2011 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

Santa Fe

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Based on 6 reviews

2011 Hyundai Santa Fe Overview

Ignore the Santa Fe at your own peril – it’s a formidable but seemingly invisible entry in the compact crossover class. Not that Hyundai seems to be doing much to combat that issue, hampering the appeal of the Santa Fe with styling that seems to remain five years behind. Still, with aggressively competitive pricing, a long and impressive list of standard features, class-leading space and the best warranty in the industry, there’s a lot of room for forgiveness.

Not much changes for the Santa Fe in 2011, but not much needs changing. Set aside styling woes for a while. After all, if fashion is your main concern, this isn’t the class you should be shopping. The major complaints with the Santa Fe revolve around the ride and steering – neither of which received any attention. Rather, Hyundai decided to make the 605-watt, 10-speaker Infinity stereo standard in the Limited trim while removing the navigation system and rear-view camera as options for the base GLS. Perhaps to make up for that deletion, the larger 3.5-liter V6 is now an option for the GLS, a practice I wish more manufacturers would follow. You’ll also get the option of five new colors for the Santa Fe: Moonstone Silver, Frost White Pearl, Sonoran Red, Mineral Gray and Espresso Brown.

Otherwise it’s the same nearly invisible vehicle you’ve probably missed out on the roads. It’s worth a look. One of the more affordable entries in the segment, the base GLS is extremely well-appointed with its 175-hp, 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine and a 6-speed manual transmission. The 2.4 is the Theta II all-aluminum mill that we’ve seen doing duty in the Sonata and Tuscon, as well as in many Kia applications. More important than the 175-hp figure is the 169 lb-ft of torque available at 3,750 rpm. It’s a big part of what makes this smaller engine more than adequate both around town and on the highway, although the 6-speed manual is a better choice here than the optional automatic, which has a noted reluctance to downshift. Regardless, the 2.4 manages a 19 mpg city/26 highway rating with the manual and will go as high as 20/28 with FWD and the automatic transmission.

Further confounding its “base” label, the GLS comes standard with features like heated power mirrors, 17-inch alloy rims, cruise control, air conditioning, Bluetooth, privacy glass, USB, iPod interface, satellite radio and a tilt and telescoping steering wheel. Moving up to the SE trim gets you 18-inch alloys, a power driver's seat, leather/cloth combo upholstery, automatic headlights, foglights, windshield wiper de-icers and the 3.5-liter Lambda V – an engine that offers more than 100 extra hp and nearly identical fuel economy ratings. With the Limited trim, you’ll add a sunroof, dual-zone automatic climate controls, leather upholstery and heated front seats, and you’re still well under the competition with regard to pricing.

With a list of standard features like this, not to mention class-leading storage of 78 cubic feet, it only emphasizes how boring the styling of the Santa Fe really is. A bit of attention to design, and maybe a little suspension tuning, and it could be a winner. However, sandwiched between the Tuscon and the Veracruz, it’s likely the Santa Fe will simply fade further into the background and eventually into oblivion.

Updated
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A CarGurus contributor since 2008, Michael started his career writing about cars with the SCCA - winning awards during his time as editor of Top End magazine. Since then, his journalistic travels have taken him from NY to Boston to CA, completing a cross-country tour on a restored vintage Suzuki. While his preference is for fine German automobiles - and the extra leg room they so often afford - his first automobile memories center around impromptu Mustang vs. Corvette races down the local highway, in the backseat of his father's latest acquisition.

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    Hyundai Santa Fe Questions

    chuck0862
    0

    Why Do My Headlights On My 2011 Santa Fe Stay On Even When The Switch Is Tu...

    3 views with no answers yet
    Jeanette Zoltowski
    0

    Alarm Goes Off When Opening Door

    9 views with no answers yet
    Coopersister
    0

    My Sf Stalled On A Slow Speed Right Turn. No Engine Code Was Produced. Anyo...

    Slow speed stalling on right turn. No engine code light produced. All very sudden with no warning signs or sounds. Dealer asks like I am delusional.

    9,845 views with 68 answers (last answer 2 months ago)
    Viktor Caetano
    50

    My Car Cranks But No Start. Forced Drive´s Door. Locked The Key Inside

    Hi there, My 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe, cranks but no start. No negative pulse to the injectors. The car was running and I forgot the key inside. The doors locked and the had to force drive´s door to o...

    80 views with 12 answers (last answer 4 months ago)
    Bramsey
    20

    Hyundai Santa Fe 2011 2nd Question: Lights Work When Buttons Pushed, Why...

    All of the the lights work if you push the buttons on and off. Its just when opening the door no lights come on so I figure it has to do with the door button, and the change of fuse did nothing.

    884 views with 2 answers (last answer 5 months ago)