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2022 Hyundai Santa Fe vs Toyota RAV4

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe vs Toyota RAV4
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

2022 Santa Fe vs RAV4 - How Do They Stack Up? Which is Better?

As you go about shopping for your new small SUV, you might be surprised to discover how many of them are on the market in 2022. In this extremely competitive market, small SUVs are all trying to best one another. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe and 2022 Toyota RAV4 are two such rivals that basically beg to be test-driven.

For your money, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe gives you a ton of standard features. Along with a lengthy warranty, the Santa Fe's swift acceleration from the 2.5-L turbo engine and slew of helpful advanced driver aids lend a lot of value. However, the suspension is noticeably soft, and the optional 10.25-inch touchscreen display responds slowly to inputs.

As far as performance goes, the 2022 Toyota RAV4 will likely appeal to those who want a vehicle capable of off-roading - particularly on the TRD Off-road trim level. With its comfortable ride quality and cozy interior, the RAV4 is easy to sit in for hours on end. Passengers and cargo both get plenty of space, and the controls up front are easy to use. You'll just have to put up with its vague steering and bland power delivered by the engine.

Which of these two small SUVs will best meet your needs? Does one possess more overall value? Which price tag best fits into your budget? Read through this comparison review to find out.

The Powertrain

A strong powertrain can make owning a small SUV a delightful experience. You won't need to spend too much time planning how you will to merge onto or pass another vehicle on the highway. But an under-powered powertrain? That can leave you feeling left in the dust by other vehicles on the road with you.

A 2.5-liter four cylinder engine that puts forth 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque is standard issue for the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe. This engine gets paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. FWD is standard for each trim level, but you can get all-wheel drive (AWD) swapped in. The Limited trim offers a stronger turbo 2.5-liter four-cylinder that achieves 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque.

The 2.5-L turbo engine gets the Santa Fe from 0 to 60 mph in 6.6 seconds, which is snappy for this segment. Power delivery is somewhat inconsistent and unrefined when you aren't asking for constant power. The transmission is tuned to seek out the highest possible gears, which can be annoying. The Santa Fe doesn't feel as grounded as the the sportier Mazda CX-5 while rounding through turns, but steering at slower speeds results in easy maneuvers.

When you equip the upgraded turbo engine and AWD, the Santa Fe gets an EPA estimated 24 mpg combined. This is decent enough, and real-world tests actually put this fuel economy rating at 27-28 mpg combined. Thee FWD-equipped base engine gets even better fuel economy ratings.

The 2022 Toyota RAV4 is powered by a four-cylinder engine that musters up 203 horsepower. This engine is standard and comes paired to an eight-speed automatic transmission. AWD is an option while FWD is standard on most trim levels. The Adventure and the TRD Off-Road have a standard enhanced AWD system that improves traction.

Depending on the powertrain and drivetrain, the RAV4 gets an EPA estimated 28-30 mpg in combined driving. You can load up the AWD-equipped Adventure and pull an average of 28.6 mpg, which puts the RAV4 above a lot of competitors in this segment. The downside is that you have to put up with the sluggish acceleration, as the RAV4 gets from 0-60 mph in a measly 9.1 seconds. And, with the steering being so vague, you probably won't have as much fun as you'd like traveling off the beaten path.


Drivability is an all-encompassing term that describes how well a vehicle functions as a daily driving. How comfortable is it to ride in? Is the ride quality smooth? Are the interior materials high quality? Are the controls logically laid out? Are the tech features functional? How much cargo space is available, and how simple is it to use? These are some major factors to consider as you move forth with your vehicle search.

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe is absolutely drivable. Its suspension creates a wallowing ride that you might wish felt more refinement. Still, the front seats are incredibly cozy and sculpted for spinal support. The dual-pane front windows keep outer sound to a minimum, creating luxury level tranquility. Adjusting the climate controls is also quite easy.

Legroom is abundant inside of the cabin, and the dashboard controls are smartly laid out with an abundance of physical knobs and buttons. The door sills are massive and getting in and out effortless for most folks. The large rear window makes outward visibility clear to the point where you don't have to rely on the rear-view camera. The side-mirrors mounted onto the door give you a clear view of your vehicle's blind spots too.

Technology is mostly decent, but the optional 10.25-inch touchscreen display is one you might want to opt out of. It isn't terribly responsive, and the premium sound system only serves up an adequate experience. CarPlay only takes up 2/3 of the 10.25-inch touchscreen, which looks pretty odd. However, smartphone app integration is standard. The spring-loaded wireless charging pad is a clever space-saving tool.

Underfloor bins and the 36.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats make the Santa Fe a cargo-friendly vehicle. The remote seat releases are handy, and you get a better-than-average 3,500-pund max towing capacity when the vehicle is properly equipped.

Let's switch over to the 2022 Toyota RAV4. The suspension does a good job of balancing smoothness with body control. Bumps get absorbed quickly, and there is never a sense of the vehicle being too floaty. While the seat bottoms can feel flat on longer drives, these seats have a lot of sculpting and padding along the seatback. The RAV4 remains quiet for the most part, but the engine can sound coarse when you press it for a big burst of power. The climate control system's airflow feels nice, offering rear seat vents and vents up front that can actually be closed all the way.

The front passenger seat is set too high, which has been a Toyota design thing for years. This one just cannot be adjusted down far enough. Adjustments for the steering wheel and driver's seat are decent, but taller drivers might find them to be a bit lacking. The controls are clearly labeled for easy use and are placed within the driver's reach. There are plenty of large, rubberized knobs, and everything is laid out for an intuitive design. The only issue is that the touchscreen display is slightly out-of-reach.

That being said, the RAV4's technology is good - just not great. The graphics on the touchscreen look outdated even though the system is relatively new. The sound system isn't exceptional, and Entune software's glitchy nature means you'll probably rely a lot on the standard smartphone app integration.

When the rear seats are left upright, the RAV4 offers 37.5 cubic feet, and there is 69.8 cubic feet available when you fold those seats down. This is some of the best you can get in this class. The low cargo floor makes loading and unloading easy. This vehicle can also tow up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped, which is better than average for a small SUV. While LATCH is easy enough to use, putting a rear-facing child car seat behind the tall front passenger seat can be difficult.


Safety is a major concern for the average driver, and auto makers are well aware of the demand for enhanced safety features and designs. Hyundai and Toyota know how to craft their driver aids and include quite a few of them on their vehicles.

A bundle of standard driver aids is offered on the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe. Included in this suite are adaptive cruise control, a driver attention warning, forward collision warning, and lane keeping assist. Blue Link connected services come on the SEL and above trims, and the Convenience package adds a rear seat reminder. The full lane keep system comes starting in the Premium package. The popular Limited trim tacks on a surround-view camera system, a blind spot camera, rain-sensing wipers, and an automated parking system. The Calligraphy trim level gets a nifty head-up display.

Similar features can be found on the 2022 Toyota RAV4. It is equipped with the Safety Sense 2.0 suite of safety features, which gives the vehicle forward collision mitigation, adaptive cruise control, a lane keeping system, automatic high beams, and a traffic sign reader. The XLE trim level adds a blind spot monitor, and a surround-view camera system exists as a stand-alone option. Adaptive cruise control will work right down to 0 mph, and Line Tracing Assist functions as a helpful active steering aid.

Which Has the Best Value?

Buyers need to think about vehicular value as they finalize their purchasing decisions. Which vehicle has the most value all around? Test-driving a vehicle can only tell you so much, which is why buyers should always inquire into pricing, warranty coverage, and how these vehicles are being described by owners writing reviews online.

Hyundai certainly packs a lot of value into the Santa Fe. Its superb warranty coverage sits at a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile for the powertrain. As far as the price goes, the number of features you get balances it out. Even the line-topping Calligraphy undercuts the line-topping trims on the RAV4 and other small SUVs. However, the drawback is that most competitors offer stronger powertrains.

There is a lot of value to be found in the 2022 Toyota RAV4. The interior is certainly well designed, and the body is full of control and strength. The seams within the cabin are truly hard to find since they are built right into the design. The rubberized grips on the frequently touched surfaces are helpful, and the optional simulated leather upholstery found on some of the higher trims has a breathable quality but still manages to look a lot like leather. And the stitching on this upholstery looks spot-on. Free scheduled maintenance sits at a generous two years/25,000 miles, but the rest of the warranty coverage is industry standard.

Which is Better?

While the 2022 Toyota RAV4 is capable of being a good off-roader, it does not feel as well-rounded as the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe. The Santa Fe has magnificent warranty coverage that backs its clever design elements and plethora of easy-to-use tech and safety features. While you might wish the engine options had a bit more power behind them, on the whole, the Santa Fe works well as a daily driver. Whether you are just driving to work or taking a road trip with friends or family, you can sit in comfort without worrying about how your vehicle is performing.

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2021 Hyundai Santa Fe VS Toyota RAV4