As you shop around for the best performing SUVs available in 2020, you’ll notice that the Honda CR-V and Hyundai Sante Fe are among the top of the list. The CR-V is a longtime classic in the crossover market because of its utility and comfort. On the other hand, the Sante Fe has become a solid contender itself. Both models are great options, but the CR-V is more well-rounded. Here’s why.
The CR-V has a more distinct style
It’s pretty safe to say that the Sante Fe has a history of mimicking the same rugged and sporty exterior of the CR-V. But in 2020, the CR-V has largely abandoned its rugged appearance and now exhibits a sharper, edgier look. Compared to the CR-V’s refreshed exterior, the Sante Fe is more casual and understated, but there’s nothing wrong with that.
The CR-V has a more refined driving experience
Performance and capability are what really matter in the SUV class. The Sante Fe performs well, but the CR-V performs even better. Honda discontinued the standard four-cylinder engine for 2020, so the turbocharged 1.5-liter with 190 hp is now the only power source. The engine is linked to one of the finest continuously variable automatic transmissions. This combination makes the CR-V feel more refined and responsive on the road. The CR-V is pleasant overall, but it’s worth noting that it’s no speed demon.
The Sante Fe isn’t super fast either, but it’s sufficient. This SUV has a standard four-cylinder engine with 185-hp but there is a turbocharged option available that generates a 235-hp. Overall, the Sante Fe is satisfactory on the road but there’s not much flavor to it.
When it comes to fuel efficiency, the CR-V gets a combined 29 mpg while the Sante Fe gets a 22 mpg. But, when it comes to towing capacity, the Sante Fe wins out. The Sante Fe can haul up to 3,500 pounds; the CR-V is at the lower ends of its class with a max towing capacity of 1,500 pounds.
What about safety?
The CR-V has obtained top crash-test ratings from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and was named a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety in 2019. Safety is also a huge factor on the Sante Fe; the model also has excellent crash-test ratings from the NHTSA and is a Top Safety Pick+ by the IIHS.
Both the CR-V and Sante Fe offer plenty of standard driver-assist features to help prevent accidents. The CR-V’s most notable driver’s aids are standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection and standard lane-keeping assist with lane-departure warning. Key driver assistance features on the Sante Fe include standard forward-collision warning and automated emergency braking, along with adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go- tech.
Besides the towing capacity, what else does the Sante Fe do better than the CR-V?
The infotainment display in the CR-V is visually appealing but actually operating the system is cumbersome. Unlike the CR-V, the Sante Fe comes standard with an intuitive infotainment system that offers standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity. Although, infotainment doesn’t exactly match the CR-V’s overall excellent performance and handling capabilities.