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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
We currently have a 2018 Subaru Outback Limited, and are looking to upgrade to a 2021 or 2022.

We love our Outback, but yesterday we test drove a 2021 Santa Fe limited, and we were very impressed overall. The one feature the OB has, which the SF doesn't is articulating headlights, which is a nice safety feature, and really provides extra light going around dark curves and corners.

So, what vehicles did you compare your SF to, and what made you go with the SF?

Insight appreciated.

Thank you,
Marc
 

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2019 Santa Fe Ultimate 2.0T AWD
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Mazda CX-5 Signature and Honda CR-V Touring.

The Honda was eliminated right away--the SF felt more luxurious, was quieter, had more features and just felt more premium (Ultimate trim).

The decision between the SF and the Mazda was tougher, but I liked that the SF had much more room inside, since it's our family vehicle.

My other car has adaptive headlights that swivel - I don't miss those when I'm driving the SF. I suppose they are beneficial on really dark country roads, but it's a feature that I'm more than wiling to live without. YMMV.
 

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I cross-shopped with the Sorento (felt smaller), Outback (cvt=no), CR-V (feels small), and Sedona (huge, comfy, thirsty).
 

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We currently have a 2018 Subaru Outback Limited, and are looking to upgrade to a 2021 or 2022.

We love our Outback, but yesterday we test drove a 2021 Santa Fe, and we were very impressed overall. The one feature the OB has, which the SF doesn't is articulating headlights, which is a nice safety feature, and really provides extra light going around dark curves and corners.

So, what vehicles did you compare your SF to, and what made you go with the SF?

Insight appreciated.

Thank you,
Marc
Did you test drive the SF Limited or one with the base non-turbo engine?
 

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I adjusted my OP to reflect we test drove the SF Limited
Ok, thanks. Unless you have the 6 cylinder in your 2018 Outback, the SF Limited must have felt way more powerful. Of course you can get the new Outback with 4 turbo now. Also, one of the major complaints from current Outback owners is that most all of the settings eg. heating, cooling, start-stop feature etc can only be changed by scrolling through menus and sub-menus rather than having any intuitive and easy to get to buttons to make quick changes.
 

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When I was comparison shopping in 2019, none of Subarus had these features that were available on some versions of the 2019 Santa Fe: Heads Up Display ("HUD"), power sunroof shade, adjustable thigh support on the driver's seat, front view and 360° cameras, driver’s seat that moves back automatically for easy entry/exit, and window shades on back side windows.
 

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2021 Santa Fe Limited (Portofino Gray)
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The one feature the OB has, which the SF doesn't is articulating headlights, which is a nice safety feature, and really provides extra light going around dark curves and corners.
My 2018 Santa Fe Sport 2.0T Ultimate had articulating headlights, but they were removed from future versions. So far I have not missed them on my 2021 Limited.

For me the 360 degree camera is a game changer as I park in a public garage with tight clearances. I would find it hard to go back to a vehicle without it. I notice this year it's made it's way down to the 2022 Tucson Limited. I'm betting in another year or two it will be on all models in the upper trim levels.
 

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Here is our list:

Rav4 (too small)
CR-V (underpowered, too small)
4Runner (we wanted more luxury than truck)
Highlander (not much more room for the money, didn't love the styling)
Palisade (decided against a wider car/third row).

We decided on a 2021 SF Calligraphy (AWD) because it felt roomy and had lots of safety/tech features we liked. It also had the power behind the pedal that we were looking for coming from a V6 3.6L engine in our current mid-sized SUV.
 

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2020 Santa Fe SEL 2.4l FWD
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RAV4
Highlander
CR-V
Sorento
Tucson
Outback
Sienna

All of the above were great cars but none could match the Hyundai Santa Fe for value for the dollar.
We got a 2020 SEL Santa Fe that had every safety feature on the market. Most of the others required the highest grade to match the safety features or they were not offered even at the highest grade. The highest grade Sienna which we liked did not have all the safety features the Santa Fe did but cost almost $45,000. We bought our 2020 Santa Fe SEL 2.4l FWD for $24,000 on December 31. 2019 and got a great deal.
 

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RAV4
Highlander
CR-V
Sorento
Tucson
Outback
Sienna

All of the above were great cars but none could match the Hyundai Santa Fe for value for the dollar.
We got a 2020 SEL Santa Fe that had every safety feature on the market. Most of the others required the highest grade to match the safety features or they were not offered even at the highest grade. The highest grade Sienna which we liked did not have all the safety features the Santa Fe did but cost almost $45,000. We bought our 2020 Santa Fe SEL 2.4l FWD for $24,000 on December 31. 2019 and got a great de
 

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2021 Santa Fe Limited AWD, Stormy Sea
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I honestly didn't cross shop much. I looked into other SUVs, but most were eliminated right away for CVT transmissions, for being too small inside, or for being too big on the outside to fit in our garage. It really came down to the Santa Fe, the Sorento, the 2022 Tucson, or the Mercedes GLC. I scratched the new Tucson over the wait and I scratched the Sorento mostly because of the better seats and seat memory in the Santa Fe. I scratched the GLC because it isn't any nicer than the Santa Fe and costs $15K more by the time you get it equipped the same way. The Santa Fe just hit most of the right buttons for me and I loved the way it drove, so hereI am!
 

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Help my aunt test drive 2021 Aviator Hybrid, Lexus RX Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, and Hyundai Santa Fe Blue Hybrid.

All the other mid-size SUV hybrids were $10K-$20K-$30K more than the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid. We wanted to test the Santa Fe Limited Hybrid, ...but it was sold.

What she liked testing the SF Blue Hybrid and only looked inside the SF Limited Hybrid?

1). 35.5 MPG driving on freeway and surface streets on 1 hr test ride.
2). Priced $10K-$20K-$30K less than competition.
3). The SF AWD Limited Hybrid was beautiful quilted leather, panoramic sun roof, heated back seat, rear sun shade, heads up display, collision warning, turn signal change the dash into a rear view camera, multiple adjustment on leather seat to fit my aunt, great navigation, great stereo, quiet ride, easy to drive, etc..

My aunt was very upset the 2021 SF AWD Limited Hybrid got sold before she could test drive it. She only drove the 2021 SF Blue, well equipped, ...but she really liked the price, MPG and beautiful interior. This was the only time I heard my aunt say she will wait for the new 2021 SF AWD Limited Hybrid and even thought about custom ordering one with all the options she liked. She has never done that in 80 yrs!!! (79+ will be 80 in couple of months).
 

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My 2nd /3rd choices were the smaller Toyota RAV4 ad Honda CRV. Wish now that I bought either of those instead. Both engines were not GDIs.
 

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Help my aunt test drive 2021 Aviator Hybrid, Lexus RX Hybrid, Toyota Highlander Hybrid, and Hyundai Santa Fe Blue Hybrid.

All the other mid-size SUV hybrids were $10K-$20K-$30K more than the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid. We wanted to test the Santa Fe Limited Hybrid, ...but it was sold.

What she liked testing the SF Blue Hybrid and only looked inside the SF Limited Hybrid?

1). 35.5 MPG driving on freeway and surface streets on 1 hr test ride.
2). Priced $10K-$20K-$30K less than competition.
3). The SF AWD Limited Hybrid was beautiful quilted leather, panoramic sun roof, heated back seat, rear sun shade, heads up display, collision warning, turn signal change the dash into a rear view camera, multiple adjustment on leather seat to fit my aunt, great navigation, great stereo, quiet ride, easy to drive, etc..

My aunt was very upset the 2021 SF AWD Limited Hybrid got sold before she could test drive it. She only drove the 2021 SF Blue, well equipped, ...but she really liked the price, MPG and beautiful interior. This was the only time I heard my aunt say she will wait for the new 2021 SF AWD Limited Hybrid and even thought about custom ordering one with all the options she liked. She has never done that in 80 yrs!!! (79+ will be 80 in couple of months).
No HUD in the USA Limited HEV......
 

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My 2nd /3rd choices were the smaller Toyota RAV4 ad Honda CRV. Wish now that I bought either of those instead. Both engines were not GDIs.
The Hyundai Santa Fe engine have dual injection per cylinder. One port and one direct injectors per cylinder. These are designed to reduce the carbon build up.

GDI carbon build-up in intake should diminish because of the new motor oil API SP/ILSAC GF6A and GF6B. The 7 new tests were very difficult to pass and April 2021 is the dead-line to pass these tests or get decertified. The new oil address LSPI-Low Speed Pre-Ignition, Carbon/Sludge, Timing Chain, Fuel Mileage, Cold Start, etc.. The new oils, API SP, are game changers. My oil-catch-can had very little oil residue after 3 oil changes 10K miles.

Too many auto maker suffered carbon build up, timing chain failures, LSPI (detonation) and engine failure. The Korean, Japanese and American auto makers joined ILSAC - International Lubricant Standardization Approval Committee and API - American Petroleum Institute to write the new specifications and testing standards. The new specification was released early 2020 and final version released December 2020. This was the first time such stringent 7 new tests were required of motor oil manufacturers and additive companies. They placed a strict dead-line of April 2021 for motor oil companies to pass the tests or get decertified. API, ILAC and PQIA - Petroleum Quality Institute of America will not certify motor oils to the pass specifications and retire their old certification.

Note: Mobil 1 thought they did not require passing 7 new tests or certification of their oil to API SP / ILSAC GF6A and GF6B. Big Box Stores pulled their products from the stores in early 2021. Mobil 1 fired their VP of Marketing and joined API, ILSAC and attempted to send samples to PQIA. PQIA only test oils they purchase anonymously from stores. In 2021 Mobil 1 have passed some of the tests with some of their products, many of Mobil 1’s products are sold without certification marks of API/ILSAC.
 

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The Hyundai Santa Fe engine have dual injection per cylinder. One port and one direct injectors per cylinder. These are designed to reduce the carbon build up.

GDI carbon build-up in intake should diminish because of the new motor oil API SP/ILSAC GF6A and GF6B. The 7 new tests were very difficult to pass and April 2021 is the dead-line to pass these tests or get decertified. The new oil address LSPI-Low Speed Pre-Ignition, Carbon/Sludge, Timing Chain, Fuel Mileage, Cold Start, etc.. The new oils, API SP, are game changers. My oil-catch-can had very little oil residue after 3 oil changes 10K miles.

Too many auto maker suffered carbon build up, timing chain failures, LSPI (detonation) and engine failure. The Korean, Japanese and American auto makers joined ILSAC - International Lubricant Standardization Approval Committee and API - American Petroleum Institute to write the new specifications and testing standards. The new specification was released early 2020 and final version released December 2020. This was the first time such stringent 7 new tests were required of motor oil manufacturers and additive companies. They placed a strict dead-line of April 2021 for motor oil companies to pass the tests or get decertified. API, ILAC and PQIA - Petroleum Quality Institute of America will not certify motor oils to the pass specifications and retire their old certification.

Note: Mobil 1 thought they did not require passing 7 new tests or certification of their oil to API SP / ILSAC GF6A and GF6B. Big Box Stores pulled their products from the stores in early 2021. Mobil 1 fired their VP of Marketing and joined API, ILSAC and attempted to send samples to PQIA. PQIA only test oils they purchase anonymously from stores. In 2021 Mobil 1 have passed some of the tests with some of their products, many of Mobil 1’s products are sold without certification marks of API/ILSAC.
I've been working to understand the concerns with the GDI engines and for the sake of being informed consumers, here's a what I've found about GDI engines:

1. Gasoline Dilution - spraying gas directly into the cylinder results in more accumulation on the walls, especially during cold starts. Gas is much thinner than oil and some of it will slip past the piston rings and wind up in the oil, affecting its performance.

Solutions: Frequent oil changes and higher viscosity oil. I've gone with 5K mile change intervals and full synthetic 5W30 instead of 0W20 for my mixed driving. The higher viscosity should offset some of the gas dilution impact. Blackstone analyses so far have indicated reduced oil viscosity but gas dilution still well below 2%.

An oil that does not degrade in performance with the gasoline dilution would have significant advantage.

2. Intake Valve Carbon Buildup - Appears to have two primary causes:
The primary cause is engine oil vapors from the PCV system mix with hot exhaust gases from the EGR system and cause carbon buildup on the top of the intake valve. Non-GDI engines and the new Smartstream engines inject gasoline farther upstream so the detergents in the gas are constantly keeping the carbon buildup to a minimum, but Theta II engines don't have that feature so the carbon just builds up.

The secondary cause would likely be with higher mileage engines where oil leaking past the intake valve seals and depositing on top.

Solutions: Clean valves in a shop (walnut blasting, expensive), or at home (CRC Intake Valve Cleaner). Catch can as described by @RAYMUND155 removes much of the oil vapor from the PCV system before it gets to the intake.

An oil that has reduced vapors (evidence of less oil in the catch can) would go a long way for the primary cause.

The SP formulations are supposed to address these problems and I'm optimistic that they'll reduce (but, realistically, not fully eliminate) our concerns with GDI engines.
 

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I've been working to understand the concerns with the GDI engines and for the sake of being informed consumers, here's a what I've found about GDI engines:

1. Gasoline Dilution - spraying gas directly into the cylinder results in more accumulation on the walls, especially during cold starts. Gas is much thinner than oil and some of it will slip past the piston rings and wind up in the oil, affecting its performance.

Solutions: Frequent oil changes and higher viscosity oil. I've gone with 5K mile change intervals and full synthetic 5W30 instead of 0W20 for my mixed driving. The higher viscosity should offset some of the gas dilution impact. Blackstone analyses so far have indicated reduced oil viscosity but gas dilution still well below 2%.

An oil that does not degrade in performance with the gasoline dilution would have significant advantage.

2. Intake Valve Carbon Buildup - Appears to have two primary causes:
The primary cause is engine oil vapors from the PCV system mix with hot exhaust gases from the EGR system and cause carbon buildup on the top of the intake valve. Non-GDI engines and the new Smartstream engines inject gasoline farther upstream so the detergents in the gas are constantly keeping the carbon buildup to a minimum, but Theta II engines don't have that feature so the carbon just builds up.

The secondary cause would likely be with higher mileage engines where oil leaking past the intake valve seals and depositing on top.

Solutions: Clean valves in a shop (walnut blasting, expensive), or at home (CRC Intake Valve Cleaner). Catch can as described by @RAYMUND155 removes much of the oil vapor from the PCV system before it gets to the intake.

An oil that has reduced vapors (evidence of less oil in the catch can) would go a long way for the primary cause.

The SP formulations are supposed to address these problems and I'm optimistic that they'll reduce (but, realistically, not fully eliminate) our concerns with GDI engines.
The new oils do not volitize like the older specification oils during the Noack volitility test, 250c for 1 hr. Older spec. Oils can lose 9% to 14% of it’s wt in this test. This vapor get pulled into the intake via the PCV, causing uneven distribution of fuel/air ratio (oil vapor being one component). Oil with calcium detonates during low speed acceleration. This cause piston, piston ring and valve damage. The unburnt oil goes through to the cylinder/exhaust causing fouled plugs, fouled O2 and clog the CAT.

Turbo GDI suffered the most because of high cylinder pressure and no gas to wash away the oil vapor depositing on the intake valves. When the engine is turned off, the oil on the valve hot soak and turn into carbon deposit.

The new API SP ILSAC GF6A and GF6B address these issues with 7 new tests. These were very difficult tests to pass and was delayed almost 2 yrs for extensive testing.

Granted, if you have an older GDI engine which ran the older spec. oil, ...the only remediation is to clean the ports and intake valve with mechanical or chemical means. Once cleaned, it is highly recommended to switch to API SP / ILSAC GF6A or ILSAC GF6B. This will become a non-issue after April 2021. It will become more difficult to purchase older API SN or SM or SL oils. Currently, you still have to read the label to make certain the oil you purchased is the newer specification, especially people with older GDI Turbo vehicles.

The viscosity increase do improve the Volitility performance, ...but some of the older oils will still volitize 9%-14% even with 10w-40 oil. Read the test reports on your favorite oil brand at www.PQIA.org. Try not to use API SM or SL or diesel CK-4, these oils contain high levels of Zinc DI-phosphate and will short the O2 sensor and clog the CAT. These older oils also contain a lot of Calcium based detergent which have cause LSPI. The newer oils switched to Boron based detergents to keep the engines clean and prevent LSPI.

The older oils have less detergent to clean the engine and break down by turning acidic. The typical method to measure the useful life of an engine oil is to look at the Total Base Number TBN. When your TBN drop below 2, your engine oil have lost most of it’s detergent properties and begin to sludge and the acid starts to cause corrosion and wear and lose it’s ability to adhere to the metal surfaces to offer protection from wear.

As I have stated. This month is April 2021. After this month, any oil that did not pass the API SP / ILSAC GF6A or GF6B oil specification will get “DECERTIFIED”. If you go to Walmart, AutoZone, etc., most of the oils are only the Certified API SP ILSAC GF6A or GF6B.

It is counter-intuitive but, ...the new 0w-20 oil certified to API SP ILSAC GF6A will out perform the older oils is everyway. Including during the Noack volitility test at 250C for 1hr. But your engine must be designed to handle the lower wt oil. Many of the new Full Synthetic motor oils certified to API SP ILSAC GF6A and GF6B are very stable, at low -30C and high +250C tests.

The new certified full synthetic oils start with Nat-gas and synthesis higher density molecules. They only distill the synthetic oil which turns into liquid form at above 250C. This is unlike normal distillation and catalytic reactions to fractionate heavy petroleum oils. Synthetic oils formed from heavy petroleum distillates have to go though further catalytic reaction and distilled to produce an oil that do not vaporize at 250C. The new certified API SP ILSAC GF6A are game changer in engine performance.

Engines designed for 5w-20 can typically use 5w-30 or even 10w-30 after 100K mile life and warm weathers. These older engines cannot tolerate the 0w-20 or 0w-16 oils, they are not build to handle the extreme low viscosity oils. The older engines do not have the required tolerances and the surface coating or treatment to resist wear with these very low viscosity oils.

I understand people are brand loyal. Please keep reading the label and look for API SP ILSAC GF6A or GF6B oils. Avoid the older API SN, SM, SL and Diesel CK-4 for ethanol/gas engines.

Best Wishes.
 
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