2020 Toyota Highlander 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 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 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 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.

Both the Highlander 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, rearview cameras, driver alert monitors, available all wheel drive, daytime running lights, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

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Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Highlander for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Hyundai doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Santa Fe.

There are over 47 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

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The Highlander’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 110 more horsepower (295 vs. 185) and 85 lbs.-ft. more torque (263 vs. 178) than the Santa Fe’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder. The Highlander’s 3.5 DOHC V6 produces 60 more horsepower (295 vs. 235) and 3 lbs.-ft. more torque (263 vs. 260) than the Santa Fe 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

Highlander

Santa Fe

2WD

V6/Auto

21 city/29 hwy

20 city/27 hwy

turbo 4 cyl.

V6/Auto

20 city/28 hwy

n/a

4WD

V6/Auto

20 city/27 hwy

20 city/26 hwy

turbo 4 cyl.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Highlander

Santa Fe

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.3 inches

12 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Highlander L/LE/XLE has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Santa Fe SE/SEL. The Highlander Limited/Platinum’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Santa Fe 2.0T.

Suspension and Handling

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For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Highlander’s wheelbase is 3.3 inches longer than on the Santa Fe

(112.2 inches vs. 108.9 inches).

Passenger Space

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The Highlander has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Santa Fe can only carry 5.

The Highlander has 30.6 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Santa Fe (141.3 vs. 110.7).

The Highlander has .2 inches more rear headroom, .1 inches more rear legroom, .7 inches more rear hip room and .4 inches more rear shoulder room than the Santa Fe.

Cargo Capacity

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

Highlander

Santa Fe

Third Seat Folded

48.4 cubic feet

n/a

Third Seat Removed

n/a

35.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

84.3 cubic feet

71.3 cubic feet

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the Highlander. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Towing

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The Highlander’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Santa Fe’s (5000 vs. 2000 pounds).

Ergonomics

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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’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically. With the Santa Fe SEL/Limited’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

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 can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Highlander Platinum has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Highlander’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Hyundai only offers heated mirrors on the Santa Fe SEL/Limited.

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’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Highlander 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 Highlander’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.

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 2020/01/21

The Toyota Highlander outsold the Hyundai Santa Fe by almost two to one during the 2019 model year.

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

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