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2022 Hyundai Santa Fe vs Mazda CX-5

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe vs Mazda CX-5

2022 Santa Fe vs CX-5 - How Do They Stack Up? Which is Better?

The Hyundai Santa Fe and Mazda CX-5 are great options for anyone looking for a two-row SUV that feels upscale and is still quite practical. There are several different powertrains available for the Hyundai Santa Fe and two available for the CX-5, and beyond this, there are many trim options to consider. Customers have a nice range to choose from. This guide will help prospective buyers determine which model might suit them better.

The Powertrain

With the Santa Fe, Hyundai has created several versions. The SUVs that run on traditional powertrains can either have standard 2.5-liter engines or turbocharged 2.5-liter engines. The base engine makes 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, and the turbocharged one is capable of delivering 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque.

Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive being optional. The base engine has been paired with an eight-speed automatic, while the turbocharged engine works together with an eight-speed wet dual clutch transmission. Either way, there would be a SHIFTRONIC program that offers manual shifting. There is also a Drive Mode Select function that allows people to make their SUVs more or less aggressive.

The Santa Fe Hybrid is powered by an electric component as well as a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine. Net horsepower is 226, which is more than what the regular Santa Fe offers. All-wheel drive is standard with this type of Santa Fe. Instead of giving it an eight-speed automatic transmission, Hyundai has gone with a six-speed automatic transmission. Like the other versions, it has the SHIFTRONIC manual shifting option.

Hyundai makes a plug-in version of the Santa Fe that's pretty intriguing. It uses the same 1.6-liter turbo engine that the hybrid uses, but its electric motor and battery are bigger. As a result, the Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid has a combined horsepower of 261. This should really please a lot of customers who want to have vehicles that are efficient and also powerful. Again, a six-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive, and Drive Mode Select are all included.

Other than the fact that the CX-5 doesn't have hybrid or plug-in hybrid models, there are some similarities with the Santa Fe. Namely, the two available engines for the Mazda also have displacements of 2.5 liters.

The standard engine for the CX-5 is a 2.5-liter model that can make 186 horsepower, along with 186 pound-feet of torque. The top two trims in the lineup, which are the Turbo and the Turbo Signature, run on 2.5-liter turbocharged engines. These can generate a much more impressive 256 horsepower and 320 pound-feet of torque. Clearly, this engine would be the one to pick if anyone was looking for a thrill.

One of the recent changes that Mazda has made to the CX-5 is that all-wheel drive became standard. Every trim has an i-ACTIV AWD program that's ready to take action and make adjustments at any time. The top half of the lineup gets to have Sport and Off-Road modes so that drivers can customize their experiences in certain situations.

Regardless of what engine is selected, the CX-5 has a six-speed automatic transmission. It has a manual shift function for people to utilize whenever they want to be in control over that aspect. The standard G-Vectoring Control Plus program enhances handling.

The Mazda CX-5 doesn't necessarily look rugged, but it can certainly handle a challenge. If needed, it can tow up to 2,000 pounds. That is exactly the towing capacity of the regular Hyundai Santa Fe, the hybrid Santa Fe, and the plug-in hybrid Santa Fe. However, the turbocharged Santa Fes can tow up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped.

In regards to fuel economy, the Mazda CX-5 isn't particularly impressive. Its standard engine can earn an estimated 24 miles per gallon in the city and 30 miles per gallon on the highway. The turbocharged engine gets an estimated 22 miles per gallon in the city and 27 miles per gallon on the highway.

The non-hybrid Santa Fe doesn't do any better. With front-wheel drive, it can earn up to 25 miles per gallon in the city and and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. Those numbers drop to 22 and 25 miles per gallon, respectively, when the SUV has all-wheel drive. For the turbo models, fuel efficiency is 22 miles per gallon in the city and 28 miles per gallon on the highway. If equipped with an all-wheel drivetrain, city fuel economy drops to 21 miles per gallon and highway fuel economy stays the same.

Obviously, the hybrid and plug-in hybrid Santa Fe SUVs are going to attract attention from those who don't want to use that much gasoline. The Santa Fe Hybrid can achieve up to 36 miles per gallon in the city and 31 miles per gallon on the highway. The Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid has a combined fuel economy of 33 mpg and an MPGe of 76. It can be driven in all-electric mode for about 30 miles, which is more than a decent range for a plug-in hybrid. Charging is simple and can be done at home; typically, people charge their plug-in hybrids overnight when not in use.


These SUVs are pleasant to drive. They have a nice level of responsiveness, with some being quicker to accelerate than others. They have great sight lines and open cabins, and many people love how versatile they are.

The Santa Fe is about 188 inches from front to back, while the CX-5 is about 180 inches long. Hyundai's SUV is also a bit taller and wider than the Mazda is. This means that it may be slightly harder to park, but it has more interior space for people to utilize.

With the Hyundai, there is plenty of leg room as well as cargo space. It has more than 41 inches of second-row leg room and a rear cargo area that has a volume of 36.4 cubic feet. When the rear seatbacks have been folded down, cargo capacity expands to 72.1 cubic feet.

The Mazda SUV is fairly roomy, but it's not as big as the Hyundai. Second-row passengers have a bit less than 40 inches, which is still a generous amount. The rear cargo hold has a volume of 30.8 cubic feet. When the rear seatbacks have been lowered, that cargo capacity increases to 59.3 cubic feet. This amount of space should definitely be satisfactory for many potential buyers, but anyone looking to maximize cargo room will likely want to go with the Santa Fe.

Both of these vehicles have many practical features. People will appreciate that the Santa Fe and CX-5 come standard with LED headlights and automatic high beams. The CX-5 even has automatic rain-sensing wipers.

Inside their cabins, there are plenty of things to appreciate. Push button start is found on every trim of the CX-5 and almost every trim of the Santa Fe. Mid-level trims of both models can have smart entry systems, power-adjustable driver's seats, and heated front seats. Higher trims can treat people to heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheels, and heated rear seats. One thing that the Santa Fe has that the CX-5 does not is an available driver seat leg cushion extension for extra comfort.

Technology makes so many tasks much easier. The CX-5 has a 10.25-inch color display plus Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. Its entry-level trim has two USB ports in the front row, while all the others have the pair of ports up front and another pair of USB ports in the back row.

With higher trims of the Mazda, there could be many impressive components. This includes wireless charging, integrated navigation, and Bose sound systems with ten speakers and special audio-enhancing technology.

The Hyundai starts off with an eight-inch touchscreen, but its higher trims have 10.25-inch touchscreens with built-in navigation. Like Mazda, Hyundai has given its higher trims a premium sound system. The Harman Kardon system consists of 12 speakers and also has special technology to improve the sound quality. Bluetooth and smartphone compatibility are standard with the Santa Fe as well. All Santa Fes have four USB ports, with some having wireless charging.


Fortunately, these two companies have focused a lot of their efforts on integrating driver-assist technologies into their vehicles. Customers can have more peace of mind knowing that these SUVs are ready to help them avoid accidents or at least lessen any impact if collisions were to occur.

The two models have an impressive array of safety components. They come standard with adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, and lane keep assist. In addition, they can warn drivers about various issues, such as when they're approaching other vehicles too quickly or seem to be drifting out of their lanes.

There are a few differences between the two vehicles, though. First, all trims of the CX-5 have blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert. Most Santa Fe trims have these features, but on the entry-level Santa Fe, they're optional instead of standard. Further, on the Hyundai, the blind spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert programs come with mitigation systems. Some other differences are that the Santa Fe is available with a safe exit assist program and a blind-spot view monitor.

Both the Santa Fe and CX-5 are available with 360-degree monitors. This can make it much easier to make maneuvers when there's not much room to move around. Both models can also have head-up displays, or as Mazda calls it, an active driving display. This display can show key information to the driver, in a way that doesn't require taking one's eyes off the road. The CX-5 has the ability to read traffic signs and remind drivers of anything notable.

There's one other feature that can only be found on the Santa Fe. It's a smart parking assist program. It provides a way to park a vehicle by just pushing a button, and the driver doesn't even need to remain in the vehicle to do so. It can be useful when there's not that much room to open a door and exit the cabin after parking.

Which Has the Best Value?

The Mazda CX-5 is the cheaper out of the two choices. It starts off with a price of $26,250, while the Hyundai Santa Fe starts off with a cost of $27,700. Remember, also, that the CX-5 comes standard with all-wheel drive. If a customers wants to drive a Santa Fe with this type of drivetrain, an extra cost would be added onto the base price.

These two companies offer many choices, with there being a total of eight Mazda CX-5s. Mid-level trims are priced around $30,000 or a bit higher, with the two turbocharged models costing $36,750 and $39,000. For that high price, a lot is included, and these higher models certainly feel luxurious.

There are five trim options for the traditional Santa Fe. The lineup is topped off by the Calligraphy, which costs $41,410. It has more power and more size than the CX-5 does, and some may prefer its safety package over that of the CX-5's top trim.

If someone wants a hybrid or plug-in hybrid, then the expenses are higher. There are three trims of the Santa Fe Hybrid. The range starts at $34,300 and goes up to $40,710. These numbers aren't that low, but they're still reasonable since there would be reduced fuel costs over the long run.

There are two trims available for the Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid. One has a starting cost of $40,000, and the more premium one costs $46,010. The plug-in hybrid is fairly powerful and has pretty good range, and it beats the turbocharged Mazda CX-5 in horsepower by just a touch.

Fully equipped Santa Fe SUVs are more expensive than their Mazda counterparts, but many would argue that the high-end Santa Fes are a bit more luxurious than those of the CX-5. Also, it's to be expected that one would pay extra for a hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrain. However, if budget is a concern, it does make more sense to get a CX-5.

Which is Better?

As just mentioned, the CX-5 is the more budget-friendly choice. It will please a lot of buyers with its comprehensive technology and safety packages as well as its nicely appointed cabin. Mid-level trims have several components that some people are specifically looking for, like heated front seats or power-adjustable seats.

The main disadvantage of the CX-5, at least in comparison to the Santa Fe, is that it's not available as a hybrid or plug-in hybrid. If anyone wants to save gas, then one of these other options would be the way to go. Yes, they cost a bit more up front, but the efficiency benefits would be appreciated over time.

Another point is that the Santa Fe is the more powerful and larger SUV. It's a more robust vehicle with much more cargo space an the CX-5 has. If capability and size are important to someone, then the choice would be pretty clear - the Santa Fe would be more ideal.

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2021 Hyundai Santa Fe VS Mazda CX-5
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