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Both the Santa Fe and QX30 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 QX30’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 are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The QX30 doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.
Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Santa Fe has a standard Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist that use rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The QX30 doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.
To help make backing safer, the Santa Fe SEL/Limited’s cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The QX30 doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.
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 QX30 doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.
Compared to metal, the Santa Fe’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Infiniti QX30 has a metal gas tank.
Both the Santa Fe and the QX30 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, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems 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 46 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The QX30 has not been tested, yet.
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 QX30’s 4-year/60,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year sooner.
Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Santa Fe 4 years and 30,000 miles longer than Infiniti covers the QX30. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the QX30 ends after only 6 years or 70,000 miles.
There are almost 4 times as many Hyundai dealers as there are Infiniti dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Santa Fe’s warranty.
To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Santa Fe has a standard 140-amp alternator. The QX30’s 110-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.
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 Santa Fe’s reliability 20 points higher than the QX30.
J.D. Power and Associates rated the Santa Fe first among midsize SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The QX30 isn’t in the top three in its category.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are better in initial quality than Infiniti vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 30 more problems per 100 vehicles, Infiniti is ranked 19th, below the industry average.
J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Infiniti vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 4 more problems per 100 vehicles, Infiniti is ranked 11th.
The Santa Fe 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 27 more horsepower (235 vs. 208) and 2 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 258) than the QX30’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.
To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Hyundai Santa Fe uses regular unleaded gasoline. The QX30 requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.
The Santa Fe has 5.6 gallons more fuel capacity than the QX30 FWD’s standard fuel tank (18.8 vs. 13.2 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Santa Fe has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the QX30 AWD’s standard fuel tank (18.8 vs. 14.8 gallons).
In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Hyundai Santa Fe higher (5 to 7 out of 10) than the Infiniti QX30 (3). This means the Santa Fe produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the QX30 every 15,000 miles.
An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Hyundai Santa Fe, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a seven-speed automatic is available for the QX30.
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 QX30; 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.
The Santa Fe has a standard automatic load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The QX30 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.
For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Santa Fe’s wheelbase is 2.6 inches longer than on the QX30 (108.9 inches vs. 106.3 inches).
For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Santa Fe is 2.9 inches wider in the front and 3.1 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the QX30.
The Santa Fe’s front to rear weight distribution is more even (57.3% to 42.7%) than the QX30’s (59.7% to 40.3%). This gives the Santa Fe more stable handling and braking.
As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Santa Fe AWD is quieter than the QX30 Essential AWD:
70 MPH Cruising
The Santa Fe has 21.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the QX30 (110.7 vs. 88.8).
For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Santa Fe’s middle row seats recline. The QX30’s rear seats don’t recline.
The Santa Fe’s cargo area provides more volume than the QX30.
Rear Seat Up
35.9 cubic feet
19.2 cubic feet
Rear Seat Folded
71.3 cubic feet
34 cubic feet
Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Santa Fe’s optional second row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The QX30 doesn’t offer automatic folding seats.
To make loading and unloading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waiting momentarily behind the back bumper can open the Santa Fe’s power liftgate, leaving your hands completely free. The Santa Fe’s power liftgate can also be opened or closed by pressing a button. The QX30 doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.
The Santa Fe uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The QX30 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.
The Santa Fe SEL/Limited/Ultimate has a standard 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 QX30 doesn’t offer a remote starting system.
The Santa Fe Limited 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 QX30 doesn’t offer a heads-up display.
The power windows standard on both the Santa Fe and the QX30 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 QX30 prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.
The Santa Fe’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 QX30’s cruise control switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.
To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Santa Fe has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the QX30 only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.
To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Santa Fe has standard extendable sun visors. The QX30 doesn’t offer extendable visors.
Both the Santa Fe and the QX30 offer available heated front seats. The Santa Fe Limited also has standard heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the QX30.
Standard air-conditioned seats in the Santa Fe Limited keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in summer. The QX30 doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.
On extremely cold winter days, the Santa Fe Limited’s standard heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The QX30 doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.
To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Hyundai Santa Fe (except SE) offers an optional wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The QX30 doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.
The Santa Fe Limited 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 QX30 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.
Insurance will cost less for the Santa Fe owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Santa Fe will cost $1370 to $4700 less than the QX30 over a five-year period.
The Santa Fe will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Santa Fe will retain 45.92% to 47.83% of its original price after five years, while the QX30 only retains 36.01% to 36.87%.
According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Santa Fe is less expensive to operate than the QX30 because typical repairs cost much less on the Santa Fe than the QX30, including $449 less for a water pump, $101 less for a muffler, $146 less for a starter, $94 less for fuel injection, $22 less for a fuel pump, $53 less for front struts, $266 less for a timing belt/chain and $365 less for a power steering pump.
IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Hyundai Santa Fe will be $9199 to $10013 less than for the Infiniti QX30.
Consumer Reports® recommends the Hyundai Santa Fe, based on reliability, safety and performance.
The Hyundai Santa Fe outsold the Infiniti QX30 by over 14 to one during 2018.
© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.
Get the best value for your car from an Asbury dealership.