2020 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2019 Mitsubishi Outlander

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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

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 Outlander 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 Mitsubishi Outlander has a metal gas tank.

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 Outlander 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 Outlander 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors 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 Mitsubishi Outlander:

Santa Fe

Outlander

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

19%

29%

Neck Stress

167 lbs.

412 lbs.

Neck Compression

35 lbs.

90 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

HIC

244

251

Chest Compression

.5 inches

.6 inches

Neck Injury Risk

33%

43%

Neck Stress

120 lbs.

221 lbs.

Neck Compression

48 lbs.

91 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

256/146 lbs.

394/494 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 Mitsubishi Outlander:

Santa Fe

Outlander

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

49

163

Abdominal Force

141 G’s

163 G’s

Hip Force

401 lbs.

518 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

179

349

Hip Force

648 lbs.

794 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

8 inches

17 inches

HIC

179

365

Hip Force

649 lbs.

807 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 Outlander is only a standard “Top Pick” for 2019.

Warranty

The Santa Fe’s 7 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Outlander runs out after 100,000 miles.

There are over 2 times as many Hyundai dealers as there are Mitsubishi 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 Outlander 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 Mitsubishi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 50 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 30th, 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 Mitsubishi vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 34 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mitsubishi is ranked 20th.

Engine

The Santa Fe’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 19 more horsepower (185 vs. 166) and 16 lbs.-ft. more torque (178 vs. 162) than the Outlander’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The Santa Fe 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 11 more horsepower (235 vs. 224) and 45 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 215) than the Outlander GT’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Hyundai Santa Fe 2.4 4-cylinder is faster than the Mitsubishi Outlander 4 cyl.:

Santa Fe

Outlander

Zero to 60 MPH

8.9 sec

9.2 sec

Quarter Mile

16.7 sec

17 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.3 MPH

83.1 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 Outlander 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 Outlander GT requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Santa Fe has 3 gallons more fuel capacity than the Outlander AWC’s standard fuel tank (18.8 vs. 15.8 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Santa Fe has 2.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Outlander FWD’s standard fuel tank (18.8 vs. 16.6 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

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

Santa Fe

Outlander

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12 inches

11.9 inches

The Santa Fe stops shorter than the Outlander:

Santa Fe

Outlander

70 to 0 MPH

176 feet

179 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

149 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Santa Fe has larger tires than the Outlander (235/65R17 vs. 225/55R18).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Santa Fe 2.0T has standard 19-inch wheels. The Outlander’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

The Santa Fe has a standard space-saver spare tire so you can replace a flat tire and drive to have the flat repaired or replaced. A spare tire isn’t available on the Outlander; it requires you to depend on roadside assistance and your vehicle will have to be towed.

Suspension and Handling

The Santa Fe has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Outlander’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 Outlander 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 Outlander (108.9 inches vs. 105.1 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Santa Fe is 4.1 inches wider in the front and 4.4 inches wider in the rear than on the Outlander.

The Santa Fe AWD handles at .81 G’s, while the Outlander GT AWC pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

Chassis

As tested by Car and Driver, the interior of the Santa Fe AWD is quieter than the Outlander GT AWC:

Santa Fe

Outlander

At idle

37 dB

39 dB

Full-Throttle

72 dB

76 dB

70 MPH Cruising

64 dB

69 dB

Cargo Capacity

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

Santa Fe

Outlander

Behind Third Seat

n/a

10.3 cubic feet

Second Row Seat Up

35.9 cubic feet

34.2 cubic feet

Second Row Seat Folded

71.3 cubic feet

63.3 cubic feet

Pressing a switch automatically lowers the Santa Fe’s optional second row seats, to make changing between passengers and cargo easier. The Outlander 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 Outlander 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 Outlander 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 Outlander 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 Outlander doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The power windows standard on both the Santa Fe and the Outlander 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 Outlander prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

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

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 Outlander has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the SEL/GT.

To shield the driver and front passenger’s vision over a larger portion of the windshield and side windows, the Santa Fe has standard extendable sun visors. The Outlander doesn’t offer extendable visors.

Both the Santa Fe and the Outlander 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 second row seats aren’t available in the Outlander.

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 Outlander doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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 Outlander 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 Outlander because it costs $9 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Santa Fe than the Outlander, including $146 less for a water pump, $115 less for a starter, $15 less for fuel injection and $187 less for a fuel pump.

Recommendations

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

The Hyundai Santa Fe outsold the Mitsubishi Outlander by almost three to one during 2018.

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

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