Used car buyers looking for a roomy people mover could do far worse than the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe
Being without my own car has its perks. I get a chance to borrow and drive various cars from time to time. I had a couple of appointments in the next town and so I scored a neighbor’s 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe. He bought it two years ago from a seller on Craigslist and he loves it. I can see why.
Hyundai’s popular workhorse
I had to do some serious highway driving, and the 185hp V6 handled it well. Passing and merging were hassle-free. I was cruising through a major speed trap on the main highway at one point and was horrified to discover I was going 15 mph over the speed limit. The Santa Fe doth protest not nearly enough. I had no idea I was going that fast til I checked the speedometer.
While the Santa Fe has taken no vows of silence by any stretch, the engine gave no indication we were humming along at 70 mph in a 55 mph zone.
The four-speed automatic shifted smoothly for the most part, save for a rough shift out of first. Mind you, this car has over 100,000 miles on it, so all was forgiven.
Like others in its segment, the 2007 Santa Fe has plenty of cargo room: 34 cubic feet with the seats up, and 78.2 w/the rear seats folded down. This is the perfect hauler for a growing family that doesn’t want a minivan or full-size SUV.
Front and rear legroom was more than generous. Same goes for headroom. The interior cabin is spacious, with a well-organized center stack. I noticed I could adjust the A/C with my eyes still on the road, a big plus in this land of distracted drivers.
Well-executed interior with space to spare
Since this was a 2007 model, it didn’t have the full tech suite that newer cars have, and for that I was grateful. The controls were clearly labeled, within easy reach, and easy to use. No guesswork. Same went for the cruise control. The aftermarket radio/CD/MP3 player left much to be desired, but the car’s owner swore it was easy to use after a steep learning curve.
This model came equipped with cloth interior. My one complaint about the interior: too much plastic.
Like most SUVs, there is plenty of cup holder space, and a generous center storage unit for change and other goodies.
I was disappointed in the mushy handling. While it scored a 4/5 stars for body roll safety, the Santa Fe felt much less restrained. This SUV felt a little too tippy for my taste. It didn’t feel firm or well-composed.
After all, it is nine years old with some miles on the odometer. However, a Toyota Highlander with similar miles and in the same model year was much more sure and composed when I drove it for comparison.
Family hauling at a bargain price
That being said, if you’re in the market for a used mid-size SUV, you could do far worse than the 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe. The Santa Fe has plenty of cargo space, generous head and legroom, and plenty of compartments and cup holders.
The 2007 Hyundai Santa Fe is the perfect car for a growing family on a budget that needs a roomy car that will run strong and look good while doing so. Prices in the metropolitan Southern California area range from the mid-$7000s to $8500.00, depending on condition and trim line.
Available trim lines: GLS, SE, Limited
Model tested: GLS
Drivetrain: Front wheel drive
Seating: Seats 5 comfortably. Third-row seating available on higher trim lines.
Engine/transmission: 2.7l V6 with 4-speed automatic. Available 5-speed manual