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Used Hyundai Santa Fe review: 2006-2011

Hyundai Santa Fe 2010
EXPERT RATING
7
Don Bate bought his 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe SLX diesel manual in 2011 when it had done 25,000 km. It has now done 72,000 km, 30,000 of which have been towing his 1750 kg caravan. He says the Santa Fe is a superb towing vehicle. It gets 7.2 L/100 km around town and 10.5 L/100 km towing on the highway. The clutch had to

Don Bate bought his 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe SLX diesel manual in 2011 when it had done 25,000 km. It has now done 72,000 km, 30,000 of which have been towing his 1750 kg caravan. He says the Santa Fe is a superb towing vehicle. It gets 7.2 L/100 km around town and 10.5 L/100 km towing on the highway. The clutch had to be replaced at 40,000 km, but that is the only problem he has had. Would he buy another one? "You bet," he says, but this time it would be an automatic.

Steve Viertel bought his 2006 Santa Fe SX diesel new and says it is the best car he's ever owned. It has done 140,000 km and there are no squeaks or rattles, and the body and paint are in excellent condition. He says it is reliable, powerful, fuel efficient and versatile, and the build quality is excellent.

The only problem has been an air-conditioning compressor that failed after six years. He replaced it with a cheaper aftermarket part and there has been no problem since. The original brake pads were replaced at 136,000 km, and remarkably the discs didn't require any machining. So happy is Steve with his Santa Fe that he intends to keep it for another five years or 100,000 km.

Doug Foggon primarily bought his MY8.5 Santa Fe SLX 2.2 diesel to tow their caravan on big trips around Australia. To date he has done over 60,000 km, most of which has been towing a near two-tonne van. It has been serviced regularly and has been very reliable. The only problems he has encountered have been with the turbo hose clamps, which were not strong enough and were replaced with worm drive clamps, a recall for the stoplight switch, and a false water signal from fuel filter. All were fixed promptly. To aid towing he has fitted it with air bags and stronger rear springs. He likes the diesel power and economy, and the 5-year warranty, and he has no dislikes. He says it is a great tow-tug.

NEW

From humble beginnings Hyundai has become one of the powerhouses of the local car business, but it's no overnight success. As the local car industry has crumbled Hyundai and the other Korean carmakers have determinedly gone about improving and refining their cars to the point they can hold their own with similar models from Europe and Asia.

The transformation began in the mid-2000s when the first of a whole new generation of Korean cars began arriving here; cars like the Hyundai Santa Fe. Hyundai might have begun in the bargain basement, offering cheap-as-chips drive-away deals, but that no longer applies. Hyundai today clearly wants to be a top-rank carmaker, and is fast achieving its ambition.

The second-generation Santa Fe ticked most of the boxes for the SUV buyer, and there was a lot to like about it. It looked good, and it was bigger. Put under the tape you found it was longer, wider and taller than its predecessor, and had a longer wheelbase, and the larger dimensions yielded a much larger cabin.

There were four models to choose from, the SX, SLX, Elite and Highlander, and all boasted loads of features. Hyundai offered a choice of petrol and turbo-diesel engines, and manual and auto transmissions depending on the engine.

The V6 petrol was energetic with more than sufficient zip when needed, although at more than 10 L/100 km claimed fuel consumption it wasn't particularly economical. The diesel was a better choice in terms of economy, but like all diesels you had to carefully assess all the running and service costs to determine if it was for you. Even better a new and improved turbo-diesel arrived on the scene in 2009. It came with a bunch more power and torque, and there was no fuel consumption penalty for the extra zip.

There was a choice of front-wheel drive or on-demand four-wheel drive. With the latter the Santa Fe is a front-wheel drive until wheel slip is detected and a portion of the drive is then re-directed to the rear wheels.
The suspension was tuned to Australian roads, which made it decent to drive and ride in.

NOW

Santa Fe owners who have reported back to us have nothing but praise for the reliability and fuel consumption of their cars. All are unanimous in their praise for the Santa Fe's towing ability, and most use their cars for towing a caravan.

Only Don Bate reported an issue, and that was with the clutch in his manual diesel, which had to be replaced at 40,000 km. That was done under warranty and there has been no problem with it in the 30,000-plus kilometres it has done since.

The clutch weakness is relatively common, which suggests the Santa Fe suffers the same clutch issues as most modern cars that have a manual transmission option. Apart from the clutch concern owners report that brake life is good, with some saying they are still on the original brakes after 70,000 km.

Like all cars servicing is important, so check for a service record that confirms a regular maintenance has been done as required. Although few Santa Fes will have travelled off road, some might have, so check for damage to body panels and underbody hardware. It's best to walk away from a car that has been used off-road and continue shopping.

Pricing

Year Price From Price To
2011 $8,800 $17,710
2010 $8,200 $13,310
2009 $7,000 $13,530
2008 $6,200 $13,420
2007 $5,200 $11,880
2006 $4,100 $8,580

View all Hyundai Santa Fe pricing and specifications

Pricing guides

$7,988
Based on 14 cars listed for sale in the last 6 months
Lowest Price
$6,990
Highest Price
$8,990

Range and Specs

VehicleSpecsPrice*
(4X4) 2.7L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $4,100 – 6,710 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe 2006 (4X4) Pricing and Specs
Elite (4x4) 2.7L, ULP, 4 SP AUTO $5,500 – 8,470 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe 2006 Elite (4x4) Pricing and Specs
Elite CRDi (4x4) 2.2L, Diesel, 5 SP AUTO $5,000 – 7,700 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe 2006 Elite CRDi (4x4) Pricing and Specs
SLX (4X4) 2.7L, ULP, 5 SP MAN $4,400 – 7,040 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe 2006 SLX (4X4) Pricing and Specs
EXPERT RATING
7
Graham Smith
Contributing Journalist

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