2020 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2019 Mazda CX-5

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Santa Fe and CX-5 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 CX-5’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 CX-5 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 CX-5 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 CX-5 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 CX-5 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 Mazda CX-5 has a metal gas tank.

Both the Santa Fe and the CX-5 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 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 Mazda CX-5:

Santa Fe

CX-5

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.5 inches

.5 inches

Neck Injury Risk

33%

37%

Neck Stress

120 lbs.

205 lbs.

Neck Compression

48 lbs.

86 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

256/146 lbs.

449/262 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 Mazda CX-5:

Santa Fe

CX-5

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

49

81

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

179

208

Spine Acceleration

54 G’s

65 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

8 inches

13 inches

HIC

179

449

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

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

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

There are over 44 percent more Hyundai dealers than there are Mazda dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Santa Fe’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably power the ignition and other systems and to recharge the battery, the Santa Fe has a 140-amp alternator. The CX-5’s standard 100-amp alternator isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Santa Fe first among midsize SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The CX-5 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 Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 12th, 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 Mazda vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 35 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mazda is ranked 21st.

Engine

The Santa Fe 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 48 more horsepower (235 vs. 187) and 74 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 186) than the CX-5’s standard 2.5 DOHC 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Santa Fe’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The CX-5 doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Hyundai Santa Fe uses regular unleaded gasoline. The CX-5 GT Reserve/Signature requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Santa Fe has 4 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-5 FWD’s standard fuel tank (18.8 vs. 14.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Santa Fe has 3.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the CX-5 AWD’s standard fuel tank (18.8 vs. 15.3 gallons).

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 Mazda CX-5 (3 to 7). This means the Santa Fe produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the CX-5 every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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 CX-5.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the Santa Fe’s brake rotors are larger than those on the CX-5:

Santa Fe

CX-5

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.7 inches

Rear Rotors

12 inches

11.9 inches

The Santa Fe stops much shorter than the CX-5:

Santa Fe

CX-5

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

136 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

144 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Santa Fe has larger tires than the CX-5 (235/65R17 vs. 225/65R17).

Suspension and Handling

The Santa Fe has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The CX-5’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The Santa Fe has a standard automatic load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The CX-5 doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Santa Fe’s wheelbase is 2.7 inches longer than on the CX-5 (108.9 inches vs. 106.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Santa Fe is 1.9 inches wider in the front and 2.2 inches wider in the rear than on the CX-5.

The Santa Fe AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the CX-5 Signature AWD pulls only .79 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Passenger Space

The Santa Fe has 7.1 cubic feet more passenger volume than the CX-5 (110.7 vs. 103.6).

Cargo Capacity

The Santa Fe’s cargo area provides more volume than the CX-5.

Santa Fe

CX-5

Rear Seat Up

35.9 cubic feet

30.9 cubic feet

Rear Seat Folded

71.3 cubic feet

59.6 cubic feet

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 CX-5 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 CX-5 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

The power windows standard on both the Santa Fe and the CX-5 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 CX-5 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 CX-5’s power window (except driver window) and power mirror switches are unlit, making them difficult to find at night and operate safely.

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 CX-5 only offers an automatic headlight on/off feature as an extra cost option.

Both the Santa Fe and the CX-5 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 CX-5 doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

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 CX-5 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 CX-5 doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Santa Fe is less expensive to operate than the CX-5 because typical repairs cost less on the Santa Fe than the CX-5, including $95 less for a starter and $71 less for fuel injection.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Mazda CX-5, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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

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