2012 Hyundai Santa Fe

The 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe is a practical choice for families who want a bigger SUV. However, American car owners do not seem to be interested in its looks or the way that it drives, making us wonder whether there is a single car that can give what the America needs.

Understanding that style is not everything about, the new Hyundai Santa Fe is still worthy of a second look.


General Info
Vehicle Type: Crossover Base Price: $23,225.00
Fuel Tank Capacity: 18 gallons (68L) MPG: 20 city / 28 hwy
Length: 184.1 in. (467.6 cm) Wheel Base: 106.3 in. (270 cm)
Height: 67.9 in. (172.4 cm) Width: 74.4 in. (188.9 cm)
Curb Weight: 3725 lbs (1689 kg) Ground Clearance: 8.1 in. (20.5 cm)
Luggage Capacity: 34.2 cu ft Maximum Seating: 5 people
Engine: 2.4L 4 Cylinder DOHC Compression Ratio: 10.5: 1
Horsepower: 175 HP Max RPM: 6000 RPM
Torque: 169 lb-ft @ 3750 rpm Transmission: 6-Speed Automatic
Available Trims & Engine
Option:GLS 3.5L V6 MSRP: $25,125; MPG: xx city / xx hwy
Option:SE 3.5L V6 MSRP: $26,225; MPG: 20 city / 26 hwy
Option:Limited 2.4L 4 Cylinder MSRP: $27,275; MPG: 20 city / 28 hwy
Option:Limited 3.5L V6 MSRP: $29,225; MPG: 20 city / 26 hwy
Option:GLS 2.4L 4 Cylinder AWD MSRP: $24,925; MPG: 20 city / 25 hwy


The latest Santa Fe is available in different trims so we decided to choose the top of the line Limited Model. It is equipped with a V6 3.5 Liter that delivers 276 horsepower and 248 lbs/ft of torque.

It is paired with an all wheel drive system and a 6-speed automatic transmission. According to the EPA, the new Santa Fe has a fuel efficiency rating of 26 highway/ 20 city mpg which is not bad for a powerful engine and a big body. It is clear that the 2012 Santa Fe can deliver what you need as far as fuel consumption is concerned.


The power delivered by the Santa Fe is acceptable, though it does not stand out in its class. It is a practical choice for someone who is looking for a competent vehicle in the market. Yes, the Hyundai Santa Fe is competent, only that it is not flashy enough to be noticed.

With its good handling and strong acceleration, we do not doubt that this SUV can keep up with the competition. Many car owners claim that the Santa Fe is not exciting to drive because its entirety seems too basic.

Commend Hyundai for providing the basics because it practically delivers what a driver primarily needs: power and good handling. If you are the kind of driver who chooses style over practicality, the Santa Fe is definitely not for you.


The exterior design of the new Santa Fe is as simple as it can get. It does not bear the sportiness of the Tucson. The body of the Santa Fe looks rather serious than casual.


For an affordable SUV, you can expect that the interiors of the Santa Fe are not stellar. Like other made-to-be-affordable SUVs, the Santa Fe even used plastic in some parts. But we appreciate Hyundai’s effort to make the insides of the cabin roomy, functional and fairly attractive. In fact, for a person who doesn’t want much of everything, the cabin of the Santa Fe is no doubt satisfactory.

Another impressive feature of the Santa Fe is its large 34.2 cubic feet of cargo space even if all the seats are in use. Folding the rear seat will give you 78.2 cubic feet of storage space.

The stereo interface can support modern devices which makes it truly functional. There are no cutting edge technologies but the console is certainly useful.


The Hyundai Santa Fe has been given an overall score of “good” by the Insurance Institute on Highway Safety for scoring well in rear, roof strength, side impact, and frontal offset tests. It was given 4 out of 5 stars by the federal government for the frontal crash and rollover tests.

However, it only did 3 out of 5 stars in side crash tests. The overall rating by the government is therefore 3 out of 5 stars.


The new Santa Fe comes with the basic 5-year warranty and the 10-year long powertrain warranty.

Pros & Cons

The Santa Fe has adequate power and competitive performance, but does not have stellar safety ratings.


If you are looking for a competitive and an affordable SUV, other options worth looking at along with the Santa Fe are the Toyota RAV4 (MSRP $24,685; 19 city / 27 hwy), the Mitsubishi Outlander, (MSRP $22,345; 23 city / 28 hwy), and the Mazda C7 (MSRP $22,190; 20 city / 27 hwy).

Overall Rating
71 out of 100

What others say:

“The 2012 Santa Fe is roomy and comfortable, but neither as space-efficient nor as well-detailed as in other Hyundai models.”Car Connection

“Stable overall, though our testers are divided on the steering and brakes. Some find them linear and predictable. Others think the steering is lazy at low speeds, and the brake pedal feels spongy.”Consumer Guide

“The nicely finished cabin is roomy and quiet, with comfortable seats, but head room is a bit tight for tall drivers.”MSN Auto-ConsumerReports

“If you need the added utility of a third-row seat, eliminate the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe from your shopping list.”KBB

“Though it’s a little short on style, the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe is a respectable choice for a crossover SUV.”Edmunds