2002 Hyundai Santa Fe Reviews

2002 Hyundai Santa Fe from North America

Model year2002
Year of manufacture2002
First year of ownership2002
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission Automatic
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance44000 miles


The car is fine... warranty is a crock!


Driver's side window fell off the track.

Differential is leaking. When I went to the dealership, they told me I had to pay $116 just to look at it to see if it is covered. They couldn't tell me that over the phone when I made the appointment??? For that amount of money I may be able to have the whole problem fixed somewhere else.

General Comments:

The car is reliable, and for the last 7 years has been well worth the money.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 23rd July, 2010

24th Jul 2010, 22:51

Okay, you need a new dealer. I have never had a dealer charge me to see if something was covered under warranty. Did it end up being covered by them? If so, did you get your $116 back? If not I would complain to the company about it or talk to the owner of the dealer. They should know what is covered and what is not by what is listed in the warranty and they shouldn't have given you the runaround on it.

25th Jul 2010, 09:37

To the above commentor:

The unfortunate thing is, Hyundai builds good vehicles, but they also provide some of the worst dealership service ever. I've dealt with many different dealers in search for better service on my Hyundai, and they were ALL horrible. I love my Hyundai, but the customer service is deplorable.

2002 Hyundai Santa Fe from North America

Model year2002
Year of manufacture2002
First year of ownership2009
Most recent year of ownership2009
Engine and transmission Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 10 / 10
Dealer Service marks 10 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 4 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
8.4 / 10
Distance when acquired60000 miles
Most recent distance61850 miles


Good car, cheap, worth the money


Only thing I have noticed wrong with the car, is when I get over 70, the wheel shakes pretty badly, but it was like that when I first bought the car used.

General Comments:

I am only 16 years old and this is my first car. I bought a 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe, and I bought it used at 60,000 miles and for about 6,200.

I was hoping to get an SUV, because I have to drive about 2 hours each weekend during the winter through the snow, and this car holds up really well. I don't have the all wheel drive version, but even just the 2 wheel drive does really well. It's great in snow and rain.

Another reason I got this car, is because for an SUV, it has pretty good gas mileage. It's a good car, pretty cheap and I HIGHLY recommend it.

The only thing I could complain about is how when I go over 70, the wheel shakes, but that has happened since I had the car. But GREAT CAR!

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 18th September, 2009

2002 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS AWD 2.7 Litre from North America

Model year2002
Year of manufacture2002
First year of ownership2004
Most recent year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 2.7 Litre Automatic
Performance marks 8 / 10
Reliability marks 8 / 10
Comfort marks 8 / 10
Dealer Service marks 8 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 6 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.6 / 10
Distance when acquired42000 kilometres
Most recent distance114000 kilometres
Previous carChevrolet Cavalier


Hippopotamus styling, but just as durable


Factory stereo crapped out; replaced with an aftermarket Kenwood.

General Comments:

The price was the attractive starting point, in comparison with Honda or Toyota. I read the reviews and long term reliability books and learned how Hyundai had made incredible leaps and bounds forward after the Pony years. Ours clearly has been as good as the Hondas that I have owned, and I never would have thought that could happen. When you add that it was the first of the small SUVs to obtain the 5 star crash test safety rating back in its day, over Honda or Toyota, you start to debunk the myth that Hyundai isn't a contender.

What sold us? Around town, all three were great. But it had better handling and more power on the highway than the CRV or Rav4, because of its V6. It was certainly more quiet on the highway too. We found there was more cargo room and the rear doors were a little larger making entry and exit a little easier.

While we weren't necessarily turned on by the funky front end styling, the rest of it as well as the interior is just great. Good cupholders and storage pockets (there's a cubby beneath the front passenger seat). The factory Hyundai CD stereo of the day was cheap and lasted another year. I popped in a good quality Kenwood and it works great.

One of the nice features for a do-it-yourselfer like me is that Hyundai provides its entire shop manual library as well as technical service bulletins on the web for free (see the main Hyundai website for more details). That tells me Hyundai is both confident in its product, as well as being customer-service friendly.

We regularly travel 6 hours away to the in-laws, and this vehicle is just wonderful in lousy winter weather. The all wheel drive is great for an urban or highway commute in all types of weather. And I'm not outside pushing wifey's Cavalier through the piled up snow at the end of the driveway anymore. The owners manual tells you right up front that this vehicle is not designed for off-roading. Perfect, because the vast majority of SUV's never go out bush-bashing anyway. For anything else, it's just great.

Sadly, the roof rack on the first generation model is almost for show. It supports a maximum of 75 pounds. If you (like we do) want some kind of roof pod, your options are very limited because you have to purchase cross rails as well as the pod itself. The higher end Thule or Yakima ski box style racks can weigh quite a bit, cutting your carrying weight to as little as 25 or 30 pounds. (In comparison, my Volvo roofrack is rated at 210 pounds... yes 210.)

The recommended box on top from Hyundai is one of those squarish bulbous luggage pods that are lightweight, but in my opinion a little flimsy and not as streamlined as the slimmer ski box type.

The A/C and heating system is excellent, and the heated leather seats are sweet in the cold. The plastics used inside aren't necessarily as nice as Honda but they are functional and attractive. Same for the leather; maybe not as soft or as high a quality as others, but durable and seems to have weathered well so far. The switches are well designed and ergonomically well-placed, and the interior lighting is more than adequate for loading baby into the back or reading a map or book at night.

Gas mileage has been good enough considering it's an AWD system; approximately 28 mpg on the highway at 115-120 km/hr. The transmission works well, though there's a bit of hesitation between shifting of gears when you put the pedal to the metal, but that's the transmission doing its best not to jar you with harsh shifts. It has the semi-manual feature where you can switch gears by pushing up or down on the stick shift (like a slap shift system), and it's a total gimmick as far as I'm concerned.

The only real complaint I have is that after 6 hours, my bum is a little sore, because the seats are quite firm. But it's really only after those long hauls, and around town or the 2 hour trips to the lake are no issue. That and the front end styling constantly draws "hippopotamus" comparisons.

We like it so much that we're planning on buying a new one next year with the 7 passenger seating.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th November, 2008

Average review marks: 7.5 / 10, based on 23 reviews