'08 Hyundai Santa Fe - iPod adapter?

We’re looking to replace a 2003 Saturn Vue and after two test drives (also looked at Subaru Forester & Toyota RAV4) we like the Hyundai the best but it does not have an audio jack to listen to an iPod (the others do). The incentives now are so good on this car that we don’t want to discount it based only on that issue.

Our local Best Buy store told us to check out icarkits.com, and they do have a compatible adapter for the Santa Fe, but adding this will void the original warranty for the radio. We’re wondering about the potential for damage due to adding this adapter.

We heard that the '09 Santa Fe will include an audio jack… does anyone know if this is true?

Thanks in advance!

There should be '09 Sante Fes on the dealer’s lot. Look inside one and see if there’s an iPod adapter.

There is almost zero chance this adapter will damage your radio. However you have other choices too.

I can think of some alternatives:

  1. Get a cassette tape deck and buy a $6 cassette adapter at Walmart.

  2. Buy an FM transmitter that plugs into your 12 volt outlet. This doesn’t work as well as a direct connection, but it is an inexpensive solution.

  3. Check out http://shop.sirius.com/edealinv/servlet/ExecMacro?nurl=control/MerchandisingHome.vm&ctl_nbr=2640&viewType=SiriusConnectInterfaces . Sirius sells several adapters for their satellite radios that use the same interface as an MP3 player.

  4. Upgrade your radio at Best Buy. This way you don’t have to worry about the warranty on the stock radio.

  5. Buy an inverter and plug your MP3 player either into a nice set of computer speakers with a sub-woofer or a sound system that is designed to amplify an MP3 player. The inverter will allow you to power the speakers with your 12 volt power outlet.

I think the best idea is to get the salesperson to agree to a price. Then tell the salesperson you want a free radio upgrade thrown into the deal and you want it to include an interface for your iPod.


Thank you so much for all the suggestions.

#1 - not sure where I can even go to buy a cassette tape deck – I thought nobody sold them anymore :slight_smile:
#2 - Tried this and all I get is static
#3 - I assume this is only if we have XM radio (which we don’t plan to subscribe to)
#4 - We have seriously considered this as an option.
#5 - What is an inverter? I like this idea…assuming my local Best Buy will know about the inverter.

I like your idea of getting the dealer to throw in a free radio upgrade!

I really appreciate you taking the time to answer my questions – thanks again!


That would obviously work, if anybody had an '09 on the lot. The two dealers we visited in our area don’t have any '09s and said they don’t know when they will get delivery…they said it could be later this month…or June!

Thanks anyway!

  1. I was thinking maybe the new stock radio had one. I am obviously living in the past. Perhaps you could find one used? It still won’t be as good as a direct connection.

  2. It isn’t easy to get a clear signal. I have some tips that have helped me use one in my car (98 Civic). I have lowered my antenna and placed the transmitter right on the dashboard next to the radio. You really have to experiment to find a good frequency and I sometimes have to change the frequencies while on long trips.

  3. No, you don’t need an XM radio for this option. These devices connect a satellite radio or an iPod directly to the antenna plug in the back of the radio. They are probably just like the device the guy at Best Buy wants to sell you.

An inverter is a device that plugs into your 12 volt power outlet (or cigarette lighter) to which you can attach a household electric device with a two or three prong plug. It converts electricity from DC to AC. They have basic units available at Walmart and nicer ones at truck stops. Keep in mind that this isn’t very efficient. You will be converting power from DC to AC, and then back from AC to DC if the speakers have one of those big square electrical cords. There will also be wires visible.

Thanks again Whitey. You’ve been very helpful. Hope you don’t mind if I ask just a few more questions…

I see what you’re saying about the inverter…although what exactly do you mean by “isn’t very efficient”? Do you mean it’ll be a huge drag on the battery or that the power might not be quite enough to run the speakers well? Needless to say I have no knowledge of electrical/audio.

We do have a portable iPod speaker device, but it’s sort of heavy and clumsy to use while driving. Both car adapters I saw online (on icarkits and a DICE model) look like they just plug into the back of the radio – but should probably be professional installed. Heard anything about either of these? http://www.icarkits.com/advanced_search_result.php?vehicle=37|334|2008&set_vehicle=1&sort=4d
universal car integration kit, http://www.diceelectronics.com/Merchant/merchant.mvc?Screen=PROD&Store_Code=DETEST01&Product_Code=i-FM-RDS

Or we could just buy a Toyota RAV 4 which already has an audio jack.

Off topic, do you have any thoughts on Hyundais, specifically the Santa Fe? Consumer Reports has great things to say about this car, but one local guy (his dad runs a car repair shop) told me “Don’t buy a Hyundai”. So I was hoping he was talking about older models…

I don’t know enough about Hyundais to offer an opinion. I knew people who owned Hyundais in the 1980s who were happy with them back then, so if you like the car, I don’t really see a reason not to go for it.

That FM transmitter is way overpriced. You can find them much cheaper at Walmart. Most of the cheaper models take batteries, but they have a receptacle for plugging it in for power if you buy a universal 12 volt adapter.

That $159 connection kit seems overpriced too, especially when you add the labor of a professional installation. For that price, you can upgrade the radio at Best Buy.

That universal car integration kit is also overpriced. Walmart has all of these items for much less money.

I don’t mean to suggest that the inverter won’t perform well or that it will be a significant drag on the battery. Any inverter that plugs into the 12 volt outlet won’t overtax your battery (as opposed to those that connect directly to the battery). I am just suggesting that buying a universal 12 volt adapter and using it to power the speakers would be more efficient than converting DC to AC to DC. Sometimes that isn’t an option though.

In terms of sound quality and simplicity, I think you should either get a model that comes with a direct connection or upgrade to a radio that has it. The options I mentioned are really kind of unsightly when it comes to gadgets and wires all over the place. I used some of these methods when I was a company truck driver and I use some of these methods now because my car is 11 years and has 183,000 miles on it. I can’t see spending that kind of money on a car that old. You, however, are getting a new car. You should get something that meets your needs or invest in an upgrade now when you will have a long time to enjoy it.