2020 Toyota Highlander vs. 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe XL

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 2020/07/15

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 Highlander are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Highlander has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Highlander has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Highlander Limited/Platinum has standard Automated Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

The Highlander’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 Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer a driver alert monitor.

Both the Highlander and the Santa Fe XL have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, driver knee airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, daytime running lights, 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 vehicle-to-vehicle front crash prevention system, its standard vehicle-to-pedestrian front crash prevention system, and its available headlight’s “Good” rating, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Highlander the rating of “Top Pick” for 2020, a rating granted to only 30 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The Santa Fe XL last would have qualified as a “Top Pick” in 2019.

Warranty

© 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 2020/07/15

There are over 49 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Hyundai dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Highlander’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 16 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked 8th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Hyundai is ranked 6th.

Engine

© 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 2020/07/15

The Highlander’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 5 more horsepower (295 vs. 290) and 11 lbs.-ft. more torque (263 vs. 252) than the Santa Fe XL’s 3.3 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Toyota Highlander is faster than the Hyundai Santa Fe XL:

Highlander

Santa Fe XL

Zero to 60 MPH

7.2 sec

7.3 sec

Quarter Mile

15.6 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.5 MPH

89.1 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 2020/07/15

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

MPG

Highlander

2WD

3.5 DOHC 6 cyl.

21 city/29 hwy

3.5 DOHC 6 cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

4WD

3.5 DOHC 6 cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

Santa Fe XL

2WD

3.3 DOHC 6 cyl.

18 city/25 hwy

Ultimate 3.3 DOHC 6 cyl.

18 city/23 hwy

4WD

3.3 DOHC 6 cyl.

18 city/24 hwy

Ultimate 3.3 DOHC 6 cyl.

17 city/22 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Highlander’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 Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Transmission

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An eight-speed automatic is standard on the Toyota Highlander, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only a six-speed automatic is available for the Santa Fe XL.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Highlander

Santa Fe XL

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.3 inches

11.9 inches

The Highlander stops shorter than the Santa Fe XL:

Highlander

Santa Fe XL

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels

© 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 2020/07/15

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Highlander Limited/Platinum has standard 20-inch wheels. The Santa Fe XL’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Highlander’s wheelbase is 2 inches longer than on the Santa Fe XL (112.2 inches vs. 110.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Highlander is 1.2 inches wider in the front and .9 inches wider in the rear than on the Santa Fe XL.

The Highlander XLE AWD handles at .82 G’s, while the Santa Fe XL AWD pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Highlander XLE AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1 seconds quicker than the Santa Fe XL AWD (27.4 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Passenger Space

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The Highlander has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Santa Fe XL can only carry 7.

The Highlander has 1.3 inches more front headroom, .7 inches more front legroom, .5 inches more front hip room, .6 inches more rear legroom, 1.6 inches more rear hip room, .4 inches more rear shoulder room, .4 inches more third row headroom, 1.5 inches more third row hip room and 1.1 inches more third row shoulder room than the Santa Fe XL.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Highlander’s middle and third row seats recline. The Santa Fe XL’s third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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

Highlander

Santa Fe XL

Behind Third Seat

16 cubic feet

13.5 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

48.4 cubic feet

40.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

84.3 cubic feet

80 cubic feet

Ergonomics

© 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 2020/07/15

The Highlander Platinum 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 Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The Highlander’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Santa Fe XL’s parking brake has to released manually.

The Highlander’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Santa Fe XL’s rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

If the windows are left open on the Highlander the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. (This window function must be activated by your Toyota service department.) The driver of the Santa Fe XL can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Highlander Platinum’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Santa Fe XL’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

When the Highlander Limited/Platinum 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 XL’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

To quickly and conveniently keep personal devices charged without cables tangling and wearing out, the Toyota Highlander XLE/Limited/Platinum has a standard wireless phone charging system (Qi) in the center console. The Santa Fe XL doesn’t offer wireless personal charging.

Recommendations

© 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 2020/07/15

The Toyota Highlander outsold the Hyundai Santa Fe by 88% during 2019.

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

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