2004 Hyundai Santa Fe 2.4 from North America


Good little SUV, but the dealership service is lacking


When we took it for a test drive; there was a noise that sounded like a belt slipping. We bought the car with promises from the dealer that it would be fixed.

Turns out it was something in the transmission. The dealership kept trying different things to fix it, but every time (3 times) it still made the same noise after we drove out of the dealership. They finally replaced the entire transmission under warranty on the 4th trip in...

A sensor in the engine went defective very shortly after I took the car to get the timing belt changed out (regular service interval). Since this sensor was very close to the timing belt, I think the mechanic may have damaged it while he was replacing the timing belt. $700 for that repair. The dealership of course cut me no slack, and dismissed my claims that they may have done something wrong.

General Comments:

Good fuel economy. Lots of storage space. Comfortable seats.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 14th June, 2011

23rd Jun 2011, 15:46

If it was the crank shaft position sensor, and if it went bad after the tech replaced the timing belt, then yes, he damaged it. That sensor is located on the front of the motor behind the timing belt gear on the crankshaft. It's very easy to damage if someone is not careful. I'm sorry you had this happen.

22nd May 2012, 08:09

Original poster here.

Thanks for the comment about the crank position sensor. I knew I wasn't crazy.

The SUV has been working fine with no problems other than regular maintenance type stuff. The only thing I'm noticing now is that there is rust developing in the rear wheel wells, where the metal body meets the rear plastic bumper. I'm actually noticing this on most of the Santa Fes of this vintage. Since the car is still running so strong (175000 kms), I really want to take care of this rust soon, so I don't lose the car to rust before losing it to a major drive line repair.

What I didn't mention in my previous review, is that this car has a really annoying 'ticking' sound in the dash somewhere that I usually only hear at highway speeds. It is beyond annoying, and has been there since I got the car at 96000kms.

2004 Hyundai Santa Fe GL 2.7 V6 from North America


Competent, comfortable and spacious, but watch out on higher mileage vehicles


All 4 brake disks replaced in 2008.

Crankshaft position sensor failed at 106,000km.

Alternator failed at 132,000km.

Dashboard clock failed at 135,000km.

Shock absorber spring snapped at 176,500km.

General Comments:

This SUV has been a great family workhorse, capable of transporting people and a lot of hardware long distances with ease and comfort.

The interior has held up very well over time, and the leather seats still look like new and are very comfortable (particularly in winter with the seat heaters).

The exterior has suffered some rust on the back painted elements, such as windscreen wipers and rear passenger door window edges. Paint on the body is still very good.

Mechanically, it has been mostly reliable with problems only starting to kick in over 100,000km (around when the manufacturers warranty expires, I believe).

Highway use has been good for a permanent AWD vehicle of this size, with an average of 10.4l/100km.

Most of my recent high mileage driving the past 2 years has been highway, and it has proved very comfortable, however increasing fuel costs have really made me look at how thirsty the Santa Fe AWD is - winter driving sees worse than 13.0l/100km, and I have to fill up 3 times a week.

Overall, I will be sad to see this car go, but now I'm driving 200km a day, mostly highway, it's time to get something a bit more more efficient.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 28th May, 2011