2019 Mazda CX-5 vs. 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

The CX-5 has standard Whiplash-Reducing Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash-Reducing Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the CX-5 and the Santa Fe 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, rearview cameras, rear cross-path warning, available all wheel drive and lane departure warning systems.

Reliability

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the CX-5’s reliability 23 points higher than the Santa Fe.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Mazda vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Mazda third in reliability. Hyundai is ranked 10th.

Engine

The CX-5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 2 more horsepower (187 vs. 185) and 8 lbs.-ft. more torque (186 vs. 178) than the Santa Fe’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature’s standard 2.5 turbo 4 cyl. produces 15 more horsepower (250 vs. 235) and 50 lbs.-ft. more torque (310 vs. 260) than the Santa Fe 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Mazda CX-5 is faster than the Hyundai Santa Fe:

CX-5 4 cyl.

CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature

Santa Fe 4 cyl.

Santa Fe 2.0T

Zero to 60 MPH

8.3 sec

6.4 sec

8.9 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

14.9 sec

16.7 sec

17.1 sec

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the CX-5 gets better fuel mileage than the Santa Fe:

MPG

CX-5

FWD

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

25 city/31 hwy

AWD

2.2 turbo 4 cyl. Diesel

27 city/30 hwy

2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

24 city/30 hwy

Santa Fe

FWD

2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

20 city/25 hwy

AWD

2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

21 city/27 hwy

2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

19 city/24 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the CX-5 2.5 non-turbo’s fuel efficiency. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Environmental Friendliness

In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Mazda CX-5 higher (7 out of 10) than the Hyundai Santa Fe (5 to 7). This means the CX-5 produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Santa Fe every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

The CX-5 stops shorter than the Santa Fe:

CX-5

Santa Fe

70 to 0 MPH

173 feet

176 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

123 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Suspension and Handling

The CX-5 has engine speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Santa Fe Ultimate AWD pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The CX-5 Grand Touring AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the Santa Fe (27.8 seconds @ .59 average G’s vs. 28.9 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the CX-5’s turning circle is 1.5 feet tighter than the Santa Fe’s (36 feet vs. 37.5 feet).

Chassis

The CX-5 is 8.7 inches shorter than the Santa Fe, making the CX-5 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

For excellent aerodynamics, the CX-5 has standard flush composite headlights. The Santa Fe has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the CX-5 easier. The CX-5’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.4 inches, while the Santa Fe’s liftover is 31.2 inches.

Ergonomics

The CX-5’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’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Santa Fe SEL/Limited/Ultimate’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

Consumer Reports rated the CX-5’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Santa Fe’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The CX-5’s headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Santa Fe’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to .”

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the CX-5 Grand Touring/Signature has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer cornering lights.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Mazda CX-5 and the Hyundai Santa Fe, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The CX-5 was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 2 of the last 2 years. The Santa Fe has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

The Mazda CX-5 outsold the Hyundai Santa Fe by 29% during 2018.

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

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