2020 Kia Niro vs. 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/01/21

The Niro has standard Active Headrests, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Headrests system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

Both the Niro and the Santa Fe 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 crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors, rear cross-path warning and driver alert monitors.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia second in initial quality, above the industry average. With 1 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked third.

Engine

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The Niro’s 1.6 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 17 lbs.-ft. more torque (195 vs. 178) than the Santa Fe’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder.

As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Niro is faster than the Santa Fe 2.0T:

Niro

Santa Fe

Zero to 60 MPH

8.9 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

16.8 sec

17.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

83 MPH

82.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/01/21

On the EPA test cycle the Niro gets better fuel mileage than the Santa Fe:

MPG

Niro

FWD

LX 1.6 4-cyl. Hybrid

52 city/49 hwy

LXS/EX 1.6 4-cyl. Hybrid

51 city/46 hwy

Touring 1.6 4-cyl. Hybrid

46 city/40 hwy

Santa Fe

FWD

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

AWD

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

21 city/27 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/26 hwy

Regenerative brakes improve the Niro’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

Environmental Friendliness

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In its Green Vehicle Guide, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) rates the Kia Niro higher (7 out of 10) than the Hyundai Santa Fe (5 to 7). This means the Niro produces up to 8 pounds less smog-producing pollutants than the Santa Fe every 15,000 miles.

Transmission

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The Niro offers a standard sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

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The Niro stops shorter than the Santa Fe:

Niro

Santa Fe

60 to 0 MPH

122 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

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The Niro LX/LXS/EX Premium’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Santa Fe SE/SEL’s standard 65 series tires. The Niro Touring’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Santa Fe 2.0T’s 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

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The Niro Touring Special Edition handles at .82 G’s, while the Santa Fe AWD pulls only .76 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Niro Touring Special Edition executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.6 seconds quicker than the Santa Fe (27.3 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.9 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

For better maneuverability, the Niro’s turning circle is 2.7 feet tighter than the Santa Fe’s (34.8 feet vs. 37.5 feet).

Chassis

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The Kia Niro may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 500 to 800 pounds less than the Hyundai Santa Fe.

The Niro is 1 foot, 4.3 inches shorter than the Santa Fe, making the Niro easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Passenger Space

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The front step up height for the Niro is 2.5 inches lower than the Santa Fe (15.5” vs. 18”). The Niro’s rear step up height is 2.3 inches lower than the Santa Fe’s (16.2” vs. 18.5”).

Cargo Capacity

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A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Niro easier. The Niro’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29 inches, while the Santa Fe’s liftover is 31.2 inches.

Ergonomics

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The Niro’s standard front power windows lower with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside of the car. The Santa Fe’s standard power windows’ passenger windows don’t open automatically.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) conducts detailed tests on headlights for their range both straight ahead and in curves and to be certain they don’t exceed acceptable amounts of glare to oncoming drivers. The Niro’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Santa Fe’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to .”

When the Niro with available tilt-down mirrors is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Santa Fe’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Niro has a standard 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. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Santa Fe and isn’t available on the Santa Fe SE.

The Niro’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Santa Fe SE doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

Economic Advantages

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/01/21

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Kia Niro will be $3328 to $6921 less than for the Hyundai Santa Fe.

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