2003 Hyundai Santa Fe from North America


Trusty standby


Only general maintenance. One fog light bulb has gone out, a new set of tires, and the battery needed replacing. So far so good!

General Comments:

Handles pretty well! Our Santa Fe is front wheel drive, and with the right tires it still handles very well in the snow.

The only thing I do not like is that the driver's seat does not go back far enough. I am 6'2" so I feel a little cramped.

This was my wife's primary vehicle and she had no complaints. We got a minivan for our expanding family, so this is now an extra vehicle for us. Not the greatest gas mileage for the size, but still reasonable.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Don't Know

Review Date: 9th December, 2013

2003 Hyundai Santa Fe LX 3.5 from North America


Will NEVER own another Hyundai


Engine and transmission problems from day 1.

General Comments:

I bought a new Santa Fe in 2003.

At just 7 years old and barely over 100,000 miles, the engine quit. Hyundai only offered to sell me a new engine. Had 3 other Hyundais before this one that all had problems.

The Santa Fe is their biggest seller and if it won't last 7 years, how long will the rest of their line last?

I will never own anther Hyundai. It's all Toyota and Honda from here on. My daughter's Honda has over 200,000 miles and has never needed anything over than an oil change and regular maintenance.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 24th November, 2010

1st Feb 2012, 17:58

I agree, we loved our Sante Fe when we first bought it. The style and comfort, and just the overall look of this SUV is fantastic. But a little over 100,000 kms, everything started to fall apart.

Timing belt.. apparently they have to be replaced after 100,000kms. Who knew? Never heard of this before with any other vehicle I've owned.

In just 4 months, I've totaled $400 in towing expenses.

Replaced motor and clutch.

Now we can't wait to get rid of it. Will never own another Hyundai, no matter what model. I get shivers just passing the dealership.

24th Nov 2013, 21:46

Almost all modern vehicles require the timing belt to be changed as preventive maintenance: Santa Fe every 70,000 miles, our Toyota Sienna every 90,000. Save future trouble by replacing the water pump at the same time (it's removed to do the belt) as well as a coolant flush. Failure to change the timing belt will lead to it failing and causing internal engine damage (when the piston and valves try to occupy the same place at the same time). Carefully review all the scheduled maintenance - it will save you $$$ in the long run.

5th Mar 2015, 06:42

I'm guessing you had to replace the motor because the timing belt broke. Replacing a timing belt is not specific to Hyundais. Make sure you check the owner\s manual in whatever car you purchase next, as unless it has a timing chain, it will also require timing belt replacement.

Do not blame Hyundai for your failure to read the owner's manual. If that is all that went wrong with your car, I'd say you got good service before neglect reared its ugly head.

2003 Hyundai Santa Fe GSI 4x4 2.0L turbo diesel from UK and Ireland


Lovely car... shame about the clutch


I can't believe that the clutch is going on my Santa Fe, it's only done 49000 miles. A new clutch is going to cost £162 from a main agent, then another £240 to have it fitted. After reading the reviews on here about the clutch problem with the Santa Fe, where people seem to replacing the clutch every X amount of miles, I'll be selling mine as soon as the new clutch is fitted.

General Comments:

It's a shame as the car I like a lot, it has a stylish body, nice and comfortable, drives great and I get 35 to the gallon around town. Shame the clutch lets such a nice car down.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 4th February, 2009