2010 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

Pros & Cons

  • Attractive interior, top-notch crash test scores, lots of features at an agreeable price, great warranty.
  • Ride quality on SE and Limited models may be too firm for some buyers.
List Price
$8,201

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Edmunds' Expert Review

An affordable price tag, a long list of standard comfort and safety features and two new more fuel-efficient engines make the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe a commendable midsize crossover SUV choice.

Vehicle overview

It's human nature: Everyone wants to feel like a smart shopper -- like they've discovered a little-known product that delivers big-time bang for the buck. Perhaps something along the lines of the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe, for example. While this affordable midsize crossover has struggled to achieve household-name status, a growing number of savvy buyers in recent years have found that the Santa Fe has some distinct advantages over its higher-profile competitors. Now, a few key improvements promise to make the 2010 model just that much more attractive.

While the Santa Fe's freshened exterior styling may be the most obvious change, the big news here is actually under the hood. The base engine is now a 175-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder that replaces last year's 185-hp 2.7-liter V6. It's paired to a new six-speed automatic transmission, and the combination provides significantly better fuel economy as well as quicker acceleration The optional 276-hp 3.5-liter V6 is also new; it, too, provides better performance and fuel economy compared to last year's 3.3-liter V6.

The Santa Fe's already long list of standard comfort and convenience features also grows a little longer for 2010. Some desirable extras -- like leather upholstery and a sunroof -- are still available only on the top-of-the-line Limited trim level, but Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity, steering-wheel-mounted audio controls and a USB audio jack have now trickled down to become standard across the model lineup. The optional touchscreen navigation system is also now offered on all three trim levels.

One notable deletion from the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe's options list is the third-row seat. While going from a seven- to a five-passenger interior may put off some buyers, we don't consider it a great loss because that way-back seat was so cramped and difficult to access it was really only fit for small and nimble children.

While the Santa Fe has a lot going for it, it's not right for everybody. Those in search of a sportier driving experience would likely be happier with the Mazda CX-7 or Nissan Murano. If you're one of those folks who really needs a third-row seat, we'd suggest you check out roomier seven-passenger crossovers like the Chevrolet Traverse or Toyota Highlander.

That said, when you put these improvements together with an affordable MSRP, top crash test scores and a generous 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty, the Santa Fe begins to look like a pretty smart purchase indeed.

2010 Hyundai Santa Fe models

The 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe is a midsize crossover SUV that's offered in three trim levels: base GLS, sporty SE and top-of-the-line Limited. The entry-level GLS comes relatively well-equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, heated side mirrors, rear privacy glass, air-conditioning, cloth upholstery, cruise control, a trip computer, full power accessories, 60/40-split-folding rear seatbacks and a six-speaker CD stereo with satellite radio and auxiliary audio and USB jacks.

The midrange SE model adds 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglamps, a roof rack and a rear spoiler. Cabin upgrades include unique cloth upholstery with leather inserts, a leather-wrapped steering wheel/shift knob, a power driver seat and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with compass.

Spring for the Limited and you get a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated front seats and a premium Infinity audio system with a six-disc CD changer. The Limited's sunroof and audio system are optional on the GLS and SE, as are heated front seats (SE only) and a navigation system with rearview camera.

2010 Highlights

The 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe gets two new engines and six-speed transmissions that deliver both better performance and improved fuel economy. There are minor exterior styling revisions, including new taillights and grille. Inside, Bluetooth hands-free cell phone connectivity, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and a USB audio input jack are now standard on all models. The side curtain airbags now incorporate a rollover sensor. Finally, the third-row seat option has been dropped.

Performance & mpg

The 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS and Limited come standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that puts out 175 hp and 169 pound-feet of torque. A new six-speed manual transmission is standard in the GLS, while a new six-speed automatic is optional and standard with the Limited. All-wheel drive is optional. EPA fuel economy estimates range from 19 mpg city/26 mpg highway and 22 mpg combined for front-wheel-drive models equipped with the manual gearbox to 21/27/23 mpg for all-wheel-drive versions fitted with the automatic.

A 3.5-liter V6 that's rated at 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque is optional on the Santa Fe Limited and standard for the SE. The six-speed automatic is the only transmission offered here. V6 mileage estimates hardly dip from the four-cylinder, with an estimated 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway.

Safety

Electronic stability control, antilock disc brakes, active front head restraints, side-impact airbags for front seat passengers and rollover-sensing side curtain airbags are all standard on the Santa Fe. In government crash testing, the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe earned perfect five-star ratings in both frontal and side impacts. Likewise, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Santa Fe its highest possible rating of "Good" in both frontal-offset and side-impact tests.

Driving

On the road, the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe offers predictable if not exciting handling. The ride quality is generally good, though models fitted with the larger 18-inch wheels tend to be a bit harsh on rough pavement.

While we understand the thinking behind dumping the outgoing model's uninspiring 2.7-liter V6 for the much less thirsty new four-cylinder, the real-world fuel economy advantage it offers is negligible. If you can swing it, the new 3.5-liter V6 is the way to go.

Interior

The Santa Fe's passenger cabin offers more than you might expect from a value-priced vehicle. The interior features attractive styling and quality materials that give it an upscale feel, especially on Limited models. A number of high-end standard features and options, including a navigation system with rearview camera, add to the feeling that you're somehow getting more than you paid for.

Some buyers may find it hard to get comfortable behind the wheel because of the overly high seating position and short bottom cushions that offer taller drivers minimal thigh support. The second row is another story, however, as it offers an above-average level of comfort.

The interior is also relatively cargo-friendly, with 60/40-split rear seatbacks that can be folded down to make a flat load floor. Maximum cargo area is 78 cubic feet, a number that's on par with comparably sized crossovers.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great versatility with good looks!
Tj Holder,02/03/2016
GLS 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
2010 Sante Fe GLS 2.4L Blue W/Tint Alloy Wheels -- Really enjoy this vehicle. Bought it 3 years ago, used with 36k and in great condition. It hasn't given me a single problem mechanically (I do regular maintenance to be proactive) and has started every single time during these past 3 years no matter the weather. I have recently moved to the country to our farm and it gets used more as a truck these days; pulling, hauling, and carrying two great danes around. It tows a 15ft trailer with 2 ATV's and does it with ease. I would recommend this SUV and the newer models to anyone looking for a "close to luxury on a budget" kind of SUV. If I really didn't need a REAL truck, I would most definitely buy another Santa Fe in the future. **my one complaint** to spite having premium audio, the bass is a little lacking. I like my butt to vibrate. (no pun intended)
No issues when driving in reverse
wbito,05/02/2012
Always loved the look of the the Santa Fe so when the time came to purchase a new car it was at the top of my list. The added bonus of a top safety rating and comfortable interior sealed the deal. Two years later, after intermittent shifting issues that "could not be replicated" by my dealer, I now have a beautiful car that only moves forward reliably when in neutral — attached to the back of tow truck. Hoping that it's current failure to move at all when in "drive" makes the situation a little easier for the dealership to figure out. Might be worth taking a peak at the transmission this time (?) So far, the only bright side is that I've never had any issues when driving in reverse ;)
Very Good with One Stinking Flaw
702south,04/30/2012
A very good dependable vehicle with a couple issues. The ride is nice. Handling is very good. The 3.5 V6 has plenty of power and speed. Fuel mileage is good too. It doesn't feel or look cheap. I have been in comparable Lexus and it is just as nice. Why pay double the price just to drive a Lexus?? It is comfortable except it needs a little more leg room in the drivers area. I feel too close to the pedals. Other cons may be freeway noise at high speeds. The one major flaw is the odor from the A/C that many owners seem to have. Hyundai needs to step up and fix this.
Very Poor Customer and Dealer Service
dougjim,07/24/2013
Our vehicle is going on 4 yrs, with numerous recalls (and some others issues mentioned). But, the real problem is when you have to deal with a dealer. Our vehicle suddenly has paint bubbling up everywhere from a poor factory paint job. I've never seen a problem like this with any other vehicle we've owned. The dealer was very unhelpful (I'm sure ours isn't the only vehicle with this problem). He downright just didn't want to deal with us. When I emailed Hyundai and told them I was disappointed in their dealer attitude and build quality, their response was a legalistic you're out of warranty response. Never will buy another Hyundai after this.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe features & specs

Safety

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
    DriverNot Rated
    PassengerNot Rated
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover4 / 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
    Good
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Good
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Good

More about the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe
More About This Model

Several of Hyundai's latest vehicles have hit the sweet spot in various segments, and the Korean carmaker is hoping to repeat its recent successes in the white-hot crossover category with the refreshed 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe. To that end, the Santa Fe features a revamped engine lineup paired with a new six-speed automatic transmission to yield more power and better fuel economy.

Technology such as Bluetooth with voice activation is also now standard, while the exterior receives a minor makeover, including a new grille and taillights. While none of these changes make the Santa Fe a must-have in the midsize crossover segment, they do incrementally inch the Santa Fe closer to that position.

The Santa Fe will be cross-shopped against competitors like the Chevy Equinox, Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. In terms of horsepower, it eclipses them all (with the V6-equipped RAV4 a close second) but still sits in the sweet spot in terms of fuel-efficiency. It further sweetens the deal with desirable features and superior fit and finish.

Used 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe Overview

The Used 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe is offered in the following submodels: Santa Fe SUV. Available styles include SE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), SE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), GLS 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A), Limited 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Limited 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), GLS 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), and GLS 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe?

Price comparisons for Used 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe trim styles:

  • The Used 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS is priced between $8,201 and$8,201 with odometer readings between 96943 and96943 miles.

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2010 Hyundai Santa Fes are available in my area?

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Find a used Hyundai Santa Fe for sale - 7 great deals out of 22 listings starting at $23,435.

Find a used Hyundai for sale - 12 great deals out of 23 listings starting at $13,038.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai Santa Fe for sale - 6 great deals out of 9 listings starting at $11,346.

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Should I lease or buy a 2010 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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