2020 Chrysler Pacifica vs. 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe XL

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/16

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Chrysler Pacifica are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Hyundai Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Pacifica has standard Rear Park Assist with Stop that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

Both the Pacifica 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, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems and around view monitors.

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

Pacifica

Santa Fe XL

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

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

Warranty

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/16

There are almost 3 times as many Chrysler dealers as there are Hyundai dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Pacifica’s warranty.

Reliability

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To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Pacifica has a standard 730-amp battery. The Santa Fe XL’s 660-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

Engine

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The Pacifica’s standard 3.6 DOHC V6 produces 10 lbs.-ft. more torque (262 vs. 252) than the Santa Fe XL’s 3.3 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Chrysler Pacifica V6 is faster than the Hyundai Santa Fe XL:

Pacifica

Santa Fe XL

Zero to 60 MPH

6.7 sec

7.3 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.4 MPH

89.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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On the EPA test cycle the Pacifica Hybrid running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Santa Fe XL FWD (87 city/76 hwy MPGe vs. 18 city/25 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the Pacifica Hybrid running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Santa Fe XL FWD (29 city/30 hwy vs. 18 city/25 hwy).

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

MPG

Pacifica

FWD

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/28 hwy

MDX

FWD

3.3 DOHC V6

18 city/25 hwy

Ultimate 3.3 DOHC V6

18 city/23 hwy

AWD

3.5 SOHC V6

18 city/24 hwy

Ultimate 3.3 DOHC V6

17 city/22 hwy

The Pacifica Hybrid can drive on battery power alone for up to 32 miles. The Santa Fe XL must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the Pacifica Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Pacifica’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 Pacifica 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

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Chrysler Pacifica higher (7 out of 10) than the Hyundai Santa Fe XL (3). This means the Pacifica produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Santa Fe XL every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chrysler Pacifica, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Santa Fe XL.

The Pacifica Hybrid has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Pacifica

Santa Fe XL

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

11.9 inches

The Pacifica stops shorter than the Santa Fe XL:

Pacifica

Santa Fe XL

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Pacifica’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Santa Fe XL (245/50R20 vs. 235/60R18).

The Pacifica’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Santa Fe XL Ultimate’s 55 series tires.

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

Suspension and Handling

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The Pacifica’s drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Pacifica’s wheelbase is 11.4 inches longer than on the Santa Fe XL (121.6 inches vs. 110.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Pacifica is 4.2 inches wider in the front and 3.8 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Santa Fe XL.

Chassis

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The front grille of the Pacifica 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 Pacifica 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

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The Pacifica offers optional seating for 8 passengers; the Santa Fe XL can only carry 7.

The Pacifica has 18.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Santa Fe XL (165.1 vs. 146.6).

The Pacifica has .2 inches more front headroom, 2.3 inches more front hip room, 4.4 inches more front shoulder room, .2 inches more rear headroom, 9.4 inches more rear hip room, 4.7 inches more rear shoulder room, 3 inches more third row headroom, 5.6 inches more third row legroom, 5.4 inches more third row hip room and 7.3 inches more third row shoulder room than the Santa Fe XL.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Pacifica’s middle and third row seats recline. The Santa Fe XL’s third row seats don’t recline.

The front step up height for the Pacifica is 1.5 inches lower than the Santa Fe XL (16.3” vs. 17.8”). The Pacifica’s rear step up height is .1 inches lower than the Santa Fe XL’s (18.2” vs. 18.3”).

Cargo Capacity

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

Pacifica

Santa Fe XL

Behind Third Seat

32.3 cubic feet

13.5 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

87.5 cubic feet

40.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

140.5 cubic feet

80 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Pacifica easier. The Pacifica’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 24.3 inches, while the Santa Fe XL’s liftover is 29.5 inches.

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

Pacifica

Santa Fe XL

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

23.2”/57.5”/92.5”

17.6”/47”/84”

Max Width

49.3”

50.7”

Min Width

48.8”

44”

Height

47.6”

n/a

The Pacifica has standard Stow ‘n Go™ second and third row seats (except Hybrid for the second row), which fold flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

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

Ergonomics

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The Pacifica 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 Pacifica’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Santa Fe XL does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Pacifica’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Santa Fe XL’s parking brake has to released manually.

The Pacifica Touring-L Plus/Limited’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 XL’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The Pacifica’s power window, power lock, power mirror and cruise control switches are lit from behind, making them plainly visible and easier to operate at night. The Santa Fe XL’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

The Pacifica’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Santa Fe XL’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

When the Pacifica Limited 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 Pacifica Limited 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.

The Pacifica (except Hybrid Touring)’s optional ParkSense Park Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, steering and operating the brakes. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Pacifica is less expensive to operate than the Santa Fe XL because it costs $473 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Pacifica than the Santa Fe XL, including $66 less for fuel injection, $82 less for a fuel pump, $388 less for a timing belt/chain and $500 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

© 1999 - 2019 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2019/10/16

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Pacifica second among minivans in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Santa Fe XL isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Pacifica was chosen as one of Car and Driver’s “Top Five/10Best Trucks” for 3 of the last 3 years. The Santa Fe XL has never been a Car and Driver “Top Five/10Best Truck” pick.

The Chrysler Pacifica outsold the Hyundai Santa Fe by 1284 units during 2018.

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