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Hyundai Santa Fe Problems

Are you having problems with your Hyundai Santa Fe? Let our team of motoring experts keep you up to date with all of the latest Hyundai Santa Fe issues & faults. We have gathered all of the most frequently asked questions and problems relating to the Hyundai Santa Fe in one spot to help you decide if it's a smart buy.

What's a good hybrid car to buy?

The default purchase for somebody looking for a mid-sized hybrid SUV is the Toyota RAV4 Hybrid. But if that鈥檚 too big, there鈥檚 the Toyota Yaris Cross Hybrid, C-HR Hybrid and even the Corolla Cross Hybrid which sounds like the marketplace is getting crowded but is really just a reflection of the appetite right now for cars like these. And that鈥檚 the catch; the waiting times for a brand-new example of some of these cars is out to many months and even years. So your plan to shop second-hand makes plenty of sense, but don鈥檛 expect any bargains in a market currently being dominated by lots of demand and less supply.

Beyond the Toyota brand (which has been doing hybrids longer than just about anybody else) there鈥檚 also the Mazda CX-30, Subaru XV Hybrid, Haval Jolion Hybrid, Kia Niro, Subaru Forester Hybrid, Nissan Qashqai e-Power, MG HS, Honda HR-V e and more. For something a bit bigger, try the Kia Sorento or Hyundai Santa Fe hybrids. There are others out there, too, that are probably bigger or more expensive than you need, but it's very much a growing scene in the Australian marketplace.

I am looking for an auto transmission wagon or SUV, that tows at least 1500kg and does not have a CVT.

While the CVT is enjoying a bit of a purple patch right now with many car-makers using it for its efficiency benefits, you鈥檙e not the only one, Gregg, that doesn鈥檛 want to own such a thing. The CVT鈥檚 history is littered with failures, although to be perfectly fair, they are a lot better now than they鈥檝e ever been.

But even if you can accept their reliability track record, some owners will just never take to the CVT鈥檚 characteristics of allowing the engine to rev up and have the rest of the vehicle catch up. It can feel very alien and it鈥檚 hardly a sporty sensation, either.

With all that in mind, you probably should start looking at things like the two-wheel-drive versions of something like, say, the Toyota Kluger or Hyundai Santa Fe. Both are available in two-wheel-drive, both have conventional 8-speed automatic transmissions and both can haul a decent load (2000kg and 2500kg respectively). The Toyota even offers a hybrid driveline, but, sadly for buyers like you, that uses a CVT transmission.

My 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe has a transmission fault, what should I do?

I definitely agree that 60,000km is pathetically short for the lifespan of a modern transmission. And if, indeed, the transmission has failed or is showing dramatic wear in that distance, I鈥檇 be asking Hyundai to help out with the cost of repairs. Even though the vehicle is out of warranty (by only about a year it would seem) the low kilometres and full factory service history might give Hyundai cause to come to the party on a pro rata basis.

Meantime, don鈥檛 hit the panic button yet. The fault could be a much simpler one than you might be imagining and could be something quick and easy to fix. The problem could be as simple as low transmission-fluid level. If the quoted cost to examine the transmission is putting you off, try an independent transmission specialist who should be more than familiar with this unit.

Why is my 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe unresponsive when I press the accelerator?

There鈥檚 no point giving an engine a double-dose of whatever the manufacturer recommends as the correct amount. And that applies to everything from injector cleaner to windscreen washer fluid. It鈥檚 also true that these injector cleaners will sometimes work if the problem is a simple case of a build-up of dirt and gunk that shouldn鈥檛 be on the injector, but if the problem is an actual worn injector or some other problem, then all the cleaner in the world won鈥檛 help. You鈥檝e asked if the condition might improve with time, and in the case of a dirty injector that is gradually cleaned by these products, then the answer is maybe.

The fact that your engine runs perfectly once warmed up is the interesting part. That suggests that there鈥檚 something going on when the engine is first started. Does it start easily? If not, the glow-plugs (which pre-heat the combustion chamber on a diesel) could be malfunctioning. I鈥檇 also be checking the fuel delivery pressure as these modern, common-rail diesel engines use very high fuel pressure to work properly. If the injectors aren鈥檛 getting the correct pressure from the moment you hit the key, they can run very poorly. That would then lead me to check for a dirty fuel filter and perhaps even the condition of the pump and its regulator. You might even find the problem is related to the turbocharger or even the throttle-by-wire system that is having a temperature-related hissy-fit.

The first thing to do now would be to have the vehicle scanned and, in particular, look out for fault code P0401. This will be logged as a problem with the EGR system, but is often caused by carbon build-up in the engine rather than a problem with the actual EGR valve. This fault code can also be associated with loose turbocharger plumbing which can lead to boost leaks and the sort of sluggish behaviour you鈥檝e noted. Either way, it鈥檚 a good clue about where to look. It鈥檚 also worth noting that Hyundai was aware of a problem with the engine fuel-filter fitted to engines built around the time of your car. A change of the filter cartridge was a simple fix, so make sure that鈥檚 been done on your car. A Hyundai dealership will be able to check if your car was affected and whether it鈥檚 been fitted with the new filter.

Which popular mid to large SUV is best for a family?

This is a really interesting question, because most car-makers tend to quote their products鈥 luggage capacity in litres, rather than a set of dimensions in each direction. Even then, it鈥檚 not that simple as there are different methods fort calculating the cubic capacity of a load space, and the two methods are not readily comparable. It鈥檚 also a bit of a con-job, because a figure in litres mean very little to most people, while actual measurements in centimetres would be much more relatable.

In any case, since you obviously have two kids with cellos and school-bags, it鈥檚 clear that you鈥檒l also need the rear seat for at least one passenger, so you need to find a vehicle that either has enough space in the rear with the first two rows of seats in place, or a car that has a split-fold rear seat to allow longer loads (like a cello or two) to pass from the luggage area into the rear seat space. The good news there is that many (if not all) SUVs do, in fact, have this split-fold seat, and that will surely accommodate even a full-sized cello which, after a bit of scratching around, I discovered is about 121cm long.

If, however, you need to occupy the whole rear seat with passengers, then you need to find an SUV that is wide enough to accept the cellos loaded across (or diagonally across) the car. That won鈥檛 be easy, because most vehicles just aren鈥檛 that wide inside. Even a conventional full-sized car-based Holden or Ford utility (which aren鈥檛 being made any longer) is only about 1400mm wide. And if you check out something like a Hyundai Santa Fe, it鈥檚 load area with the third row is feats down is just 1080mm at its narrowest point. Even the huge Hyundai Palisade is just 1111mm across the narrowest point of its load area. There will be areas where the space is wider, but that narrowest point is usually between the rear wheel-arches.

I鈥檒l also take a punt and suggest that the cellos in question are either in carry-bags or even hard-cases which would add even more to their length. So you might find it very difficult to find anything that will accommodate a 1.2 or 1.3 metre cello lengthways in the luggage area without resorting to folding down half the second-row seat. Even a big car like a Volvo XC90 has just 1220mm of load length with the rear seat in place, and mid-sized station-wagons typically have less than a metre between the tailgate and the rear seat. The best idea might be to make a short-list of cars you鈥檇 be happy with and then visit the relevant showrooms with a tape measure (or even a cello) in your hand.

Hyundai hasn't told me when my 2018 Santa Fe will be fixed and returned, what can I do?

It sounds to me as though you鈥檝e only talked 鈥 at this stage 鈥 to your Hyundai dealership. I鈥檇 be taking the time to contact Hyundai Australia鈥檚 customer service division and asking for a firm timetable of when the work will be carried out and when you can expect to be driving your own car again. There鈥檚 always the ACCC to talk to if you don鈥檛 get a satisfactory answer, but give Hyundai Australia the chance to make things right. Hyundai is a brand that is very serious about its reputation and sometimes enquiries at dealership level don鈥檛 always get straight through to head office.

Which used seven-seater should I buy for 15-20k?

Either the Santa Fe or its close cousin, the Kia Sorento are good choices for a seven-seat SUV. In fact, they鈥檝e risen to the top of the heap when it comes to a seven-seater within your budget. Both offered petrol engines, but in this type of vehicle, the turbo-diesels probably did a better job.

Unfortunately, the top end of your budget rules out all but the tattiest current-shape Kias and Hyundais. If you can stretch to maybe $3000 or $4000 more, you鈥檒l get into good-condition examples of the current version of either and, thanks to the great factory warranties offered by the South Korean brands, you might even find one with some factory cover left to run.

If $20,000 is your absolute limit, that鈥檚 not the end of the world, as it will still get you into a very useable vehicle with lots of life left in it. Make sure you check the service record and only buy a car with a documented history of preventative maintenance.

Should I buy a Kia Sorento 2013 to 2017 or Hyundai Santa Fe 2013 to 2017

Hi Nor, the Kia Sorento is generally reliable and robust, with only a few electrical problems being the main issues, but most should have been sorted out by now. As the Sorento is closely related to the Hyundai Santa Fe, the same would apply to that SUV too.

The 2.4-litre four-cylinder engine you mention was only available in the UM model from 2009 to 2011. After that a 3.5-litre V6 took over. Both engines are known to be robust and dependable. We'd go for the V6 because it does not have to work as hard as the 2.4L hauling such a big and heavy vehicle around. Note, though, that the V6 is thirsty. 

The diesel is the best choice out of all of the engines available, as it is strong and hard-wearing as well as much more economical. 

In our opinion, the Sorento is a better buy than the Santa Fe, since it has more glass area and so is easier to see out of. The interior is pleasant, comfortable and easy to use. And, from the XM model launched in 2015, it is a nicer and quieter car to drive.

Finally, the Kia has offered a seven-year warranty as opposed to the Hyundai's five-year warranty since October 1, 2014, meaning it is possible to buy an older Sorento and still be covered by the factory warranty. 

Should I buy a Kia Sorento 2020?

The Sorento seems like a pretty good choice. But don鈥檛 forget its cousin, the Hyundai Santa Fe which is also a great vehicle. On balance, though, the Kia seems a little better value and has a superior warranty. In fact, the Kia factory warranty of seven years/unlimited kilometres is an industry leader and makes for great long-term peace of mind.

If you鈥檙e happy with the way the Kia drives and works for your family, then there鈥檚 no reason not to make that your first choice.

RECALL: Nearly 100,000 Hyundai i30 and Elantra cars and Sante Fe SUVs could catch fire
Hyundai Australia has issued two recalls for 96,892 vehicles that pose fire risks, with one covering the i30 small hatch and Elantra small sedan, and the other pertaining to the Santa Fe large SUV
Read the article
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