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2002 Hyundai Santa Fe

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2002 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

An ugly duckling that’s really a swan.

Reviewed by Automotive on


The 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe is a combination of car-like drivability, ride, steering, braking, and handling with a truck-like profile and seating height. An optional four-wheel drive completes the deal and offers either a front-drive alternative. The base model has front drive and four-cylinder engine; all others have a V-6. It has standard MacPherson struts in the front and wishbone suspension in the rear to ascertain a car-like ride. It should be popular with budget-minded buyers that are interested in roomy cargo area and good traction in a snowstorm. It's also a great vehicle for daily driving.

The Range

Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 2.7-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Hyundai Santa Fe, Hyundai Santa Fe GLS, Hyundai Santa Fe LX

What's New

The 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe receives standard disc brakes and optional stereo system. According to customer requests, it provides an optional sunroof for LX and GLS models. All models get midyear upgrades including larger vents, stack-mounted clock, chrome accents, and child seat anchors.


The 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe’s wheelbase is 103.1 inches, and its body measures 177.2 inches long. The outer appearance enhances with bulging front fenders, a rear liftgate, and 16-inch tires. Other standard features on all models include a rear defogger, variable intermittent wipers, a roof rack, cargo tie-downs, privacy glass, and a matching full-size spare tire. The upper-level models add a rear wiper to the list of standard features.


The 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe can hold up to five passengers in front bucket seats and a split three-place rear bench. The folding bench seats allow extra cargo space, which increases from its 29 cubic feet behind the seats as it folds down. The legroom and headroom inside is roomy and comfortable for anybody. Standard base model interior features include rear ventilation ducts, air-conditioning, power locks, power windows, power mirrors, cup holders for front and rear, folding center armrest, cloth seats, overhead storage console, tilt steering wheel, front seatback storage, front reading lights, dual vanity mirrors, cargo lights, and a six-speaker stereo with a single CD player. The GLS adds to the list keyless entry, remote door locks, cruise control, cargo net, and a leather steering wheel. The LX provides heated front seats for passenger and driver, electrochromatic rearview mirrors, and climate control.

Performance & Handling

The 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe base model has a 2.4-liter four-cylinder making 138 horsepower that mates with either a manual five-speed or an automatic four-speed transmission. The upper-level models contain a 2.7-liter V-6 that generates 181 horsepower and only teams with the automatic transmission, which has manual shifting functionality. Neither engine is exactly energetic as with most large SUVs. The towing capacity is 3500 pounds, which is decent for the segment. The MacPherson struts situate up front with double-wishbone suspension in the rear, which makes the SUV more car-like.


The 2002 Hyundai Santa Fe is unavailable with anti-lock brakes and side airbags but does provide extra grip for slippery surfaces on permanent all-wheel-drive models.

EPA Fuel Economy

Hyundai Santa Fe Base: 18/25 mpg city/highway
Hyundai Santa Fe GLS: 17/23 mpg city/highway
Hyundai Santa Fe LX: 17/23 mpg city/highway

You'll Like

  • Spacious interior
  • Great warranty
  • Reasonably priced

You Won't Like

  • Unimpressive powertrain
  • Average four-wheel ability

Sum Up

An ugly duckling that’s really a swan.

If You Like This Vehicle

  • Ford Explorer
  • Kia Sorento
  • Hyundai Tucson
  • Dodge Durango
  • Nissan Murano

See the New 2014 Santa Fe.


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