The 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe has been particularly popular with buyers due to its lengthy list of standard features combined with Hyundai's long and generous warranty. However, initial models of this crossover SUV don't perform as well as competitors and only win on price. Hyundai introduced the Santa Fe in 2001 as a midsize crossover SUV. This particular class of vehicle remains one of the most popular with buyers. Such crossover vehicles offer the spaciousness and functional features associated with a traditional SUV combined with the fuel economy, handling, and quality associated with a car.
Hyundai produces the 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe with a keen eye on the competition, and as such it makes a midsize SUV that proves very drivable, with good steering and handling capabilities, combined with a truck-like appearance and height. The downside remains that its rivals often look a lot nicer and tend to have a much nicer build quality with less plastic inside.
Consumers report very few problems, even on models with higher mileage. It makes a good and economical choice for busy families who need to transport lots of luggage and supplies. Minor complaints include poor fuel economy, but it is a large, heavy SUV. Overall however, the 2004 Honda Santa Fe has most features that drivers want and a price tag to match, which make it an excellent choice.
Body Styles: SUV
Engines: 2.4-liter four-cylinder, 3.5-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed manual
Models: Honda Santa Fe Base, Honda Santa Fe LX, Honda Santa Fe GLS
Now a standard on all the LX models and an optional feature for the GLS model, Honda offers the 3.5-liter V-6 engine.
The Santa Fe has offered three choices of models which include the base, the GLS, and the LX. Some think of the exterior as a little odd, but most SUV owners love the Santa Fe. A wide array of colors personalizes the appearance as well as wheel-size options for the vehicle. All models have 16-inch alloy wheels but bigger ones can be added as an option. Jumbo fog lights enhance the sporty look of the GLS model.
Standard interior features for the 2004 Honda Santa Fe include air-conditioning, power windows, a CD player, dark-tinted glass, four-wheel disc brakes, and a driver's seat with adjustable height and lumbar support. GLS models feature cruise control, remote keyless entry, and power door locks. The LX edition comes with leather seating, traction control, and anti-lock brakes.
Performance & Handling
The base model contains a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder engine, which produces 138 hp and 147 lb-ft of torque and uses front drive. It comes with either a five-speed manual transmission or a four-speed automatic transmission with a manual shift mode. The GLS and the LX models employ a 3.5-liter, V-6 engine that produces 173 hp and 182 lb-ft of torque, and this engine remains, by far, the more popular choice and pairs with a standard five-speed automatic transmission. Choosing the smaller engine means essentially buying an underpowered car.
EPA fuel economy rates at 18/25 mpg city/highway and 20 mpg combined for the 2.4-liter engine for both automatic and manual transmissions and 14/20 mpg city/highway or 17 mpg combined for the 3.5-liter engine. As the 2004 Santa Fe weighs in at a hefty 3500 pounds, the V-6 engine provides a necessity rather than a luxury. The Santa Fe proves inadequate for anyone who needs to do a lot of offroad driving, as it clears the ground by just 7.4 inches.
Side airbags come standard in every model. The Hyundai Santa Fe performs reasonably well in government crash tests, scoring four out of five stars for passenger protection and five stars for driver protection and side-impact front protection. In frontal offset tests it achieves the highest rating of ?good,? but only rates as acceptable in side-impact tests. For rear crash protection and head restraints it achieves a poor score. In general, the build quality is good, and it has a very good history of reliability.
EPA Fuel Economy
Honda Santa Fe Base: 18/25 mpg city/highway
Honda Santa Fe LX: 14/20 mpg city/highway
Honda Santa Fe GLS: 14/20 mpg city/highway
- High scores on impact tests
- Good warranty
- Solid construction
- Plenty of standard features
- Spacious interior
- Reasonable price
You Won't Like
- Handling compromised by suspension
- Underpowered base engine
Despite its odd design, it offers comfort, space, performance, features, and value.
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