2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD 3.5 from North America


Good value for the money spent


Nothing as of yet; only had the car for six months.

General Comments:

I bought the car because it had the most options you can get for the price, and an excellent five year warranty. Mine is black with the dark brown leather interior, and is loaded, other than the navigation package.

I bought the six cylinder so I could tow with it, as the dealership said it could tow 3500lbs. After having had a hitch installed and taking possession of the vehicle, I found out that it can only really handle 1700lbs unless you use electric braking on the trailer. I tow a boat that is around 3000lbs, and it does not have electric brakes, nor do any of the small utility trailers I tow.

The engine is very responsive and quick off the line. It is very easy to speed in this vehicle, as the ride is so comfortable you don't realize how fast you are going. The transmission shifts cleanly and easily, and even has a shift lever allowing for manual changing of the gears, which is especially helpful in slippery conditions.

Right now, I am not thrilled with the gas mileage. I average $60.00 a fill and only get 400km out of the tank. The advertised gas mileage was 12.5L/100km in city and 7.7L/100km on the highway. Best I have got is 9.9L/100km on a 1 hour trip. A two hour trip costs me $30.00 when I should be around $20.00. The dealership has said the engine still has to break in, and should be better by 18,000km. We shall see.

I absolutely love the surround sound. The stereo works beautifully, kicking out a nice full sound, to the point where you can actually hear individual instruments in songs. The Bluetooth works very well too, and is a joy when driving, as the handsfree works right off the steering wheel.

Heated seats are a must with full leather, and I personally find them comfortable. Overall cabin size is not that big on this vehicle though, and I have to move my seat up closer to give more room for friends in the back.

I have only had two annoyances with this vehicle so far; the first being the key doesn't always turn in the ignition switch. You have to hang on to the wheel tight and give it a few yanks back and forth, and then the key will turn. This is actually something they mention in the owner's manual. The other annoyance is I had the dealership put in a remote starter, and the fob has the lock and unlock buttons on top of each other.

You cannot unlock it with gloves on, because as you push the unlock, the lock button is also going down. This can be rather frustrating in the cold winter.

Overall, I love the handling of the vehicle and look forward to many good years with it. I will update my review when I start towing again in boating season.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 3rd March, 2013

2012 Hyundai Santa Fe from North America


Torture box


The driver's seat takes the prize as the most uncomfortable seat on the planet.

General Comments:

I rent cars all the time, for at least week or two at a time, and most often for a month. This time I rented Hyundai Santa Fe, as I was hoping to like it and perhaps buy it soon, as I need a new car anyway.

The car has everything going for it: right price, decent size, all the bells and whistles such as Bluetooth, satellite radio, hands free voice recognition, trip computer etc.

But, all that cannot make up for the fact that the two front seats have been designed by someone who cannot grasp the idea of "comfortable seats". I have been in cars which are more or less comfortable (incidentally, the Hyundai Sonata has comfortable seats, but some other problems such as knee-killing center console), but never have I been in a car that produced pain in my legs and lower back almost instantly. My satisfaction with renting this vehicle lasted about 30 minutes. Then the pain started settling in.

I tried adjusting the driver's seat any which way possible; after all, I just could not believe that a seat would be that bad that one cannot find at least a tolerable seating position. However, the Santa Fe proved me wrong. It IS possible to design a seat that is uncomfortable no matter what. I tried adjusting it to no avail. The seat is short, hard, tilted forward (even when in lowest position), and the seat cushion is curved downwards, so in reality, only the driver's butt is resting on the seat; thighs are in the air, which creates muscle strain both in the legs and lower back. My back starts hurting within minutes of getting in this torture box, and so do my legs and knees. My wife, who is not as tall as I am, complained immediately about the same thing, so it is not just me (I am 6'4", she is 5'7").

Other than the fact that this car is impossible to drive due to incredibly horrible seat design, most else is good: good engine with decent MPG (better than the Sonata!), good handling, OK space.

The only other thing that seems to be the case with all Hyundais and Kias is that voice recognition is completely useless. You can try all you want to tell the voice recognition/handsfree who to call, and you will die laughing at what it thinks you said. It is so bad it seems that it chooses who to call randomly (repeating the same name will produce a different result every time). You can try all you want, and will finally just give up and dial the numbers yourself. This has happened on both the Kia Optima and Hyundai Santa Fe, so it seems to be a general issue.

All in all, in the past few months I rented a Hyundai Sonata, a Kia Optima (similar, but much better than Sonata!), and now a Santa Fe, and one thing is common to them all: They all have many good things to consider, and also one or two catastrophic problems, which make Hyundai cars perfectly useless. In the Sonata, it is the thirsty engine combined with bad performance and a few other things, in the Optima the same, and in Santa Fe, it is the terrible seat design.

I can now say that I tried, relatively long-term, all I ever wanted to try from Hyundai, and have concluded that the company designers are not mature enough to produce a satisfactory car. It seems that only those with very low expectations will like their cars.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? No

Review Date: 3rd July, 2012

3rd Apr 2013, 20:36

Surely you tried the seats and test drove the car before you bought it? If the driver's seat was so bad, why buy? The complaint is hardly viable if you had the right to choose another vehicle.

14th Apr 2013, 01:30

Hi, I think that this is a great car & a value for money SUV.

Today three of us have just driven from Jasper to Vancouver with two short stops; one for fuel and once to eat. The point I wish to make is that the front seats are adjustable and in my opinion quite comfortable. I know of several other vehicles I wouldn't contemplate a trip like this in due to uncomfortable seats. Unfortunately I have bone cancer and have had recent spinal surgery, so think I qualify to make this statement. You should thoroughly test drive a vehicle before purchase, but I would recommend you take a serious look at the current Santa Fe.

- A