2020 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2019 Jeep Compass

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Santa Fe and Compass 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 Compass’ 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 Compass 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 Compass doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Santa Fe Limited has a standard Surround View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Compass only offers a rear monitor and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the front or sides.

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 Compass doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Santa Fe and the Compass 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, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems 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 Hyundai Santa Fe is safer than the Jeep Compass:

Santa Fe

Compass

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

19%

41%

Neck Stress

167 lbs.

445 lbs.

Neck Compression

35 lbs.

38 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.5 inches

.8 inches

Neck Injury Risk

33%

36%

Neck Stress

120 lbs.

235 lbs.

Neck Compression

48 lbs.

92 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

256/146 lbs.

299/387 lbs.

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 Hyundai Santa Fe is safer than the Jeep Compass:

Santa Fe

Compass

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

49

102

Chest Movement

.6 inches

.8 inches

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

54 G’s

56 G’s

Hip Force

648 lbs.

928 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

8 inches

12 inches

HIC

179

355

Hip Force

649 lbs.

663 lbs.

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

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 Compass was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

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

The Santa Fe’s corrosion warranty is 2 years longer than the Compass’ (7 vs. 5 years).

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Santa Fe has a standard 800-amp battery. The Compass’ standard 500-amp battery and largest (optional) 650 amp battery aren’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 51 points higher than the Compass.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Santa Fe first among midsize SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Compass 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 Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 29 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 17th, 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 Jeep vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 43 more problems per 100 vehicles, Jeep is ranked 24th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Jeep vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 12 places higher in reliability than Jeep.

Engine

The Santa Fe’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 5 more horsepower (185 vs. 180) and 3 lbs.-ft. more torque (178 vs. 175) than the Compass’ 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The Santa Fe 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 55 more horsepower (235 vs. 180) and 85 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 175) than the Compass’ 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Hyundai Santa Fe 2.4 4-cylinder is faster than the Jeep Compass (automatics tested):

Santa Fe

Compass

Zero to 60 MPH

8.9 sec

10.5 sec

Quarter Mile

16.7 sec

17.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.3 MPH

76.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

Regardless of its engine, the Santa Fe’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) Jeep only offers an automatic engine start/stop system on the Compass Auto.

The Santa Fe has 5.3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Compass (18.8 vs. 13.5 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Environmental Friendliness

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 Jeep Compass (3 to 7). This means the Santa Fe produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Compass every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

The Hyundai Santa Fe comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Compass.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Santa Fe

Compass

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

12 inches

Rear Rotors

12 inches

10.95 inches

The Santa Fe stops much shorter than the Compass:

Santa Fe

Compass

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

144 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

151 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Santa Fe has larger tires than the Compass (235/65R17 vs. 215/65R16).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Santa Fe SE/SEL has standard 17-inch wheels. Smaller 16-inch wheels are standard on the Compass Sport.

Suspension and Handling

The Santa Fe has a standard automatic load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Compass doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Santa Fe’s wheelbase is 5.1 inches longer than on the Compass (108.9 inches vs. 103.8 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Santa Fe is 4 inches wider in the front and 4.7 inches wider in the rear than on the Compass.

The Santa Fe handles at .78 G’s, while the Compass Trailhawk pulls only .73 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Santa Fe AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the Compass Trailhawk (28.5 seconds @ .58 average G’s vs. 29.6 seconds @ .53 average G’s).

Passenger Space

The Santa Fe has 11.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Compass (110.7 vs. 99.6).

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Santa Fe’s middle row seats recline. The Compass’ rear seats don’t recline.

The front step up height for the Santa Fe is 1.4 inches lower than the Compass (18” vs. 19.4”). The Santa Fe’s rear step up height is 2.2 inches lower than the Compass’ (18.5” vs. 20.7”).

Cargo Capacity

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

Santa Fe

Compass

Rear Seat Up

35.9 cubic feet

27.2 cubic feet

Rear Seat Folded

71.3 cubic feet

59.8 cubic feet

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

Santa Fe

Compass

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

42.4”/77.4”

32.4”/65.7”

Max Width

53.7”

53.8”

Min Width

42.3”

38.1”

Height

31.5”

29.6”

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

To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, just waiting momentarily behind the back bumper can open the Santa Fe’s liftgate, leaving your hands completely free. The Compass doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its liftgate, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Servicing Ease

The Santa Fe uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Compass 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.

Ergonomics

When different drivers share the Santa Fe Limited, the memory seats make it convenient. Each setting activates different, customized memories for the driver’s seat position. The Compass doesn’t offer memory seats.

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 Compass doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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 Compass has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Latitude/Trailhawk/Limited.

Both the Santa Fe and the Compass 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 Compass.

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 Compass doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

Both the Santa Fe and the Compass offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Santa Fe has standard rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Compass doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Santa Fe owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Santa Fe with a number “5” insurance rate while the Compass is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Santa Fe is less expensive to operate than the Compass because typical repairs cost less on the Santa Fe than the Compass, including $36 less for a water pump, $6 less for front brake pads, $78 less for a starter and $111 less for front struts.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends the Hyundai Santa Fe, based on reliability, safety and performance. The Jeep Compass isn't recommended.

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

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