$8,364 - $11,014

2012 Hyundai Santa Fe Interior Review

Note: This interior review was created when the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe was new.


Interior: 7.8

Many reviewers note that the 2012 Santa Fe's interior has a high-quality look, especially for its price. It suffers from some low-quality materials, but overall, test drivers say it’s a good value.

  • "Wind and road noise are noticeable, but they never rise to objectionable levels.” -- Consumer Guide


The Hyundai Santa Fe can seat five, and has two sets of Lower Anchors and Tethers for Children (LATCH) child seat connectors in the outboard rear seats. Reviewers are generally happy with the Santa Fe's seats. Leather-trimmed seats are standard on SE and Limited models, while heated front seats are optional on the SE and standard on the Limited. Test drivers note that even though the second row doesn’t slide forward or backward like it does in other SUVs, there’s generally plenty of legroom for adult-sized passengers. Buyers looking for a third row should note that the Santa Fe stopped offering one in 2010. Look instead at the Kia Sorento, which offers an optional third row for shoppers who occasionally need seating for seven.

  • "The leather upholstery on one test vehicle looked a bit rumpled and aged, which was disappointing considering it had only about 5,000 miles on the odometer.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "Up front, the unnaturally high seating position may feel awkward to some drivers, and long-legged drivers will likely find the short bottom cushions don't provide enough thigh support. The rear seat gets higher marks for comfort, though it lacks the ability to slide and recline as those in many other crossovers can.” -- Edmunds

Interior Features

Though the 2012 Hyundai Santa Fe is by no means the most upscale in its class, test drivers say its interior is functional, easy-to-use and fairly attractive. However, like many affordable SUVs, beware of some hard plastics and low-quality materials.

The base trim comes well-equipped with a six-speaker stereo with satellite radio, an auxiliary input jack and a USB port, steering wheel audio controls and Bluetooth phone linking. Trade up to the SE and you’ll get a leather steering wheel and shift knob, as well as the option to add a touch-screen navigation system. Go for the top-of-the-line Limited model and you’ll add a six-disc CD changer, dual-zone climate control and a HomeLink integrated garage door opener. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer many high-tech options, and a rear DVD entertainment system isn’t available.

  • “Like the exterior, the Santa Fe's passenger cabin is on the plain side, with clear, easy-to-read gauges and simple, user-friendly controls. The quality of the materials is decent enough, with cheap-feeling hard plastics broken up by strategically placed bits of softer materials.” -- Edmunds
  • "Even with the navigation system, most controls are simple and straight forward. The touchscreen's virtual buttons aren't as large as those on rival SUVs, which means accessing some functions can be a bit fiddly. One test vehicle suffered from a malfunctioning iPod cable that wouldn't detect a connected player.” -- Consumer Guide


Many reviewers are impressed with the 2012 Santa Fe’s cargo space, which is fairly large for a five-seat SUV. It provides 34.2 cubic feet of space with all seats in use and 78.2 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down. A three-row SUV like the Toyota Highlander provides more total space -- 95.4 cubic feet with both the second and third rows folded down -- but provides less when you bring passengers into the mix. It provides only 10.3 cubic feet behind its third row and 42.3 cubic feet with that row folded down.

  • "Roomy and flexible cargo hauling is a Santa Fe strong suit. Large under-floor storage bins provide welcome security, and the rear seat backs fold nearly flat to accommodate bulky items. Interior storage is very good thanks to a two-tier center armrest, large door pockets, and a bin located ahead of the transmission shifter.” -- Consumer Guide
  • "When it comes to schlepping stuff instead of people, the Santa Fe shines with 78 cubic feet of cargo room with the rear seatbacks folded down. That number beats the CR-V, RAV4 and Forester and actually comes pretty close to larger midsize models like the Ford Explorer.” -- Edmunds

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