2020 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2019 Subaru Crosstrek

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

Both the Santa Fe and Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek’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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek 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 Subaru Crosstrek has a metal gas tank.

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

Santa Fe

Crosstrek

Driver

STARS

4 Stars

4 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

19%

36%

Neck Stress

167 lbs.

304 lbs.

Neck Compression

35 lbs.

42 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.5 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk

33%

44.6%

Neck Stress

120 lbs.

195 lbs.

Neck Compression

48 lbs.

52 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

256/146 lbs.

230/427 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, results indicate that the Hyundai Santa Fe is safer than the Subaru Crosstrek:

Santa Fe

Crosstrek

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

49

138

Chest Movement

.6 inches

.7 inches

Abdominal Force

141 G’s

196 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

179

303

Spine Acceleration

54 G’s

58 G’s

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

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

There are over 33 percent more Hyundai dealers than there are Subaru dealers, which makes it 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 Crosstrek 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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 42 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th, 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 Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 14th.

Engine

The Santa Fe’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 33 more horsepower (185 vs. 152) and 33 lbs.-ft. more torque (178 vs. 145) than the Crosstrek’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl. The Santa Fe 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 83 more horsepower (235 vs. 152) and 115 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 145) than the Crosstrek’s 2.0 DOHC 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the Hyundai Santa Fe 2.4 4-cylinder is faster than the Subaru Crosstrek (automatics tested):

Santa Fe

Crosstrek

Zero to 60 MPH

8.9 sec

9 sec

Quarter Mile

16.7 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.3 MPH

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

The Santa Fe has 2.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Crosstrek (18.8 vs. 16.6 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Transmission

The Hyundai Santa Fe comes standard with an automatic transmission, for driver comfort, especially in the city. Automatic costs extra on the Crosstrek.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Santa Fe

Crosstrek

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12 inches

10.8 inches

The Santa Fe stops shorter than the Crosstrek:

Santa Fe

Crosstrek

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

131 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Santa Fe has larger tires than the Crosstrek (235/65R17 vs. 225/60R17).

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

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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Santa Fe’s wheelbase is 4 inches longer than on the Crosstrek (108.9 inches vs. 104.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Santa Fe is 3.7 inches wider in the front and 3.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Crosstrek.

Passenger Space

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

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

Cargo Capacity

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

Santa Fe

Crosstrek

Rear Seat Up

35.9 cubic feet

20.8 cubic feet

Rear Seat Folded

71.3 cubic feet

55.3 cubic feet

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

Santa Fe

Crosstrek

Length to seat (2nd/1st)

42.4”/77.4”

32.3”/64.2”

Max Width

53.7”

53”

Min Width

42.3”

43”

Height

31.5”

30”

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

Servicing Ease

The Santa Fe uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek has a lever-type parking brake that has to be strenuously raised to engage properly. It has to be lifted up more and a button depressed to release it.

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 Crosstrek’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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 Crosstrek has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Premium/Limited.

Both the Santa Fe and the Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek.

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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The Santa Fe (except SE)’s optional dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. The Crosstrek doesn’t offer dual zone air conditioning.

Both the Santa Fe and the Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek 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 Crosstrek doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Model Availability

The Santa Fe is available in both front-wheel drive and four-wheel drive configurations. The Crosstrek doesn’t offer a two-wheel drive configuration.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Santa Fe is less expensive to operate than the Crosstrek because it costs $36 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Santa Fe than the Crosstrek, including $68 less for a water pump, $262 less for a starter, $128 less for front struts and $30 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

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

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

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