2020 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2019 Jeep Grand Cherokee

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Santa Fe and Grand Cherokee 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 Grand Cherokee’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 Grand Cherokee 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 Grand Cherokee 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 Grand Cherokee only offers a rear monitor and front and rear parking sensors that beep or flash a light. That doesn’t help with obstacles to the 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 Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Santa Fe and the Grand Cherokee have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, 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 Grand Cherokee:

Santa Fe

Grand Cherokee

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.5 inches

.9 inches

Neck Compression

48 lbs.

97 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

256/146 lbs.

340/145 lbs.

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

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Hyundai Santa Fe is safer than the Grand Cherokee:

Santa Fe

Grand Cherokee

Overall Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Restraints

GOOD

ACCEPTABLE

Head Neck Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

0 cm

5 cm

Chest Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Hip & Thigh Evaluation

GOOD

GOOD

Femur Force R/L

1.9/.1 kN

4.9/2.3 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L

0%/0%

3%/0%

Lower Leg Evaluation

GOOD

MARGINAL

Tibia index R/L

.7/.38

1.06/.54

Tibia forces R/L

2.3/1.2 kN

2.3/1.3 kN

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 Grand Cherokee:

Santa Fe

Grand Cherokee

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

49

59

Chest Movement

.6 inches

1.2 inches

Abdominal Force

141 G’s

182 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

8 inches

18 inches

HIC

179

182

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 Grand Cherokee was not even a standard “Top Pick” for 2016.

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

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

Reliability

For smoother operation, better efficiency and fewer moving parts, the engines in the Santa Fe have an overhead cam design, rather than the old pushrod design of the 5.7 V8 in the Grand Cherokee.

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 40 points higher than the Grand Cherokee.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Santa Fe first among midsize SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Grand Cherokee was rated third.

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.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Santa Fe

FWD

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

AWD

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

21 city/27 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/26 hwy

Grand Cherokee

FWD

3.6 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

AWD

3.6 DOHC V6

18 city/25 hwy

5.7 OHV V8

14 city/22 hwy

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 Grand Cherokee V6.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Hyundai Santa Fe uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Grand Cherokee with the 5.7 V8 engine requires mid-grade for maximum efficiency, which can cost 5 to 40 cents more per gallon.

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 Grand Cherokee (1 to 5). This means the Santa Fe produces up to 47 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Grand Cherokee every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

The Santa Fe stops much shorter than the Grand Cherokee:

Santa Fe

Grand Cherokee

70 to 0 MPH

176 feet

188 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

157 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Santa Fe SE/SEL’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 65 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Grand Cherokee Laredo’s standard 70 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Santa Fe AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4 pulls only .72 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

The Hyundai Santa Fe may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 900 to 1050 pounds less than the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Santa Fe AWD is quieter than the Grand Cherokee Summit 4x4:

Santa Fe

Grand Cherokee

At idle

37 dB

45 dB

70 MPH Cruising

64 dB

67 dB

Passenger Space

The Santa Fe has 5.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Grand Cherokee (110.7 vs. 105.4).

The front step up height for the Santa Fe is 2.5 inches lower than the Grand Cherokee (18” vs. 20.5”). The Santa Fe’s rear step up height is 2.3 inches lower than the Grand Cherokee’s (18.5” vs. 20.8”).

Cargo Capacity

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

Santa Fe

Grand Cherokee

Rear Seat Folded

71.3 cubic feet

68.3 cubic feet

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Santa Fe easier. The Santa Fe’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 31.2 inches, while the Grand Cherokee’s liftover is 32.4 inches.

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

Santa Fe

Grand Cherokee

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

42.4”/77.4”

38.5”/74.2”

Max Width

53.7”

47.6”

Min Width

42.3”

41.7”

Height

31.5”

33.5”

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

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

Ergonomics

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 Grand Cherokee doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Santa Fe owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Santa Fe will cost $165 less than the Grand Cherokee over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Santa Fe is less expensive to operate than the Grand Cherokee because typical repairs cost much less on the Santa Fe than the Grand Cherokee, including $252 less for a muffler, $52 less for front brake pads, $193 less for a starter, $17 less for a fuel pump and $401 less for a timing belt/chain.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Hyundai Santa Fe will be $5119 to $36602 less than for the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Recommendations

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

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

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