2003 Hyundai Santa Fe Reviews and Owner Comments

2003 Hyundai Santa Fe owners review and rate their 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe.

2003 Hyundai Santa Fe (13 Reviews)
Body, Interior & Misc.
Drive Train
Electrical & Lights
Exhaust & Emissions
Heating & Air Conditioning
Suspension & Steering
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I have 301,000 miles on my Hyundai Santa Fe with the original engine and transmission. No major work done on either. But I knew that when I hit the 300K mark, the doors would fall off and the engine oil would all leak out, etc. Well, after the last oil change at 300K, the oil is now all leaking out. :-( Guess it's time for a new Santa Fe... Oh...and I got oil changes as required always at Jiffy Lube.
This vehicle has been a 9 month nightmare!
I purchased new in 2003 everything was perfect until 90 thousand miles.
ABS pump failed had to replace.
AC compressor pump failed had to replace.
Alternator failed had to replace.
Power steering leaking from undercarriage....Electrical issue...I'm working on fixing those next month.
Now if I didn't have the skill to fix this nightmare known as 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe I would be paying a lots & lots of money out in labor to repair center/Dealer
In parts Ive already spent well over 1000.00.
I'm selling this peace of junk next year will never buy another Hyundai

I drive a standard transmission Santa Fe with 200 thousand miles and still going good. This vehicle ages gracefully, without the noise and the quirks of many others. As long as oil is changed every 5000 miles, timing belt replaced every 75 thousand miles and tranny oil replaced every 100 thousand miles, this car will keep ticking. AC compressor and starter motor are not as good as the rest of the car, need replacement more often than the usual 100K miles. The starter sits below the exhaust manifold, keeps very hot and does not last as it should. The suspension is very smooth, a quiet and comfortable ride. Fuel economy is above average for an SUV. This car does not like ethanol gasoline. It is pretty high and its wheelbase rather narrow, so it rolls over easier, must be driven carefully, especially in sharp curves.
I bough my Santa Fe new in 2003 and frankly it has almost 90,000 miles on it and it has only cost me about $400.00 in repairs outside of regular maintance. The Warranty is amazing! My CV Joints went at 84,000 and the dealer replaced them at no cost. I will probably buy a Tuscon when I can afford a new car.
The person who said the card is great until 100,000 miles is right on. The car was great until it hit the 120K mark. The AC Compressor went and now at 140K, the transmission is going. Not happy.
It seems the people who love this car have not hit the 100,000 mile mark. After that expect water pump to blow, ac compressor to fail, coils to need changing, and new timing belt system. Wow that is expensive! I am at 120,000 and just got the estimate for the ac compressor $1,085.39 dollars. Yikes!
bought used in 2008 with about 53K on it from a Hyundai dealer, by fall 2009 the blow hose blew every seal in the transfer case, there was no ATF left in the car and the case had to be rebuilt costing quite a bit of money...there is a TSB out on this but they wont put it as a recall. My speakers in the front doors are shot and the electrical is so messed up we cant properly replace the speakers ourselves because speakers from an auto store only half work once installed. In having it for not even 3 yrs I'm on my 3rd or 4th gas cap cuz it turns the check engine light on with an EVAP leak. Oh and "simple" maintence of spark plugs is a 6-7 hr job by a mechanic and costs about $700 is the current estimates due to the burying of the rear 3 plugs by Hyundai...I will NEVER get another Hyundai
Bought new in 03. 165,000+ miles. Keep the maintenance up. Had some issues initially with EGR and rough running, took 3 tries but fixed under warranty. Had power steering fixed twice. Had to replace AC compressor. Windshield washer quit 3 years ago. Having an issue with the dash lights, they go off sometimes, slap the switch or turn the lights off and one and it starts working again. Overall been a pretty good car. I'm 64 so not all of my standard equipment works 100% either.
Bought my 2003 Hyundai Santa Fe in 2007 with 54,000 miles. No repair issues whatsoever. Runs like a champ with 83,000miles on it now. I service it and it runs well. I will buy another one to replace this one some day.
We bought this Santa Fe 2003 new from day one. One recall and it was fixed by Hyundai, had to do with brakes and ABS. It handles well in snow with 4x4 package. Now the bad stuff. Cruise control and speedometer stopped working, this was fixed by Hyundai. Steering hoses started to leak fluids, replaced at my cost. It cost me over $275 to replace 6 spark plugs. Doing so, you have to replace the exhaust manifold gasket, when removed to change out plugs. Starting having issues with air bag light coming on. This was fixed under warranty, but the light came on again a year later and it was fixed by dealer under warranty. Now a year later and the air bag light is on again for the third time and its now out of warranty. I'm told that the air bag may fail to work in a collision if air bag light continues to stay lite. The AC comes on when it wants too, even if you have it in the off position. I still get 25-29 mpg highway. Now the check engine light comes on every time we fill up with gas. I replaced the gas cap with a new one and the check engine light went off for about a week, but now its back on again. It has an awesome stereo system. But I would not recommend taking this Santa Fe for long trips, its hard on your back and legs. The seats are not very comfortable. Would I buy another Santa Fe, probably not.
Great car. Exceedingly reliable. We have nearly 65,000 miles on ours and have never had a single problem or issue with this vehicle.

Personally, I don't think the vehicle is super attractive on the outside, though my husband really likes how it looks, but the interior (minus the fabric on the seats) is nicely designed and comfy. We're both tall people and we're both comfortable driving and riding in the car, even for long distances.

Super reliable. Other than basic maintenance, this car has cost us next to nothing to operate. Plus, it gets great gas mileage for an SUV (we only have to fill up once or twice a month, at most...and we live in Los Angeles!).

We're going to keep this car until its wheels fall off (which, as far as we can predict, won't happen unti it has at least 400,000 miles on the odometer); it's just a great car.
With the exception of brakes I find this vehicle to be a very good one. At 50160 miles I had the pad on my front left brake drop off on the road. Subsequent brake job revealed five of the eight pads completely unbonded to their backer plates. Average mileage since I drove it off the lot is 24.6 mpg. and about 1/3 is town driving.