2007 Hyundai Santa Fe

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Road Test
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Key Specs

of the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe. Base trim shown.

Our Take

From the Cars.com Vehicle Test Team

The Good

  • Quiet cabin
  • 3.3-liter V-6 drivetrain
  • Much improved interior
  • Thoughtful details

The Bad

  • Stiff suspension
  • Poorly executed steering wheel adjustment
  • Popular options only available in packages
  • Navigation system not offered

Notable Features of the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe

  • Redesigned for 2007
  • Optional 242-hp V-6
  • Five or seven seats
  • Electronic stability system
  • Impressive warranty coverage

2007 Hyundai Santa Fe Road Test

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Mike Hanley

If we were to pick the best redesigned SUVs for 2007, Hyundai's Santa Fe would be among the finalists. The overhaul gives new life to a model that was desperately in need of an update to stay competitive in the midsize body type SUV segment.

The new Santa Fe is larger and its engines are more powerful, but it also gets better gas mileage than its predecessor. The newly optional third-row seat increases the maximum seat count to seven, and the new cabin's overall refinement is surprisingly good. It also has numerous standard safety features and an impressive warranty.

 

Going & Stopping
The Hyundai Santa Fe is offered with a choice of two V6 engines. The base GLS has a 2.7-liter V-6 while the midlevel SE and top-of-the-line Limited — the trim level I tested — feature a larger 3.3-liter V6. A five-speed manual transmission is standard in the GLS, but a four-speed auto is optional. The Hyundai Santa Fe SE and Limited have a five-speed automatic. Front-wheel and all-wheel-drive models are offered.

Hyundai Santa Fe Engines
  2.7-liter V-6 3.3-liter V-6
Horsepower (@ rpm) 185 @ 6,000 242 @ 6,000
Torque (lbs.-ft. @ rpm) 183 @ 4,000 226 @ 4,500
Required gasoline Regular Regular
EPA-estimated
gas mileage
(city/highway, mpg)
Manual: 20/25
Automatic:
21/26 (FWD)
19/25 (AWD)
19/24
Source: Manufacturer

 

With the 3.3-liter V6, the Hyundai Santa Fe is swift enough to easily handle most drivers' po...

If we were to pick the best redesigned SUVs for 2007, Hyundai's Santa Fe would be among the finalists. The overhaul gives new life to a model that was desperately in need of an update to stay competitive in the midsize body type SUV segment.

The new Santa Fe is larger and its engines are more powerful, but it also gets better gas mileage than its predecessor. The newly optional third-row seat increases the maximum seat count to seven, and the new cabin's overall refinement is surprisingly good. It also has numerous standard safety features and an impressive warranty.

 

Going & Stopping
The Hyundai Santa Fe is offered with a choice of two V6 engines. The base GLS has a 2.7-liter V-6 while the midlevel SE and top-of-the-line Limited — the trim level I tested — feature a larger 3.3-liter V6. A five-speed manual transmission is standard in the GLS, but a four-speed auto is optional. The Hyundai Santa Fe SE and Limited have a five-speed automatic. Front-wheel and all-wheel-drive models are offered.

Hyundai Santa Fe Engines
  2.7-liter V-6 3.3-liter V-6
Horsepower (@ rpm) 185 @ 6,000 242 @ 6,000
Torque (lbs.-ft. @ rpm) 183 @ 4,000 226 @ 4,500
Required gasoline Regular Regular
EPA-estimated
gas mileage
(city/highway, mpg)
Manual: 20/25
Automatic:
21/26 (FWD)
19/25 (AWD)
19/24
Source: Manufacturer

 

With the 3.3-liter V6, the Hyundai Santa Fe is swift enough to easily handle most drivers' power needs. It's a rather smooth engine, too. Whether it's accelerating hard when merging onto the highway or just making its way through traffic, the five-speed automatic transmission always seems to be in a sensible gear for conditions. Shifts are smooth, even those that occur under full-throttle acceleration. Both automatics include Hyundai's Shiftronic clutchless-manual mode that gives the driver control over gear changes.


The Santa Fe's all-disc brakes have no trouble stopping the SUV, and pedal feel is nice and natural.

 

Ride & Handling
The Santa Fe's very stiff suspension was probably the most surprising aspect of the SUV. It didn't help that most of my driving was done in the Land of Potholes — a.k.a. Chicago in the spring — where smooth pavement is hard to find. Even so, a little more damping would have been appreciated. The Limited's 18-inch alloy wheels wear lower-profile tires than the ones mounted on the GLS' 16-inch wheels, which might offer a little more ride comfort than the 18s. The Santa Fe steers just fine, but don't expect it to be a source of driving joy.

Other aspects of the Santa Fe's handling capabilities are certainly praiseworthy. The Santa Fe's manageable size feels stable on the highway, where it's surprisingly quiet even on concrete interstates adept at generating cabin noise. Wind noise levels are low, too. Body roll is noticeable through tight corners, but it's by no means excessive for this class.

The Inside
The Hyundai Santa Fe's all-new cabin is a big improvement over its predecessor's aging design. The Limited trim level had a number of unexpected details, like dual sunglass holders, a woven headliner, thick carpeted floormats, rich bluish-purple lighting and active head restraints for the front seats that adjust forward and back as well as up and down.


That's not to say it got everything right. While the silver-colored trim pieces in Hyundai's new Veracruz three-row crossover actually look pretty good, the treatment in the Santa Fe looks a little cheap; black plastic would have been fine instead. The brown faux wood trim is unconvincing, and the turn-signal stalk has a notchy feel. That said, other trim and dashboard plastic has nice graining, and the overall fit and finish is good.

The cabin had a hint of the chemically new-car smell that's plagued a number of Hyundais we've tested, but it wasn't as bad as others, and it should fade over time. Cloth seats are standard and leather ones are optional. The leather front bucket seats have firm cushioning but offer a comfortable driving position. Even though the 
Hyundai Santa Fe's side windows taper upward toward the rear of the cabin, overall visibility from the driver's seat is good.


The second-row seat offers just enough legroom for tall adults (my knees were touching the back of the front seat) but there's good foot room and generous headroom. As in the front of the cabin, the second row has extra details like air-conditioning vents in the B-pillars.

Reclining the 60/40-split second-row seats in our five-person Santa Fe meant lifting a handle at the top of the seat. While it works just fine, it's not as convenient as the low-mounted lever on the side of the seat cushion that some SUVs have. The optional Touring Package includes a 50/50-split third-row seat that increases the Santa Fe's seat count to seven.

Safety
In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal-offset crash test, the Hyundai Santa Fe received a Good overall rating, the best possible score. As of this writing, the new generation hasn't been tested for side-impact protection by IIHS. All trim levels have standard antilock brakes, side-impact airbags for the front seats, side curtain airbags and an electronic stability system.

Cargo & Towing
The cargo area features a clean design that maximizes usable space thanks to minimal wheel-well intrusion and generous underfloor storage space in the two-row model. There's 34.2 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second-row seats, and folding those seats flat creates 78.2 cubic feet of total space. The inclusion of both a strap and handle to close the liftgate is a thoughtful touch. Three-row models have only 10 cubic feet of room behind the third row and lose the larger of the two underfloor storage bins.

The 
Hyundai Santa Fe can tow up to 2,000 pounds without any special preparation, but pulling the maximum 2,800 (GLS) or 3,500 (SE and Limited) pounds requires a Touring Package that includes a transmission cooler, upgraded radiator and fan, and trailer wiring.

Features
The SUV can be equipped with most of the comfort and entertainment features you might expect, including a power sunroof, a power driver's seat with power lumbar adjustment, an Infinity premium sound system and rear-seat video. Two notable options — a navigation system and a rearview camera — aren't offered. Most Santa Fe options are part of packages, which makes it impossible to pick and choose many features individually.

Santa Fe in the Market
With competitors constantly pushing the level of features, technology and refinement with each redesign, I can see how a product planner for midsize SUVs could have a lot of sleepless nights. After driving the Hyundai Santa Fe, it's clear that Hyundai cares about getting the small things right in a vehicle, and it got enough things right in this SUV that those planners should be sleeping just fine these days . . . at least for a few months.

Send Mike an email  

 


2007 Santa Fe Video

Watch MotorWeek on PBS. Check your local listings for time and channel.

Latest 2007 Santa Fe Stories

What Drivers Are Saying

Exterior Styling
(4.7)
Performance
(4.5)
Interior Design
(4.6)
Comfort
(4.4)
Reliability
(4.7)
Value For The Money
(4.8)

Latest Reviews

(4.0)

Very reliable and dependable car!

by Carlover on July 2, 2018

Loved this car for many year!! Was a great first car through college and life! Safe and reliable and worth the money! Everything about this car is safe and I would recommend it for family use! Read full review

(5.0)

Leg room and good gas mileage

by sjbjane from Appleton Wisconsin on June 30, 2018

This car has great leg room front and back seats. The cargo area is a big plus also. Perfect for my busy family. I love the simplicity and clean lines! The one downfall is the beige interior. Read full review

Safety & Recalls

Recalls

The 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe currently has 8 recalls

IIHS Crash and Rollover Test Ratings

Based on 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS

IIHS rates vehicles good, acceptable, marginal, or poor.

Moderate overlap front

Chest
good
Head/Neck
good
Left Leg/Foot
good
Overall Front
good
Restraints
good
Right Leg/Foot
good
Structure/safety cage
good
Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is a nonprofit research and communications organization funded by auto insurers.

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Cars.com Car Seat Check

Certified child passenger safety technicians conduct hands-on tests of a car’s Latch system and check the vehicle’s ability to accommodate different types of car seats. The Santa Fe received the following grades on a scale of A-F.*
* This score may not apply to all trims, especially for vehicles with multiple body styles that affect the space and design of the seating.

Warranty FAQs

What is a Bumper-to-Bumper warranty?

Often called a basic warranty or new-vehicle warranty, a bumper-to-bumper policy covers components like air conditioning, audio systems, vehicle sensors, fuel systems and major electrical components. Most policies exclude regular maintenance like fluid top offs and oil changes, but a few brands have separate free-maintenance provisions, and those that do offer them is slowly rising. Bumper-to-bumper warranties typically expire faster than powertrain warranties.

What is a Powertrain warranty?

Don't be misled a 10-year or 100,000-mile powertrain warranty doesn't promise a decade of free repairs for your car. It typically covers just the engine and transmission, along with any other moving parts that lead to the wheels, like the driveshaft and constant velocity joints. Some automakers also bundle seat belts and airbags into their powertrain warranties. With a few exceptions, powertrain warranties don't cover regular maintenance like engine tuneups and tire rotations.

What is included in Roadside Assistance?

Some automakers include roadside assistance with their bumper-to-bumper or powertrain warranties, while others have separate policies. These programs cover anything from flat-tire changes and locksmith services to jump-starts and towing. Few reimburse incidental costs like motel rooms (if you have to wait for repairs).

What other services could be included in a warranty?

Some automakers include free scheduled maintenance for items such as oil changes, air filters and tire rotations. Some include consumables including brake pads and windshield wipers; others do not. They are typically for the first couple of years of ownership of a new car.

What does CPO mean?

A certified pre-owned or CPO car has been inspected to meet minimum quality standards and typically includes some type of warranty. While dealers and third parties certify cars, the gold standard is an automaker-certified vehicle that provides a factory-backed warranty, often extending the original coverage. Vehicles must be in excellent condition and have low miles and wear to be certified, which is why off-lease vehicles feed many CPO programs.

See also the latest CPO incentives by automaker