2020 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2020 GMC Terrain

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 GMC Terrain doesn’t offer height-adjustable front seat belts.

Both the Santa Fe and Terrain 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 Terrain’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.

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 Terrain 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 Terrain doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Santa Fe and the Terrain 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, 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 GMC Terrain:

Santa Fe

Terrain

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

244

376

Chest Compression

.5 inches

.6 inches

Neck Stress

120 lbs.

153 lbs.

Neck Compression

48 lbs.

51 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

256/146 lbs.

264/236 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 GMC Terrain:

Santa Fe

Terrain

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

49

109

Chest Movement

.6 inches

1.1 inches

Abdominal Force

141 G’s

195 G’s

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

179

288

Spine Acceleration

54 G’s

55 G’s

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

8 inches

13 inches

HIC

179

377

Hip Force

649 lbs.

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

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

The Santa Fe’s corrosion warranty is 1 year and unlimited miles longer than the Terrain’s (7/unlimited vs. 6/100,000).

Reliability

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Santa Fe has a standard 800-amp battery. The Terrain’s 700-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 29 points higher than the Terrain.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Santa Fe first among midsize SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Terrain 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 GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai third in initial quality, above the industry average. With 23 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC 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 GMC vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Hyundai 8th in reliability, above the industry average. With 37 more problems per 100 vehicles, GMC is ranked 22nd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Hyundai vehicles are more reliable than GMC vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Hyundai 15 places higher in reliability than GMC.

Engine

The Santa Fe’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. produces 15 more horsepower (185 vs. 170) than the Terrain’s standard 1.5 turbo 4 cyl.

Fuel Economy and Range

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Hyundai Santa Fe uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Terrain with the 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder engine requires premium for maximum efficiency, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Santa Fe has 3.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Terrain FWD’s standard fuel tank (18.8 vs. 14.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups. The Santa Fe has 3.2 gallons more fuel capacity than the Terrain AWD’s standard fuel tank (18.8 vs. 15.6 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 GMC Terrain (3 to 5). This means the Santa Fe produces up to 24.5 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Terrain every 15,000 miles.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Santa Fe

Terrain

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.8 inches

Rear Rotors

12 inches

11.3 inches

The Santa Fe stops shorter than the Terrain:

Santa Fe

Terrain

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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

Suspension and Handling

The Santa Fe has standard front and rear stabilizer bars, which help keep the Santa Fe flat and controlled during cornering. The Terrain’s suspension doesn’t offer a rear stabilizer bar.

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

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Santa Fe’s wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the Terrain (108.9 inches vs. 107.3 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Santa Fe is 2.4 inches wider in the front and 2.5 inches wider in the rear than on the Terrain.

Passenger Space

The Santa Fe has 7.5 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Terrain (110.7 vs. 103.2).

Cargo Capacity

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

Santa Fe

Terrain

Rear Seat Up

35.9 cubic feet

29.6 cubic feet

Rear Seat Folded

71.3 cubic feet

63.3 cubic feet

Servicing Ease

The Santa Fe uses gas struts to support the hood for easier service access. The Terrain 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 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 Terrain doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Santa Fe SEL/Limited’s front power windows both open or close with one touch of the switches. The Terrain’s front passenger window doesn’t close automatically.

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

The Santa Fe Ultimate’s standard GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Terrain’s available navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

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 Terrain is rated higher at a number “10” rate.

The Santa Fe will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. The IntelliChoice estimates that the Santa Fe will retain 45.92% to 47.83% of its original price after five years, while the Terrain only retains 36.82% to 45.76%.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Santa Fe is less expensive to operate than the Terrain because it costs $309 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Santa Fe than the Terrain, including $172 less for a water pump, $447 less for a muffler, $138 less for front brake pads, $161 less for a starter, $184 less for fuel injection, $298 less for a fuel pump and $278 less for a timing belt/chain.

Recommendations

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

The Hyundai Santa Fe outsold the GMC Terrain by 2724 units during 2018.

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

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