Forward collision avoidance problems and related engine and powertrain issues are the main cause of complaints received by the NHTSA from vehicle owners
Originally launched in 2000, and now dubbed “the adventurous family SUV,” the Hyundai Santa Fe was the automaker’s first SUV. Now in its fourth generation, Hyundai boasts that it has the “best-in-class safety features,” and incorporates “the most advanced technology.” But, year after year, consumers complain about safety issues and technology that doesn’t work properly. Those driving the 2023 model express fears about “life-threatening hesitation accelerating,” and complain that the emergency brakes have a mind of their own.
Click on other model year to view more problems: 2019 2020 2021 2022
The Most Common Problems
It’s still early days for the 2023 Santa Fe, but by March 2023 it was evident that it hasn’t escaped the acceleration issues that 2022 owners have been facing. Owners see this as an engine and powertrain issue, even though they don’t know what the problem is, and dealers can’t help.
Other complaints to the National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) are varied, with forward collision avoidance being another main topic. There are also several complaints filed as visibility/wiper issues, including cracked windshields.
An owner from Washington filed a complaint in three categories, Vehicle Speed Control, Visibility/Wiper, and Forward Collision Avoidance. The least of his worries seems to be that the automatic wipers are intermittent. But it’s certainly an issue. “The dealership has replaced the windshield sensor and (the) issue is now unreliable at best. The service department told me to simply wipe the sensor off or pour water onto the sensor to get the wipers to work. That seems to work for about 3 wipes and then stops again.”
More dramatic is the fact that “the driver seat changes position by itself while driving, and the advanced cruise control failed to provide any braking. This almost caused me to rear-end a stopped car in freeway traffic. Additionally, the advanced braking system does not work at all… I had the salesman check the settings and they are turned on but do not provide any braking function. The alert system does provide a warning if a car turns a corner in front of me, but fails to take any action.”
2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Complaint Summary
|Number of Complaints
|Unknown Or Other
|Vehicle Speed Control
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Automatic Emergency Braking
|Forward Collision Avoidance: Warnings
Urgent Safety Recall
On March 17, 2023, Hyundai issued an urgent safety recall of more than half a million Santa Fe and Santa Cruz vehicles. The problem is that water accumulates on the tow hitch harness module printed circuit board and this may cause an electrical short. If this happens, the vehicle may catch fire. Hyundai advises owners to park outside and away from structures “until the remedy is completed.”
It isn’t clear when the remedy would be available. But the recall notice, NHTSA Campaign Number 23V181000, states that dealers will inspect the modules and remove the fuse if necessary “as an interim repair.”
2019-2023 Santa Fe vehicles are affected, as well as 2021-2023 Santa Fe HEV, and 2022-2023 Santa Fe Plug-in HEVs. A smaller number (14,933) of Hyundai 2021-2022 Santa Fe Hybrids and 2022-2023 Santa Fe Plug-in Hybrids (PHEVs) along with 2023 Genesis G80 Electric vehicles have been recalled because of a fear that seat belt pretensioners may explode. If they do, the possibility is that metal fragments could be projected into the vehicle, striking and injuring occupants.
Don’t be stuck with a lemon. You have legal rights to cash, return or buyback.
The law makes Hyundai pay legal fees.
We've fixed thousands of lemon problems. Message or call 877-795-3666 today.
Forward Collision Avoidance Problems
Convinced that he bought a lemon on January 14, 2023, a North Carolina owner states, “The front collision detection doesn’t brake to avoid (a) collision. The emergency brake will engage on its own, and it has to be manually disengaged. The parking assist feature will automatically disengage and is unable to engage it. The middle seat in the back seat headrest obstructs a major portion of the rear window, obstructing the driver’s view. It is not the headrest pictured in the Owner’s Manual. It has been in the shop twice.”
Having “owned this lemon of a vehicle” for 34 days, the complainant states that the 2023 Santa Fe “has been in the shop for 10 days and counting.”
An owner from Connecticut describes how he had two experiences. In “normal driving conditions” the “forward collision warning system engaged unexpectedly, (and) braked hard” even though there was “no collision imminent.” He could smell burnt tires. On a second occasion, when he stopped at a traffic light, “the vehicle suddenly warned of (a) forward parking collision.” Additionally, the front camera engaged and a yellow warning was displayed
Powertrain & Engine Problems
There are lots of acceleration issues with the 2022 Santa Fe. So far, the main problem facing 2023 owners is a general failure of the SUV to accelerate.
An owner from Virginia laid a complaint with the NHTSA after this had happened twice. “On December 11 and 12, 2022, my 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited Hybrid failed to accelerate in traffic. In both cases, I was attempting gradual acceleration to change lanes or merge onto another high-traffic street. When I pressed the accelerator nothing happened. On (the) second occasion I could not get any power for several seconds.” Both times, the driver activated hazard signals to avoid collisions with vehicles rapidly approaching from behind in a 50 mph speed zone. The vehicle had only 900 miles on the clock, and the incidents happened less than a month after taking delivery.
Aware that this had happened to other Santa Fe Hybrids, the owner called the dealer. But “they seemed unaware of any problems.”
An owner from Florida also had accelerator issues. He calls it a severe life-threatening hesitation. The complaint states that the “car is unsafe to drive like this and has nearly gotten me and my family killed on numerous occasions.”
There is “sometimes as much as almost a 2-second delay from when you fully step on the accelerator to when it slowly starts to go. No warning lights or bells whatsoever.” The complaint states that it does it in all driving modes but seems to be “especially pronounced when at a dead stop in sport mode. (The) problem seems to have gotten progressively worse the more we have driven it. The Dealership is denying that there’s any problem or issue and didn’t want to make an appointment to look at it.” They “keep trying to tell me this is normal.”
What to do if your 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe is a lemon?
Are you convinced, like the North Carolina owner mentioned above, that you have bought a lemon? If you are, Lemberg Law is available to assess your case free of charge. We are a legal firm that specializes in lemon law cases and we have helped many vehicle owners get worthwhile settlements from automakers because their vehicles were indeed lemons.
The reality is that every year automakers pay back, trade in, or replace vehicles to lemon owners. And the law will make Hyundai pay the lemon law legal fees. All you have to do is call our Helpline or fill out a contact form, and we’ll do what we can to help you.