2020 Volvo XC40 vs. 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the front and rear seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC40 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Hyundai Santa Fe doesn’t offer pretensioners for the rear seat belts.

The XC40’s pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The XC40 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC40 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply 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 XC40 and the Santa Fe have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, 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 blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty

The XC40’s corrosion warranty is 5 years longer than the Santa Fe’s (12 vs. 7 years).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC40 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Hyundai doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Santa Fe.

Engine

The XC40 T4’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 2 more horsepower (187 vs. 185) and 43 lbs.-ft. more torque (221 vs. 178) than the Santa Fe’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The XC40 T5’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. produces 13 more horsepower (248 vs. 235) than the Santa Fe 2.0T’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

As tested in Motor Trend the XC40 T5 is faster than the Santa Fe 2.0T 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.:

XC40

Santa Fe

Zero to 60 MPH

8.2 sec

9.6 sec

Quarter Mile

16.1 sec

17.1 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

84.6 MPH

82.8 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the XC40 gets better fuel mileage than the Santa Fe:

MPG

XC40

FWD

T4 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

23 city/33 hwy

AWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/30 hwy

Santa Fe

FWD

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/25 hwy

AWD

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

21 city/27 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

19 city/24 hwy

The XC40 has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Brakes and Stopping

For better stopping power the XC40’s front brake rotors are larger than those on the Santa Fe:

XC40

Santa Fe

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

12.6 inches

The XC40 stops shorter than the Santa Fe:

XC40

Santa Fe

70 to 0 MPH

173 feet

176 feet

Car and Driver

60 to 0 MPH

125 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

135 feet

141 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

For better traction, the XC40’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Santa Fe (245/45R20 vs. 235/65R17).

The XC40’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Santa Fe SE/SEL’s standard 65 series tires. The XC40’s optional tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Santa Fe’s optional 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC40 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Santa Fe SE/SEL. The XC40’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels optional on the Santa Fe.

Suspension and Handling

The XC40 offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Santa Fe’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

The XC40 has vehicle speed sensitive variable-assist power steering, for low-effort parking, better control at highway speeds and during hard cornering, and a better feel of the road. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer variable-assist power steering.

The XC40 T5 R-Design AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Santa Fe Ultimate AWD pulls only .81 G’s of cornering force in a Car and Driver skidpad test.

The XC40 T5 R-Design AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Santa Fe (28.1 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 28.9 seconds @ .58 average G’s).

Chassis

The XC40 is 1 foot, 1.6 inches shorter than the Santa Fe, making the XC40 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

For excellent aerodynamics, the XC40 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 XC40 easier. The XC40’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 29.7 inches, while the Santa Fe’s liftover is 31.2 inches.

A standard locking glovebox (which can’t be accessed with the valet key) keeps your small valuables safer in the XC40. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer locking storage for small valuables.

Ergonomics

The XC40’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/Ultimate’s power windows, only the front windows open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the XC40 the driver can close them all at the outside door handle or from a distance using the remote. On a hot day the driver can also lower the windows the same way. The driver of the Santa Fe can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The XC40’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Santa Fe’s standard manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are optional on the XC40 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 XC40’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 XC40’s available headlights were rated “Good” by the IIHS, while the Santa Fe’s headlights are rated “Marginal” to .”

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC40 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer headlight washers.

To help drivers avoid possible obstacles, the XC40 offers optional cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer cornering lights. The XC40 also offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The XC40’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/Ultimate.

When the XC40 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 XC40 offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Santa Fe offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The XC40’s optional Park Assist Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC40 is less expensive to operate than the Santa Fe because it costs $244 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the XC40 than the Santa Fe, including $48 less for fuel injection, $19 less for front struts and $625 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its January 2019 issue and they ranked the Volvo XC40 T5 R-Design AWD higher than the Hyundai Santa Fe.

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

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