Is a Used Hyundai Santa Fe Reliable?

Is a Used Hyundai Santa Fe Reliable?

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a popular SUV, but is it reliable? Let’s break down the Santa Fe’s average reliability by generation and see if we can find out.

The Santa Fe began life in 2001 and was Hyundai’s first SUV. It was built on the Hyundai Sonata platform, so it lent itself to a more car-like ride, unlike most of its competitors at the time, who mostly opted for body-on-frame applications. The smooth ride and very agreeable base price allowed the Santa Fe to garner popularity in the United States quickly.

First Generation (2001-2006)

2002 Hyundai Santa Fe

Launched in 2001, the first-gen Santa Fe had then-popular bulbous styling and a sensible price. However, it suffered the typical new vehicle model defects. From 2001-2003, numerous complaints, from engine stalls to electrical issues, plagued the Santa Fe. 2004 and 2005 saw fewer complaints, and the 2006 Santa Fe was regarded as very reliable. Overall, the first generation was considered reliable and one of the better used cars to buy at the time.

Second Generation (2007-2012)

2009 Hyundai Santa Fe

While the second-generation Hyundai scored more points in the design department, it took a dip in reliability scoring. Model years 2007-2010 are regarded as unreliable, suffering from issues with the fuel system, brakes, and engine. A catastrophic issue in this time frame was an oil leak that would compromise the alternator, leading to failure. Tons of recalls were issued with delay, and public opinion took a dive. 2011 and 2012 saw an improvement in reliability, with the only issue reported being engine stalling but Hyundai had learned its lesson and swiftly recalled affected Santa Fes and fixed the problems.

Third Generation (2013-2018)

2014 Hyundai Santa Fe

Santa Fe’s third generation saw the SUV grow in size and gain a litany of engine issues. Model years 2013, 2014, and 2017 were majorly impacted by motor, steering, and safety problems. Most notably, the 2013 Santa Fe suffered from axle shaft separation, excessive oil consumption, and overheating. The ABS control module also had a fire risk, posing a serious threat to garage-kept Santa Fes. Model years 2015, 2016, and 2018 are regarded as better, with fewer issues reported overall.

Fourth Generation (2019-2023)

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe

The fourth-gen Santa Fe saw a significant change in design, adopting a futuristic style that Hyundai had begun to adopt at that time. As for reliability, this generation scores much better over the previous two, with only model years 2021 and 2022 seeing significant issues. Problems surrounding engine performance, with the Santa Fe suffering from oil pump malfunctions, can cause the motor to seize completely and require an entirely new engine. Model years 2019, 2020, and 2023 enjoyed virtually worry-free motoring.

Over the past 23 years, the Santa Fe has received an overall 4 out of 5 for reliability, which is a good ranking. Which year used Santa Fe do you see yourself driving?



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