2020 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2019 Kia Niro

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 2019/11/14

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

The Santa Fe offers all-wheel drive to maximize traction under poor conditions, especially in ice and snow. The Niro doesn’t offer all-wheel drive.

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 Niro 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 Niro doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

The Santa Fe SEL/Limited has standard Blue Link, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Niro doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the Santa Fe and the Niro 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, rearview cameras, available blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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The Santa Fe’s corrosion warranty is 2 years and unlimited miles longer than the Niro’s (7/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates rated the Santa Fe first among midsize SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Niro isn’t in the top three in its category.

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 Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 2 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

Engine

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The Santa Fe’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 46 more horsepower (185 vs. 139) than the Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid. The Santa Fe 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 96 more horsepower (235 vs. 139) and 65 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 195) than the Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4 cyl. hybrid.

As tested in Motor Trend the Hyundai Santa Fe 2.4 4-cylinder is faster than the Kia Niro:

Santa Fe

Niro

Zero to 60 MPH

8.9 sec

9.9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.7 sec

17.4 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.3 MPH

80.3 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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The Santa Fe has 6.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Niro (18.8 vs. 11.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Hyundai Santa Fe, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Niro.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Santa Fe

Niro

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11 inches

Rear Rotors

12 inches

10.3 inches

The Santa Fe stops much shorter than the Niro:

Santa Fe

Niro

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

152 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the Santa Fe has larger tires than the Niro (235/65R17 vs. 205/60R16). The Santa Fe SE/SEL’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Niro (235/65R17 vs. 225/45R18).

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 Niro FE/LX/EX. The Santa Fe 2.0T’s 19-inch wheels are larger than the 18-inch wheels on the Niro S Touring/Touring.

Suspension and Handling

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The Santa Fe has a standard automatic load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The Niro 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 Niro (108.9 inches vs. 106.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Santa Fe is 3.3 inches wider in the front and 3 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Niro.

Passenger Space

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The Santa Fe has 9.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Niro (110.7 vs. 100.9).

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

Cargo Capacity

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

Santa Fe

Niro

Rear Seat Up

35.9 cubic feet

19.4 cubic feet

Rear Seat Folded

71.3 cubic feet

54.5 cubic feet

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

Santa Fe

Niro

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

42.4”/77.4”

31.8”/64”

Max Width

53.7”

48.2”

Min Width

42.3”

41”

Height

31.5”

36”

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Santa Fe Limited’s second row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Niro 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 Niro doesn’t offer a power or hands-free opening liftgate.

Servicing Ease

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

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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 Niro 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 Niro 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 Niro’s parking brake has to released manually.

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 Niro’s power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

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

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the Santa Fe detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Niro doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

Both the Santa Fe and the Niro 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 Niro.

Both the Santa Fe and the Niro 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 Niro doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages

© 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 2019/11/14

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 Niro only retains 40.77% to 42.14%.

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 2019/11/14

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

The Hyundai Santa Fe outsold the Kia Niro by over four to one during 2018.

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