Hyundai Santa Fe Years to Avoid and The Best Years

Hyundai Santa Fe Years to Avoid – When it comes to buying a car, one of the crucial considerations is selecting a model and year that offers reliability and performance. Among the popular choices in the mid-size SUV category is the Hyundai Santa Fe.

Known for its sleek design, comfortable interiors, and advanced features, the Santa Fe has won the hearts of many drivers over the years.

However, like any other vehicle, not all model years are created equal, and it’s essential to be aware of the worst years to avoid potential issues and make an informed purchase decision.

In this article, we will guide you through Hyundai Santa Fe’s history and highlight the specific years that have faced reliability concerns or known problems.

Hyundai Santa Fe Years to Avoid

By understanding these critical details, you’ll be equipped with the knowledge needed to choose a Santa Fe model that best suits your needs and provides a trouble-free ownership experience.

The Hyundai Santa Fe was first introduced in 2000 and has since evolved through multiple generations. This mid-size SUV has gained a reputation for its versatility, spaciousness, and impressive array of safety features.

As a reliable and stylish option, it has appealed to families, adventure enthusiasts, and anyone seeking a blend of comfort and performance.

Hyundai Santa Fe Years to Avoid: Uncovering the Worst Santa Fe Models

Purchasing a Hyundai Santa Fe can be an exciting decision, given its reputation for comfort, style, and reliability. However, as with any vehicle, there are specific model years that are best avoided due to known issues or concerns.

Hyundai Santa Fe Years to Avoid

While the Hyundai Santa Fe generally boasts a track record of dependability, there have been certain model years that have experienced issues or received lower ratings in terms of reliability.

By being aware of these years, you can make a more informed choice when shopping for a Santa Fe.

Here are some of the worst years to consider avoiding:

2007 Hyundai Santa Fe: A Troubled Year

The 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe stands out as one of the worst model years to avoid. It was plagued by a multitude of issues, including ignition coil misfire, engine failure, leaky gaskets, and frequent recalls.

Owners also reported problems with the sun visor breaking and the fuel gauge displaying inaccurate readings.

Due to these numerous concerns, it is strongly recommended to steer clear of the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe.

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2008 Hyundai Santa Fe: Not Without Its Problems

While the 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe had fewer issues compared to its predecessor, it still had its fair share of problems. The malfunctioning fuel level sensors from the 2007 model persisted, leading to inaccurate fuel gauge readings.

Additionally, alternator gasket leaks and engine stalling issues were reported.

Although not as severe as the 2007 model, the 2008 Santa Fe is still considered one of the worst years to avoid.

2013 Hyundai Santa Fe: Engine Troubles and More

The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe ranks third on our list of worst years due to its high number of engine-related complaints. Many owners reported engine failures, necessitating the replacement of the entire engine.

Steering issues and subpar interior quality added to the frustrations experienced by owners.

Consequently, it is advisable to exercise caution when considering the 2013 Santa Fe model.

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2014 Hyundai Santa Fe: Engine Woes Persist

The 2014 Hyundai Santa Fe experienced significant engine problems, similar to its predecessors. Engine stalling, unexpected halting while driving, and eventual engine failure were common complaints.

Issues with the fuel gauge and the blind spot monitoring system further added to the concerns. even labeled the 2014 Santa Fe as a “Beware of the clunker.”

Due to these engine-related and interior issues, it is recommended to approach the 2014 model year with caution.

2003 Hyundai Santa Fe: Hazardous Model Year

The 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe poses notable risks for drivers and passengers alike. Recurrent issues such as shaking, stalling, illuminated airbag warning lights, and power outages make it an undesirable choice for safety-conscious individuals.

Given these critical concerns, it is strongly advised to avoid the 2003 Santa Fe model year.

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2009 Hyundai Santa Fe: Issues with Stalling and Fuel Gauge

The 2009 Hyundai Santa Fe also falls into the category of the worst year. Owners reported frequent engine stalling and eventual failure as a significant drawbacks.

Fuel level sensors malfunctioned, resulting in inaccurate fuel gauge readings.

Paint peeling issues were also commonly mentioned.

Considering these concerns, it is recommended to exercise caution when considering the 2009 Santa Fe model.

Remember to thoroughly research and inspect any used Santa Fe before making a purchase, and consider seeking professional guidance to ensure a satisfying and trouble-free ownership experience.

Hyundai Santa Fe Best Years

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a popular SUV known for its reliability and affordability, making it an excellent choice for SUV enthusiasts on a budget.

Hyundai Santa Fe Best Years

When considering purchasing a Hyundai Santa Fe, it’s essential to know which model years are considered the best in terms of reliability and overall performance.

Come to explore some of the best years of the Hyundai Santa Fe, highlighting their features, technologies, and reasons why they are highly regarded by car enthusiasts.

Read Also: Most Expensive Hyundai Cars in the World

2021-2023 Generation: Technologically Advanced and Reliable

The current generation of Hyundai Santa Fe vehicles, produced between 2021 and 2023, is widely regarded as the most reliable and technologically advanced.

These vehicles come with a range of impressive features and advancements that elevate the driving experience.

From their incredible engine performance to their enhanced safety levels and fuel efficiency, the 2021-2023 Santa Fe models have it all.

One of the standout features of this generation is the improved comfort and luxury. The cabin is spacious and accommodates both passengers and cargo with ease.

Premium-quality materials are used throughout, from the seats to the dashboard and steering wheel, providing a refined and luxurious feel.

Safety is a top priority for Hyundai, and the 2021-2023 Santa Fe models come equipped with advanced safety features. These include forward automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, forward collision warning, and blindspot monitoring, among others.

With these safety technologies, drivers can have peace of mind on the road.

Another aspect that sets the 2021-2023 Santa Fe apart is its fuel efficiency.

These models offer an impressive fuel economy, with MPG ranging between 30 and 36. Additionally, there is a hybrid option available for those seeking even greater fuel efficiency.

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2018 and 2019: Exceptional Driving Experience and Comfort

The 2018 and 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe models offer an exceptional driving experience coupled with high levels of comfort. These model years showcase Hyundai’s commitment to providing advanced technologies and premium-quality materials to enhance the overall driving experience.

Various trims of the 2018 and 2019 Santa Fe models come with luxurious features such as ventilated seats, heated rear seats, a built-in navigation system, a heated steering wheel, and an immersive infotainment system.

These features elevate the comfort and convenience of the Santa Fe, making it a joy to drive.

The 2019 Santa Fe, in particular, introduced a modern facelift and was designed as a two-row SUV.

While it may lack the third-row seating option, it compensates with its exceptional reliability, standard safety features, and affordability.

It offers a comfortable and maneuverable driving experience, making it an excellent choice for SUV enthusiasts.

2001 (First Generation): Pioneer Model with Immersive Driving Experience

For those who appreciate the roots of the Hyundai Santa Fe, the 2001 model, belonging to the first generation, is worth considering. Borrowing design elements from the Hyundai Sonata, this model offers an immersive driving experience and ample cargo space.

The 2001 Santa Fe comes with two options: front-wheel drive and full-time four-wheel drive. It also offers a choice between a four-cylinder engine and a V6 engine, each providing enhanced performance.

With three trims available, this model is reliable and long-lasting, suitable for both on-road and off-road adventures.

Read Also: Hyundai Sonata Years to Avoid

2014 to 2016 (Third Generation): Reliable and Technologically Advanced

The 2014 to 2016 Hyundai Santa Fe models mark the beginning of the third generation. These models are known for their reliability and integration of advanced technological features while remaining significantly affordable.

The 2014 to 2016 Santa Fe offers a perfect blend of comfort, style, and power. It boasts a reliable suspension that is finely tuned for city, highway, and off-road driving.

The interior is thoughtfully designed, providing spacious seating for up to seven passengers. The high-quality materials used in the cabin enhance comfort and add a touch of elegance.

In terms of engine performance, the 2014-2016 Santa Fe models feature a 3.3L V6 engine, producing approximately 290 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque. The base trim comes with a six-speed automatic transmission, ensuring a smooth and enjoyable driving experience.

However, it’s worth noting that there was no hybrid version available during these years for those seeking higher fuel efficiency.

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2003 to 2006: Power, Comfort, and Safety

The 2003 to 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe models are known for their adequate power, smooth and quiet ride, and excellent handling capabilities. These models are reliable, family-friendly, and robust, making them a popular choice among SUV enthusiasts.

In terms of safety, the 2006 Santa Fe comes equipped with standard features such as traction control, side airbags, and anti-lock brake discs. It has received high safety ratings, providing better protection from frontal impacts.

The interior of the 2006 Santa Fe features high-quality materials and a two-tone color scheme, creating an elegant and comfortable ambiance.

While the 2003-2006 Santa Fe models offer spacious interiors, the legroom for adults may be somewhat limited.

However, their overall reliability and performance make them a compelling choice for those seeking a reliable and versatile SUV.

Read Also: Hyundai Kona Years to Avoid

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Problems

The Hyundai Santa Fe is generally known for its reliability, but like any vehicle, it can have its share of issues.

While most Santa Fe models perform well without significant problems, there are a few common issues that have been reported, particularly in the Santa Fe Sport.

Hyundai Santa Fe Sport Problems

Here are some of the most commonly reported problems with the Hyundai Santa Fe, ensuring you have all the information you need before making a purchase.

1. Hesitation Issues in the 2017 Santa Fe Sport

One of the notable problems reported by owners of the 2017 Santa Fe Sport is hesitation during acceleration. It has been observed that this issue tends to arise at around 1,000 miles, which is relatively early in the vehicle’s lifespan.

The hesitation problem becomes more pronounced when accelerating or coming out of turn, causing frustration and inconvenience for drivers.

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2. Faulty Speakers in Various Santa Fe Models

Another commonly reported issue in Hyundai Santa Fe models, particularly those produced from 2011 to 2017, is faulty speakers.

Owners have experienced situations where the audio abruptly stops playing from all speakers, especially in Santa Fe models equipped with navigation features.

This problem has been reported to occur around 50,000 miles, causing an unexpected audio disruption for drivers and passengers.

3. Engine Stalls Due to Defective Crankshaft Position Sensor

In some Santa Fe models, engine stalling has been reported as a result of a defective crankshaft position sensor.

This problem is particularly concerning as it can lead to sudden loss of power while driving at highway speeds, creating a potentially dangerous situation for the driver and other road users.

It is important to address this issue promptly to ensure the safety and reliability of the vehicle.

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4. Transmission Stutters in Older Santa Fe Models

Santa Fe models manufactured between 2001 and 2014 have been associated with transmission stutters.

Owners have reported experiencing odd stutters during the shifting process, specifically when transitioning from second to third gear.

While this problem may not directly impact the overall drivability of the vehicle, it can cause discomfort and annoyance for the driver.

While the Hyundai Santa Fe is generally regarded as a reliable vehicle, it is essential to be aware of some common issues that have been reported by owners.

What Are the Closest Competitors of the Hyundai Santa Fe?

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a popular crossover SUV that offers a range of features and capabilities. While it stands out in its segment, there are several other vehicles that can be considered its closest competitors. Let’s take a look at some of them:

1. Kia Sorento

The Kia Sorento shares a platform with the Hyundai Santa Fe and offers a similar set of features. It provides multiple powertrain options, excellent fuel economy, and comfortable seating for up to seven passengers.

The Sorento stands out with its spacious interior and generous legroom, particularly in the third row.

However, it may have slightly less cargo space compared to Santa Fe.

Read Also: Kia Sorento Years to Avoid

2. Nissan Rogue

The Nissan Rogue is another popular competitor in the crossover SUV market. It offers a comfortable and quiet ride, a well-designed interior, and advanced safety features.

The Rogue’s fuel efficiency is commendable, and it provides ample cargo space for everyday use.

While it may not have the same performance capabilities as Santa Fe, it compensates with its smooth and efficient operation.

Read Also: Nissan Rogue Years to Avoid

3. Jeep Grand Cherokee

The Jeep Grand Cherokee is a midsize SUV that offers a blend of on-road comfort and off-road capability. It stands out with its rugged design, powerful engine options, and impressive towing capacity.

The Grand Cherokee provides a comfortable and upscale interior, advanced technology features, and a range of trims to suit different preferences.

However, it is important to note that the Grand Cherokee is a slightly larger and more rugged SUV compared to the Santa Fe.

4. Honda CR-V

The Honda CR-V is a compact SUV that offers a spacious interior, practicality, and fuel efficiency. It provides a comfortable ride, a well-designed cabin, and a reputation for reliability.

The CR-V offers ample cargo space and a range of advanced safety features.

While it may not have the same level of performance or interior refinement as the Santa Fe, it excels in providing a versatile and practical SUV option.

Read Also: Honda CR-V Years to Avoid

Other competitors in this segment include the Subaru Outback, Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, Jeep Wrangler, Toyota 4Runner, Toyota RAV4, and Honda Pilot.

Each of these vehicles brings its own set of strengths and features, catering to different preferences and needs.

What Year Is The Most Reliable Santa Fe?

The most reliable Hyundai Santa Fe is the 2019 option, thanks to its unrivaled safety features, suspension system, stylish design, and comfort. According to US News, its predicted reliability is approximately 4.5 out of 5.0, translating to over 90%.

This vehicle has reported minimal malfunctions, offering you an immersive driving experience.

Its chic design and premium-quality materials make its interior adequately elegant. Above all, it is considerably affordable.

Is it worth it to buy a Hyundai Santa Fe?

Yes, it is worth buying a Hyundai Santa Fe, especially considering its strong reputation for reliability and the numerous awards it has received.

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe has been ranked highly in the Midsize SUVs category, and it has been recognized with awards such as the Best 2-Row SUV for the Money, Best 2-Row SUV for Families, and Best New Cars for Teens.

These accolades highlight Santa Fe’s overall value, family-friendly features, and ability to provide a safe and enjoyable driving experience.

Does Santa Fe hold its value?

While Hyundai Santa Fe vehicles offer competitive pricing compared to their peers, they do experience some depreciation over time. According to data, a Hyundai Santa Fe will depreciate around 43% after 5 years, resulting in a 5-year resale value of approximately $21,641.

Within the first three years, Santa Fe is expected to lose about one-third of its value compared to its initial purchase price.

While it may not hold its value as well as some other vehicles, it is important to consider the overall value, reliability, and features offered by Santa Fe when making a purchasing decision.

Are Hyundai Santa Fe reliable cars?

Yes, Hyundai Santa Fe SUVs are generally regarded as reliable vehicles. Many owners have reported driving their Santa Fe vehicles for well over 150,000 to 200,000 miles with regular maintenance alone.

Routine servicing, including regular oil and filter, changes every 3,000 to 5,000 miles, can significantly contribute to Santa Fe’s longevity.

Hyundai’s commitment to quality and reliability, along with positive owner experiences, indicates that Santa Fe is a dependable choice in the midsize SUV segment.


The Hyundai Santa Fe is a highly regarded SUV known for its reliability, safety features, and overall value. While it has its share of common issues, such as hesitation problems in the 2017 Santa Fe Sport and faulty speakers in certain model years, these problems are relatively minor compared to the overall positive ownership experiences reported by Santa Fe owners.

When it comes to choosing the most reliable year for the Hyundai Santa Fe, the 2019 model stands out as a top choice.

With its exceptional safety features, stylish design, comfortable interior, and affordable price, the 2019 Santa Fe offers an immersive driving experience and has been praised for its dependability.

Furthermore, Santa Fe has received recognition and awards, such as the Best 2-Row SUV for the Money, Best 2-Row SUV for Families, and Best New Cars for Teens.

These accolades further reinforce Santa Fe’s value and suitability for various types of buyers.

Overall, the Hyundai Santa Fe is a solid choice for individuals and families in search of a reliable and practical SUV. Its strong reputation, positive owner experiences, and competitive features make it a compelling option in the midsize SUV segment.

So, if you’re considering a Hyundai Santa Fe, rest assured that with proper maintenance and care, it can serve you well for many years to come.