2009 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

Pros & Cons

  • Well-designed cabin, impressive standard safety features and crash-test scores, competitive price, great warranty, optional third-row seat.
  • Excessively firm ride on SE and Limited models, lackluster automatic transmission, disappointing driving dynamics.
List Price Range
$4,400 - $10,598

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Edmunds' Expert Review

An excellent value plus plenty of safety features and amenities make the 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe a very good choice when it comes to midsize crossover SUVs.

Vehicle overview

Vehicles like the 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe are responsible for Hyundai's reputation as a brand that offers quality and affordability. Where the previous Santa Fe had an odd but unique look, the recently redesigned, current version is about as mainstream as you can get. View the Santa Fe from various angles and you might notice a resemblance to more upscale midsize crossover SUVs such as the Lexus RX and VW Touareg. That's not to say it looks generic -- it doesn't. What the Santa Fe does offer is a familiar look and a top-notch interior that borders on luxurious, especially in Limited trim.

Hyundai's Santa Fe can be equipped with all this segment's expected features, including a third-row seat and a navigation system. Buyers can also choose from models with one of two V6 engines, front- or all-wheel drive and a manual or automatic transmission. Unfortunately, you can't really mix and match -- base models have a smaller V6 with less horsepower, and many of the Limited's comfort and convenience features are exclusive to that trim.

Overall, though, the 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe is a great choice for young families in need of all-purpose transportation. We wouldn't recommend it if sporty driving dynamics are desired. The smaller Mazda CX-7 and Mitsubishi Outlander, as well as the midsize Nissan Murano would all be preferable in this case, and Toyota's Highlander is roomier and quicker. But if you want a lot of crossover for the money, the Hyundai Santa Fe is quite compelling.

2009 Hyundai Santa Fe models

The 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe midsize crossover sport-utility is available in three trim levels: base GLS, SE and Limited. The GLS starts off with 16-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, keyless entry, cruise control and a six-speaker audio system with a CD/MP3 player, satellite radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB port. The midlevel SE trim features a larger V6 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 adds a sunroof, leather upholstery, heated front seats, a power driver seat, dual-zone automatic climate control and a premium Infinity audio system with a six-CD changer.

Some of the Limited's extra features are offered as options on the GLS and SE. Other options include a third-row seat with auxiliary rear climate controls and Bluetooth for wirelessly connecting your phone to the car. A towing preparation package is standard on SE and Limited models, and an optional navigation system and a rear-seat entertainment system are offered on the Santa Fe Limited only.

2009 Highlights

Since the Santa Fe was redesigned recently, Hyundai's midsize crossover includes only minor changes for the 2009 model year. All Santa Fes now get standard iPod and USB inputs, plus upgraded stereos. Also, SE and Limited versions now get a towing prep package and roof rack cross rails as standard.

Performance & mpg

In GLS trim, the Santa Fe comes with a 2.7-liter V6 that produces 185 horsepower and 183 pound-feet of torque. The SE and Limited feature a larger 3.3-liter V6 good for 242 hp and 226 lb-ft of torque. A five-speed manual transmission is standard with the base engine, and a four-speed automatic is optional. The larger V6 comes standard with a five-speed automatic transmission and accelerates the Santa Fe from zero to 60 mph in 8.7 seconds.

All Santa Fe models are offered with either front-wheel-drive or all-wheel-drive powertrains. The electronically controlled AWD system automatically routes power to the wheels with the best traction. For improved performance in slippery or off-road conditions, a driver-selectable AWD lock provides a fixed 50/50 torque split between the front and rear wheels.

Properly equipped, the Santa Fe can tow up to 3,500 pounds. EPA estimated fuel economy is pretty much identical for both engines: An AWD model with the 3.3-liter V6 has ratings of 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway and 19 mpg combined, a tad above average for this segment.


The 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe offers an impressive array of standard safety features including antilock disc brakes, traction control, stability control, front-seat side airbags, full-length head curtain airbags and active front-seat head restraints.

In government crash tests, the Santa Fe received a perfect five stars for protection in frontal and side impacts. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing, the Santa Fe earned the highest possible rating of "Good" in both frontal-offset and side-impact tests.


Smaller crossover SUVs like the Mazda CX-7 and Mitsubishi Outlander are sportier and more rewarding to drive hard, though the Santa Fe's handling is certainly composed and can actually be fun at times. The trade-off is that the ride can be very busy on the highway on models with the larger wheels. During normal driving, the brake pedal feels about right, but can get soft during hard braking.

The 2.7-liter V6 provides decent acceleration, but the extra kick and refined nature of the 3.3-liter V6, which is nearly as fuel efficient, is noticeable and gives the 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe a more substantial feel. In testing, though, we've found the larger V6's five-speed automatic can sometimes be slow to downshift for quick passing or merging maneuvers.


This second-generation Santa Fe has an attractive dashboard and quality materials throughout. In Limited trim, the convincing faux wood and aluminum accents give the crossover a definite luxury feel. Blue instrument lighting and an optional 10-speaker Infinity sound system only add to the Santa Fe's plush interior ambience.

The driving position can be awkward for some, though, as the front seats are mounted overly high and the short bottom cushions offer minimal thigh support for taller adults.

With the optional third-row seat, the Santa Fe can accommodate up to seven passengers. Like most models in this segment, however, the third row is really only suitable for children. The second row is notably above average in terms of comfort. The split rear seats can be folded flat in both rows, and the Santa Fe splits the difference between smaller and larger crossover SUVs with 78 cubic feet of maximum cargo room.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

2009 Santa Fe
GLS 4dr SUV (2.7L 6cyl 5M)
This 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe has been an excellent vehicle. My maintenance cost (except for oil changes and air filters and cabin filters which I do myself) has been a total of $900 over 9 years of ownership and that included $600 for tires and $300 for an additional transmission cooler installation and a tow hitch system. It handles fine, brakes well, steering is precise, a/c system has been faultless, still has original brakes at 80000 miles with an educated guess of another 20000 to go before a brake job is necessary. Gas mileage has been average with about 21-22 mpg around town and 25 mpg on interstate type trips. Over all, it is a safe, reliable, dependable, and economical CUV with excellent interior space for 5 people or lots of baggage and gear. Bottom line...Would I buy this vehicle again? In a heartbeat!!
I've had 2 santa fe's, a 2007 and a 2009, both 2.7 v6 engines. the 2007 had numerous engine problems including breaking down on me 300 miles from home on a vacation trip; traded it in for an '09 and a year and a half later it developed a tapping sound in the engine and trying to get it serviced is like pulling teeth. this "rep" has to approve all engine replacement jobs but he apparently can check in whenever he feels like it. after numerous tries to get it fixed, including calling corporate office, my frustration made me trade it in for another brand..it is not worth the aggrevation.I will never buy a hyundai again...buyer beware!!!!!!
Not Happy with the 2009 Santa Fe.
SE 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
I have been the owner of my 2009 Santa Fe all wheel drive 6 cylinder for approx. 3yrs and I bought it with 38,000 miles. I drive at least 85 miles per day. First: the 09 Santa Fe drives terrible on the highway. It vibrates terribly and upon bring to dealer they said it was possibly tires or rotation was needed. (I put brand new tires on the vehicle at 45K and at 53k & rotate every year) this never fixed the vibration or the poor handling. Dealership told me I guess that's how it drives and there is nothing they can do. Second: my 09 Santa Fe has a horrible sound system that you can't put up over 14 decibels without blowing a speaker. The volume goes well up to 50. All of the speakers have either blown or went out which I have replaced three times with factory speakers and again they are blown. I have a three year old in the car constant so it's not like I'm blaring rap music with the bass at 10+. Horribly annoying and expensive to fix and not covered. Third & most disturbing: my 09 Santa Fe'a gas gauge malfunctioned at 61,000 miles. After filling my gas tank to a range full line I noticed I drove the car to just above a half tank. After turning car back on the gas gauge needle was buried at empty and gas light on. Very nervous immieditely went to get gas. Only took 18$ to fill. Strange which means it's not empty. Thought was a fluke. Drove to work used 1/4 of tank. Turns car back on after work. Read empty again. After filling the car yet again now using only 8$ I knew there was a issue. I brought to dealer they told me it is electrical. Fully serviced the vehicle through Hyundai. At the tune of $184.00. Two days later. Started again. After reading on forums this is a severe issue and souls have a recall. It's the tank sensor. Brought back to dealer. They told me to remove old sensors and put new ones it will cost roughly between 500-1000 dollars. It is not covered under warranty and there is no recall. So much for 100K bumper to bumper warranty. This is a severe issue that can cause death or harm. If you don't make sure to reset your miles and keep an eye on your mileage you can run out of gas. The car may even just shut down at high speeds. I would not advise anyone to buy this suv I'm a former Jeep owner and as soon as I get the money to fix the gauge issue I will be selling ASAP and buying either a new jeep or Subaru. The gas mileage is terrible the car vibrates and you don't know if you have gas. Sounds like a death trap to me. Hyundai is putting people at risk with the above issue and should recall the vehicle to fix for free. DO NOT BUY!! Any Sante fa prior to 2011. They all have the same issue
Ran out of gas !!
Joseph Xavier Martin,09/21/2015
SE 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
Huyndai Santa Fe 2009 model has a faulty fuel indicator.Internet stories say 2007-2013 models share the problem also. How can you drive a car when you don't know if and when you will run out of gas? The USA Hundai and World Hyundai refuse to acknowledge the problem exists even though the internet is full of cases where the fuel gauge doesn't work. The fix is a $500 cost to the owner. Not fair. If a manufacturer won't guarantee that their product is reliable, customers would look elsewhere. We sure will when we buy our next car. Hyundai lists a corporate philosophy on their website. I didn't see anything there about throwing customers under the bus! Bad form !!

Features & Specs

See all Used 2009 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 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe

Used 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe Overview

The Used 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe is offered in the following submodels: Santa Fe SUV. Available styles include GLS 4dr SUV (2.7L 6cyl 4A), GLS 4dr SUV AWD (2.7L 6cyl 4A), Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 5A), GLS 4dr SUV (2.7L 6cyl 5M), Limited 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5A), SE 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 5A), and SE 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5A).

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe?

Price comparisons for Used 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe trim styles:

  • The Used 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited is priced between $4,400 and$8,000 with odometer readings between 113282 and211235 miles.
  • The Used 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe SE is priced between $7,459 and$10,598 with odometer readings between 102521 and113264 miles.
  • The Used 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS is priced between $7,695 and$7,695 with odometer readings between 51975 and51975 miles.

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Which used 2009 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) 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe for sale near. There are currently 5 used and CPO 2009 Santa Fes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $4,400 and mileage as low as 51975 miles. 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 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe.

Can't find a used 2009 Hyundai Santa Fes you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Hyundai Santa Fe for sale - 4 great deals out of 5 listings starting at $15,343.

Find a used Hyundai for sale - 8 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $25,355.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai Santa Fe for sale - 11 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $12,149.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai for sale - 12 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $21,641.

Should I lease or buy a 2009 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.

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