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The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe and the 2018 Toyota Highlander are popular midsize SUVs. To help you decide which used vehicle to choose, we’ll compare them across several categories, including pricing, reliability scores, and common problems. Additionally, we’ll discuss fuel economy, cargo space, and safety ratings. Based on those comparisons, we’ll offer recommendations on which model might be better.

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2018 Toyota Highlander: Used price

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe interior, used Hyundai Santa Fe, used midsize SUV
2018 Hyundai Santa Fe | Hyundai Motor America

According to J.D. Power, people are paying $18,276 to $26,664 for a used 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe.

On the other hand, the average used price range for a 2018 Toyota Highlander is $23,271 to $37,510. That’s a $4,000 to $11,000 difference.

Prices may vary depending on trim level, mileage, overall condition, and location.

2018 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2018 Toyota Highlander: Gas mileage

The 2018 Santa Fe base model offers decent fuel efficiency, with an EPA-estimated 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

Meanwhile, the 2018 Toyota Highlander base model boasts slightly better gas mileage: 20 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway.

However, fuel-economy estimates differ based on the trim and powertrain, including hybrid versions.

2018 Santa Fe vs. 2018 Highlander: Cargo space

2018 Toyota Highlander SE interior, used Toyota Highlander, used midsize SUV
2018 Toyota Highlander SE | Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

Cargo space is an important consideration for midsize three-row SUV shoppers. The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe offers a maximum cargo capacity of 80 cubic feet, 40.9 cubic feet behind the second row, and 13.5 cubic feet behind the third row.

The 2018 Toyota Highlander provides slightly more cargo space. It provides a maximum of 83.7 cubic feet, 42.3 cubic feet behind the second row, and 13.8 cubic feet behind the third row.

2018 Santa Fe vs. 2018 Highlander: Reliability scores and common problems

J.D. Power calculates reliability scores based on owner feedback and vehicle performance. The market research firm gave the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe a “great” reliability score of 82 out of 100, while the 2018 Toyota Highlander earned an 86. Both models exhibit strong reliability overall. is a valuable resource for identifying common problems reported by vehicle owners. The site shows the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe has a few written complaints, mainly concerning engine and electrical issues. The 2018 Toyota Highlander also gives owners only occasional trouble. Issues involve chipped body paint and premature brake wear. 

Santa Fe vs. Highlander: Safety ratings

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gave the 2018 Highlander and the Santa Fe overall five-star safety ratings.

In addition, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) rates both vehicles highly. However, the Highlander received a Top Safety Pick award, while the Santa Fe earned the highest distinction of Top Safety Pick+.

Which used midsize SUV is the better buy?

After comparing the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe and the 2018 Toyota Highlander across several categories, you can see both models have their merits. The 2018 Santa Fe presents an attractive price range, an above-average reliability score, and few reported complaints. On the other hand, the Highlander boasts an excellent reliability score, better EPA fuel-economy ratings, a bit more cargo space, and a slightly higher IIHS safety rating.

If price is your top concern, the much cheaper Hyundai Santa Fe provides plenty of value. However, if you prioritize reliability, fuel efficiency, and cargo space, the Highlander could be worth the expense.

Overall, your wants and needs will dictate which model is suitable for you. But regardless of which used car you choose, obtain a vehicle history report and have a trusted mechanic perform an inspection to uncover potential problems before purchasing. 


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