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2008 Hyundai Santa Fe review
by Matt Brogan

2008 Hyundai Santa Fe SLX review

CarAdvice rating:

Priced from: $33,990 – $48,990 ($40,990 as tested)

Options available: Metallic Paint $350

By: Matt Brogan

Hyundai’s previous Santa Fe was an ungainly, underpowered and dated affair lacking any credible driving finesse – things have changed. The new Santa Fe demonstrates just where the big H’s capabilities lie and indeed where their future is headed.

2008 Hyundai Santa Fe review
2008 Hyundai Santa Fe review
2008 Hyundai Santa Fe review

Taking on the likes of Kluger, Captiva, Outlander, Pathfinder, Sorento and Territory, Santa Fe faces some pretty stiff competition. All are similarly powered, specified, priced and have broadly similar capabilities – but when you’re up against such fierce competition, the devil is in the detail.

Santa Fe’s exterior styling is youthful, modern and fresh with smooth flowing lines, tough proportions and a quality finish that’s becoming pleasingly consistent across Hyundai’s entire range, but open the door and things become just a little peculiar.

Notice I didn’t say bad, far from it. Perhaps questionable, dated or intriguing would be more apt. For example the dashboard sports a giant faux wood grain fascia, the audio system has a cassette player (which led to a frivolous search for the gramophone) and the steering wheel controls don’t allow you to flick between station presets, instead offering seek only functionality.

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2008 Hyundai Santa Fe review
2008 Hyundai Santa Fe review
2008 Hyundai Santa Fe review
2008 Hyundai Santa Fe review

At night the funky blue back lighting, whilst undoubtedly trendy, is a tad overwhelming even when fully dimmed, and the instrumentation though adequate, isn’t exactly cutting edge. But there’s a neat flip down convex mirror for keeping an eye of the little ones, numerous nifty storage compartments, and a chilled centre compartment big enough to hold a two litre tub of ice cream.

Interior proportions are surprisingly generous with the front and middle rows offering spacious, supportive and comfortable seating. There are ventilation outlets for all three rows, with the rear having its own fan controls and separate air conditioning switch (AC switch controlled from front, fan from rear).

The third row seats, whilst undoubtedly handy are not entirely practical. Once deployed there is effectively no remaining luggage space and you really do have to wonder who over the age of eight would comfortably fit back there. But in two- or five-seat mode the luggage space is tremendous. Fortunately, the seating combinations are flexible enough to work around most situations.

The leather steering wheel is very comfortable and lends a touch of class to an already excellent driving position. Road noise is minimal and visibility is clear and unhindered all round. I would however recommend fitting reverse park sensors or a camera to assist with the large unseen area below the high rear window.

2008 Hyundai Santa Fe review
2008 Hyundai Santa Fe review
2008 Hyundai Santa Fe review

Upfront, the brilliant 3.3-litre quad cam V6 has to be this car’s strongest selling point. Producing a healthy 180kW & 309Nm, it is smooth, quiet, flexible and copes exceptionally well in all situations. Accelerating from 0-100km/h in 8.7 seconds Santa Fe is equally capable chugging around suburbia as it is in full flight on the open highway.

The five-speed auto does a slick job of shuffling smoothly through the cogs and can be assisted by the use of manual mode should the need arise. Claimed fuel economy is10.7 litres per 100km (combined) which I found a little conservative. My week’s driving instead returning a 12.5 l/100km combined average.

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2008 Hyundai Santa Fe review
2008 Hyundai Santa Fe review
2008 Hyundai Santa Fe review
2008 Hyundai Santa Fe review

As SUVs go, the Santa Fe drives incredibly well, I’d even go so far as to say it’s second only to Kluger for the FWD lot. Handling is well above what you’d expect from a high riding family car and the steering is well weighted and superbly balanced. It’s even easy to manoeuvre through the narrowest of car parks.

There’s a very slight tendency to understeer when pushed, which is exaggerated in the wet, but thankfully the standard ESP works very well at keeping you in line. Body roll is virtually non-existent and lateral weight transfer, while noticeable, did not upset the car’s balance, even on unsealed roads.

Torque steer and traction loss is noticeable under heavy initial acceleration, but is easily managed ensuring brilliant acceleration times are not lost. Capable of towing up to 1800kg (braked) Santa Fe is placed roughly on par for pulling power with most of its rivals.

Available in three guises (SX, SLX and Elite) and offering a choice of engines (2.7-litre petrol, 2.2-litre CRDi common rail diesel or 3.3-litre petrol), Santa Fe readily caters to the versatility demanded of a modern SUV. My only disappointment being the 3.3-litre is not available with AWD, though I’d dare say most buyers would prefer the CRDi /AWD combination anyway.

2008 Hyundai Santa Fe review
2008 Hyundai Santa Fe review

So if you’re considering an SUV, and expect a family car to be both manageable and capable then take the 3.3-litre Santa Fe for a spin. It’s a great package for the money, an excellent driver’s car by class standards and boasts a warranty few competitors can match.

  • bubba ganush


  • http://navelcontemplation.blogspot.com Supercujo

    Hey guys, just a small tip to help you notch it up another gear.

    When taking photos of cars, the best time of day is around sunrise and sunset. People like looking at flashy photos of cars and the shot under the bonnet of the Santa Fe is horrible to look at. Even finding some shade would have helped heaps.

    If you did car reviews in WA, I would be only too happy to help out on the photographic front.

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au tony

    you’re right Supercujo – Car Advice generally takes some great shots. Sunset works better than sunrise in my opinion

  • The Stig

    That dash is hideous…

    Black, silver and horrible wood do not look classy.

    Circles, squares and ovals – no common theme, just a hodgepodge of ideas. The steering wheel and instruments share a common “look” but then the centre console doesn’t.
    They look like different people were involved in each area.

    I wouldn’t buy one on the look of the dash alone – sorry !

  • Lcat

    Good review of 3.3 – has anyone at Car Advice tasted the 2.2 diesel? – would be interested in your opinion on that version given Hyundai’s growing diesel reputation since launching the i30 1.6crdi

  • Duck

    I quite like it!

  • Bavarian Missile

    Supercujo……………..another WA..ER!

    That makes Golfshwien,Ross,Cobra045,Karl and Me..no not ME me! Forget it! ME lives in QLD…….no not I ME! Now I am confused where I live?? Oh W.A ……hahaha

    You in Perth Supercujo??

    Not sure who does Karls photos over here?????? Ill send him an email for you!

  • bubba ganush

    Who would ever put a tape player in cars these days. Might as well go one step further and stick an A TRACK in it

    • Embee

      well I bought it because it had one! Mitsubishi dealer lost the sale because he called me a dinosaur. Well tough for him.

  • http://navelcontemplation.blogspot.com/2007/03/i-don-get-fashion.html supercujo

    WA is going to take over the nation. We are the biggest state and when SA goes bankrupt, we’ll take them out. Then all we need is NT and we can secede :)

    Yeah I’m in Perth, I am in the southern suburbs.

  • Bavarian Missile

    hahaha ……..Im not really from W.A originally though from the EAST…as you guys call it. Great state though and economy is booming…….nothing to complain about! Ok……..Im in Kalamunda!!East!

    Karl said he will contact you on the photos!! So is that your profession??

  • http://navelcontemplation.blogspot.com/2007/03/i-don-get-fashion.html supercujo

    Baldivis for me.

    Software developer is what I do during the week. I work for a mining consulting company so things are pretty busy at the moment.

  • Bavarian Missile

    Software developer……I think thats what Importjap does also! So I take it your hobby is Photography?

  • Steve

    I test drove one of these while looking for a new car. It’s one I’d easily buy over anything bar a Landy or a Patrol. Different job, different tool.

    But the faux wood grain really has to go. I’d rather some good old fashioned Japanese Chrome over that stuff.

    The blue lighting in the dash is overwhelming. They really need to hire an eye specialist to consult them on what colour is best. Green is the most sensitive colour to your eye, read being the least.

    Drive a car with a red dash illumination at night, and you will notice how much more comfortable you are. Red also doesn’t reduce the pupil diameter so your eyes don’t adjust make to the darkness of the road ahead.

    But otherwise it’s a brilliant car. Very solid and easily a contender for anyone looking at an X-Trail or something. Which I found harsh, old fashioned and just so-last-generation. The new ones subtle improvements move it onto the now, but I think Nissan has really fallen behind when you look at the competition.


  • Chad

    Very Short Review… I just wanted to say i actually think the phots are fantastic of the Santa Fe, especially the first photograph… Brilliant..

  • http://barina SteveV

    The dash looks better in the flesh. Each to their own. I actually prefer the SX version dash. It uses a brown timber rather than red in the SLX and Elite.

    No question, the diesel is the pick, on fuel economy and resale value alone. Pitty you can’t pick any options other than manual & auto in the base model though.

    If you don’t look at the Santa Fe when shopping for a SUV, then you’ve got rocks in your head.

    And for those of you that think that the AWD version has got no 4WD credibility at all, I’d suggest you check out the review in the Feb ’07 edition of OVERLANDER 4WD magazine. Blew the judges away in their 4WD Car of the Year award. Coming 4th just behind the Pajero, Prado, & Tourag and better than a Merc!

    What about a head to head comparison between SUV models Car Advice?? SUV’s have taken over the market!

  • SteveR

    Bought a SantaFe SX diesel for fuel economy and can live with blue lights,plastic wood trim! Has done 400km so far & still tank is over half full!~Has anyone had experience with fitted reverse camera?

  • http://barina SteveV

    ‘R’ you are obviously still stuck in the city. Watch your economy expand to about 700k for half a tank if you can get it out on the highway and keep it close to 2000rpm.

    Hyundai now do a genuine reverse camera set-up for the Santa Fe, dealer fitted. Unfortunately I can’t help you with aftermarket devices, although I’m sure you could save a motza.


  • Derek Mathers

    Had a 2.2 CDX 7 seat manual in the UK for just over 1 year and 26000 miles – you do not notice the fake wood after a while, but the slightly different blue lighting on radio and instruments grates a little. Only repairs are 2 front sidelight bulbs – they are expensive 6 watt offset pin halogens. Average mpg over 26000 miles is 39.7, range is just over 600 miles on a full tank.
    Climate control does not have condensation sensor, so you need to manually switch on air conditioner when it mists up even though you have it set to auto.
    Very quiet at speed for a diesel – engine inaudible at 80mph on the motorway.
    Good for wading – in recent floods I got through over 1 metre water although the drive belts squealed for a bit – I believe Hyundai also make ships!

  • http://vera Treas

    I have a 2006 v6 Tucson and traded a Forrester to get. It is a tougher vehicle and the v6 has lots of hp. I’m sold on the value for money and I would buy another one perhaps a Santa Fe. Value for the buck, thats what its about…

  • Girldriver

    I really like the wood trim (even if it is fake!). I think it gives it a rather “luxury” feel. But cassette deck and blue lighting? What were they thinking? I’m looking for a ‘real’ ADW that has all the luxuries, including leather trim, doesn’t guzzle too much fuel and is a bargain…well, don’t all girls want everything? Any suggestions???

  • Girldriver

    Ooops, that’s ‘AWD’. And, no, my driving is not as bad as my spelling, in case you’re wondering!

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Lightbulb

    Have been looking at the Santa Fe & think it looks great outside as well as inside. The base SX diesel manual model is my choice for towing & economy reasons. I was wondering if anyone knows where you can buy any after market products for this vehicle such as bull-bars etc ? Thanks !

  • Paul

    ECB make really good Nudge bars that have driving light mountings and are available in different colours. I’ve fitted a black series 2 to mine and it loks the part. Reversing cameras are available for around $200 on ebay from zillonetech which is what I’m fitting to my Slx. As far as the Santa Fe goes generally, it is one mighty vehicle for a soft roader.

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Lightbulb

    Thanks for the advice Paul as I just wanted to know what was available for the Santa Fe in the form of accessories. The Santa Fe not only looks great inside & out, but from what I have read on the Internet it is also a very good allrounder which is exactly what I am after !

  • jim

    Any comments on the comparison between the Santa Fe SLX deisel 7 seater, the Honda Odyssey and the Toyota Kluger???? Looking at buying one of these for reliability, fuel economy and a people mover – FWD part not so much a factor, it’s really the room I’m after for a large family. Any suggestoins out there?

  • Owen

    I am also looking at a diesel Sante Fe. The local dealer says that they need servicing at 7’500km intervals, but can be stretched to 10’000kms. Does anybody else have any comments on this? I was wondering if this was just a ploy to extract more service money from me. 7’500 kms seems way too short to me. Also what are the diesel service costs like from any of you that have them?
    The only other fault I found from the short test drive was that the drivers seat does not seem to go back far enough. I am 6ft 1″ tall and although it was comfortable, I felt like it needed to go back a touch more. Even adjusting the recline angle helped but it just needed that bit more.

  • neil

    hey, anyone got any comments on Jim as i would be keen to know as well. also, anyone taken it on sand like fraser island? cheers, neil.

  • Danny

    Traded 2001 Santa Fe for the 3.3ltr 2008, good SUV before now easily superb. Run it in and drove to Adelaide and back, what a blast. Quiet, comfortable and absolutely effortless overtaking at 120Km/hr. 5000Km now and still no rattles anywhere. Solid and reliable and a pleasure to drive. Love the blue hue and feel of the cabin

  • Dolphin38

    Have had a 5-seater SX 2.2ltr CRDi auto for just under 2000km now and I’m wrapped I went for this car.

    Great to drive, well put together, heaps of grunt and great fuel enconomy even though its been mainly ‘city’ driving in the Perth area. It just purrs along at 100kph and can’t wait to get out in the country.

    Have had reversing sensors fitted and about to get a nudge bar and tow bar put on. The collection of cassettes can now come out of storage – even had a couple of them through the cassette player – just like old times…!!!

    No problems with night vision when the instrument lights are turned right down. Thinking also about getting some front footwell lights fitted that are linked in with the interior light.


  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Lightbulb

    I have heard a rumor that the Santa Fe is due for an up-date very soon. Can anyone confirm this as if it is the case I would rather wait & see the up-dated model ?

    Cheers !

  • Graeme Harris

    I have the 2007 SX CRDI 2.2 Manual. Have 22000km. Fabulous vehicle. Mine has the CD player which also plays mp3s etc.
    Tows a 17 1/2 ft Jayco Caravan with ease and have power to spare, cruise at 100kph and still return 12.6l/100km. This was over a 2000 km trip through Nthn NSW and Qld with gravel and dirt roads. Handled wet boggy roads well.
    When not towing average 7.2l/100km when cruising, 9.8l/100km around town driving.
    Found the rear suspension settled down a bit far with van (towball mass near max of 150kg)so have fitted aftermarket air bag assist( like polyairs) Excellent. Would love to source a bull bar manufacturer.
    Have previously owned a Toyota 4runner, 2.8TD Patrol and 04 Honda CRV. The Santa Fe is by far the best towing package for power, comfort and economy.
    I follow the 7.5k service interval as the CRDI works the motor and Oil is a cheap insurance. Make certain the dealer uses the correct spec oil as it is critical in all CRDI motors. Have found service costs at dealer quite reasonable IMHO.
    Love it. Now have two Hyundais and cant fault them.

  • http://. Naughtyius Maximus

    Agree with comments on the FE. Is a very very classy looker from all angles.

  • Bryce

    How does the 2.2l Diesel perform off the line? I’m not expecting anything more than “reasonable” but would shy away from “gutless”. Thanks

  • Graeme Harris

    It gets away quite well. I have the manual and it certainly keeps up with the traffic even towing a 17 ft caravan!
    Drive one and you will be impressed.

  • SteveV

    Bryce, in order to make most of acceleration in a small cc diesel, the trick is to accelerate to about half throtle whilst changing up gears quickly, until 3rd, 4th or even 5th gear. The torque between 1800 & 4000 is where all the action is.
    As opposed to a petrol where action doesn’t start happening until about 4000 rpm in low gears.
    This is the biggest change in driving habits one needs to adapt to when moving from a petrol to diesl vehicle. Putting your foot flat to the boards in a diesel is just a waste of precious fuel.
    Once you’ve mastered it however, you’re unlikely to go back as the surge of torque at low revs is quite addictive, particularly with a load or when towing. Given the fuel savings of course.
    The Santa Fe CRD is an excellent example of this and probably the best in its segment (medium SUV).

  • FreddyB

    I just bought the 2.7 V6 and to answer LightBulb, I don’t think they’re going to update them anytime soon. They’ve only been out for a couple of years, if that. The car is selling solidly and getting superb reviews. I have mine delivered tomorrow and I can’t wait. I’ve tried both the V6 and the diesel and I was suprised to see how responsive the diesel was.
    Still, went for the V6 cause I don’t really need a diesel plus it was another $10,000 or so.
    Got a tow bar fitted and I’m looking at putting tinted windows. It’ll look great with the black pearl of the body.

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Lightbulb

    Hi FreddyB:
    You have certainly picked a great car & I now understand there will not be a new model for a while as the current model has not been out long. Nearly every mention about the Santa Fe I have read on the Internet has been very positive & you will have no problem towing with this car as well. Again, congratulations on buying your new Santa Fe & I only wished I could afford one as well.

    Cheers !

  • towielynn

    Wifyies diesel Santa fe elite 22K 10 months old.
    Tip top all good can not fault the thing. Did take awhile to hurdle the Hyundai badge, once done very happy. All required safety and creature features needed were met. The little diesel goes like none other Ive driven, fast tidy cheap and clean.
    Pros. Beats all similar Jap Yank and Euro even pushes a $100k Merc ML in safety performance warrenty & service costs style & features. Has the best 7 seats as required by this tribe and curtin air bag goes to the last row.
    Cons. Yeah the wood grain is a bit twee. Head light H beam poorish The diesel option $ high and now the 25% high fuel price suks.
    Improvements to be made. The keys are old world, intergrate the security and make em smaller. Harden up the plastic bumpers not this soft painted skin.
    The old trusty bus a diesel 80 series cruiser, sadly & righty now mum wont touch it.

  • Andy

    Hi All,

    Considering trading in my 2001 S/Fe GLS for an upgrade to the CRDI ELITE, has anyone spent any time on the soft beach sand with the new version – Doing a bit of beach fishing and I’m still in two minds which way to go either the S/Fe or another brand with H/L ratios.

    99.9% of the driving I do will be on the open roads & in the city for about 20k km annually and the diesel seems the way to go due to their economy and would greatly appreciate any responce from owners who have been on the soft sand.

    Happy Driving


  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Lightbulb

    Hi Andy:
    Even though I don’t own & never driven the Santa Fe CRDI, I can tell you its the best engined model as my local dealer said he has trouble selling petrol versions but not with the CRDIs. With regards to driving on sand, I suggest you try to have a look at some reviews for the Santa Fe, particularly the ones from 4×4 magazines as they tend to do a more thorough testing of the vehicles. There was one off-road magazine that recently tested the Santa Fe & rated it very highly which you might like to read. Overall, I am very impressed with the Santa Fe & particularly like the interior which I think is first class.

    Cheers !

  • Simon

    Best Hyundai made to date. Take it any where you want, it handles soft sand with ease, sloppy muddy slopes are not ane issue and it is fantastic on a long trip, the slx and elite are particually impressive with curtain airbags extending to the third row, esp , climate air, 5 alloy wheels and unlimmited klm warranty all standard. The third row seats are larger than Kluger, commander, journey, pathfinder, Daewoo captiva,ect and are easy to use and out of the way when not needed. GREAT CAR!!!!!!!!!!!

  • eh179driver

    Agree with Simon. The best Hyundai made yet. Tried one a few weeks back as I am looking at trading out of an Aurion. Way too many quality issues with the car after only 14months and am also sick of the local dealers response. The only issue I had with the Sante Fe was I could not get the drivers seat back quite far enough. Tried extra recline etc but still not quite enough. Has anybody else found the same problem and if so were you able to overcome it?

  • SteveV

    I have an SX manual diesel and have done several trips down Rainbow and Noosa North Shore. No problems in soft sand at all provided you drive with common sense (ie. don’t hit the brakes too hard to stop). Even tried to bog it to test it out and succeded. Got out and moved a bit of sand with the hands and she pulled straigt up and out (tyre pressure at 25psi). Also done some steep and rutted dirt trails at back of Mount Mee (Qld).
    I bought the manual believing it would have better 4wd credentials but due to the normal high ratio of first gear I believe the auto would have more 4wd capability mainly due to the ability of crawling without the vehicle stalling. The manual can’t crawl as well as the auto and in soft sand you also have the problem of letting the clutch out and this can cause you to dig down into soft sand.
    Overall exceptionally good for a soft roader.
    Voted 4th in Overlander Magazine New 4wd Car of the Year (feb. ’07). First soft roader to ever make it into their field and only beaten by the Pajero, Prado and Tourag. Ahead of the Mercedes and a host of others believe it or not.
    Best car I’ve ever owned and average 1000k per tank.

  • JoshGeo

    After all of the comments written on this site about the Santa Fe, its my top choice (I’m currently in the market and buying very soon). Can anyone please tell me if you can get a cargo barrier for the Santa Fe? Looking at the brochures/online, Hyundai doesn’t mention one as an option. If they don’t have one, can anyone recommend an aftermarket one that suits?

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Lightbulb

    Hi JoshGeo,

    I think you will be hard pressed to find a cargo barrier for the Sante Fe as I have not seen any mention of one on the web when I have been searching for this car. Your only other avenue would be to get a “one-off” made somewhere which could be very pricey. You have picked an excellent vehicle to buy & one which I am seriously considering buying myself when the opportunity arises.

    Cheers !

  • Rosemary Parker

    Hi JoshGeo

    Milford Cargo barriers are available for Santa Fe’s. Their website is: http://www.milfordind.com.au

  • JoshGeo

    Rosemary – thanks heaps, I checked out Milford – awesome (and they emailed me back within 24hours)! You’ve made life heaps easier – it was one of the deciding factors for our purchase. Will be worth the dollars for peace of mind.
    Lightbulb – Hopefully looking to get a 2009 model with the upgraded interior and ipod/usb – I hope they’ve got rid of the tape deck. Haven’t seen any interior pics of it on the web – the dealer I’m seeing Thursday says you can get 09 models now – will let you know my thoughts. Thanks for your earlier advice on the diesel.

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Lightbulb

    Hi JoshGeo,
    When I last spoke to my local Hyundai dealer they did mentioned about an upgraded Santa Fe model coming out & said there were only minor external changes made compared to the previous model. I am very interested in your last comment when you said they have also ungraded the interior as well, as I have not heard anything about this & would like to know more if possible. This car has been receiving very favorable reviews from all sources & is a car I have been admiring for quite some time. JoshGeo, if you can, I would really appreciate it if you let us know what sort of interior changes Hyundai have made & in the mean time I will keep checking the web to see if I can find anything myself.

    Cheers !

  • http://reynellahyundai.com.au Chad

    Welcome To Santa Fe. 2009.
    Changes inside include, All new Premium Audio Systems, featuring USB and iPod inputs, larger display (in lieu of Cassette Deck) Dark Black Marble Wood Effects instead of the Dark Cherry Woodgrain, feature accross the Dash, Gear Selector and Door Panels, Also Darker Metal Effects rather then the brighter Silver finshes of the 2006-2008.5 Santa Fe Range. Also Exterior Changes include all new side mirrors with indicators. Trip Computer now features the Gear Selection and Instantous Fuel Consumption.

  • JoshGeo

    Thanks heaps Chad – great info – No Cassette Deck – SOLD!!!!! Tried to Google images of interior but no luck. There is also the option of the “Trek n Tow” kit – site says it enhances off-road performance, increases ride height by 20mm and ball load from 150kg to 180kg.
    Trying out Santa Fe and Outlander tomorrow – will let you know Lightbulb.

  • towielynn

    Chad 09 sound OK, gee gonna miss that cherry wood grain.
    Has the 09 mod still got a digital compass in the rear view mirror (what where they thinking) league as the cassette deck.
    Still these quirks take nothing away from a great car.

    Very happy Elite diesel owner

  • JoshGeo

    After driving a few other models like the Craptiva and the awesome Outlander, a hard decision but ordered Santa Fe today. Lightbult – will put another post on here when I have pics (will put them on Panorimo). Gave the Elite and the highly technological digital compass a miss…..a classic “What were they thinking”. SLX was awesome.

  • http://www.caradvice.com.au Lightbulb

    Hi JoshGeo:
    Congratulations on your purchase & you have certainly bought a great car. Interestingly, today as I was walking past my local Hyundai dealer, I noticed a couple looking very closely at a Santa Fe & asked the lady if she was interested in that model. The lady told me that they were looking at the petrol model & if negotiations went well would buy it. I look forward to seeing those pictures & again you have bought one of the best cars in this class.

    Cheers !

  • Adam

    Does anyone know if the new 2009 model has actually arrived in Australia yet? Where can I see one?

  • http://www.getapproved.com.au Jeremy

    This car is fantastic, Hyundai have really improved their product and in my opinion are deserving of a better reputation then they already have.

  • Two Heads

    I have a 2007 SX Diesel manual, now done 37.5k. It would have to be one of the best cars I have ever owned. I previously had a large Trailer Sailer and had a petrol Prado and then a diesel Pajero for towing. After selling the boat I kept the Pajero for a while and then wanted to downsize to a similar style SUV. I particularly wanted a diesel for improved torque for towing (have just recently purchased a 4.8m alum runabout, and wanted to be able to easily launch the yacht club rescue boats etc) and also economy. The competition at the time was Jeep Commander or Captiva, and the Santa Fe won hands down for overall quality. Didn’t want extra seats (older kids) and wanted heaps of out of the way storage, so it had to be the SX model, fake woodgrain and cassette player doesn’t worry me, just find it very comfortable to drive longer distances (I regularly drive a 340kms round trip most weeks), economy is great – about 34mpg most of the time. Only gripe is the position of reverse in the manual box. Although it has a lockout, it is very close to first and it is very difficult to pick whether car is in reverse or first just by looking at the position of the gearlever. Oh, and the plastic marks very easily. Have ditched the dealer servicing as it was costing 50% more than the Pajero used to cost to service. Overall, why isn’t everyone driving one of these?????

  • Alan

    Sounds like a great vehicle.
    I am looking at the Elite D 2.2 engine. I tow a 16ft boat.
    I have been used to towing with a 3.5 petrol Nissan Maxima, Will this do the job as well?
    Interesting reading above….I am almost sold on getting one. The local dealer has a Dec 07 Elite demo model with 5000km.
    He is asking $38990aus…is this too much?
    Also does anyone know what the re-sale is like, I usually turn mine over every 3-4 years, I would imagine diesel would hold value better!
    Cheers for any info.

  • tony hamilton

    Folks…Its fantastic following all your comments and knowledge in this blog. I am close to buying the 09 Elite 2.2 diesel. I see various comments that it has good towing ability. Would that include towing a van at 1.6-1.7 tonnes?
    Still enough grunt? many tks

  • Dave

    I own a 2007 SLX CRDi auto and have to say that it is a superb vehicle. The more I drive it, the more I am glad that I chose it.
    It has been on soft sand (Bribie Island, Straddie and others), mud, on all sorts of out-of-the-way tracks and trails, and it has never felt anything less than sure footed. It’s very much at home on the highway too, and returns ridiculous fuel economy (best seen so far is 6.5l/100km), almost got to Sydney from Brisbane on a tank full recently.
    Performance off the line is better than reasonable, more than once I have embarressed a little boy in his Commodore at the lights.
    The 7 seats have come in handy many times, and do fit an adult, albeit no 6+ footers will fit in there. I think it’s good looking too, and don’t have an issue with the blue lights or fake wood. Will hopefully be getting a 2009 model in August!

  • Roy

    I would like to know if South Korean made Sante Fe 2009 crdi SUV is as durable and long lasting as compared to many German and American competitors ? Has anyone had a reasonably trouble free 80,000 km on a Sante Fe 2008 or 2009 model ? I would also like to know If the Brakes, Transmission and Suspensions lasts Long for mostly safe highway drives ?
    Can experienced owners help me with my Queries ? thanks

    • Derwoodii

      Roy our 2007 CRD is almost up to 50 clicks and no problems to report. It can beat all competitors at half the purchase price and half the service cost.
      No issues re brakes or tranny etc

      • derwoodii

        Update we had a problem with our Santa Fe CRDi. A carboned up or sticky PCV or similar emmission valve caused the engine to run like water in the fuel briefly at start up. Once fault was id & cleaned all sorted by Hyundai service crew & very happy.

      • derwoodii

        Almost at 100 clicks now still going great nil issues to speak of body paint interior all ok. Motor box steer & wheels fine. ah I got new rubber at hmm 65K+ same brand as new and only about $230 each.
        Great car, we tested the 2010 model and sure tis wee nicer but only just so.
        Note started to teach eldest to drive last weeks and that pedal hand brake means ya have to let em go from day one…

    • RG

      I’ve got 2007 crdi elite, owned it since 38k km to now about 50k km., extremely happy with it. Done many 300k trips non stop… great car. Only issue I had was witht the service personnel at one of the Hyundai dealers, ordinary at best.

  • Mrs Max

    My husband wants to buy a Elite but I prefer Kluger. I do worry about the safety at the 3rd for 7 seater. Any comment?

    • maximark

      I would go for the Kluger to be on the safe side (reliability),plus cheaper service,more space and excellent resale value.

  • on road rep

    I have had a 2007 model company crdi santa fe and it has been a great car,
    just coming around to the 100000 k mark and had no issues at all.

    although no none genuine brake pads are on the market and hyundai charges near the $1000 dollar mark for pads fitted.

    i would by a santa fe and am considering taking this one off the companys hands at the end of the lease.

  • 110km

    I got 2006 2.7lt v6 done 110k kms. Have issue with surging. No issues up to 90k km’s and was really pleased. Had new gearbox, torque convertor, three ecu’s and still not fix. Hyundai’s thought acceptable level, still under warrentee. Not happy. Looking at new car as I am writing this

  • Hayley

    This is a wonderful site. so helpful. Hubby and I are looking at a new car after down grading from a large 4wd we are now seeking something smaller. I had been told about the santa fe and told that they were a pretty good car. Had a look at one today and really liked it, priced at 42k though, is this too dear?
    I dont think we would be buying one new, but would want something with very low kms. What is the best yr model to get if we are looking at a 2nd hand one?

    • Car Fanatic

      I suggest you read all the reviews before deciding what car you want.

  • Ken

    I own a 2007 Elite CRDi 5st auto purchased in 2008 and have to say that it is a great, great vehicle. The more I drive it, the more I like it.
    It has been to QLD and Vic a number of times as well as around NSW, tows my 5m bow rider speed boat well on mud, on all sorts of out-of-the-way tracks and trails, and it has never felt anything less than stable. It’s very much at home on the highway too, and returns ridiculous fuel economy (best seen so far is 6.4l/100km), got to Newcastle from Broadwater at Surfers on about 2/3 of a tank full of diesel in traffic recently. Runs quiet, is comfortable, has a good view of the road, love the electric seats
    Performance off the line is fairly good even with the boat in tow, .
    The 7 seats have had some use , I am a large adult and the back seats were squeezy for me but OK for a quick run, the kids tried it OK but the fit for an adult is a bit tight, the family is all 6+ foot , the other seats are really comfortable I think it’s looks great too, and the blue lights are good on the eyes night driving .

  • SamJay

    Hi I have a 2008 Santa Fe Elite with the 2.2 litre diesel. I towed a Coromal Caravan 457 pop top weighing about 1150 kilos up to Kununurra and back. No off road as we used my son’s 4wd to visit El Questro etc. We averaged 9.0litres per 100/km over the whole trip. We didn’t race and drove no faster than 90 km/hr. Some days when we were going in to a headwind the day’s average might drop to 11.5 but other days with the wind behind or abeam we got less than 9.0. It is a great car to drive and sits on 2000 revs at 100k/h when not towing on the freeway. It is now looking like a golf ball after our recent hail storm so it may be written off. I will buy another definitely. Great machine.

  • Jax

    we have 2008 3.3 petrol..absolutely love it..Have driven to Melbourne, all around Vic, most Of NSW..Not a problem. Cassette player is good for dvd players to have surround sound. With two growing boys this is a great car. We were looking for over a year for car and this one won on safety and comfort..

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  • derwoodii

    update its mid 2013 the little 2007 Elite santa fe still going strong not an issue to be found motor trim paint electrics all great after 165K city rural fringe with a few good trips done. Its on second set of rubber the 5 year warranty passed with out any need.
    Kids have grown but still use the 7 seat set out when running the tribe with granny.