The 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe comes in two trim levels: GLS and Limited. The base GLS model includes standard equipment such as side airbags; power windows, mirrors, and door locks; and a CD player. The stereo can be upgraded to a Monsoon sound system with an in-dash CD changer, and a power sunroof provides another option. On the high-end Limited trim, the Monsoon stereo comes standard, along with automatic climate control, leather upholstery, and a trip computer.
Introduced for the 2001 model year, the Hyundai Santa Fe combines the ride and handling of a car with the styling and tall seating position of a truck. Based on Hyundai’s Sonata sedan platform, the Santa Fe offers plenty of room for passengers and cargo. The most significant improvement to the Santa Fe over the years has been the addition of a 3.5-liter V-6 and a five-speed automatic transmission, which greatly improves the Santa Fe’s acceleration. With all-wheel drive, the Santa Fe can handle dirt roads, but those looking for a serious offroad vehicle should look elsewhere. However, if you want a versatile people- and cargo-hauler that can handle the occasional rough track, the Santa Fe offers a great value.
Body Styles: four-door SUV
Engines: 2.7-liter V-6, 3.5-liter V-6
Transmissions: four-speed automatic, five-speed automatic
Models: Hyundai Santa Fe GLS, Hyundai Santa Fe Limited
The 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe adds a new Limited trim level for 2006. This model features leather upholstery, automatic climate control, and a trip computer. The Limited model also comes in an all-black monochromatic color scheme. The base GLS model now features an auto-dimming rear-view mirror.
Built on a 103.1-inch wheelbase, the 2006 Santa Fe stretches wider than many compact SUVs, but has nicely balanced proportions. The Santa Fe measures 177.2 inches long and 66 inches tall.
In keeping with its family friendly performance, the Santa Fe has a softer look than the rugged façade prevalent on other SUVs. A friendly front end with a distinctive, bulging bumper blends smoothly into the flanks. In spite of its smooth lines, the Santa Fe still projects robustness with contrasting body cladding and bumpers and large wheel arches with 16-inch alloy wheels.
The exterior of the Santa Fe got redesigned in 2005 and receives mostly minor adjustments for 2006. New, blacked-out B- and C-pillars make for a more unified-looking profile, and the new Limited model offers an all-black monochromatic color scheme.
The interior of the Santa Fe feels roomy, with comfortable seating for five and a 29.4-cubic-foot cargo bay. With the 60/40-split rear seats folded, cargo room increases to 78 cubic feet. The 2006 Santa Fe interior features a two-tone color scheme, with low-gloss plastics and solid switchgear that give it a high-quality feel. Legroom seems tight in the rear bench seats, which don’t adjust.
Performance & Handling
The base GLS model of the 2006 Hyundai Santa Fe comes standard with a 2.7-liter V-6 that generates 170 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. This engine pairs with a four-speed automatic transmission. A 3.5-liter V-6 that rates at 200 hp and 219 lb-ft of torque remains optional on the GLS and standard on the Limited Model. The 3.5-liter engine couples with a five-speed automatic transmission. Drivers have a choice of front drive or all-wheel drive on both models.
Standard safety equipment on all 2006 Santa Fes includes four-wheel anti-lock disc brakes, traction control, and front side-impact airbags. In the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration’s frontal-impact crash tests, the Santa Fe earns four out of five stars for driver protection and five stars for front-passenger protection. In side-impact tests the Santa Fe gets five stars for front- and rear-passenger protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety rates the Hyundai Santa Fe as ?good? (its highest rating) in frontal-offset crash testing and ?acceptable? (the second-highest score) in side-impact tests.
EPA Fuel Economy
Hyundai Santa Fe 2.7-liter V-6, four-speed automatic: 17/23 mpg city/highway
Hyundai Santa Fe 3.5-liter V-6, five-speed automatic: 16/22 mpg city/highway
Hyundai Santa Fe 2.7-liter V-6, four-speed automatic, all-wheel drive: 16/21 mpg city/highway
Hyundai Santa Fe 3.5-liter V-6, five-speed automatic, all-wheel drive: 15/21 mpg city/highway
- Reasonable price
- Good safety ratings
- Spacious interior
You Won't Like
- Poor fuel economy with the 3.5-liter engine
- No side curtain airbags
- Limited handling ability due to soft suspension
A family friendly compact SUV worth considering.
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