2019 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2019 Ford Escape

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Santa Fe and Escape have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The Santa Fe has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Escape’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

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 Santa Fe SEL Plus/Limited/Ultimate are reminded to check the back seat when a sensor determines the back seat is occupied. The Escape doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Santa Fe has standard Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Escape offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature that would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Santa Fe has a standard Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Escape doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Santa Fe Ultimate has a standard Surround View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Escape only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that flash a light and beep. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Santa Fe and the Escape have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras and available all-wheel drive.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Hyundai Santa Fe is safer than the Escape:

 

Santa Fe

Escape

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

2 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

POOR

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

0%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

For its top level performance in IIHS driver and passenger-side small overlap frontal, moderate overlap frontal, side impact, roof strength and head restraint tests, its standard front crash prevention system, and its headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Santa Fe its highest rating: “Top Pick Plus” for 2019, a rating granted to only 36 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Escape was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

Warranty

The Santa Fe comes with a full 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24-hour roadside assistance. The Escape’s 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Santa Fe 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Ford covers the Escape. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Escape ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Santa Fe’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Escape’s (7 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked fifth.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2018 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 28 more problems per 100 vehicles, Ford is ranked 16th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Ford vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 8 places higher in reliability than Ford.

Engine

The Santa Fe has more powerful engines than the Escape:

 

Horsepower

Torque

Santa Fe 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

185 HP

178 lbs.-ft.

Santa Fe 2.0T 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

235 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Escape 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

168 HP

170 lbs.-ft.

Escape 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

179 HP

177 lbs.-ft.

The Santa Fe’s 2.2 turbo diesel produces 22 more horsepower (190 vs. 168) and 152 lbs.-ft. more torque (322 vs. 170) than the Escape’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. The Santa Fe’s 2.2 turbo diesel produces 11 more horsepower (190 vs. 179) and 145 lbs.-ft. more torque (322 vs. 177) than the Escape’s optional 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. The Santa Fe’s 2.2 turbo diesel produces 47 lbs.-ft. more torque (322 vs. 275) than the Escape Titanium’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Hyundai Santa Fe 4 cyl. is faster than the Ford Escape:

 

Santa Fe

Escape 4 cyl.

Escape turbo 4 cyl.

Zero to 60 MPH

8.9 sec

9.1 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

16.7 sec

16.9 sec

17.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.3 MPH

80.9 MPH

78.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Santa Fe FWD with its standard engine gets better fuel mileage than the Escape FWD with its standard engine (22 city/29 hwy vs. 21 city/29 hwy).

Regardless of its engine, the Santa Fe’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Ford only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Escape EcoBoost.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Hyundai Santa Fe uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Escape with the 1.5 turbo 4 cyl. engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Santa Fe has 3.1 gallons more fuel capacity than the Escape (18.8 vs. 15.7 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Santa Fe

Escape

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

12 inches

11 inches

The Santa Fe stops shorter than the Escape:

 

Santa Fe

Escape

 

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

126 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

147 feet

Consumer Reports

Suspension and Handling

The Santa Fe has a standard automatic load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Escape doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Santa Fe’s wheelbase is 3 inches longer than on the Escape (108.9 inches vs. 105.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Santa Fe is 3.2 inches wider in the front and 3.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Escape.

For better maneuverability, the Santa Fe’s turning circle is 1.2 feet tighter than the Escape’s (37.5 feet vs. 38.7 feet).

Passenger Space

The Santa Fe 2.2D has standard seating for 7 passengers; the Escape can only carry 5.

The Santa Fe has 12 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Escape (110.7 vs. 98.7).

Cargo Capacity

The Santa Fe 2.2D’s cargo area provides more volume than the Escape.

 

Santa Fe

Escape

Third Seat Removed

35.9 cubic feet

34 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

70.7 cubic feet

68 cubic feet

The Santa Fe’s cargo area is larger than the Escape’s in almost every dimension:

 

Santa Fe

Escape

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

42.4”/77.4”

33.6”/67”

Max Width

53.7”

45.6”

Min Width

42.3”

40.4”

Height

31.5”

34.5”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Santa Fe SEL Plus/Limited/Ultimate’s second row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Escape doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Servicing Ease

The Santa Fe uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Escape uses a prop rod to support its heavy hood. It takes two hands to open the hood and set the prop rod, the prop rod gets in the way during maintenance and service, and the prop rod could be knocked out, causing the heavy hood to fall on the person maintaining or servicing the car.

Ergonomics

The Santa Fe Ultimate has a standard 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 Escape doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Santa Fe’s standard driver’s power window opens or closes with one touch of the window control, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths. The Escape’s standard driver’s power window switch has to be held the entire time to close it fully.

Both the Santa Fe and the Escape offer available heated front seats. The Santa Fe Ultimate also has standard heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Escape.

Standard air-conditioned seats in the Santa Fe Ultimate keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The Escape doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Hyundai Santa Fe, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Ford Escape isn't recommended.

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

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