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Old 07-06-2011, 08:05 PM
 
2,011 posts, read 3,056,315 times
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A month ago I rented a 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe FWD model with the 2.4L I4, likely a base trim level since it had cloth seats. I had ordered a full-size sedan from Budget but upon walking to the rental garage at McCarran Airport in Las Vegas I was greeted by the Santa Fe. I rented with the intent to have a car for a week to drive around Las Vegas and Southern California.

So I guess I'll start with the interior, since that is where we spent the most time. The interior is an improvement for Hyundai and overall it was very ergonomic, but otherwise it was nothing special. Plenty of faux wood and bits of cheap plastic here and there. The seats were comfortable and supportive...never had issues with leg fatigue. The windshield wiper stalk was not very intuitive. Otherwise no real complaints, but nothing to rave about either.

There is a green ECO light on the dash that comes on every now and then...I have no idea what its purpose was.

As far as the exterior goes, the styling is pleasing if slightly bland. It's not overstyled like the Sonata, and it seems to be aging well.

The 2.4L I4 was gutless for a 3700 lb vehicle. You have to really get on it to get up to speed when merging into traffic and it is quite noisy from the interior. The Santa Fe was equipped with a six speed automatic that had a tendency to hunt for gears. I'm used to driving a low slung sport sedan, so I can't really comment on the Santa Fe's handling other than it felt on par for a top-heavy CUV. Steering was precise however.

The main thing that underwhelmed me about the Santa Fe was the gas mileage. The 2.4L Santa Fe FWD is rated 20/28, but despite nearly 100% highway driving between LA and Vegas and Vegas and Death Valley the best I managed to get was 25.4 mpg. In Vegas stop-and-go traffic I was getting 12-13 mpg, and in non-rush hour traffic around LA I was getting about 16 mpg. This is the opposite experience I had driving a 2010 Fusion V6 on a 1700 mile round trip to Florida where I typically got 1-2 mpg better on the highway than its rated 27 mpg. I read something similar in a comparo of the new Focus and Elantra where the Focus regularly outperformed its rating while the 40 mpg Elantra posted some very disappointing mpg results. It makes me question whether Hyundai is using ideal conditions to test mpg instead of real world conditions.

All-in-all, it was a competent road trip vehicle but not something I would rent again if I had the choice, especially considering its thirstiness.
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Old 07-06-2011, 08:44 PM
 
Location: WA
5,605 posts, read 23,868,162 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mustang84 View Post
...
It makes me question whether Hyundai is using ideal conditions to test mpg instead of real world conditions.
...
As far as I know all testing is done on a dyno using a government mandated procedure. I guess it is possible to build cars that do better in the test than on the road.

For what it is worth my 2011 Sonata turbo is fully capable of achieving the EPA mileage numbers but my driving habits (heavy foot, speeding) usually results in numbers than are 5% - 7% less.
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Old 07-07-2011, 02:36 AM
 
Location: Columbia, California
6,664 posts, read 29,452,219 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mustang84 View Post
A month ago I rented a 2011 Hyundai Santa Fe FWD model with the 2.4L I4,,.
I rented a Santa Fe back in 2007 when I was out of town. Comfortable enough but it the visibility sucked on the front end, hard to park. I would have compensated if I had drove one more. The auto was ok, nothing to get excited about.
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Old 07-07-2011, 10:04 AM
 
Location: Chicago
38,704 posts, read 98,610,166 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mustang84 View Post
. . . I read something similar in a comparo of the new Focus and Elantra where the Focus regularly outperformed its rating while the 40 mpg Elantra posted some very disappointing mpg results. It makes me question whether Hyundai is using ideal conditions to test mpg instead of real world conditions . . .
The manufacturers don't get to state their own mileage ratings, it's determined by the EPA. So then it's a matter of who has and who hasn't yet figured out how to game the EPA's new testing method to maximize the test results. Looks like maybe Hyundai has figured it out.
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:29 AM
 
3,467 posts, read 5,774,328 times
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Wife's 2004 car has 111000 miles and trouble free. Yes its under powered.
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Old 07-08-2011, 12:46 PM
 
279 posts, read 483,084 times
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Owned a 2007 V6 Limited AWD. Had tons of power and drove real nice. I wanted something that gets better gas mileage since I now have a long commute.
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Old 07-08-2011, 08:43 PM
 
Location: Seattle
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Isn't the green eco light supposed to indicate optimum driving conditions?
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Old 07-09-2011, 07:00 PM
 
Location: Denver, CO
3,135 posts, read 11,150,616 times
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If it's like my Kia Optima, the ECO button changes throttle response, shifting, cycles the A/C compressor and a few other things to get optimal gas mileage.
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Old 07-10-2011, 06:55 PM
 
Location: Still in Portland, Oregon, for some reason
890 posts, read 3,512,989 times
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To the OP...how many miles did the car have on it? If it was under 10,000 or so, it wasn't quite broken in enough to get optimal mileage but once past 10K, they'll easily do better than sticker. I know a few people with the 4-cylinder SF who routinely get 31-33 MPG on the highway. I sprung for the V6 for the exact reason you complained about. In fact, I didn't even test drive the 4-banger...the numbers told me everything I needed to know.

Edit: I'm curious as to what you found to be unintuitive about the wiper stalk? Seems pretty straight-forward to me....but then again every one of my cars has had that same kind of stalk so I am used to them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by IDASpaceman View Post
Isn't the green eco light supposed to indicate optimum driving conditions?
Yes. I found the ECO light to be incredibly irritating plus it makes me drive in a way that irritates everybody else to the point of wanting to commit murder so the one in mine stays off.

Last edited by rosecitywanderer; 07-10-2011 at 07:34 PM..
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