The Santa Fe is a well-equipped and pleasant car-based SUV that rides comfortably and quietly. It also has a refined powertrain and a nicely finished cabin. Handling is not particularly agile, though secure. Further, weight takes a toll on acceleration and fuel economy, plus interior volume is less roomy than it might appear to be on the outside. A tip-up in government rollover tests is cause for concern.
There are 3 recalls on this vehicle. Learn More.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Consumer Reports’ Annual Owner Satisfaction Survey can improve the chances of finding a compatible car match. How? Our survey data reveals whether, all things considered, owners would buy the same car again. The answer to that question is what determines our owner-satisfaction rating, which is a powerful piece of intel because it predicts how well a particular model will satisfy other owners.

Overall Owner Satisfaction

Owner Satisfaction with:

Driving Experience

Includes acceleration and handling

What Owners Say

"If stopped, when I accelerate slowly there is a clanging noise in the front. Metal on metal."

Anonymous, NV (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"Acceleration is fine. Cornering feels unstable"

Anonymous, ID (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"The acceleration is just fine. My only objection is it has a large blind spot on both sides of the car. I have had a few very close calls. I have found the safest thing to do is to lean forward and recheck the rear view mirrors."

JOANN H., UT (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"Quick response in acceleration and eade in handling."

JOSEPH A., SC (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"It has great acceleration, easily keeping up with brand new cars on the road. Even after 13 years and over 160,000 miles, it still handles corners almost like a new car, with only minor "creaking" due to its normal aging."

Scott D., CO (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"4 cyl but has good response when starting and handling"

Anonymous, NC (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"1-10 scale,8 on acceleration and handling"

Donnie L., TX (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)


Includes seats, climate control, noise, and ride

What Owners Say

"Too much road noise. Seats are a bit hard. Feels top heavy when cornering. Extremely quick steering"

Anonymous, ID (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"I am tall and find the seats very comfortable. My Santa Fe is high enough off the ground to make it easy for me to get in and out. The AC works great and consistently. The ride is smooth & noise unremarkable."

JOANN H., UT (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"It is a little noisy when driving. The molding on the inside window keeps coming off."

CLARENCE A., UT (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"The AC and the heating system have not worked for almost 10 years and I have brought it for repairs and they can't seem to fix the problem"

ERIC K., NY (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"My santa fe lost power, battery light came on and the noise from the engine was awful. I was afraid to drive it anywhere. It sat in the driveway for months and last Friday I traded it in for another suv. I was tired of having to pay to tow to repair. It was my favorite car because it had such a good ride, not bumpy. when I was not 12 yrs old I did not have any trouble with it and that I really a plus because all other cars I have had always gave me trouble when new or two or three years old. The"

Anonymous, AR (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"Way too much road noise."

Anonymous, AZ (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"I wish the drivers seat went back further as I have long legs. However the newer version, that I have driven has better room."

Anonymous, ME (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"The front seats are not comfortable on long drives. Otherwise, the car is quite good."

Anonymous, AL (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"Easy entry and comfortable seating. Comfortable, quiet, and smooth ride."

JOSEPH A., SC (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"Both my wife and I hate the excessive road noise while driving. I would not take it on a long trip. Our Tahoe gets slightly better gas mileage on long trips and is far more quiet, rides better, and carries more and can pull more when needed. I was however impressed with how the Hyundai handled snow covered streets and hills the very few times it had to deal with those."

FRAN B., WA (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"I love the seats in my Santa Fe. The seat belt does cut across my neck, but I have a fix for that. It is a little bit noisy. The ride has never been what I would call smooth, but it is not as bad as riding in a truck."

Arlene C., GA (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"Seats are uncomfortable on long drives"

Cindy W., TX (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"The seat adjustments are only good with people who are average height. Long legs are a problem if you are the driver. The seats are getting to the point where sitting for long distances will make your bum ache."

Linda B., CA (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"On a 1-10 scale,9 on seats,8 on noise,8 on ride"

Donnie L., TX (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"Like everything except the vehicle could have used more sound insulation."

Robert D., FL (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)


Did you get what you wanted relative to the price you paid?

What Owners Say

"Inflation was huge at the time of the buy."

ROBERT D., MA (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"We got good buys on both cars when we bought them and have gotten consistently good performance."

JOHN M., FL (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"reliable car with hardly any repairs. This is an old model for second car just right for us"

HARTMUT W., AZ (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"I would buy this car again but from a different dealer. One close call due to a spring or spacer at front wheels/shocks. The piece broke while I was doing 65 mph on congested expressway in the passing lane - the broken pieces cut my tire but I was able to move to the shoulder area. 2 years later, learned this piece earned a recall by Hyundai. Otherwise, no engine or transmission issues in 13 years. Replaced radiator once. Replaced the headlight lenses and except for the rust that appeared..."

Kate M., MA (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"Excellent vehicle for the money with excellent gas mileage. Have no major problems with vehicle. Looses power climbing hill re the 4 cylinder"

Anonymous, WA (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"This has been an incredibly reliable car. A really, really solid car. The only problem is a broken weld on the heat shield (from our internet sleuthing) which, according to the internet, there is no remedy, except having the entire heat shield removed, which we weren't going to do. So it rattled pretty good for awhile a few years ago, but hasn't been as noisy the last few years. Besides that, all it's needed has been oil and a battery or two."

James L., CA (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"Bought new in 2004, have over 400K miles and have only three major repairs in that time - replaced the radiator, a wheel bearing and the alternator. Extremely reliable, would buy another if Hyundai hadn't changed the line."

P W., PA (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"still driving it after 14 years and have nothing major performed on this vehicle except tires and fanbelt squeak"

Anonymous, NC (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)


How it looks inside and out

What Owners Say

"Paints clear coat did not last, I have a flat black color car right now. Not shiny. The paint is also chipping in some places."

ANN E., TX (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"The vehicle still looks brand new - it even looks 100% better than the new models in styling and has better capacity."

DEBORAH A., WA (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"The front end looks like an insect and not attractive. The newer models look much sharper."

Anonymous, ME (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"All wheel drive"

Anonymous, NY (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

"good styling but gas milage was more inportent at the time"

Anonymous, CT (2004 Hyundai Santa Fe)

Would you buy this car again?

2004 vehicles
Acura MDX
Chevrolet TrailBlazer
Ford Explorer
GMC Envoy
Honda Pilot
Hyundai Santa Fe
Jeep Grand Cherokee
Lexus GX
Lexus RX
Mercury Mountaineer
Toyota 4Runner
Toyota Highlander
Percentage of owners who would definitely purchase that same vehicle again. Owner-satisfaction Ratings are determined by the percentage of those who answered "definitely yes" to the question asked by the Consumer Reports Annual Auto Survey "Considering all factors (price, performance, reliability, comfort, enjoyment, etc.), would you get this car if you had to do it all over again?". If we don’t have sufficient data, a similar model might be used to form the owner-satisfaction score.
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