2020 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2019 MINI Countryman

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front seat shoulder belts of the Hyundai Santa Fe are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The MINI Countryman doesn’t offer height-adjustable seat belts.

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 Countryman doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Forward Collision Avoidance Assist in the Santa Fe as “Superior.” The Countryman scores only 3 points and is rated only “Advanced.”

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 Countryman doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Santa Fe’s lane departure warning system alerts a temporarily inattentive driver when the vehicle begins to leave its lane and gently nudges the vehicle back towards its lane. The Countryman doesn’t offer a lane departure warning system.

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 Countryman 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 SEL/Limited’s blind spot warning system uses digital cameras monitored by computer to alert the driver to moving objects in the vehicle’s blind spots where the side view mirrors don’t reveal them. The Countryman doesn’t offer a system to reveal objects in the driver’s blind spots.

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 Countryman doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

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 Countryman 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 Countryman have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors and available all wheel drive.

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 Countryman has not been fully tested, yet.

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 Countryman’s 4-year/50,000-mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Santa Fe 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than MINI covers the Countryman. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Countryman ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are almost 7 times as many Hyundai dealers as there are MINI dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Santa Fe’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Santa Fe first among midsize SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Countryman 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 MINI vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 36 more problems per 100 vehicles, MINI is ranked 23rd, below the industry average.

Engine

The Santa Fe has more powerful engines than the Countryman:

Horsepower

Torque

Santa Fe 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

185 HP

178 lbs.-ft.

Santa Fe 2.0T 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

235 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Countryman 1.5 turbo 3 cyl.

134 HP

162 lbs.-ft.

Countryman S 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

189 HP

207 lbs.-ft.

JCW Countryman 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

228 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the Hyundai Santa Fe 2.4 4-cylinder is faster than the MINI Countryman turbo 3 cyl. (automatics tested):

Santa Fe

Countryman

Zero to 60 MPH

8.9 sec

9.3 sec

Quarter Mile

16.7 sec

17 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.3 MPH

79.6 MPH

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 Countryman doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Santa Fe has 2.7 gallons more fuel capacity than the Countryman (18.8 vs. 16.1 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 MINI Countryman (3 to 7). This means the Santa Fe produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Countryman 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 Countryman.

Brakes and Stopping

The Santa Fe stops much shorter than the Countryman:

Santa Fe

Countryman

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

138 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Santa Fe has larger tires than the Countryman (235/65R17 vs. 225/55R17).

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 Countryman doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Santa Fe’s wheelbase is 3.8 inches longer than on the Countryman (108.9 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Santa Fe is 2.8 inches wider in the front and 3 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Countryman.

Passenger Space

The Santa Fe has 13.8 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Countryman (110.7 vs. 96.9).

Cargo Capacity

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

Santa Fe

Countryman

Rear Seat Up

35.9 cubic feet

17.6 cubic feet

Rear Seat Folded

71.3 cubic feet

47.6 cubic feet

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

Ergonomics

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 Countryman doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

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 Countryman only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

Both the Santa Fe and the Countryman 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 Countryman.

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 Countryman 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 Countryman doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

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 Countryman 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 Countryman because typical repairs cost less on the Santa Fe than the Countryman, including $139 less for a water pump, $33 less for a muffler, $48 less for front brake pads, $196 less for a starter, $117 less for front struts and $138 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

Consumer Reports® recommends both the Hyundai Santa Fe and the MINI Countryman, based on reliability, safety and performance.

The Hyundai Santa Fe outsold the MINI Countryman by almost seven to one during 2018.

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

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