2011 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

Pros & Cons

  • Lots of features at an agreeable price
  • spacious cabin
  • generous cargo capacity
  • strong and efficient V6 engine
  • great warranty
  • simple controls.
  • Ride quality on SE and Limited may be too firm for some
  • design's getting on in years.
List Price Range
$5,500 - $12,698

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Edmunds' Expert Review

An affordable price tag, a long list of standard comfort and safety features and two impressive engines make the 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe a commendable midsize crossover SUV choice.

Vehicle overview

The 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe is the big kid in its class. Though its price, equipment and general character makes it comparable to the small crossovers from Chevy, Honda and Toyota, this plus-sized Hyundai boasts more interior space than them all. Unlike the big kid in the class, though, the Santa Fe has been bullied a bit over the years and hasn't enjoyed the popularity of its rivals. Yet that doesn't mean it's not worth a look, especially in light of the new engines introduced last year.

The Santa Fe is getting on in years, which would explain why it doesn't boast the same curvaceous styling inside and out as the Hyundai Tucson compact crossover. Yet the Santa Fe was one of the first vehicles from Hyundai to establish a reputation for durability, something the entire brand enjoys today. It also maintains the traditional Hyundai trademarks of a low price, generous equipment, a lengthy warranty and simple controls that can be figured out by young and old.

Like most vehicles in this class of big "compact" crossovers, the Santa Fe comes standard with a four-cylinder engine that should be powerful enough and fuel-efficient enough for most buyers. Much like the Toyota RAV4, however, the Santa Fe's V6 is the smart choice as it matches the smaller engine's fuel economy while besting it by 101 horsepower. That's what we call a win-win.

As a shopper, it can be difficult to choose in this category, since there's a wide range of impressive crossovers from which to pick. Of the bigger variety, we suggest checking out the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox, 2011 Honda CR-V, 2011 Kia Sorento, 2011 Subaru Outback and the 2011 Toyota RAV4. The RAV4 and the Sorento offer a third-row seat -- a feature the Santa Fe once had but has since been discontinued.  a third-row seat -- a feature the Santa Fe once had but has since been discontinued. The 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe is getting along in years and isn't really a class leader, but if you're looking for the biggest of the biggest compact crossovers, it's your best choice.

2011 Hyundai Santa Fe models

The 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe is a five-passenger crossover SUV available in GLS, SE and Limited trim levels.

Standard equipment on the base GLS includes 17-inch alloy wheels, privacy glass, roof side rails, heated mirrors, keyless entry, cruise control, air-conditioning, rear seat air vents, a height-adjustable driver seat, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, Bluetooth and a six-speaker sound system with a CD player, an auxiliary audio jack, an iPod/USB audio interface and satellite radio.

The Santa Fe SE gets 18-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, foglights, a windshield wiper de-icer, roof rack cross rails, an eight-way power driver seat with adjustable lumbar, leather/cloth upholstery, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. The Premium package adds a sunroof, a rearview camera, a touchscreen navigation system and an upgraded audio system.

The Santa Fe Limited adds a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, full leather upholstery and a 10-speaker Infinity surround-sound audio system with a six-CD changer. The rearview camera and navigation system are also available for the Limited.

2011 Highlights

After significant updates last year, the 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe carries over largely unchanged. The Limited trim gets a new, standard 10-speaker Infinity surround-sound system.

Performance & mpg

The Hyundai Santa Fe GLS and Limited come standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 175 hp and 169 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed manual transmission is standard on the GLS, while a six-speed automatic is optional on the GLS and standard on the Limited. Front-wheel drive is standard on all Santa Fe trims and all-wheel drive is optional. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 20 mpg city/28 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined with the automatic and 19/26/21 with the manual.

Standard on the SE and optional on the Limited is a 3.5-liter V6 good for 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard. In Edmunds performance testing, this engine brought the Santa Fe from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds -- a strong performance for this segment. EPA-estimated fuel economy is a solid 20/26/23.


Every 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe comes standard with four-wheel antilock disc brakes, brake assist, traction and stability control, front side airbags and side curtain airbags. A rearview camera is optional. In Edmunds brake testing, a Santa Fe Limited came to a stop from 60 mph in 126 feet -- a perfectly average distance.

The Santa Fe has not been rated using the government's new, more strenuous 2011 crash testing procedures. Its 2010 ratings (which aren't comparable to 2011 tests) were a perfect five stars in all frontal and side crash categories. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the Santa Fe its highest rating of "Good" in the frontal-offset and side crash categories.


On the road, the 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe offers predictable if not exciting handling, characterized by plenty of body roll and artificial feel to the steering. The ride quality is generally good, though models fitted with the larger 18-inch wheels tend to be a bit harsh on rough pavement. With either engine, the Santa Fe delivers good acceleration relative to other four-cylinder vehicles in its class, though the V6 is certainly the more impressive of the two, since it matches the lesser engine's fuel mileage as well.


The Santa Fe doesn't enjoy the organic modernistic curves of the cabin in Hyundai's newer Tucson, but it nevertheless offers a relatively elegant environment compared to the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4. Quality of materials and their fitment are pretty much par for the course, with plenty of hard plastics thankfully broken up by soft touch points. The Santa Fe benefits from extremely simple controls, even with the available navigation system.

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 offers an above-average level of comfort, but doesn't slide like many of its competitors' seats do.

Cargo capacity is a standout attribute of the Santa Fe, with its 78 cubic feet of maximum space eclipsing the RAV4, CR-V and Subaru Forester, while greatly outpacing midsize models like the Ford Edge and Nissan Murano. You'd have to step up to a large crossover to enjoy more.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Great CUV, great value
We were cross-shopping a Santa Fe against a Toyota Rav-4. Just bought a Santa Fe base model, FWD, V6. Considering the price and standard features, plus longer warranty, the Santa Fe has so much more going for it. The base model we have has a V6 with plenty of grunt, yet reasonable fuel economy, standard Bluetooth, heated seats (we're in Canada), USB iPod hookup and a good stereo to match. Huge amount of storage in the back, nice hidden storage underneath too. Lots of standard features. The rear hatch swings up instead of to the side like on the Rav. Excellent visibility all around, unlike a lot of competitors with their tiny windows. No wonder they push rear view cameras!
Solid CUV, excellent value
I've waited to write a review on our Limited FWD until we've had it for a couple months in order to get over the "I love this vehicle" feeling that we all have when we get a new car. We now have almost 3,000 miles on ours, and we don't necessarily love this vehicle, but we really like it a lot. We're very pleased with the power and fuel mileage, impressed with the design and build quality, and pretty satisfied with the features. There is some suspension noise and the ride can be a bit jarring when going over large bumps or potholes, but overall it has a nice ride. If I had the chance to do it over again, would I still buy a Santa Fe? Absolutely.
Wanna know about the new 2011 Santa Fe??
Got the vehicle on Thanksgiving. Had a 2005 CRV, traded it in. The Santa Fe SE is a better SUV. I have been an industrial mechanic and Honda owner for 35 years. Hyundai won me over. I got the SE 3.5 version. As hard as I could try the only thing I didn't like was the harsher ride than the Honda, but more quiet inside. It feels a little more sporty, on smooth roads, but all in all I don't think you can go wrong. This car is well built, and designed, the engine had plenty of power if you put the pedal to the metal (its too new to do it too often) it is truly a little pocket rocket, pulls some G's! Considering the warranties and Consumers Reports rating its better than Toyota or Honda overall!
A jewel in the rough
Great One,03/10/2017
GLS 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
The SUV exceeded all expectations. I paid 21k brand new for an AWD model and it has been flawless for 65k miles. I do regular maintenance myself and it has never once needed repairs, other than routine maintenance and a set of tires. Still on OE brakes. It is roomy and comfortable and, for the price, provides decent bluetotth, and a modest music system. Yes, it is underpowered, and the gas mileage could be better, but overall, far exceeds expectations, particularly at this price point. An outstanding value, way better than my 2017 Santa Fe Sport.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe features & specs


IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
  • Roof Strength Test
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test

More about the 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe

Used 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe Overview

The Used 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe is offered in the following submodels: Santa Fe SUV. Available styles include GLS 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A), Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), SE 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), SE 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Limited 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), GLS 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), GLS 4dr SUV AWD (3.5L 6cyl 6A), Limited 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), GLS 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A), and GLS 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6M).

What's a good price on a Used 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe?

Price comparisons for Used 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe trim styles:

  • The Used 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited is priced between $8,499 and$12,698 with odometer readings between 82242 and134021 miles.
  • The Used 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS is priced between $5,500 and$10,150 with odometer readings between 66694 and179593 miles.
  • The Used 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe SE is priced between $8,295 and$8,295 with odometer readings between 128143 and128143 miles.

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Which used 2011 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) 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe for sale near. There are currently 10 used and CPO 2011 Santa Fes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $5,500 and mileage as low as 66694 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 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe.

Can't find a used 2011 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 6 listings starting at $22,352.

Find a used Hyundai for sale - 5 great deals out of 12 listings starting at $24,227.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai Santa Fe for sale - 9 great deals out of 14 listings starting at $17,349.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai for sale - 10 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $13,594.

Should I lease or buy a 2011 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