2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

Pros & Cons

  • Strong V6 engine
  • lengthy warranty
  • generous standard features for the money
  • classy interior design
  • easy-to-use technology interface.
  • Less cargo capacity than some competitors
  • missing some key driver safety aids.
List Price Range
$15,365 - $21,000

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Edmunds' Expert Review

Although the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe doesn't get as much attention as some other three-row crossover SUVs, it offers an appealing blend of power, comfort and style. The fact that it also tends to cost less than the big names might tip your decision in its favor.

Vehicle overview

For consumers shopping for a crossover SUV with three rows of seating, the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe isn't an obvious choice. It doesn't have the name recognition or history of other options in the crossover class, and it's neither the biggest nor the newest entry in its price range. Nevertheless, there are good reasons to consider the Santa Fe.

It might not be the biggest or newest three-row crossover, but the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe is worth checking out.

As is usually the case with family crossovers, most of these reasons are apparent once you get inside the vehicle. Although Hyundai's crossover tops out at seven-passenger capacity (whereas some rivals seat eight), the first two rows offer generous headroom and legroom. The two-passenger third-row seat is best left to the elementary school crowd, but adults with a sense of humor will survive short drives to dinner. Apart from that, the Santa Fe's cabin has a pleasant ambience thanks to its clean, attractive design, impressively rich materials and simple controls. You'll be able to figure out the available touchscreen interface even if you're bewildered by the apps on your smartphone.

Another desirable aspect of the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe is its standard V6 engine. This potent yet quiet engine provides above-average acceleration and towing capacity. If you test-drive everything in this class, you'll likely find that newer competitors steer with a touch more precision and ride with more composure and refinement than the 2016 Santa Fe. But if you're mainly looking for an easy-to-drive crossover that goes down the highway swiftly, this Hyundai will do right by you.

Of course, you'll want to explore your options before making a decision. The undeniable front-runners in the three-row crossover class are the redesigned 2016 Honda Pilot and the highly regarded (and Edmunds' "A"-rated) Toyota Highlander. Both are impressive eight-passenger vehicles that are likely to check every box on your list and then some, though larger families will prefer the roomier third row in the Pilot. Another worthy alternative is the Chevrolet Traverse, which has gargantuan cargo capacity. We're also fond of the wagonlike Ford Flex and the recently revised Kia Sorento. Even though the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe doesn't have any significant advantages over these rivals, we still think it's a nicely executed crossover that offers strong value for families.

2016 Hyundai Santa Fe models

A midsize crossover SUV, the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe can seat either six or seven passengers depending on how it's equipped. It's available in SE and Limited trim levels. (The smaller Santa Fe Sport seats five and is reviewed separately.)

Standard features on the SE include 18-inch alloy wheels, foglights, a rear spoiler, roof rails, windshield wiper de-icers, cruise control, full power accessories, air-conditioning (with second- and third-row rear vents and controls), a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, an eight-way power driver seat (with four-way power lumbar), heated front seats, a 40/20/40-split sliding and reclining second-row seat and a 50/50-split flat-folding third-row seat. Also standard are a rearview camera, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, Hyundai's Blue Link telematics system and a six-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite radio (three months free), HD radio, USB/iPod integration, an auxiliary audio input and a 4.3-inch touchscreen display.

The Santa Fe's interior stands out for the simplicity of its design and high-quality materials.

The optional Premium package for the SE adds 19-inch wheels, keyless ignition and entry, a power liftgate (with hands-free automatic open), blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, an upgraded gauge cluster, leather upholstery, a four-way power front passenger seat and manual rear window shades.

The Santa Fe Limited includes the contents of the Premium package and swaps out the second-row bench seat for captain's chairs (reducing total seating to six).

Both trims can be optioned with the Ultimate package, which nets a panoramic sunroof, rear parking sensors, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, driver memory settings, an 8-inch touchscreen interface with a navigation system and a 115-volt power outlet. This package also includes an audio system upgrade: Santa Fe SE models gets a 10-speaker system, while the Limited gets a 12-speaker Infinity surround-sound system. Limited models with the Ultimate package also pick up xenon headlights and LED taillights.

2016 Highlights

For 2016, the Hyundai Santa Fe is unchanged from the previous year. The base GLS trim level has been renamed the SE.

Performance & mpg

Powering the Santa Fe is a 3.3-liter V6 engine that produces 290 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard, and both trim levels give you a choice between front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive.

The EPA's fuel economy estimates are 21 mpg combined (18 city/25 highway) on front-wheel-drive models and 20 mpg combined (18 city/24 highway) with AWD. The heavier Ultimate-package models are rated 1-2 mpg lower than their respective base models.

In Edmunds testing, an AWD Santa Fe Limited with the Ultimate package went from zero to 60 mph in 7.7 seconds, a good number for this class. Properly equipped, the Santa Fe can tow up to 5,000 pounds.


Standard safety features for all 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe models include antilock disc brakes, traction and stability control, front seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and front seat active head restraints. Also standard are a rearview camera and Blue Link, Hyundai's emergency telematics system, which provides services such as remote access, emergency assistance, theft recovery and geo-fencing.

Options include rear parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alerts. Note that electronic safety aids like a lane departure warning system and a frontal collision mitigation system are not available on the Santa Fe.

In crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the Santa Fe earned a top "Good" rating in moderate-overlap frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests and a second-lowest "Marginal" rating in the small-overlap frontal-offset test. Its seat/head restraint design was rated "Good" for whiplash protection in rear impacts.

In Edmunds brake testing, a Santa Fe Limited stopped in 125 feet, an average performance for this segment.


By far the most striking thing about driving the Hyundai Santa Fe is the brisk acceleration provided by the standard V6 and smooth-shifting automatic transmission. The refined and quiet engine makes for relaxed highway travel, as do low levels of wind and road noise.

The best thing about driving a Hyundai Santa Fe is the strong response from its V6 engine.

Around turns, the Santa Fe feels steady and predictable, and its steering is precise as family crossovers go. Hyundai gives you three effort settings for the steering: Comfort, Normal and Sport. The differences are small yet distinct, and the Santa Fe responds well and tracks true in all three.

Ride quality is a bit of a wild card for the Santa Fe. Past versions that we've tested have provided a smooth ride over well-groomed pavement, but when loaded up with passengers and luggage, they've lost their composure. Hyundai says it has made suspension changes to rectify this issue, and we'll update this review once we've driven a Santa Fe with the revised suspension.


Even though the current-generation Santa Fe has been on the market a few years, its cabin continues to stand out in the three-row crossover class. This is due in no small part to its high-quality materials, thoughtful placement of controls and impressive sense of spaciousness in the first two rows. Switchgear is well-organized and legible, while the available 8-inch touchscreen's menus and functions are about as intuitive as it gets.

The Ultimate package doesn't come cheap, but it's your ticket to this easy-to-use 8-inch touchscreen interface.

The front seats are comfortable for longer drives, with enough adjustments to accommodate drivers of all sizes. Second-row passengers will also find the quarters to their liking, with a wide range of recline angle and plenty of head- and legroom, even with the optional panoramic sunroof equipped. The third-row seat is easy to get to, and acceptably sized for kids and teens. Adults will be OK in a pinch as well, though some other three-row crossovers offer better comfort and third-row headroom.

In terms of cargo and luggage space, the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe can hold up to 41 cubic feet of cargo behind the second row of seats. With the second row folded, that figure grows to 80 cubic feet, but if all the seats are in use, it shrinks to just 13.5 cubic feet behind the third row. This is similar to what the Toyota Highlander offers, but bigger vehicles like the Pilot and Traverse give you more usable space behind the third-row seat.

Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

My 2015 vs. My 2016 Limited Ultimate Santa Fe
R Bramel,04/08/2016
Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 6A)
My 2015 saved us during a massive accident. An 85 year old man had his second accident of the day by pulling across out multilane divided highway at just the wrong time. We hit him at something less than the 60 mph limit and both my wife and I walked away from out totaled Santa Fe. The airbags worked so well that I didn't even have bruise marks from my glasses. The only downside is that Hyundai, and everybody else, I suppose, puts the horn button on top of the steering wheel airbag. I wonder how many other people suffer my injury: my hand-on-the-horn got blown back into my chest. It took almost two months for the pain to fully subside, and another month for my hand to regain most of its strength. Tow rating was important to me. If you buy the PIO (port installed option) trailer hitch package, the Santa Fe Limited (and SE) have a 5000 lb tow rating. According to the owner's manual, even with an aftermarket hitch it is only rated for 2000 lbs. After the accident, even though the force of our connected travel trailer impact bent the "stinger" 90 degrees into the bumper, but the Hyundai hitch structure seemed undamaged. The impact was so severe that even the trailer was totaled. After the accident we had time to reflect on a replacement car. We felt so well protected by the car and had enjoyed all the features of the Ultimate package that we got the identical car in the 2016. Right away, both of us independently thought the 2016 was substantially quieter; I think they've added insulation and maybe fine tuned the suspension. I've seen a lot of negative comment about the third row seating. With the SE bench seat it might be a problem, but with the Limited's captains chairs it isn't much of a deal to get into the third row. Just for grins, my wife and I let our daughter and her 6' 5" husband drive and we rode in the third row for a six hour day trip. Grandsons in the middle. We're both 70 y/o and it was perfectly comfortable. Having the panoramic sun roof almost reach the third row makes it much nicer. My biggest complaint is that Hyundai hasn't incorporated Apple's Carplay into the display system. The existing nav system is nice, but not as good as Google Maps or Apple Maps, plus I have to pay an annual $50 fee to Sirius just to get traffic information incorporated into the nav system. Carplay was supposed to begin showing up in another Hyundai model in 2015 so I figured the 2016 would definitely have it: Wrong! The BlueLink "turn by turn guidance", which is $100/ year is not compatible with the navigation system. Go figure.
Love my 2016 Limited Ultimate AWD!
Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 6A)
"We traded in our 2014 Santa Fe Sport for the bigger 2016 Santa Fe. We love the Ultimate package.. it has everything we could ever want...with bang for the buck.We shopped for the Kia Sorento, Honda Pilot,Nissan Pathfinder and going back to Hyundai was a no brainer. We spent about 10k less than similar cars with similar packages. Owning a Hyundai today is definitely not owning a Hyundai 10 years ago..they are doing an awesome job of keeping up with the competition. I mostly drive around my kids with it..they absolutely love the captains chairs.Going grocery shopping is easy with the automatic gate lift. The navigation is easy to use. Having the AWD has been awesome in the snow. As for reliability.. My old 2014 Santa Fe Sport only went to the dealer for oil changes..never had a problem with it.. so I am very confident with this one. We have gotten many compliments on it's looks. Still going strong! I still love everything about it. It has only gone to the dealership for oil changes.
Style, Comfort, And Afordability
tim bana,12/05/2015
SE 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 6A)
Purchased new 2016 Santa Fe SE AWD 8/31/15. Added on the Premium Package which offers numerous features. Ride is very comfortable with 19" tires and very positive steering. This is my first SUV, but searched the market place comparing it to other SUVs with options, price, dependability, and warranty. The Santa Fe had them beat. The 3rd seat is really for the grand kids. The V-6 has plenty of power for expressway entry and for passing. I have heated seats and wanted air cooled seats, but Hyundai has them with an additional package including a Panoramic Roof which I didn't want or need. I wish they bundle the heated/ cooled together. I took a road trip and put on 5,000 miles (averaging 26mph could be better) with no problem. During the trip stopped in El Paso Texas for an oil change. The dealer treated me very well like I was a local resident. They knew I was from another state, but that didn't matter. Hyundai has a good thing going for themselves. Time will tell how well they back their warranties.
This SUV is a "Keeper" for sure!
Doug Brown,04/06/2017
Limited 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 6A)
This is a good looking, roomy, well appointed SUV with plenty of room for "cargo" and passengers. The two front seats are extremely comfortable...the back seats are nice and roomy but not as plush as the front seats (fold down seats never are no matter what you buy) and the third row is fine for a couple or 3 kids..adults should drive a second car if it comes down to it. I LOVE the car...it's got 290 HP with the 6 cylinder..runs smooth and strong...power to spare if you need it. My grandson is a baseball catcher and we go to Travel Ball tournaments all over the place and have enough space in the back for his humongous catcher's bag, a cooler, folding chairs, a tent, and luggage for 4 on overnight trips. I've got 56,500 miles on it with NO problems...tires Just replaced at 56,000 miles, a week ago...Smooth ride, easy to enter and exit even at age 72.. and I plan to keep this one! ONLY glitch is the automatic rear hatch! Sometimes it will raise up and then when you reach inside you will hear the beep that it is coming back DOWN. It’s dangerous as people have hit their heads on it. I’ve been unable to get them to fix it and have been unable to get them to disable it and make it “manual only”, which would be safer at least. If you look this up on the internet, it is an often reported problem by scads of other owners. You have to just wait a few moments once it’s open to make sure it’s going to stay open before sticking your head inside.

Features & Specs

See all Used 2016 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 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe

Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Overview

The Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe is offered in the following submodels: Santa Fe SUV. Available styles include SE 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 6A), Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 6A), Limited 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 6A), and SE 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 6A).

What's a good price on a Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe?

Price comparisons for Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe trim styles:

  • The Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe SE is priced between $15,365 and$21,000 with odometer readings between 27246 and80895 miles.
  • The Used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited is priced between $18,247 and$20,996 with odometer readings between 25733 and118653 miles.

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Which used 2016 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) 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe for sale near. There are currently 5 used and CPO 2016 Santa Fes listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $15,365 and mileage as low as 25733 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 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe.

Can't find a used 2016 Hyundai Santa Fes you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Hyundai Santa Fe for sale - 7 great deals out of 21 listings starting at $12,029.

Find a used Hyundai for sale - 1 great deals out of 15 listings starting at $23,556.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai Santa Fe for sale - 3 great deals out of 20 listings starting at $25,569.

Find a used certified pre-owned Hyundai for sale - 8 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $18,706.

Should I lease or buy a 2016 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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