2007 Hyundai Santa Fe 3.3 V6 Review

There are three specs if you choose the new 3.3L V6, but don’t expect any to come with All Wheel Drive. Yet!

Hyundai have chosen to build this variant in 2WD only (that’s power to the front wheels) after research suggested that this powerplant would be employed for mostly suburban duties. I’m not so sure.

Top spot in the 3.3L V6 range, is the Elite 7 Seat 5 Speed auto, which retails for $46,490 although it doesn’t sit on the top shelf. The CRDi AWD Elite 7 Seat 5 speed auto at $48,990 occupies that space. Entry level into the 3.3L V6 club is the SX 5 seat 5 speed Auto at $37,990 with the seven-seat version at 44,990.

Quick getaways in the 2.7L V6 Santa Fe will not happen without a fair dose of right pedal pressure and that’s not a bad thing, given the engine noise has a rather sporty tone.

Try this in any of the 2.4L four-cylinder SUV options, and the engine noise is downright offensive.

It’s a much higher level of refinement and less fuss with the 3.3L V6 version under acceleration, along with a fairly decent 0-100km/h time of 8.7 seconds.

Whilst I didn’t run any numbers with regards fuel consumption on what was a rather short drive, 10.7litres/100km combined, is what is quoted in the press release. I’d tend to go with that number, as given the power and torque gains, you simply don’t need to work the right pedal as hard as you would in the 2.7L powered version.

2007 Hyundai Santa Fe 3.3 V6 Review

A 75-litre fuel tank is standard across the model range and that’s more than sufficient for most jobs.

Kerb weight is actually lighter in the 3.3L five-seat auto guise (1808 kg Vs 1863 kg) than the 2.7L and as a consequence, body roll and corning ability remains car like for what is a large and roomy vehicle.

The 3.3L is also a safe bet for driver and passengers alike. While AWD is abandoned in favour of a 2WD set up, you do get Electronic Stability Control (ESP) and Traction Control (TCS) in addition to a host of airbags.

“If you’re smart, and you’re looking for a medium to large SUV with little if any downside, you’ll probably end up at a Hyundai dealership sitting in a Santa Fe”

By Anthony Crawford

  • Steve V

    How can the 3.3 be called an SUV? No 4WD, they have to be kidding. Call it a people mover and put it in with the Voyager / Tarago etc. At the price, the diesel Santa Fe is the only way to go if you want a real SUV with all the versatility it can offer.

  • Anthony Crawford

    I know what you mean Steve but they may just be right, as per Ford with the 2WD Territory.

    Anyone intending to travel on muddy fire trails would not be going for this option. The 3.3L V6 simply takes the range up a notch with regards quiet luxury motoring. After all, with nine model variants, it should be easy enough to find a Santa fe ride.

  • Steve V

    You’re right as the 2wd Tuscon has proven the point. The best seller in that model. Guess you can’t have too many options. Pitty the diesel Santa Fe has bugger all options when it comes to safety and seating arrangement.

  • Reckless1

    $48990 for a Hyundai?

    I just don’t think they are worth that sort of money.

    Perhaps in a few more years, but to me their apprenticeship is not served yet.

    Try a Mazda Cx-7 for $45560. No, it’s not a V6, but it isn’t a Hyundai either. Try a Mitsubishi Outlander if you want a V6 for $45000.

    If you’re hell bent on Korean, you can get a Captiva Maxx V6 for $42000 or the LX Diesel for the same price give or take a dollar.

    Or even the upcoming Sorento Diesel which will be around $44000 for the one with all the fruit including leather, 4WD and low range. The basic one starts at $34990

  • Anthony Crawford

    All opinions are welcome Reckless1 but understand that Hyundai and especially the Santa Fe is hugely popular in the US due to reliability, build quality, performance and standard specs.

    Hyundai has rated in the owner driven J.D.Power reliability surveys (the sample is over 800,000 owners) in the top five for several years now.

    The Sorento you mentioned is a proper 4 X 4 with a ladder chassis on a box frame and of course Kia is owned by Hyundai.

    I’m also a fan of the Outlander but it can’t compete when it comes to interor fit out. The Santa Fe Elite is 100% luxury while the Mitsubishi is not.

  • Steve

    This is true. I think Hyundai is really (and I’ve said this before) becoming a “good” manufacturer.


  • Steve V

    Reckless, just sit in them and take them for a drive and you’ll work it out. I did and the Hyundai wins hands down, for the money. Yes the CX7 is nice inside but start looking closely at the flimsily built exterior, ground clearance and the hefty premium fuel bill! Overlanders Feb. 07 has given the Santa Fe the privilege of being their only ‘ever’ SUV to make their 4WD Of the Year shortlisting, coming only 4th behind the Tourage and in front of the Merc at more than twice their cost. They couldn’t believe its 4wd ability, and that’s without a dual trasfer case. As for the Captiva or Sorento, just proves my point that you haven’t even sat in these! The Mitsubishi Outlander, well they’ve been using the Hyundai 2.4 motor in the 4 cylinder version all along, that’s got to say something.

  • Steve V

    Oh, and Reckless, I can do a deal to get a diesel Santa Fe for $36 000, on the road tomorrow. And that’s not 2WD.

  • Mark G

    Just a few words from me on the subject – purchased Santa Fe CRDI 7 seater a couple of months back having traded Ford Territory AWD (Problem after Problem) and coming from 20yrs experience within car/4×4 design/manufacture in UK. Hyundai have designed/produced a real quality vehicle, my experience so far is all positive, even down to some muddy stuff and putting 4×4 to test – having to tow a vehicle that was bogged down to it’s floor pan, Sante Fe’s performance was great – having used Land Rover products in a similar situation he Hyundai performed better than I would ever thought – no easy job as we broke 2 ropes until we used a steel rope! I think all that knock this brand need to take a look – Hyundai are world class – take a look at US performance as mentioned JD Powers and US Quality Index (No 1) with Santa Fe – this is no east task – full credit to Hyundai.

  • Goodjob

    One of the things I was so diappointed of Australian car buyers is that pretty a lot of them still get stuck in their perception formed in the 90’s or even 80’s.

    So many people’re still trying to discredit Hyundai with quality issues.

    Hyundai has already topped a row of J.D Power’s Initial Quality Surveys(a highly regarded consumer research firm in the US) and even once beated Toyota(always outdid Honda.

    Hyundai Azera(known as Grandeur in Australia)large sedan which is always looked down on here was picked as the Most Appealing Large Car in America in terms of build quality, performance and reliability.

    While Hyundais are getting lots of accolades elsewhere in the world, quite a number of Australian car buyers keep worshipping Holden, Ford and Toyota and ganging up on Hyundai.

    Open you eyes to the World and try to see what’s going on in the World.

  • Garry L

    Goodjob you are 100% correct after driving 2 Hyundai’s I will stick with them.I just dont know why there is so many bad reviews from the Australian public about them it is almost a hate for Hyundai when motoring journalist’s are starting to give rave reviews with all their models.I love my Tucson V6 Elite its build quality is the best in its class.Rav,CRV,x-Trail feel and drive so cheap compared to the Tucson.OK its interior could have looked and finished a little better but it is a dream to drive so smooth with fantastic grip and handeling.Glad Im one Australian who has realised how good these cars are.

  • craig w

    ive had two santa fe’s as work vehicles, and i can honestly say that ive never had a better all round car. it has served me well in traversing building sites, then is brilliant with family activities and kids on weekends. never, spent anything other than maintenance for over 400,000kms.

    my only gripe is the 2.7litre version is not available any longer in a 7seat option, and the 3.3 litre replacement (seven seater) is only 2wd. unfortunately will have to look at different car this year when i need to trade. hyundai has made a very poor judgement in this choice.

  • Mike


    I have been following these comments with interest as am in the market for a “soft roader”. I travel 200km’s per day, mostly highway driving, want occassional off road capability for trips around the paddock and the odd ski trip, plus space in the back for a couple of dogs and/or some luggage.

    Want the fuel economy of a diesel and have reduced choice set to Captiva and the Santa Fe. Currently driving an 01 Pajero and am tired with its weight and sloppy handling.

    I would appreciate advice from both Captiva and Santa Fe drivers.



  • Vernon Brabazon

    I live in a very remote area without the luxury of being able to view demo models or test drive before buying.
    I bought my Santa Fe CRDI manual relying on Hyundai’s description as the manual having “3 way axis” and “4WD lock” and the salesperson’s product knowledge and integrity.
    I now know that the 4WD is actually AWD only up 40kph, then it is just a 2WD. The “4WD lock” only allows intermittent AWD only if it detects slip in the 2WD, there is no constant AWD over 40kph. What “3 way axis” is that?
    This Santa Fe had to be towed off a concrete boat ramp (and my boat)because it could get back over some sand on the ramp (even without my dinghy). Don’t use the term 4WD with this vehicle. They also didn’t mention that if I damage a tyre, I have to replace them all or risk transmission destruction. In 120 vehicles and 42 years motoring, this is my worst car buying decision and I made it on the word of Hyundai’s representaive and their advertising. Hyundai don’t want to know about it.

  • Embee

    I just bought the 3.3 V6 Santa Fe having traded in a Trajet, and I really like it. My husband was disappointed that it was not 4WD, but other than that it has everything we need. I’m sick of people bagging Hyundais, I can’t justify another $20,000 for a car. The 5 year warranty is also a plus. We also looked at a Honda CR-V (my impression is they are over-rated) and a Mitsubishi Outlander. The Mitusbishi was a big disappointment, my husband wasn’t impressed with what was under the bonnet and I hated the inside. They were busy trying to impress me with the “smart key”, despite my protestations that I was happy with a regular key. My husband has a Ford Territory for work, and he likes the Hyundai better. So to you people who think Hyundais are a lesser car – GET OVER IT. Some of us can see value for money.

  • percy robinson

    I am the owner of 2007 sante fee 2 wheel drive 3.3.
    Mileage on this vehicle was excellent for the first 6000 km we now have 10 miles to the gallon city driving. Exhausted all efforts with hundai dealer in town(Neddy’s from North bay, ON) we called the customer service number in manual and they also tell us that nothing is wrong.(vehicle is running perfect) We now have 8000 km on the vehicle from doing the road test to checked the mileage. we bought this vehicle trusting hundai’s reputation, as we wish to travel, this does not look possible now. Anybody out there with the same problem we would like to hear from you.

  • cathryn

    Does anyone know of problems with Sante Fe with starting sometimes in hot weather. My 2007 model wont start for up to 20 minutes in warm/hot weather. Sevice has put in new parts, but it continues to happen. Because it is intermittent problem, it doesnt play up when i take it in to the hyundai dealership. Any suggestions?

  • Ahmed Izzeidien

    I use to drive BMW740 , MB E300 , Volvo S70 , range rover 2 , Chevrolet blazer and now I drive the santa fe 3.3 SE touring , the car is extremely quite , acceleration is so fast for SUV , the dual air-condition is work super perfect under outside temp over 50c the handling is good I can’t see anything bad in this car and about the fuel and about the mileage it depend on your drive habit if you are soft with the accelerator it will save the money and if you are heavy with the pedal remember this brilliant sporty act by the 3.3L have a price of fuel consumption .
    the santa fe is more close to saloon drive because it build on regular sedan platform ( one part ) not as 4X4 car , it’s mid size SUV and not for off roads you should take that in consideration before you judge the car .
    for me I like it and I’m enjoying the drive and the luxury interior which is the best in it’s class.the world is change don’t stick to the 80’s and 90’s . the Korian now just like the japanese in the 80’s .

  • http://SYRIA MEDO




  • Kimberly

    I have a really wierd question, has anyone ever heard of a Hyundai having too much of a vacuum in the interior? What I mean is, my son only gets a headache when we go places in my 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe! If we have all the windows rolled up and only crack one, we get an awful vibration inside the cabin of the car and feel the pressure change back and forth….actually hurts our ears! I know it sounds wierd, but I think my vehicle has the best seal EVER and it’s causing problems…..needs a relief valve….

    • Stacey Harper

      I have the exact car and the same problem. I yell at my kids to either keep all windows up or down, but not to leave one cracked. I asked my dealer about this and he said that the seal on this car is actually profitable in the case that the car is submerged in water. He told me that water is less likely to leak in as opposed to other vehicles. I can feel the pressure and it does give a headache. You can however, open the sunroof and it does not have that effect.

  • Darren

    We have the SAME problem in our 2008 Santa Fe. It’s our only real complaint on the car…

  • Raul

    I got a Hyundai Santa Fe (diesel, auto, sx) few months ago and I very dissapopinted with the deisel consumption “70L in 430Km” (City drive), it does not match the manufacture specification. If I knew that I would not buy it.

  • Deb

    I loved my 2007 7 seater, petrol car until 5 weeks ago the gears started slipping then nothing no drive no reverse,it sat at the dealership for 2 weeks untouched they said it was not covered as wrong oil used (I get it serviced from my own mechanic been using them for 20yrs) since then we had independent transmission company pull gearbox apart to find 1 clutchpack burnt can’t find cause but they did say if it was oil all clutch packs would be burnt, they tested the fluid but could find no contamination, Hyundai will not take responsibility they still say wrong oil and s’thing slipped away from friction plates and say this is not covered under warranty!!! I’ve had no car for 5 weeks,who’s going to pay to get it fixed??? Pissed off!! Be careful which dealership you go to!!!

  • Dave Reddy

    There is only 1 true value mid size SUV and that is the SUBARU FORESTER XT. Top quality build, great inside features, more power than any other listed and the undisputed number 1 4wd train system of all.