2019 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2019 Toyota Rav4 Hybrid

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Santa Fe and Rav4 Hybrid 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 Rav4 Hybrid’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 Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Santa Fe’s standard Downhill Brake Control allows you to creep down safely. The Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer Downhill Brake Control.

The Santa Fe’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 Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Santa Fe and the Rav4 Hybrid have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive and around view monitors.

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 Rav4 Hybrid 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 Rav4 Hybrid’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 Toyota covers the Rav4 Hybrid. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Rav4 Hybrid ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

The Santa Fe’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Rav4 Hybrid’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 Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 22 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 17th, below the industry average.

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 Toyota vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 6th in reliability, above the industry average. With 3 more problems per 100 vehicles, Toyota is ranked 8th.

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Santa Fe’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 Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Santa Fe has 4.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Rav4 Hybrid (18.8 vs. 14.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Santa Fe’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Rav4 Hybrid:

 

Santa Fe

Rav4 Hybrid

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

12 inches

11.1 inches

The Santa Fe stops much shorter than the Rav4 Hybrid:

 

Santa Fe

Rav4 Hybrid

 

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

143 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Santa Fe has larger tires than the Rav4 Hybrid (235/65R17 vs. 225/65R17).

The Santa Fe’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Rav4 Hybrid XSE/Limited’s 60 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Santa Fe offers optional 19-inch wheels. The Rav4 Hybrid’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling

The Santa Fe has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Rav4 Hybrid’s 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 Rav4 Hybrid 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 Rav4 Hybrid (108.9 inches vs. 105.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Santa Fe is 1.7 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than on the Rav4 Hybrid.

The Santa Fe handles at .78 G’s, while the Rav4 Hybrid XSE pulls only .75 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The Santa Fe 2.2D has standard seating for 7 passengers; the Rav4 Hybrid can only carry 5.

The Santa Fe has 11.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Rav4 Hybrid (110.7 vs. 98.9).

Cargo Capacity

The Santa Fe 2.2D’s cargo area provides more volume than the Rav4 Hybrid.

 

Santa Fe

Rav4 Hybrid

Second Seat Folded

70.7 cubic feet

69.8 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 Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.

The Santa Fe’s liftgate lifts up in one piece, completely out of the way of loading and unloading, while sheltering the cargo loading area. The Rav4 Hybrid’s swing out door blocks loading from the driver’s side.

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 Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Santa Fe’s standard variable intermittent wipers have an adjustable delay to allow the driver to choose a setting that best clears the windshield during light rain or mist. The Rav4 Hybrid LE’s standard fixed intermittent wipers only have one fixed delay setting, so the driver will have to manually switch them between slow and intermittent.

The Santa Fe has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Rav4 Hybrid has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the XLE/XSE/Limited.

The Santa Fe Ultimate’s standard GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Rav4 Hybrid’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

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 Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

The Santa Fe is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Rav4 Hybrid doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Recommendations

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

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

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