Advice for buyers
What should I look for in a used Hyundai Santa Fe 4x4?
Reliability is one of the Santa Fe's main strengths. On early examples, the clutch on manual gearboxes could sometimes judder, but the problem was solved in mid-2003 by fitting a modified flywheel. That is pretty much the sum of the car's known faults.
Even so, it isn't designed for serious off-roading, and any Santa Fe that has been used for proper mud-plugging is likely to have sustained damage, so check for any signs of abuse, especially underneath.
For all of its lack of visual appeal, the cabin is solidly bolted together and there are very few reports of electrics giving trouble, but, again, keep an eye out for abuse.
Don't buy unless there's a full history of servicing at reputable garages. It's essential for your reassurance and to improve its resale value, but on Santa Fes younger than five years, it's vital to safeguard your five-year warranty.