2020 GMC Terrain vs. 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the GMC Terrain’s rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Hyundai Santa Fe doesn’t offer comfort guides on its rear seat belts.

Both the Terrain 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, 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, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

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

Terrain

Santa Fe

OVERALL STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

159

454

Neck Injury Risk

17%

19%

Neck Compression

10 lbs.

35 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

363/349 lbs.

374/622 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

26%

33%

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

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the GMC Terrain is safer than the Hyundai Santa Fe:

Terrain

Santa Fe

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

357 lbs.

401 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Hip Force

630 lbs.

648 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

40 G’s

54 G’s

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

Warranty

There are over 2 times as many GMC dealers as there are Hyundai dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Terrain’s warranty.

Engine

The Terrain’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cyl. produces 25 lbs.-ft. more torque (203 vs. 178) than the Santa Fe’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl. The Terrain’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 17 more horsepower (252 vs. 235) than the Santa Fe 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the GMC Terrain 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. is faster than the Santa Fe 2.0T 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.:

Terrain

Santa Fe

Zero to 60 MPH

6.8 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

15.4 sec

17.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

89 MPH

82.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Terrain

FWD

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/30 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

AWD

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/28 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/26 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

The Terrain 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 doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the GMC Terrain, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Santa Fe.

Brakes and Stopping

The Terrain stops shorter than the Santa Fe:

Terrain

Santa Fe

60 to 0 MPH

128 feet

136 feet

Consumer Reports

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

136 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Terrain’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’s optional 55 series tires.

The Terrain has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

The Terrain Denali AWD handles at .79 G’s, while the Santa Fe Ultimate AWD pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Terrain Denali AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the Santa Fe (27.5 seconds @ .64 average G’s vs. 28.9 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Chassis

The Terrain is 5.5 inches shorter than the Santa Fe, making the Terrain easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

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

The front grille of the Terrain 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 doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Terrain uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Ergonomics

The Terrain’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 does not have an oil pressure gauge.

The Terrain’s front and rear power windows all lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Santa Fe’s standard power windows’ passenger windows don’t open automatically. The Santa Fe SEL/Limited/Ultimate’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to lower them fully.

On a hot day the Terrain’s driver can lower all the windows from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Santa Fe can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Terrain’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Hyundai only offers heated mirrors on the Santa Fe SEL/Limited/Ultimate.

When the Terrain with available tilt-down mirrors 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’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Terrain SLT/Denali 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 offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The Terrain Denali’s optional Automatic Parking Assist can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Terrain is less expensive to operate than the Santa Fe because typical repairs cost much less on the Terrain than the Santa Fe, including $84 less for front struts and $327 less for a power steering pump.

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

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