2019 GMC Acadia vs. 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe XL

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The Acadia Denali’s optional 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 GMC Acadia’s middle seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Hyundai Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer comfort guides on its middle seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Acadia are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Acadia has a standard front seat center airbag, which deploys between the driver and front passenger, protecting them from injuries caused by striking each other in serious side impacts. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer front seat center airbags.

Both the Acadia and the Santa Fe XL have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the GMC Acadia is safer than the Hyundai Santa Fe XL:

 

Acadia

Santa Fe XL

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

 

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

138

140

Neck Injury Risk

22%

34%

Neck Stress

162 lbs.

375 lbs.

Neck Compression

16 lbs.

103 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

112/392 lbs.

189/318 lbs.

 

Passenger

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

37%

53%

Neck Stress

152 lbs.

165 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

10/95 lbs.

337/263 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the GMC Acadia is safer than the Hyundai Santa Fe XL:

 

Acadia

Santa Fe XL

 

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.9 inches

.9 inches

Hip Force

253 lbs.

339 lbs.

 

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

42 G’s

51 G’s

 

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

14 inches

15 inches

Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

48 G’s

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

GMC pays for the first scheduled maintenance on the Acadia. GMC will pay for the first oil change, lubrication and any other required maintenance in the first year. Hyundai doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Santa Fe XL.

There are over 2 times as many GMC dealers as there are Hyundai dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Acadia’s warranty.

Engine

The Acadia’s optional 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 20 more horsepower (310 vs. 290) and 19 lbs.-ft. more torque (271 vs. 252) than the Santa Fe XL’s 3.3 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the GMC Acadia V6 is faster than the Hyundai Santa Fe XL:

 

Acadia

Santa Fe XL

Zero to 60 MPH

6.7 sec

7.3 sec

Quarter Mile

15.3 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.6 MPH

89.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

 

 

Acadia

Santa Fe XL

 

2WD

3.6 V6/6-spd. Auto

18 city/25 hwy

18 city/25 hwy

3.3 V6/Auto

 

 

n/a

18 city/23 hwy

3.3 V6/Auto

4WD

2.5 4 cyl./6-spd. Auto

21 city/25 hwy

n/a

 

 

3.6 V6/6-spd. Auto

17 city/25 hwy

18 city/24 hwy

3.3 V6/Auto

 

n/a

17 city/22 hwy

3.3 V6/Auto

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Acadia 4 cyl.’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 Acadia AWD’s standard fuel tank has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Santa Fe XL (21.7 vs. 18.8 gallons).

The Acadia has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the GMC Acadia higher (5 to 6 out of 10) than the Hyundai Santa Fe XL (3). This means the Acadia produces up to 23.4 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Santa Fe XL every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

The Acadia’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 Acadia’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Santa Fe XL (255/65R17 vs. 235/60R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Acadia offers optional 20-inch wheels. The Santa Fe XL’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

The GMC Acadia’s wheels have 6 lugs for longer wheel bearing life, less chance of rotor warping and greater strength. The Hyundai Santa Fe XL only has 5 wheel lugs per wheel.

The Acadia has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Acadia offers an available 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.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Acadia’s wheelbase is 2.3 inches longer than on the Santa Fe XL (112.5 inches vs. 110.2 inches).

The Acadia SLT AWD handles at .82 G’s, while the Santa Fe XL AWD pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Acadia SLT AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the Santa Fe XL AWD (26.9 seconds @ .67 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

The front grille of the Acadia FWD 4 cyl. 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.

The Acadia uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

The Acadia has .4 inches more front headroom, .2 inches more rear headroom, .4 inches more rear shoulder room, 1.5 inches more third row headroom, .2 inches more third row legroom and .4 inches more third row shoulder room than the Santa Fe XL.

Cargo Capacity

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

 

Acadia

Santa Fe XL

Third Seat Folded

41.7 cubic feet

40.9 cubic feet

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

Ergonomics

The Acadia 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.

The Acadia’s optional front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches. The Santa Fe XL’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to lower them fully.

The Acadia’s speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Santa Fe XL’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

When the Acadia with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Santa Fe XL’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Acadia SLT/Denali 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.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Acadia is less expensive to operate than the Santa Fe XL because typical repairs cost less on the Acadia than the Santa Fe XL, including $54 less for a fuel pump, $45 less for front struts and $117 less for a timing belt/chain.

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

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