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As far as two-row SUVs go, the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe and Nissan Rogue are some pretty good choices. These SUVs are affordably priced and have a lot of value. They both have an impressive array of high-tech features, and they have fairly capable engines, too. Most importantly, they have the cabin space that many consumers are looking for.
To be honest, there may be more similarities than differences when comparing these two models. To help potential customers decide which SUV to get, this guide will go into the details of how these models stack up against each other.
Two engines are offered with the Hyundai Santa Fe, but only one is available on the Nissan Rogue. This limits Rogue customers and may be an important factor in someone's purchasing decision.
The engine in the Nissan Rogue is a 2.5-liter, four-cylinder engine. It gives the SUV 181 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. These are perfectly fine numbers, but they don't make the Rogue sound extremely exciting from a performance standpoint. If drivers are looking to have more fun, they can take advantage of the manual mode option that comes standard with the continuously variable transmission. There's also a sport mode that can make things feel more aggressive. The other mode is eco mode, and it would do exactly the opposite in order to conserve fuel.
In the Hyundai Santa Fe, all of the trims use 2.5-liter engines as well. The first two trim use standard four-cylinder engines, whereas the other trims use four-cylinder engines with turbochargers. The difference in capability is significant. A turbocharged engine has 277 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. This is much better than the 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque that the regular engine has.
Transmission in the Santa Fe depends on what type of engine has been installed. The first two trims use eight-speed automatic transmissions, and the others use eight-speed wet dual clutch transmissions. Both types have SHIFTRONIC, which allows the driver to manually shift gears. Like the Rogue, the Santa Fe has different driving modes that people can choose if they feel like being more or less efficient.
All-wheel drive is an option on every trim of the Santa Fe and Rogue SUVs. Having all-wheel drive can be critical if people ever run into slippery conditions. Nissan has given its Rogues with AWD special driving modes to enhance performance in certain situations. Snow and off-road modes can be useful if things are particularly challenging.
Fuel economy is decent in the Hyundai Santa Fe. A front-wheel-drive Santa Fe can earn up to 25 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. The numbers aren't too far off these marks if the Santa Fe has the turbo engine and/or an all-wheel drivetrain. The Rogue actually does much better in this regard. The best it can do is 27 miles per gallon in the city and 35 miles per gallon on the highway. Anyone who wants to reduce fuel consumption will be intrigued by the Rogue.
The lower trims of the Santa Fe handle very similarly to the Rogue. The higher trims, though, are going to feel much more spirited. If people know they're going to be putting their SUVs through a lot of wear and tear, or if they're drivers who like pushing their vehicles hard, it would probably be a good idea to take advantage of the turbo engine that Hyundai offers.
These models are easily driven, and when someone is behind the wheel of a Santa Fe or Rogue, the SUV will feel much more like a sedan than a truck. The open cabin of these SUVs can give people better sightlines, and there's the height that many people desire. The Santa Fe is 7.3 inches off the ground, and the Rogue has a ground clearance of 8.2 inches.
In terms of length, the Santa Fe is a bit bigger. It has an overall length of 188.4 inches, and the length of the Rogue is 183 inches. The Santa Fe is a few inches wider as well. Realistically, these minor differences would be difficult to notice without having a measuring tape nearby.
Leg room is really generous in the Hyundai SUV. It has 44.1 inches of leg room in the front and 41.7 inches of leg room in the back row. This is more than what one would find in many other models. Leg room in the first row of the Nissan SUV is 43.3 inches, so comfort shouldn't be a concern for anyone riding up front. In the Rogue's second row, leg room is 38.5 inches. This should be fine for most passenger, even on long road trips, but it's just not as spacious as what the Santa Fe offers.
Maximum cargo capacity in the Santa Fe is 72.1 cubic feet when the rear seats have been folded down. When those seats are in their proper positions, the rear cargo area has a volume of 36.4 cubic feet. That's just about the same as what the Rogue offers. Its rear cargo area has a volume of 36.5 cubic feet, and when the back seats are lowered, its maximum capacity is 74.1 cubic feet.
Most modern drivers would be happy to utilize the advanced infotainment systems in these models. They can make it more convenient to make phone calls, check text messages, find something entertaining to listen to, and possibly even check traffic conditions and find the best routes.
The Santa Fe starts off with an eight-inch touchscreen, and its higher trims have 10.25-inch with integrated navigation, and 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound systems. Most trims have wireless charging and HD Radio, and all have Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and Bluetooth.
The Rogue also has an eight-inch touchscreen with smartphone compatibility and Bluetooth as a standard component. Its higher trims have nine-inch touchscreens with built-in navigation and Bose sound systems. Most of its trims, like the Santa Fe, have Wi-Fi capability. All of its trims have SiriusXM Satellite Radio, and this is a feature that many people may be interested in because it comes with dozens of high-quality radio stations in a variety of genres.
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Driver-assist technologies can be found in both of these vehicles. This type of safety component takes things a step further than a traditional safety element, which are still important but just not as advanced. A driver-assist system can actively watch out for problems, alert drivers to any concerning issue, and potentially help avoid accidents. These systems can provide a lot of peace of mind as people deal with unpredictable situations each day.
Every trim of the Hyundai Santa Fe has forward collision-avoidance assist, so basically there's a forward collision alert and automatic emergency braking. The system can sense the presence of other vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists, and it can do a very good job of preventing frontal collisions. Further, the SUV comes standard with lane keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, and driver attention warning.
The Nissan Rogue has a similar features. It has forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and pedestrian detection. It has lane departure warning, but the lane intervention component that can correct steering isn't included with the base model. The base model, though, does have blind spot and rear cross-traffic alert. These components are only found on the higher trims of the Santa Fe. On the other hand, adaptive cruise control isn't standard on the Rogue like it is on the Santa Fe, but it is included on the other trims.
With both models, a rear view monitor is standard. 360-degree monitoring systems have been integrated into higher trims of the Santa Fe and Rogue, as is a head-up display. This display can project key information, such as the speed limit and any warnings, onto the windshield behind the steering wheel. It's not distracting at all, and it can remind people to stay alert.
More advanced features in these models can be quite impressive. The Rogue has rear automatic braking on every trim, and this prevents a lot of accidents resulting from drivers backing up without being able to see everything behind them. A parking assist feature uses sonar to let people know when they're getting too close to other objects. Finally, the Rogue can intervene if a driver is about to change lanes when a vehicle is in his/her blind spot.
The Hyundai Santa Fe also has parking distance warnings. In addition, it has mitigation programs that can prevent drivers from hitting vehicles in their blind spots and those crossing behind them while they're in reverse. Perhaps the Santa Fe's most modern system is Remote Smart Parking Assist. It's standard in the top-level trim, and it lets drivers park their SUVs by simply pushing a button. The vehicle can do all the hard work of steering and can even handle the braking. A driver doesn't even need to be in the cabin while this happens.
Which Has the Best Value?
The first two trims of the Santa Fe are the SE and SEL. Remember that they have the standard 2.5-liter engines. They cost $26,850 and $28,650. The other trims are the Limited ($38,600) and Calligraphy ($42,300). These are significantly more expensive than the others, but keep in mind that they have the turbo engines.
In comparison, the Nissan Rogue has a starting price of $25,750. It has two mid-level trims, which are the SV ($27,440) and SL ($32,100). The most sophisticated trim is the Platinum, and it costs $35,530. The Rogue doesn't have a turbo option for its engine, so the benefits associated with moving up in trim have to do with the number and quality of the exterior and interior features.
When looking at the base models of both trims, there's going to be many similarities. They have cloth seats, LED headlights, and all of the previously mentioned safety and entertainment features. Mid-level trims are going to have more amenities, such as power-adjustable seats in the front row, heated first-row seats, heated side mirrors, and smart entry systems. Towards the higher end of the respective lineups, the trims could have leather seats to add more luxury to the cabin.
Some of the high-end pieces that the Rogue's Platinum trim has are a motion-activated liftgate, heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and quilted semi-aniline leather seats. The Calligraphy trim of the Santa Fe has quilted Nappa leather upholstery, a eco-suede microfiber headliner, a perforated leather-wrapped steering wheel, heated rear seats, and heated and ventilated front seats.
Which is Better?
The top trims of the Santa Fe do feel more premium than the Rogue does. First, they are more capable, and they have a few extra touches that add to the overall style and level of sophistication. However, they're much more expensive, and this may put them out of the price range of many buyers.
When looking at the lower Santa Fe and Rogue trims, the battle is close. It's hard to say that one SUV would definitely be the better purchase, simply because they have about the same amount of space and capability, and they both have many nice interior amenities. The Santa Fe has more second-row leg room, but the Rogue has a greater maximum cargo capacity. The Rogue is also the more efficient SUV. The decision may come to little details like these.
Ultimately, the Nissan Rogue will be the likely choice if a customer doesn't care too much about maximizing power. The engine of the Rogue can be completely sufficient for the average driver. The Hyundai Santa Fe will appeal more to those who want a slightly more refined SUV, and it will especially attract attention from drivers who like the idea of being in control of a turbocharged engine.