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For the last 10 years I've been driving two different Ford Tauruses, 2008 and 2015. Both have been company supplied vehicles. They have been great vehicles, and I still have the 2008 (I bought it for my son when it was time to turn it in, paid very little for it). I am currently driving the 2015 but it is time for a new vehicle. Originally, we could only choose from three vehicles (Taurus, Charger, or Impala) but since 2/3 are no longer made, we have much freer choices.

So I decided I wanted a mid-sized PU because sometimes I really need a truck. I originally had my eye on the Chevy Colorado, but I realized I'd rather have ride comfort for those long trips, so I gravitated towards the Honda Ridgeline. The Ridgeline ended up being outside of my allowed budget, and it was longer than my Taurus already (I have to park in tight spaces often), so I decided that I really didn't need a PU after all. SUV then!

My first two choices were the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 (2019+). I drove both but for some reason, the RAV4 felt "right". Plus, I was leery of the CR-V's engine and CVT. However, when I test drove the RAV4, I did so on models without a sunroof. The trim I wanted had a sunroof included, so I went to a dealer and sat in one with a sunroof and felt claustrophobic. Additionally, there simply wasn't enough room for my legs to spread out comfortably for long trips. The final kicker was that my mom (who is in a wheelchair but can walk a little) had a much harder time getting into the passenger seat of the RAV4 than my Taurus.

There were other issues with the RAV4. It was noisy. I was perusing RAV4 forums, learning how to install sound deadening material to make the vehicle "acceptable". The passenger seat was horrible, and no trim level had power adjustment. Shame, I really wanted the Lunar Rock XLE Premium...

So I expanded my search. Watched way too many Youtube videos and read way too many reviews of other vehicles (I tend to over analyze things). Somehow I stumbled onto a review of the 2019 Santa Fe...

I travel a decent bit. I rent vehicles quite often and tbh, I have avoided Hyundai vehicles since I had a bad experience some time back with an Elantra. My first SVU rental was a Rogue, and honestly, I liked it. I would often look for a Rogue when renting (National). It made me want an SUV. I can't tell you how many times I have passed up a Tuscon or Santa Fe (and Escapes and Equinoxes) to drive something else, because I thought Hyundai was junk. Now I wish I had tried them.

After reading so many positive reviews of the 2019+ Santa Fe, I decided to give it a chance. A dealership close to my mom allowed me to take an extensive test drive of an SEL 2.4L (no packages, but I wanted to know about ride and performance), and I was sold. Much more room and comfort than my previous choice (RAV4), and much quieter as well. No need to open up the door panels and install sound deadening! Plus, my mom was able to get into the SF with much less effort than my current Taurus. It seems the seat height was perfect for her 5'2" frame to simply slide into.

Now I'm down to the SEL 2.4L with both packages vs the SEL 2.0T.
 

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We considered a minivan or Honda pilot, but the 2019 santa Fe was very nice and my wife has a 2014 and liked it. We have been very pleased. I subsequently bought a 2019 crv. The santa Fe is a better vehicle in every way except gas mileage. Really thinking of a Hyundai for me next time.
 

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Had a CRV...it had a bad oil dilution problem and it barely heated up in the Winter. Santa Fe checked all my boxes plus it had extra with the ventilated seats. The fact it has gotten up to temp in 3 minutes in the same temp where the CRV would take 10-15 minutes.

Plus I love the crap out of bluelink. Even though it takes 30-40 seconds to process a command it is so nice to have.
 

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Rav4 - Terribly noisy, very little pickup. The map software uses a phone app so we could not test it, but in case you are out of tower range, your phone is in use, or the app doesn't work right...you are out of luck. Seems like a lazy choice. I really liked the retro styling, however the cooled seats and some other internals only came with the top trim and it was around $40K MSRP...no thanks.

Outback - Very nice reliable car but boring. The styling hasn't changed (much) for decades, and the electronics are minimal when compared to Kia/Hyundai. Subaru seems to put proven over cutting edge. Price was also about 10-15% higher. MPG was much better but in fact over 10 years, the Hyundai is still cheaper even with the MPG savings. Dealer also couldn't be bothered to make a deal.

Others I tested were either much higher priced, very small or no sunroof, very poor infotainment performance (spinning wheel on the screen), very confusing infotainment (climate controls buried in menus or submenus), not as many safety features, or had nothing interesting about them to make them stand out.

The Santa Fe feels and runs like luxury at a price that is not like luxury. You can pay more and you can get better maybe (I didn't drive the Lexus or Infinity) but you simply cannot get more for the price. And when I told the dealer what I was looking to spend, what I wanted for the trade in, all they would say is "yes".
 

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I came from a Honda/Toyota background. Integra, Civic, Camry, Lexus ES350

Honda Passport - Although nice, it was several thousands more with a comparable Santa Fe. Just felt like another Honda which gave me a bland impression
Acura RDX - Several more thousands you pay for luxury. Again same technology as a comparable Santa Fe. Just more expensive. I'm hearing alot of issues from the Acura forums
Mazda CX-5 - I had my eyes set on this and it was just timing of when I was going to start negotiating. For some reason I took my family to a Hyundai dealership just to see how the Santa Fe drove. That test drive changed my mind. I was in your same shoes too. Rented a Kia Optima years ago and it just felt like a cheaply made Honda. They definitely have improved over the years.
 

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2019 SF Ultimate. Does any other car have all of the safety features that this car has? Moved up from a 2012 Prius vi which was advanced in 2012 but not 2019. So I lost some mpg but I have much more oomph (2.0T), more room and wonderful drive and features. My wife and I love the car.
 

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I came from a 2015 Chrysler 200c v6.

Other vehicles I was considering were Jeep Cherokee, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Mazda CX-5, Lincoln Nautilus, Ram 1500.

At first I was really liking the Lincoln Nautilus until I saw that it drives somewhat like a grandpa mobile. I wasn't even considering the SF at first. The straightpipes video of the Santa Fe started playing and sparked my interest. I started looking at review videos and eventually took a test drive....fell in love on the first test drive, but wanted to take my time and be sure it was what I wanted....spent about 10 months and 3 test drives of the SF.

Ultimately the SF gives the most bang for your buck with the given features. It has a decent engine, nice technology features, nice ride quality, quiet ride, and great warranty. Of course the vehicle does have some negatives but none are a deal breaker.
 

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Great thread topic!

We considered the SF 2.0T Ultimate (now Limited), Honda CR-V Touring and Mazda CX-5 Signature.

The CR-V was not on par with the other 2 cars. While it did have better mileage, it was really lacking in feature content, and it just didn't have the more "premium" feel of the other 2 cars we were considering.

Would have been happy with the CX-5. The interior was very nice and very quiet. The key factor for me was interior room. The SF is a larger vehicle. We were replacing a Mazda CX-9 with this car, and it would still be our primary family vehicle. I felt that the SF being bigger than the CX-5 would be a better choice in that regard. But otherwise, the CX-5 would have been an excellent choice too.

I would have considered a RAV4 Limited (maybe Hybrid), but my wife hated the styling, so it dropped off the consideration list.
 

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I was choosing between the Santa Fe 2.0T (Ultimate) and Chevy Blazer RS. Coming from another Chevy SUV, the dealer gave us a chance to try out the new Blazer for 3 days.
IMO, the Blazer RS looks better and sportier than the SF plus it has a V6 engine with 308 HP. But the Santa Fe won us over due to the amount of safety techs it has and how premium the car feels. Plus not to mention the amount of money Chevy is asking for the Blazer is ridiculously high!
 

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Let me preface this my data is 15 months old, so I compared with old style RAV4 (interior features way inferior to 19 SF but appears new RAV the same), Outback (CVT and luke warm heated seats a loser). I sold an 11 yr old Jeep GC but no longer needed a tow vehicle however new JGCs priced way too high and Cherokees too small, same with CX5 but did like a lot of features on the Mazda. CRV was a non starter due to cold weather oil/gas engine problems. I am very satisfied with SF Limited after 15 months: it has quirks but build quality, interior space & comfort & HOT seats, and AWD operation including 4WD lock like Jeeps a plus. Tranny is smooth and I have the 2.4 in flat midwest it's fine. The excellent warranty is great but my only nagging concern is left over engine bearing reliability concerns from their 2011-14 recalls recently requiring 953 service campaign thru 2019. Assume you are driving 2020s so be sure you get a readout from the service dept on that Theta 2 nightmare, how did the FIX it on 2020s? I don't want to scare you off, it's a good vehicle but I'd bet on Toyota's 2.5 or Jeeps 3.6 lasting 200k mi before this which I'll probably trade by 100k mi, always my plan.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
I was choosing between the Santa Fe (Ultimate) and Chevy Blazer RS. Coming from another Chevy SUV, the dealer gave us a chance to try out the new Blazer for 3 days.
IMO, the Blazer RS looks better and sportier than the SF plus it has a V6 engine with 308 HP. But the Santa Fe won us over due to the amount of safety techs it has and how premium the car feels. Plus not to mention the amount of money Chevy is asking for the Blazer is ridiculously high!
The Blazer was on a "consider" list for me. I like the looks and the V6, but could not live with the small cargo space.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
Let me preface this my data is 15 months old, so I compared with old style RAV4 (interior features way inferior to 19 SF but appears new RAV the same), Outback (CVT and luke warm heated seats a loser). I sold an 11 yr old Jeep GC but no longer needed a tow vehicle however new JGCs priced way too high and Cherokees too small, same with CX5 but did like a lot of features on the Mazda. CRV was a non starter due to cold weather oil/gas engine problems. I am very satisfied with SF Limited after 15 months: it has quirks but build quality, interior space & comfort & HOT seats, and AWD operation including 4WD lock like Jeeps a plus. Tranny is smooth and I have the 2.4 in flat midwest it's fine. The excellent warranty is great but my only nagging concern is left over engine bearing reliability concerns from their 2011-14 recalls recently requiring 953 service campaign thru 2019. Assume you are driving 2020s so be sure you get a readout from the service dept on that Theta 2 nightmare, how did the FIX it on 2020s? I don't want to scare you off, it's a good vehicle but I'd bet on Toyota's 2.5 or Jeeps 3.6 lasting 200k mi before this which I'll probably trade by 100k mi, always my plan.
This won't actually be my vehicle (company provided), so it just has to make it 4 years or more, and over 100k! It will be well maintained, so unless there is indeed manufacturing defects, all should be fine.

Not sure about Jeep, but it seems the engine itself is good!
 

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My first two choices were the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4 (2019+).
We also looked at both these cars. I personally liked the CRV and the wife liked the Santa Fe. Neither of us were wowed by the Rav4. In the end she wanted more punch so we bought the 2.0 Santa Fe.
 

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Went to autoshow, liked interior of crv, rav4 (eye sore exterior), sf; didn't like forester (not much), rdx (don't feel luxury). YouTube reviews said rav4 has noisy engine, crv has oil dilution. Test drove forester, impressed. But for a bit more, got the SF Ultimate, bigger, more toys, more power.
I discovered (after got the SF) oil dilution is normal for turbo direct injection engine, the severity depends on weather and how much petrol is burned off during the trip. Therefore, some will notice it while other don't.
 

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Seat comfort with up/down and in/out lumbar support was my major criteria due to back problems, which is why I was willing to trade in a 2016 RAV4 hybrid (it was an XLE so it did not have an adjustable lumbar support). I test drove an RDX and decided it wasn't the car for me but really liked a lot of the features, especially heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated seats, heads-up display. I'm also now a big fan of the adaptive cruise control, lane keep assist, and 360 degree camera. I drove several "luxury brand" SUVs (Audi Q5, BMW X3, Volvo XC60) and liked them, but they were more expensive than I was willing to spend. The Honda Passport wound up being the closest contender but the Santa Fe Ultimate met my needs for many thousands of dollars less. My SO had owned an older Santa Fe and it is still one of her all-tme favorite cars with minimal problems. I guess I also like that the SF feels roomier than many of the other SUVs in the same class.
 

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CRV , Highlander , Lexus RX and a couple others . I / we picked the Santa Fe for the price . Its my wifes car and she really enjoys it .
 

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I had my mind set on a Rav4 Hybrid. Put a deposit down, started to look a little more as it started to set in that I was about to pay 40k for a Toyota, no offense, but that's in range of a luxury lined car. Drove the Santa Fe, really enjoyed what it had and always the OTD price. I have a 2019 2.4 Ultimate FWD. Now, i'm glad I made the choice I did.
 

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I had my mind set on a Rav4 Hybrid. Put a deposit down, started to look a little more as it started to set in that I was about to pay 40k for a Toyota, no offense, but that's in range of a luxury lined car. Drove the Santa Fe, really enjoyed what it had and always the OTD price. I have a 2019 2.4 Ultimate FWD. Now, i'm glad I made the choice I did.
I thought the same for the RAV4. I liked the risk they took with the styling, minimal and retro. But it was essentially a "rugged" SUV at a "luxury" price, very overpriced. Hopefully they allowed you to get your deposit back or use it for something else.
 
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