and crash test ratings speak for themselves.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe features & specs


NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated

More about the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe
More About This Model

For just a minute, forget about slalom speeds and skid pad Gs. Forget about track testing and torque, forget about overhead cams and final-drive ratios and focus on what an SUV like the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe is really supposed to deliver. Its true test is in how it handles the rigors of weekly shopping trips, bar mitzvahs, birthdays, daily commutes and the occasional trip to Grandma's house.

Focus on those real-world chores and it's easy to see the new 2007 Santa Fe as an all-star. By making the Santa Fe wider, longer and more powerful than before, Hyundai has created a suburban multitasker that does almost everything so well it blends into the background of everyday life — and we don't mean that in a bad way.

Near luxury
Despite its price and warranty advantage, the original Santa Fe felt a little low-tech and a notch or two below competing Honda and Toyota SUVs. Now the Santa Fe's interior has vehicles like the Toyota RAV4 and Honda CR-V looking somewhat low-buck by comparison.

Although the new Santa Fe is offered in three trim levels, the interior of the top-of-the-line Santa Fe Limited like our two-wheel-drive test car will really have you doing a double-take once inside. With its convincing wood grain trim combined with faux aluminum trim it has an obvious "near luxury" feel.

Other touches also add to the notion that the '07 Santa Fe has been bumped up a few notches. For example, the dash lights and gauges glow in blue similar to some VW products, and the rear seats have their own heating and A/C vents are thoughtfully placed near the doors rather than through the back of the center console.

The Limited's other amenities include comfortable leather seats with a power driver seat, comprehensive steering wheel-mounted audio controls, dual-zone climate controls and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. An optional 10-speaker Infinity sound system and rear-seat DVD player are available as options and by spring of 2007 a navigation system will be offered. XM radio becomes standard on all Hyundai vehicles by the fall of 2006. All of these are features we wouldn't dare expect on a Hyundai just four years ago.

Skin deep
But the Santa Fe's ladder-climbing isn't limited to its interior; the exterior also looks more contemporary. View the SUV from the rear and there's a noticeable resemblance to such midsize crossover SUVs as the VW Touareg. From the side there's a little Lexus RX and Mazda CX-7, and from the front more than a few editors noticed the slight sneer of an Infiniti FX combined with the gracefulness of an Acura MDX.

It might sound like a hodgepodge but the new Hyundai Santa Fe, which is about the same size as a Toyota Highlander, is clean-looking, with smooth lines and a crisp, contemporary feel. Gone is the distinct Korean look of the old Santa Fe with its funky angles and busy bodywork. Projector-style headlights and a prominent grille up front further drive the point home.

Standard V6s
Mechanically, the 2007 Santa Fe is all-new as well. Buyers can choose from two- or four-wheel-drive versions and there are now two available engines: both V6s. The base engine, standard on the Santa Fe GLS, is a 2.7-liter V6 that was available in the previous Santa Fe but now offers the added benefit of variable valve timing. Output is now rated at 185 horsepower and 183 pound-feet of torque.

Replacing the previous Santa Fe's cast-iron 3.5-liter V6 is an all-aluminum 3.3-liter V6 we first saw in the redesigned Sonata — it's standard on the Limited and SE trim levels. Despite its slightly smaller displacement, this newer motor is actually more powerful. At 242 hp, the Santa Fe's 3.3-liter V6 delivers 42 more ponies than the old 3.5-liter.

That engine doesn't make the SUV terribly quick. We recorded a 0-60 time of just 8.7 seconds. The Mazda CX-7 is slightly quicker and the V6-powered Toyota RAV4 is a second and a half quicker. However, the Santa Fe still has plenty of power for passing and on the open road our Santa Fe Limited never felt weak or underpowered. The engine is also remarkably smooth. Even under hard acceleration, it doesn't sound harsh or overworked. Instead, there's a low growl that's almost reassuring when merging into freeway traffic.

While a manual transmission is available on the GLS, all Santa Fe Limiteds and SEs get a five-speed automatic transmission. With the automatic, upshifts are precise without being hard and the transmission isn't prone to hunting or confusion even in demanding Los Angeles traffic. Sometimes downshifts are too slow to come, but there's a shift-it-yourself feature for impatient drivers. Sadly, upshifts happen well before redline whether you tap the shift lever or not.

Unlike more aggressive sports crossover SUVs like the Infiniti FX, the Santa Fe isn't intended to be a sharp-handling, hard-edged SUV. Hyundai describes the 2007 Santa Fe's handling as "engaging" and we think that's about right. The tradeoff is that the ride can be very busy on the highway, but we attribute that more to the Limited's standard 18-inch wheels and tires than an excessively hard suspension. The GLS comes with 16-inch wheels and the extra tire sidewall smoothes out the ride considerably.

Around town the brake pedal feels about right, but can get soft during hard braking. At the track, the Santa Fe exhibited plenty of nosedive and took a long 142 feet to come to a stop from 60 mph. We attribute the vehicle's below-average braking performance primarily to its hefty curb weight — it tips the scales at just over 3,800 pounds.

But the suspension does a good job of minimizing body roll and managing that nearly two-ton curb weight. The Santa Fe is easy to control and handling is predictable. Our tester slipped through the slalom cones at 61.3 mph. Its handling is just sharp enough to be entertaining, but the Santa Fe's suspension is really tuned to get the family comfortably across town to Chick-Fil-A.

And what about that all-important kid-carrying quotient? Hyundai has been doing its homework. For 2007, the Santa Fe offers an optional third-row seat — a virtual must-have for this increasingly competitive segment. The new Mitsubishi Outlander has one, as does the Toyota RAV4.

Apples to apples
As good as the new Hyundai Santa Fe is, it still needs to be competitively priced, and it is. The base GLS starts at just over $22,000 and our two-wheel-drive Limited with only a few options carried a sticker price of $26,780 (with destination). A smaller RAV4 Limited with a more powerful V6 and similar equipment costs about $1,000 more, while a similarly sized seven-passenger Toyota Highlander with comparable equipment can be $5,000 more.

Ultimately the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe is the perfect suburban companion for those making more trips to Stride Rite rather than up a twisty mountain pass. The Santa Fe may not be the fastest or sportiest SUV around but it does meet or exceed its competitors on virtually every front and does so with an upscale feel.

The manufacturer provided Edmunds this vehicle for the purposes of evaluation.

Stereo Evaluation

System Score: 7.0

Components: The standard stereo is a single-CD player with MP3 capability. It has six speakers and is good for 112 watts. There's no auxiliary jack and XM radio isn't yet available. However, in the near future all Hyundai cars and trucks will be offered XM-ready with a three-month subscription at no cost. There's also an optional stereo available but our Santa Fe did not have it. The optional system is an Infinity stereo with 10 speakers, a six-disc CD changer and an external amplifier. It comes in one of three option packages, all of which include the rear-seat DVD player. The least expensive package that includes the upgraded stereo is $3,500.

Performance: As it sits, the sound quality is very good. The bass is deep enough and the highs are sufficiently brilliant. Of course audiophiles will want the upgraded Infinity sound system.

The standard unit's weak spot is lack of separation but the six-speaker system sounds better than the Honda CR-V's stereo and better than the RAV4's standard audio system. The Santa Fe's standard stereo does play MP3s but the display screen is too small to effectively view MP3 files and folders. However, that display is clear and easy to read, and doesn't wash out in the sun.

One thing we really like is how Hyundai has revised the steering wheel-mounted controls. The buttons now have a higher-quality look and feel, plus Hyundai has added more comprehensive functions like the ability to tune a radio station or jump tracks back or forward on a CD. Other Hyundais with steering wheel controls include only volume and a "mute" adjustment.

Best Feature: Ease of use.

Worst Feature: Lack of sound separation.

Conclusion: The system that comes as standard equipment in the Santa Fe Limited offers acceptable sound quality and logical controls. The optional Infinity audio system is the best pick for those who want a little something extra in terms of sound quality and deep bass. — Brian Moody

Second Opinion

Managing Editor Donna DeRosa says:
This is an attractive-looking SUV but it sure has grown. The new Santa Fe is about seven inches longer than the previous model. I liked the stiffness of the ride. It sort of reminded me of the way the BMW X3's suspension feels.

Don't get too excited. I said sort of, in the way you feel every bump in the road. I don't mind that, but some others might. But that Hyundai stiffness carries over into the interior of this truck. Seats, steering wheel, dash, all elements of the interior felt hard. The driver seat was very firm and pressed hard into my back. I tried to adjust the lumbar support with the power controls on the side of the seat, but it made little difference. Despite their rigidity, the seats also didn't feel very supportive. They didn't grip around the hips and shoulders to keep me secure while going over bumps and around corners.

Even the steering wheel felt hard. While it was sufficiently grippy, it was uncomfortable in my hands after awhile. No give. Dash elements and side panels were also hard to the touch. They were unyielding when I pressed my finger into them, although I thought the faux wood trim looked rather nice.

From the outside, the Santa Fe is a nice-looking SUV. Some interior comforts would help if Hyundai wants to keep up with its rather stiff competition.

Executive Editor Scott Oldham says:
Hyundais are better than they were. Sure, there's no arguing with that. But I'm getting a little tired of my colleagues bestowing such radical praise on the Korean carmaker. Don't misunderstand, Hyundai has made great strides. Its engineers deserve credit for taking their products to the next level, and the company's bean counters should be lauded for allowing it to happen.

But let's get real, people. There still isn't a Hyundai around that's as well built or as rewarding to drive as the Toyota, the Honda or the Mazda it competes with. Not the Elantra, not the Sonata and not this Santa Fe.

Oh, sure, it's much improved over the old Santa Fe, but that's like saying she's got nicer feet than Dick Butkus. Hyundai still has a way to go when it comes to seat comfort, seating position, engine power, transmission refinement, braking ability and ride quality, all problems I have with the Santa Fe. As much as I like the way this SUV looks, both inside and out, its depth of engineering and level of refinement remain a few clicks behind the big boys.

Used 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe Overview

The Used 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe is offered in the following submodels: Santa Fe SUV. Available styles include GLS 4dr SUV w/XM (2.7L 6cyl 4A), GLS 4dr SUV AWD w/XM (2.7L 6cyl 4A), GLS 4dr SUV w/XM (2.7L 6cyl 5M), SE 4dr SUV AWD w/XM (3.3L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV AWD w/XM (3.3L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV w/XM (3.3L 6cyl 5A), GLS 4dr SUV AWD w/XM (2.7L 6cyl 5M), SE 4dr SUV w/XM (3.3L 6cyl 5A), SE 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 5A), GLS 4dr SUV (2.7L 6cyl 5M), GLS 4dr SUV AWD (2.7L 6cyl 4A), GLS 4dr SUV AWD (2.7L 6cyl 5M), SE 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5A), Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 5A), GLS 4dr SUV (2.7L 6cyl 4A), and Limited 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe?

Price comparisons for Used 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe trim styles:

  • The Used 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS is priced between $5,500 and$5,850 with odometer readings between 128155 and136500 miles.
  • The Used 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited is priced between $3,900 and$6,495 with odometer readings between 122000 and199144 miles.
  • The Used 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe SE is priced between $3,995 and$3,995 with odometer readings between 195039 and195039 miles.

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Should I lease or buy a 2007 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
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