2019 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2019 Lexus UX Series

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Santa Fe and UX Series 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 UX Series’ 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 UX Series doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

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 UX Series only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the sides.

Both the Santa Fe and the UX Series 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors and available all-wheel drive.

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 UX Series has not been tested, yet.

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 UX Series’ 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Santa Fe 4 years and 30,000 miles longer than Lexus covers the UX Series. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the UX Series ends after only 6 years or 70,000 miles.

The Santa Fe’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the UX Series’ (7 vs. 6 years).

There are almost 4 times as many Hyundai dealers as there are Lexus dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Santa Fe’s warranty.

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 Lexus vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 10 more problems per 100 vehicles, Lexus is ranked 8th.

Fuel Economy and Range

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.) Lexus only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the UX Series Hybrid.

The Santa Fe has 8.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the UX Series Hybrid’s standard fuel tank (18.8 vs. 10.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Santa Fe has 6.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the UX Series’ standard fuel tank (18.8 vs. 12.4 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

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

 

Santa Fe

UX Series

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

12 inches

11.1 inches

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Santa Fe has larger tires than the UX Series (235/65R17 vs. 225/50R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Santa Fe offers optional 19-inch wheels. The UX Series’ largest wheels are only 18-inches.

The Santa Fe has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the UX Series; it requires you to depend on its run-flat tires, which limits mileage and speed before they are repaired. If a run-flat is damaged beyond repair by a road hazard your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

The Santa Fe has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The UX Series’ suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Santa Fe’s wheelbase is 5 inches longer than on the UX Series (108.9 inches vs. 103.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Santa Fe is 3.7 inches wider in the front and 4 inches wider in the rear than on the UX Series.

Passenger Space

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

The Santa Fe has 20.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the UX Series (110.7 vs. 90.4).

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Santa Fe’s middle row seats recline. The UX Series’ rear seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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

 

Santa Fe

UX Series

Third Seat Removed

35.9 cubic feet

21.7 cubic feet

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 UX Series doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

Servicing Ease

The Santa Fe uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The UX Series 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 power windows standard on both the Santa Fe and the UX Series have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Santa Fe is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The UX Series prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

Both the Santa Fe and the UX Series 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 UX Series.

The Santa Fe Ultimate has a 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The UX Series doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Hyundai Santa Fe, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Hyundai Santa Fe outsold the Lexus UX Series by over 258 to one during 2018.

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

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