Although the Hyundai Sonata and Santa Fe rank high in initital customer satisfaction, long term reliability has proven to be poor, thus directly affecting resale. Most importantly, if you are looking for value, the resale value of Hyundai is poor, well below the industry average and should be the biggest factor to consider in your decision to buy or not buy a Hyundai. Consider:
Although, the consumer affairs database has yet to compile reports on the Vercruz, the 2008 Santa Fe already has a list a mile long both good and bad points, starting at the very top with depreciation, followed by reliability and issues relating to their warranty.
Most people never consider the real cost of ownership and only see the purchase price. After reviewing the consumer affairs database, you will see the the 2008 Hyundai Santa Fe has a total cost of ownership rating of poor- in 5 years of ownership, this vehicle will have cost you more than $47k, mostly due to poor depreciation. This is something serious to consider when shoping for a "value car.".
Hyundai's seem like a bargin at first, but if the car is worth less then half its value in 2 years time, would you really say that was a good deal?
Consider this- if you pay $24k for a Santa Fe vs $28k for a Toyota RAV4, and the retail value next year for the Santa Fe is $14k but $24k for the Toyota, which was the better value in the first year of ownership?
You can clearly see the Hyundai lost $10k whereas the Toyota lost only $4k. (These are actual figures extrapolated from a consumer database)
Secondly, reliability. Do not be misled by the Hyundai car dealers here who have their biased opinions and would swear up and down about how good "their" Hyundais were even if an engine or transmission blew within the first 40k miles. Despite their origin of assembly, (US or Korea) Hyundai has poor long term reliability which directly effects the resale value, as you can see- nobody wants to own a used Hyundai and they are difficult to sell compared to similar vehicles. Only the Mitsubishi Outlander and Kia Sorento are worse in every aspect.
A quote from a respected automobile journalist--- "Hyundais are better than they were. Sure, there's no arguing with that. But I'm getting a little tired of my colleagues bestowing such radical praise on the Korean carmaker. Don't misunderstand, Hyundai has made great strides. Its engineers deserve credit for taking their products to the next level, and the company's bean counters should be lauded for allowing it to happen.
But let's get real, people. There still isn't a Hyundai around that's as well built or as rewarding to drive as the Toyota, the Honda or the Mazda it competes with. Not the Elantra, not the Sonata and not this Santa Fe.
Oh, sure, it's much improved over the old Santa Fe, but that's like saying she's got nicer feet than Dick Butkus. Hyundai still has a way to go... engine power, transmission refinement, braking ability and ride quality.... As much as I like the way this SUV looks, both inside and out, its depth of engineering and level of refinement remain a few clicks behind the big boys." As you can see the savvy shopper will know Toyota and Honda are still better values no matter how you slice and dice it. It's your money.
I have had two, first hand experiences with Hyundai- a employee in our office bought a new 2006 Hyundai Sonota. Within 15k miles, the tranmission started slipping. Hyundai ran an diagnostic and said nothing was wrong. Not even 3k miles later, the transmission blew and was replaced but of course- NO LOANER CAR and it took 5 days to get a new transmission. Who was stuck with the bill for the rental car? She was. There is a small clause in the warranty that says Hyundai is not responsible for transportation... due to warranty related issues. Amazing. I did not mention the numerous smaller problems like unwarrantied leaking headlamps, that she experienced along the long tedious15k miles.
Next, a company that our company does business with bought a fleet of Santa Fe's and Sonata's (ironically they call them Satan Fee's) for their employees to drive clients around which consists of about 40 employees. To make a long story short-- big mistake. Many failed starts (which resulted in loss of clients), faulty electronics, numerous warped brake rotors (which Hyundai will not replace under warranty) strange suspension noises and body vibrations. All of the problems beg to ask the question is the warranty as good as they make it seem?
Third, the real world MPG of a Hyundai Santa Fe, is notoriously below that of the sticker MPG. Expect to see 14 MPG average city/highway with the 3.3L engine. With gas prices at $3/gal do you really want to fill the tank so often, with Premium (Hyundai recommended) no less? --A tip. If you experience any failure relating to the engine, the first thing they check is the gas- was it premium? If not, they will try to pass the cost on to you for "abuse....and lack of maintenance". Beware.
Additionally, in a recent consumer affairs long term study- Hyundai ranked near the bottom of long term reliability right above, sister co. Kia, Land Rover and Mitsubishi but far behind Toyota, Lexus, Cadillac, GM, and Honda. My suggestion, look at everything before you fall in love with one car.
If you were my friend, I would advise you to avoid Hyundai. Sure, its not the absolute worst vehicle on the road, but if there are better vehicles that are far more reliable and don't depreciate so fast, why buy the Hyundai? Look around and don't forget to consider DEPRECIATION which is part of the real cost of ownership. It's your money.
Just passing along some real first hand information for you to consider. Good Luck.
Automobile Writer, Expert...