A full used buyer’s guide on the Hyundai Santa Fe covering the Santa Fe Mk3 that’s been on sale since 2018
Whatever the age or mileage of the Santa Fe Mk4 that you might be thinking of buying, it’ll come with some warranty, thanks to the generous five-year duration and no mileage limit; you’ll also get the balance of 10 years’ worth of free map updates. That should provide you with some peace of mind, but more important is that you shouldn’t need to use the warranty, because reliability is one of the key reasons why Santa Fe buyers are such fans of their cars. There was a time when you bought a Santa Fe despite it lagging behind rivals in several key areas, but those days are gone and the fourth-generation model makes them seem further away than ever.
When Hyundai introduced the original Santa Fe in 2001, it was praised for its value, reliability and practicality. However, there wasn’t a lot else to love about it, with its cheap interior plastics, mediocre dynamics and low-tech spec sheet.
Just five years later, Hyundai released an all-new Santa Fe and immediately we loved it, because it was now an impressive all-rounder. But it was nothing compared with the third-generation edition that arrived in 2012 and was better than any previous model. For the first time it came with seven seats, the latest comfort and safety tech, plus an appealing exterior design.
- Used Hyundai Santa Fe (Mk3, 2012-2018) review
So when the Sante Fe Mk4 was launched four years ago, we were expecting great things, and that’s exactly what we got: a full-sized SUV that’s a front-runner in the class.
The fourth-generation Santa Fe arrived in September 2018 with a 197bhp 2.2-litre four-cylinder CRDi diesel. Prices started at £32,855 for the front-wheel drive Santa Fe SE, and went up to £43,595 for the range-topping Premium SE 4WD auto.
Car group tests
- Audi Q5 vs Volvo XC60 vs Hyundai Santa Fe: 2021 group test review
- Mitsubishi Shogun Sport vs Hyundai Santa Fe vs Skoda Kodiaq
- Hyundai Santa Fe review
- Hyundai Santa Fe (2012-2018)
- Hyundai Santa Fe Premium SE: long-term test review
- New Hyundai Santa Fe 2021 review
- New Hyundai Santa Fe 2018 review
Used car tests
- Used Hyundai Santa Fe (Mk3, 2012-2018) review
A heavily updated line-up arrived in March 2021. As well as significant exterior design changes, the diesel engine was gone, replaced with a choice of 227bhp hybrid or 261bhp plug-in hybrid options. Both were fitted with a 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine and there was a choice of Premium or Ultimate trim levels. The hybrid started at £40,250 and the PHEV was priced from £45,715. Both models came only in auto form, but hybrid buyers could pick between front and four-wheel drive.
Which one should I buy?
Due to its more ready availability and much lower purchase costs, the diesel-engined Santa Fe probably makes the most sense. If you can charge for free, the plug-in hybrid might be worth looking at, although purchase costs are much higher. The hybrid is fine, but disappointing fuel economy isn’t unusual.
All Santa Fes are well equipped, with even the entry-level SE having a seven-inch touchscreen display, 17-inch alloys, dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, and a rear camera.
The Premium added an eight-inch screen, 18-inch wheels, electrically adjustable front seats, LED headlights, heated front and outer rear seats, heated steering wheel, powered tailgate, keyless go and 10-speaker hi-fi. The Premium SE also has ventilated front seats, 360-degree cameras, an opening panoramic roof and 19-inch alloys.
Alternatives to the Hyundai Santa Fe
The Kia Sorento is closely related to the Santa Fe, and it comes with a seven-year warranty to the Hyundai’s five, while the engine options are the same. The Kia is impressive, as are the Volvo XC60 and Audi Q5, which beat the Hyundai in plug-in hybrid form in a group test, and that is why we’d consider both of those very carefully. The Jaguar F-Pace and BMW X3 are also very impressive, but like the Volvo and Audi, they’re five-seaters only.
If you need seven seats, then the Volvo XC90, Audi Q7 and BMW X5 are the alternatives, although these are a lot more expensive. If seven seats are essential, then the Skoda Kodiaq, VW Tiguan Allspace and SEAT Tarraco are your options, while the Nissan X-Trail, Land Rover Discovery Sport and Peugeot 5008 have smaller rear rows.
What to look for
The manual 2.2 CRDi can tow 2,500kg, but the auto only 2,000kg. The hybrid can pull 1,650kg, the PHEV just 1,350kg.
The SE came with a steel space-saver in the boot, whereas the Premium and Premium SE were supplied with an alloy spare wheel.
Expect 35-40mpg from the 2.2 CRDi. Hybrid economy varies, with owners logging 45-70mpg for the PHEV, or 30-40mpg for the hybrid.
The SE foregoes blind- spot detection, brake assist and rear cross- traffic alert, but trailer-stability assist is standard on all models in the range.
Hyundai has a pretty good reputation for reliability, and aside from issues related to recalls, we’re not aware of any serious problems. The warranty means there’s five years of cover, but any issue with the service history could invalidate this, so check carefully.
The Santa Fe’s cabin is one of the car’s high spots for several reasons. As well as being very spacious, all models have seven seats as standard, and the Hyundai is comfortable, very well made and very well equipped.
The infotainment system is user-friendly, the ergonomics are excellent and there’s room for seven adults if they’re not too big. With five seats in use, the boot can stow 571 litres, which will be plenty for most buyers’ needs, but drop the back row and this jumps to 1,649 litres, which compares well with what rivals offer.
Supply problems since launch mean there aren’t as many Santa Fes on the used market as you might think; we found fewer than 100 of them for sale. Two thirds of cars listed are fitted with diesel engines, one in 10 is a plug-in hybrid, while the rest are hybrids.
Visit to our sister site Buyacar to get a great deal on a used Hyundai Santa Fe, or to check prices on a specific model head over to our valuation tool.
Regardless of which powertrain is fitted, the Santa Fe will need to be serviced every 12 months or 20,000 miles. Services alternate between Interim and Full, which are priced at £215 and £384 respectively for diesel-engined cars, while for hybrids and plug-ins the costs are £176 and £279.
The Sante Fe comes with an impressive five-year warranty with no mileage limit, and once out of this, the costs for those two services drop to £169 and £229, whichever engine is fitted. Hyundai dealers will also perform an annual health check for free, and they also offer a Base service option – which is essentially an oil and filter change – for £99. Stick with an official dealer for maintenance and you’ll get a two-year warranty on all parts fitted, and 12 months’ breakdown cover with all services. All Santa Fe engines are chain-driven, so there are no cambelts to replace.
Hyundai has recalled the Santa Fe on just two occasions so far. The first was in February 2021, when 1,879 Hyundais were affected by a campaign caused by faulty eCall systems. All of the cars affected were built between August and December 2020; as well as the Santa Fe, the i20, Kona and Tucson were included in the recall bulletin, the fix for which was to update the software in the electronic control unit.
The second action was issued in May 2022, when 36 Santa Fes were recalled because of faulty instrumentation. All of the cars were built in October, November or December 2021, and they left the factory with problematic liquid-crystal displays in the instrument panel. The fix for this was the replacement of the entire instrument cluster.
Driver Power owner satisfaction
Hyundai has posted impressive results in our Driver Power new-car surveys; this year the Kona came fourth, having placed first last year, and the Ioniq achieved ninth in 2020. However, this year the Ioniq and i10 Mk3 came 65th and 62nd respectively out of 75 entries; last year the Tucson came 64th. The Santa Fe Mk4 has yet to make an appearance, but Hyundai was 11th out of 29 in our 2022 Brands survey.
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