2003 Hyundai Santa Fe Reviews

2003 Hyundai Santa Fe from North America

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2010
Most recent year of ownership2013
Engine and transmission Automatic
Performance marks 9 / 10
Reliability marks 9 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 5 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
7.5 / 10
Distance when acquired75000 miles
Most recent distance97000 miles
Previous carFord Escape

Summary:

Trusty standby

Faults:

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

Model year2003
Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2010
Engine and transmission 3.5 Automatic
Performance marks 5 / 10
Reliability marks 0 / 10
Comfort marks 3 / 10
Dealer Service marks 0 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 10 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
3.6 / 10
Distance when acquired0 miles
Most recent distance115000 miles
Previous carHyundai Santa Fe

Summary:

Will NEVER own another Hyundai

Faults:

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.

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

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2008
Engine and transmission 2.0L turbo diesel Manual
Most recent distance49469 miles
Previous carNissan Micra

Summary:

Lovely car... shame about the clutch

Faults:

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

2003 Hyundai Santa Fe LX 2.7 from North America

Year of manufacture2003
First year of ownership2003
Most recent year of ownership2007
Engine and transmission 2.7 Automatic
Performance marks 6 / 10
Reliability marks 7 / 10
Comfort marks 7 / 10
Dealer Service marks 1 / 10
Running Costs (higher is cheaper) 8 / 10
Overall marks (average of all marks)
5.8 / 10
Distance when acquired30 miles
Most recent distance94000 miles
Previous carMercury Sable

Summary:

Good car/bad service

Faults:

Transfer case went out at 94,000. Otherwise I did most of maintenance myself and even got 80K miles out of the tires. I changed the spark plugs and plenum gasket. I did the oil changes, rotated tires on a 3000 mile basis and changed the brakes myself. It was a very easy operation. I did have it into the dealer to have the transmission and transfer case oils changed and the belt changed. Hyundai refused to honor the warranty because I could not produce service records. The warranty people told me that the records needed to be from a Hyundai dealer, but, I got them to back off of that it had to be a Hyundai dealer. They told me that owners don't really do the work that they say that they do. I was very dissapointed with Hyundai's response on the warranty. They told me that the transfer case leaked. They were the only ones that touched it.

General Comments:

Otherwise the car has performed well and was comfortable. It was just very disappointing to get the poor response from Hyundai. If it were not for the local dealer and the warranty department, I would get a new one in a second.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 26th December, 2007

15th Sep 2008, 17:30

The dealer is perfectly entitled to declare the warranty null and void, if you (or non Hyundai employees) worked on the car during the warranty period.

3rd Aug 2010, 08:06

If the OP lives in the US, they are NOT entitled to deny warranty work due to the OP working on his own car. However, they are entitled to deny warranty work because of any damage a non-Hyundai employee may have done to the car. You can take your car any place you like, so long as the work has been done.

That said, it would be wise to keep a maintenance log with receipts the next time you own a car and do the maintenance yourself.

Average review marks: 7.8 / 10, based on 20 reviews