2020 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2019 Volkswagen Tiguan

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

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

To prevent power induced skids and loss of control on slick surfaces, the Hyundai Santa Fe has standard full range traction control. The Tiguan’s traction control is for low speeds only. Low traction conditions at higher speeds are more dangerous, making the need for full range traction control important.

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 Tiguan doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Santa Fe and the Tiguan 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, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

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 Tiguan was last qualified as only a standard “Top Pick” in 2017.

Warranty

Hyundai’s powertrain warranty covers the Santa Fe 4 years and 28000 miles longer than Volkswagen covers the Tiguan. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Tiguan ends after only 6 years or 72000 miles.

There are over 28 percent more Hyundai dealers than there are Volkswagen dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Santa Fe’s warranty.

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Santa Fe has a standard 800-amp battery. The Tiguan’s 360-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

A reliable vehicle saves its owner time, money and trouble. Nobody wants to be stranded or have to be without a vehicle while it’s being repaired. Consumer Reports rates the Santa Fe’s reliability 40 points higher than the Tiguan.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Santa Fe first among midsize SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Tiguan 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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 42 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen 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 Volkswagen vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 7 more problems per 100 vehicles, Volkswagen is ranked 12th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than Volkswagen vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 6 places higher in reliability than Volkswagen.

Engine

The Santa Fe 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 51 more horsepower (235 vs. 184) and 39 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 221) than the Tiguan’s 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Consumer Reports the Santa Fe 2.0T is faster than the Volkswagen Tiguan:

Santa Fe

Tiguan

Zero to 30 MPH

3.3 sec

4.1 sec

Zero to 60 MPH

8.7 sec

10.3 sec

45 to 65 MPH Passing

5.4 sec

6.5 sec

Quarter Mile

16.7 sec

17.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

87 MPH

83 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Hyundai Santa Fe uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Tiguan requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Santa Fe has 3.5 gallons more fuel capacity than the Tiguan FWD’s standard fuel tank (18.8 vs. 15.3 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Santa Fe has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Tiguan AWD’s standard fuel tank (18.8 vs. 15.9 gallons).

Brakes and Stopping

The Santa Fe stops shorter than the Tiguan:

Santa Fe

Tiguan

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

134 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Santa Fe has larger tires than the Tiguan (235/65R17 vs. 215/65R17).

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 Tiguan doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Santa Fe is 2.5 inches wider in the front and 3.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Tiguan.

The Santa Fe handles at .78 G’s, while the Tiguan SEL 4Motion® pulls only .77 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Cargo Capacity

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

Santa Fe

Tiguan

All Rear Seats Folded

71.3 cubic feet

65.7 cubic feet

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

Santa Fe

Tiguan

Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)

n.a./42.4”/77.4”

17.2”/39.7”/74.5”

Max Width

53.7”

55”

Min Width

42.3”

39.8”

Height

31.5”

33.5”

Ergonomics

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 Tiguan doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

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

Both the Santa Fe and the Tiguan 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 Tiguan.

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 Tiguan doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

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 Tiguan 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 Tiguan doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Santa Fe owner. The Car Book by Jack Gillis rates the Santa Fe with a number “5” insurance rate while the Tiguan is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Santa Fe is less expensive to operate than the Tiguan because it costs $82 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Santa Fe than the Tiguan, including $389 less for a water pump, $156 less for a muffler, $401 less for a starter, $133 less for fuel injection, $106 less for a fuel pump, $175 less for front struts and $73 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

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

The Hyundai Santa Fe outsold the Volkswagen Tiguan by 14% during 2018.

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

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