2009 Hyundai Santa Fe 3.3 V6 from North America


Too many design issues and issues. Not recommended



Ball joints.


Valve cover leak resulting in alternator being ruined.

Fuel gauge intermittent in cold weather.

General Comments:

Overall, I have been very disappointed in this car. It has had some fairly major problems since purchasing it.

The brakes have a poor design, which can result in the pads seizing. Also has a design problem with the valve cover gaskets, which results in leaking onto the alternator, which leads to failure. The valve cover leaking is covered by recall apparently, but not the brake issue.

The nav system was horribly out of date and expensive to update.

Fuel economy with the 3.3 has been mediocre. Power is underwhelming.

Why is the powertrain warranty 10/160 in the US, but only 5/100 in Canada?

I had high hopes for Hyundai, but am so disappointed - I do not think I could buy a Hyundai again, nor would I recommend them to my friends.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 22nd June, 2016

27th Jun 2016, 19:06

Sometimes I think that auto buyers expect too much from Hyundai/Kia auto corporation. They just started building cars about 1968, which was with help from Ford corporation to build the Cortina. Then really built their first car back in 1975 with the help of British engineers and executives. So they are pretty much the new kids on the block when it comes to building cars. People are going to wait a while til they build the perfect car. Until then, they are very basic cars that can't take a lot of abuse. And yes you can put a lot of bells and whistles on a basic car, but it's still a basic car.

7th Oct 2016, 22:19

I remember when Hyundai came to the US market with their "Excel". The cars were basic and incredibly durable: you could flog them endlessly and they kept chugging along. Hyundai isn't some small piker of a company, but a large conglomerate that makes huge ships, commercial trucks and trailers, and lots of stuff. They don't have an excuse for being evil and treating their customers like dirt though, although that seems to be a part of every large corporation's playbook. They could spend a little money and buy goodwill and a good reputation by taking care of their customers. A new engine to a customer, and then covering their bills? Chump change to a huge multinational with buildings full of lawyers who know how to hide massive profits in overseas shell accounts.

2009 Hyundai Santa Fe GL 2.7L V6 from North America


Nice, plush, quiet, but one bothersome defect...


The fuel sensors have begun working erratically, setting a "check engine" trouble code.

General Comments:

The Hyundai Santa Fe is a decent midsize SUV. It's really more of an AWD minivan, and more suited to the occasional cruise down a dirt road and very handy for snow and bad weather, but not a real backcountry rig. The ride is amazingly plush and comfortable, and the vehicle excels at long road trips. The puny 2.7L V6 is surprisingly powerful, and I have no problem pulling over steep mountain passes in the western US. It's no pavement burner, but has no issue with the 80 mph speed limits of wide open highways in Utah.

The four-speed automatic has an easy-to-use manual mode that seems to work well. Sometimes the transmission lags in downshifting when the pedal is pushed down, so those who seek a responsive vehicle will probably be disappointed. There's a lot of handy storage space, and the passenger cabin is comfortable and well laid out.

Recently, the vehicle fell victim to the common Hyundai glitch of defective fuel sensors. Evidently, this is an epically common problem with this manufacturer. It sets a trouble code in your emissions system, requiring very expensive repair. It seems the only way to do the job is to pull the sending units up through hatches in the floorboards (requiring the removal of the rear seat, and exposing your interior to the likelihood of being splashed and soaked with gasoline). This is just utter stupidity and poor design. I will just use the trip odometer to meter fuel flow, and live with the "check engine" light, using my code reader to make sure that other codes haven't been loaded.

Otherwise, according to most mechanics, that's the only goblin that haunts the 2009 Santa Fe. I'll have to count myself lucky and hope it holds together. Other than that significant flaw, I really like the vehicle.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 15th November, 2015