2019 BMW X7 vs. 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe XL

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The X7’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

For enhanced safety, the middle seat shoulder belts of the BMW X7 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Hyundai Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

The X7 has standard Post-Crash Braking, which automatically apply the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

To provide maximum traction and stability on all roads, All-Wheel Drive is standard on the X7. But it costs extra on the Santa Fe XL.

The X7’s driver alert monitor detects an inattentive driver then sounds a warning and suggests a break. According to the NHTSA, drivers who fall asleep cause about 100,000 crashes and 1500 deaths a year. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the X7 and the Santa Fe XL have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras and available around view monitors.

The BMW X7 weighs 1192 to 1600 pounds more than the Hyundai Santa Fe XL. The NHTSA advises that heavier vehicles are much safer in collisions than their significantly lighter counterparts.

Warranty

The X7’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Santa Fe XL’s (12 vs. 7 years).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X7 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Hyundai doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Santa Fe XL.

Reliability

The battery on the X7 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the X7’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Santa Fe XL’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked 8th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks BMW 2 places higher in reliability than Hyundai.

Engine

The X7 xDrive40i’s standard 3.0 turbo 6 cyl. produces 45 more horsepower (335 vs. 290) and 78 lbs.-ft. more torque (330 vs. 252) than the Santa Fe XL’s 3.3 DOHC V6. The X7 xDrive50i’s standard 4.4 turbo V8 produces 166 more horsepower (456 vs. 290) and 227 lbs.-ft. more torque (479 vs. 252) than the Santa Fe XL’s 3.3 DOHC V6.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the X7 gets better fuel mileage than the Santa Fe XL:

MPG

X7

AWD

xDrive40i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

20 city/25 hwy

Santa Fe XL

FWD

3.3 DOHC V6

18 city/25 hwy

Ultimate 3.3 DOHC V6

18 city/23 hwy

AWD

3.3 DOHC V6

18 city/24 hwy

Ultimate 3.3 DOHC V6

17 city/22 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the X7’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the X7’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The X7 has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Santa Fe XL (21.9 vs. 18.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

An eight-speed automatic is standard on the BMW X7, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Santa Fe XL.

The X7’s launch control uses engine electronics to hold engine RPM’s precisely in order to provide the most stable and rapid acceleration possible, using all of the available traction. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer launch control.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the X7’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Santa Fe XL:

X7 xDrive40i

X7 xDrive50i

X7 M Sport

Santa Fe XL

Front Rotors

13.7 inches

14.7 inches

15.6 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.6 inches

14.6 inches

14.6 inches

11.9 inches

The X7’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Santa Fe XL are solid, not vented.

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the X7 has larger standard tires than the Santa Fe XL (285/45R21 vs. 235/60R18). The X7’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Santa Fe XL (F:275/40R22 & R:315/35R22 vs. 235/60R18).

The X7’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 45 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Santa Fe XL SE’s standard 60 series tires. The X7’s optional 275/40R22 front and 315/35R22 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Santa Fe XL Ultimate’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X7 has standard 21-inch wheels. Smaller 18-inch wheels are standard on the Santa Fe XL SE. The X7’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Santa Fe XL Ultimate.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X7 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling

The front and rear suspension of the X7 uses air springs for a smoother, controlled ride than the Santa Fe XL, which uses coil springs. Air springs maintain proper ride height and ride more smoothly.

The X7 has a standard driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Santa Fe XL’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The X7 has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The X7’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X7’s wheelbase is 12 inches longer than on the Santa Fe XL (122.2 inches vs. 110.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the X7 is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 2.6 inches wider in the rear than on the Santa Fe XL.

Chassis

The front grille of the X7 uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

Passenger Space

The X7 has 2 inches more front headroom, .6 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more third row headroom and 2.4 inches more third row legroom than the Santa Fe XL.

Cargo Capacity

The X7’s cargo area provides more volume than the Santa Fe XL.

X7

Santa Fe XL

Third Seat Folded

48.6 cubic feet

40.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

90.4 cubic feet

80 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers or raises the X7’s second and third row seats, to make changing between cargo and passengers easier. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The X7’s rear cargo window opens separately from the rest of the tailgate door to allow quicker loading of small packages. The Santa Fe XL’s rear cargo window doesn’t open.

Towing

The X7’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Santa Fe XL’s (7500 vs. 5000 pounds).

Servicing Ease

The engine in the X7 is mounted longitudinally (North-South), instead of sideways, as in the Santa Fe XL. This makes it easier to service and maintain, because there are no rear spark plugs and the accessory belts are in front.

J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that BMW service is better than Hyundai. J.D. Power ranks BMW 8th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 43% lower rating, Hyundai is ranked 22nd.

Ergonomics

The X7 offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

Unlike the driver-only memory seat and mirrors in the Santa Fe XL Ultimate, the X7 offers an optional passenger memory, so that when drivers switch, the memory setting adjusts the driver’s seat, steering wheel position, outside mirror angle, climate settings and radio stations and the front passenger seat also adjusts to the new passenger’s preset preferences.

The X7 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The X7’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Santa Fe XL’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The X7’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Santa Fe XL’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

When the X7 is put in reverse, the passenger rearview mirror tilts from its original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirror into its original position. The Santa Fe XL’s mirror doesn’t automatically adjust for backing.

The X7 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Santa Fe XL offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The X7 has standard heated front and optional heated second and third row seats, which keep the driver and passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer a third-row heated seat.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the BMW X7 has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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