2020 Kia Sportage vs. 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Both the Sportage 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, crash mitigating brakes, daytime running lights, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, front and rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.


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.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2018 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 5 places higher in reliability than Hyundai.


The Sportage has more powerful engines than the Santa Fe:


Sportage SX Turbo AWD 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

237 HP

Sportage SX Turbo FWD 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

240 HP

Santa Fe 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

185 HP

Santa Fe 2.0T 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

235 HP

As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Sportage 2.4 4-cylinder is faster than the Hyundai Santa Fe:


Santa Fe 4-cyl.

Santa Fe 2.0T

Zero to 60 MPH

8 sec

8.9 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

16.3 sec

16.7 sec

17.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

86.4 MPH

84.3 MPH

82.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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




2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

23 city/30 hwy

SX 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

Santa Fe


2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/25 hwy

Brakes and Stopping

The Sportage stops much shorter than the Santa Fe:


Santa Fe

70 to 0 MPH

174 feet

176 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

118 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

131 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the Sportage SX Turbo’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Santa Fe (245/45R19 vs. 235/65R17).

The Sportage LX’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 Sportage SX Turbo’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Santa Fe’s optional 55 series tires.

Suspension and Handling

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the Santa Fe Ultimate AWD pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The Sportage SX Turbo AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 2.1 seconds quicker than the Santa Fe (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.9 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

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


The Kia Sportage may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 300 to 600 pounds less than the Hyundai Santa Fe.

The Sportage is 11.4 inches shorter than the Santa Fe, making the Sportage easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

For excellent aerodynamics, the Sportage LX/S/EX has standard flush composite headlights. The Santa Fe has recessed headlights that spoil its aerodynamic shape and create extra drag.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Sportage easier. The Sportage’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.8 inches, while the Santa Fe’s liftover is 31.2 inches.


Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the Sportage to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

Consumer Reports rated the Sportage’s headlight performance “Very Good,” a higher rating than the Santa Fe’s headlights, which were rated “Good.”

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 Sportage’s available headlights were rated “Acceptable” by the IIHS, while the Santa Fe’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to .”

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sportage is less expensive to operate than the Santa Fe because it costs $46 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost less on the Sportage than the Santa Fe, including $10 less for front brake pads, $67 less for a starter, $47 less for fuel injection, $127 less for a fuel pump, $4 less for front struts and $12 less for a timing belt/chain.


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

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

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