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Honda CR-V vs Hyundai Santa Fe

stevecarstevecar Posts: 148
I'm replacing my 2001 Forester with either a crv-4wd ex or Sante Fe SE. Do lots of local driving.
Have owned Honda products for 25 years. Has anyone out there done a similar comparison and what was the outcome. Any ideas would be welcomed.


  • I am comparing the CRV-EX-4WD & Santa Fe SE also. I've owned 3 Honda cars since 2002 & had problems on all of them (failed transmissions, bad struts, tie rod ends, & a droning defect on my newest '06 Odyssey).

    That being said, I am looking at other manufacturers including Nissan & Hyundai. IMO, the Toyota products are very boring and outdated.

    I test drove both CRV & Santa FE...

    Hyundai Pros:
    1. Extremeley quiet on the highway compared to the CRV.
    2. Nice exterior styling

    Hyundai Cons:
    1. The seat material on the Santa Fe seemed cheap and gets dirty easy. Many of the delaer's Santa Fe's had soil marks on the fabric.
    2. Hyundai resale value not as good.
    3. Throttle lag on acceleration.
    4. Need expensive option packages to get basic features like steering wheel controls.
    5. High MSRP for SE with Premium compared to CRV-EX.

    CRV Pros:
    1. Excellent Honda interior ergonomics, seat position, dash & control layout.
    2. Reasonable MSRP
    3. Good EPA gas mileage
    4. Excellent resale value
    5. Smooth Honda Engine & with great transmission reponse.

    CRV COns:
    1. Ugly front end underbite
    2. Road noise
    3. Choppy Honda ride on highway.

    If you do a lot of local driving the CRV is probably the winner unless you need a 3rd row seat. I am hesitant to buy a Hyundai yet...they need to establish a better residual value before I buy one.
  • I just bought an 07 CRV, and I looked momentarily with at the Santa Fe. Three words made my look brief... reputation, reliability, and resale. Also, as a side note, I heard an NPR story where the CEO (or some higher up Hyundai executive) was in prison for something, and I was concerned about the long range health of the company.
  • stevecarstevecar Posts: 148
    Thanks for your very insightful response. While the msrp pf the Hyundai is higher, with the $1000 rebate and dealers willing to deal, it isn't too big a difference.
    I absolutely agree with you about the seats, lag, resale. You must get the SE for an even up on the EX.
    Your pros on the crv really hit the nail on the head.
  • stevecarstevecar Posts: 148
    Thanks. You both have just saved me a lot of time.
  • joe97joe97 Posts: 2,248
    Test drive both and see which one fits you best.

    Personally I would pick the Santa Fe, it's more practical for my needs, and the 3rd row is actually comfortable, for once in a SUVs/crossovers. The build quality is fantastic and the vehicle is much enjoyable to drive with the elegant exterior/interior. It was a looker too during the time I test drove the car.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    The chairman's conviction has had an impact on Hyundai and may get worse as he tries to further reduce his sentence.

    Hyundai Chairman Convicted (Inside Line)
  • Thanks for that link. I knew I heard something about that. I don't know why anyone would by a car from a company with such a dreary future. Honda's future looks very bright... of course anything could change.
  • joe97joe97 Posts: 2,248
    We shall see how things turn out. While it's unfortunate and this could have an impact on the bottom line, it's absurd to even suggest stop buying cars from a company that produces a competitive and quality lineup.

    Good products speak and will sell themselves. Hyundai’s got a bright future, in the US and the world, as it continues to climb up the ladder (#6 largest automaker at current stage behind GM, Toyota, Ford, VW, and DCX). File these corruptions with the shareholders.
  • Perhaps your right... that the moral of the company won't suffer and that they'll produce quality vehicles. But I don't think it's absurd to suggest that people not buy cars from Hyuandai because of the corruption charges. The CEO of my former cable company was recently charged with the same crime, and this cable company was subsequently bought out by its competitor because it was about to go under.

    Personally, I didn't like the Hyundais, and the news only solidified that for me.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Mitsubishi operated under a big cloud for years in the 90's for their major US sex discrimination case and followed that mess with an admission of hiding defects from regulators in Japan. The latter scandal almost sunk the company.

    Lots of people (buyers and investors) do pay attention to that kind of stuff, even if much of it is just "perception."

    In Hyundai's case, the damage to its reputation is also worldwide. The CEO sentencing negatively affected the stock of Kia as well as Hyundai. Forbes is covering the story and the various scenarios.

    Honda was #14 overall in a recent Harris Interactive/Wall Street Journal ranking of the world's best and worst corporate reputations, beaten only by #9 Toyota among car companies. Microsoft was #1 (thanks in large part to Bill Gate's charitable efforts).
  • joe97joe97 Posts: 2,248
    Hyundai is not going to go down just because some execs became too greedy. Make no mistakes, Hyundai can be ran without them, it's a VERY big company. Plus its subsidiaries such as HMA are very independent when comes to decision-making.

    I strongly disagree with you about your belief people would stop buying Hyundais as a result of this unfortunate event. As long as there are quality products to satisfy consumers, business as usual (unless, unless the company are no longer able to sustain, which we know that won't the case here). If the CEO of Starbucks, for example, entered into similar scandals, I would continue to buy its coffee as long as there are still quality products they can sell me ;)

    I am actually more worried about the constant strikes in the home market, which has severely delayed production, in turn, sluggish sales. Fortunately, non-union workers remedy such problem, and robots never call in sick :) - reference to the Hyundai US plant, one of the most sophisticated plants in the North America, with lots and lots of robots.

    I am looking forward to the exciting products Hyundai plans to debut during the next two months, at Geneva and New York Auto Shows. The fire power is coming!!
  • varmintvarmint Posts: 6,326
    In all fairness, the woes resulting from Mitsubishi's locker-o-defects were felt most at home. My understanding is that they tanked in Japan (which is a significant market for the company). The loss of that revenue made it hard for them to operate in markets where they were not so strong.

    To the best of my knowledge, Hyundai's home market is not as significant for them.

    That being said, to think that Hyundai America can simply shrug this off is pure folly. I doubt it will impact the average buyer of a car today, but it will likely prevent them from achieving the kind of growth they could have experienced.
  • steverstever Posts: 52,462
    Good point and it's interesting to look at "local" sales now and then. Toyota has been scrambling against Suzuki at home in the minicar market and Nissan has tanked there. Honda is up and just passed Nissan in Japan for #2. (link)

    Mitsu had a good quarter (link). Over in South Korea, Hyundai sales fell a little bit last month due to strikes, but they are still the dominate carmaker there. (link)
  • davesuvdavesuv Posts: 149
    I think either car would be an excellent choice.

    I own a 07 Santa Fe Limited with the third seat and sunroof options. I can honestly say I really love this car. It's not just one or two things about it, but the entire package. It feels solid with no rattles or squeaks. It is extremely quiet and has the kind of smooth ride I really like. It's got plenty of power and is just fun to drive. Our other vehicle is a Lexus RX350. I prefer driving the Santa Fe because it has more "personality", something that's hard to put into words.

    I noticed a comment about "throttle lag" when accelerating. I have never experienced this. I can't comment on the cloth seats. My standard leather seats on the Limited are very comfortable and easy to keep clean. Also, when comparing the various cars, look at what people are actually paying for the car rather than MSRP. (prices paid discussion on the Hyundai Santa Fe forum). The Santa Fe's are generally going for significantly less than MSRP.

    Bottom line: I'm really glad I bought the Santa Fe. I'm sure you can find many who feel similarly about the CR-V. It's a win-win decision for you!
  • stevecarstevecar Posts: 148
    Thanks for a very honest answer. In the last two weeks I have come up the that conclusion. I'm going to test drive both cars one after the other to get a head to head comparison. The only problem is finding the time.
    Right now the only difference is that one gets about 19 or so mpg, while the other is well into the 20's.
    The Hyundai, however, has a warranty that is longer than I will keep it. Of course, I won't even bring up resale values because that will open a can of worms. You can't buy a car based soley on what it will be worth when you are ready to sell. If that were the case, everyone would be driving Hondas and Merecedes.
    Thanks again.
  • I'm facing a dilemma to help decide on a replacement for a 1998 Honda Passport (aka Isuzu Rodeo), wife's car, mine when it snows!

    We test drove the 2007 CRV, the new Honda model much improved over prior year's model which seemed a bit cheap inside. Interior of full trim is very nice, we like'd it. The major downside in our evaluation is 4-cyl vs 6. Lots of hill climbing here and we occasionally take long road trips 2-8 hours driving fully loaded. Don't want the road noise too and I don't blast the radio to drown it out, baby sleeping. We wish we could find Honda with something inbetween the Pilot and CRV with AWD. One of our criteria is the rear cargo cap - Passport is 33cuft, CRV 35.7, Pilot 47.6, Santa Fe 34.2. We pack that rear cargo comfortably on trips to ocean or costco with the Passport (we have a 3yo), don't want to give an inch back, Pilot is technically very capable but we put it in the large over the top bin for SUV. So when you are in the "middle section" of SUVs it sometimes feels like a hard sell from the makers wanting to go long or short and stay away from the middle, I think buyers in this group but seems to be the minority.

    Alas the Hyundai Santa Fe on paper seems to match very close to our aging Passport attributes (I know not the same as Passport 4WD). My wife more than I shares the sentiments from prior comments regarding Hyundai image, I at least got her to take a close look at one today where she just laughed at me before. I on the otherhand am evaluating 9 different makes of SUVs which must at least be AWD, with 33-40cuft cargo aft 2nd row with rated city EPA >= 18 among other the short list is the Santa Fe, Highlander, and Outlander.. I really liked the Outlander, but it was definetly not targeted towards the typical over-40 female driver...paddle shifter what? ;) and I think it lacks the essential lighted mirror sunvisor! I'm really learning to appreciate how men and women look at cars differently...and the Passport was her purchase before we were married.

    We hope to test drive soon..
  • davesuvdavesuv Posts: 149
    For what you're looking for, I agree with your list of Santa Fe, Highlander, and Outlander. The Outlander wasn't out yet when I bought my 07 AWD Santa Fe Limited, so my main alternatives were the Highlander and RAV4. RAV4 did not have as nice a ride and was not as quiet as the Santa Fe. I already own a 04 Highlander and prefer not to have two of the same car. The Highlander is very nice and I consider it comparable to the Santa Fe (but I like the looks of the SF much better). The new 08 Highlander will be bigger, more like the Pilot in size, but should be a very safe car. Safety was my number one priority and the Santa Fe meets that need quite well.

    I get between 18 and 19 mpg in city driving (24 to 26 highway). We just got back from a trip to Florida with a stopover in the Smokies and the Santa Fe had power to spare going up the mountain roads. It was also a lot of fun driving on the winding roads.

    I never would have considered a Hyundai until just recently. Reading extensively on the company and their new models, it seems they are finally getting their act together as far as quality. The Santa Fe was designed in California, engineered in Ann Arbor, and build in Alabama in one of the newest and most automated assembly plants in the country. After living with it for 4 months, I consider the Santa Fe to be the equal in quality to the Toyota's and Honda I have owned in the past. In a few years, I'm sure the resale value will increase to reflect that. It just takes time to change an image.

    The Outlander looks great on paper, but I haven't really compared it to the Santa Fe, yet. The CRV is also a great vehicle, but it seems a bit smaller and I needed a third row seat. Good luck in your search for your "perfect" vehicle. I'm sure you'll be very happy with whatever you decide on. Cars just seem to have gotten better lately.
  • swvswv Posts: 7
    Its funny you'd be deciding between those two vehicles. This family bought a 1999 CR-V for me (new) and it is still going strong at 148,500 miles. We bought a fully loaded Santa Fe for my husband a year and a half later in early 2001. He put over 160,000 miles on it before finally parting with it recently to get a Honda Accord with traction control and other bells and whistles.

    We live in a very hilly area with lots of snow, and both drive a LOT for work and for our extracurricular stuff. Both vehicles were great for our purposes, although the Santa Fe started having various mechanical quirky problems about two years ago, and it has been touch and go ever since.

    Santa Fe- larger, more luxurious than my CR-V, so his car was our long distance trip car. He got an Accord instead, because towards the end he was unhappy with the service he got from the dealer, and the car itself was not dependable in the past few years. His new Accord has essentially all the things he liked about the Santa Fe, as well as a few additional things the Santa Fe lacked (better mpg, a better reputation for the long haul, and that seems to be about it).

    The MPG was 19 or less all of the time though, compared to my 23-24 mpg average.

    I never ever expected us to buy a Korean car, as I had no ongoing sense of Wow they make great cars! the way I do with Japanese cars, but the Hyundai Santa Fe was a good one for us up to a point.

    My CR-V is still going strong, and I wonder how many more thousands of miles I'll still have it. I am seriously considering a Toyota Camry Hybrid, which is not alas a small SUV like I've come to love, but which has more comfortable seats than my car, and which has an average gas mileage of around 37, compared to 23.5 (see for great info about all sorts of good cars). We'll probably hand my car on to a college age daughter, as it appears to have a good many more miles left on it.

    My CR-V has had essentially no problems. It is dependable, great in bad weather and on snowy hills. It is boring and utilitarian on the inside, and the drivers seat is not as comfortable as I have come to realize I'd like, but boy oh boy is it lasting well.

    Hope that was of some value to you. Best wishes in your ultimate decision!

  • stevecarstevecar Posts: 148
    Thanks swv. It seems that once people get passed the idea of buying a Hyundai, it performs as well as mostly any Japanese brand.
    Since our family has been driving Hondas and Acuras since 1981, we have a strong preference.Not being too old to change, I appreciate your comments.
    One reason we would like something slightly bigger than our reliable Subaru is that we would like to have something for trips that has four wheel drive to take instead of our Acura sedan.And more importantly, safe for our grandchildren in their car seats.(air bags, etc)

    both crv and sante fe meet those goals.
  • Thanks for the insightful reply, enjoy the discussions on Edmunds, I'll share your comments with my wife. She loves Hondas and has owned a couple, but simply found the Pilot too much and we don't need or want the 3rd row seating becoming the latest hot selling point. The Passport saved me in a snow storm recently so I'm unwilling to give up on some form of AWD to give us a chance of making it home. Rare that we get that much snow here, but if only hits a few days of the year, it's worth the extra expense.

    I do own a 2004 Toyota Tacoma dblcab, it's my transport to work and back a whole 5 miles, weekend chores, light object transport, etc. I'm completely happy with it for those tasks but it is not for cross-country travels...and it is not 4WD, so we need at least one vehicle to tackle a snow day.

    I like all the gimmicks into the Outlander, but I also know a lot of that stuff breaks - any car pumped with a lot of technology, not to pick on Outlander. I learned that lesson with my 96 VW Passat wagon, it was loaded with everything, but it all started to fall apart way too soon, those german parts are expensive. Too add a final insult 2 weeks before I got rid of it another door handle snapped the latch in my hand..arghh..another annoying trip to the dealer and day in the shop, it was small, but I and others could write a book on history of Passat problems, enjoy the VW marketing, but completely done with ever owning another.

    I looked at a Highlander 06 last summer, when I should have bought it before replacing the rear-bearings on the Passport.

    The Santa Fe like you said looks like it might have that spark of fun to drive over the otherwise competent to our needs Highlander. I haven't priced them out yet, but I'm sure the Toyota is going to be more $$ loaded.

    By the way, I looked at the new Mazda CX9, it is probably the nicest of the lot in a loaded model that I've seen..lots of wow to me, the price climbs over my limit and there's a severe mpg penalty for the AWD version.

    My parents bought a Hyundai Elantra loaded as a 3rd vehicle for mpg commuter car, overall they've been happy with it, and my dad has always been a hardcore GMC or Chevy truck owner and has a GMC diesel truck loaded, there's some contrast in driving. The Elantra has been good, but it did develop a bad window (water) leak that turned out to be some fault in missed seal area of the window, dealer fixed it and fine.

    What about the cabin noise in your Highlander vs Santa Fe, same?
  • swvswv Posts: 7
    Forgot to mention that the car I'm likely to get to replace my CR-V, the Toyota Camry Hybrid, has traction control as does my husband's Honda Accord (which he got to replace the Santa Fe). His traction control seems like a sufficient alternative to my Honda's AWD. I've already read tons of posts on various forums relating to hybrids to know that the Toyota Camry Hybrid (or TCH as many call it) has traction control that will suit my purposes just fine in this land of snow and hills. Just wanted to point that out in case you're interested.

    My brother in law just got a Prius and loves it. It too has traction control. His wife my sister has a Toyota Highlander and I believe it too has that. She's thrilled with hers.

    I just want something that is roughly the same size not enormously bigger, but with more bells and whistles and better gas mileage, so TCH here I come!

    I've found it really useful to use the comparison charts when trying to decide between vehicles. You can see right there in black and white what exists or doesn't on each one that interests you. Much easier than trying to compare the elaborate car booklets the carmakers publish, glossy though they are.

    Best wishes with your car choice!

  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "My brother in law just got a Prius and loves it. It too has traction control. His wife my sister has a Toyota Highlander and I believe it too has that. She's thrilled with hers."

    Traction Control is not the same as AWD. For one thing, it only operates at slow speed (in general).

    The Prius had problems in the snow (there were reports a couple of years ago). It seems that the TC would cause the car to refuse to move when the front wheels were on ice or packed snow. I think they updated the computer on the Prius, but I would ask about the Camry hybrid before I bought if I were you.

    I have used TC very successfully in snow, but I would have preferred AWD. My previous vehicle was a 2003 CR-V EX, and I had the AWD kick in quite a lot. It was especially valuable at speed in rain storms, where TC would not be engaged. My current cars is a Ford Freestyle, FWD only. I had it in Albuquerque last month in heavy snow. I only got stuck once, but I slid around a lot more than my CR-V did in similar circumstances.

    My opinion is that TC is OK for occasional snow, but if you live in a "snow belt" area, AWD is preferable.
  • Santa Fe test drive today... impressions.. overall I liked it better than the CRV and Outlander, CRV was out on other counts, Outlander I held some promise for as I like all the technology and gadgets but those are not a good fit I know for my wife. I enjoyed the QUIET ride a marked improvement over the road noise, I heard too much noise both in the CRV and Outlander, a major item for me. It felt more responsive on the freeway and climbing up a steep hill no struggles. Overall happy with the ride and I think would be completely comfortable with 2-8 hrs driving. Controls easy reach and read, uncluttered, seat warmer buttons could be closer but not a big deal. I've never owned a car with electric seats, so it was comfortable, all adjustable including lumbar support, my wife a bit shorter so she can pump it up high and has a similar stance to the Passport command view. Plastics are a bit hard side, remind me a lot of Ford plastics. I think in tan interior might be hard to keep clean or scratch free plastic. I think we would go for an all black interior but the car in black paint or dark colors didn't look good to me, I was driving a red one, I need to review what options on exterior/interior color. I saw posting elsewhere about the Bridgestone Dueller tires, I talked a little bit about removing those, didn't like them had them on the Passport. If we were to get this, I'd have to look into the Michelin LTX M/S tires which where were a dramatic improvement on the Passport and added an even more quiet ride well worth the extra $. I wonder if any other makes sell vehicles with Michelin standard?

    Next up, wife needs to take a test on her own, and then a Highlander test drive. So far we've driven CRV, RAV4, Outlander.
  • swvswv Posts: 7
    A few posts ago I mentioned that I thought both the Prius and the Highlander were equipped with traction control. I was wrong. The Prius has it, as does our new Honda Accord which replaced a Santa Fe, and as will my new Toyota Camry Hybrid. The Highlander has AWD as does my CR-V.

    If switching from a vehicle with AWD to one with traction control, apparently the type of tires one buys makes a difference, as does one's willingness to learn to drive a little less aggressively if driving a hybrid.

    So just wanted to correct my mistake about the Highlander.

    If there were a small or really small SUV with AWD, fab mpg (37 or better), low emissions, and lots of fun bells and whistles such as moonroof, heated seats, dual climate controls (I like it cozy, my husband likes it arctic), optional satellite radio, and other stuff, I'd be seriously considering that. There are vehicles that have some but not all of those features. The vehicle that comes closest for me is the Toyota Camry Hybrid, which I have every reason to believe will be as good as or better than my CR-V has been.

    Happy auto purchasing! Best wishes, SWVSINGS
  • stevecarstevecar Posts: 148
    I like all of the requirements that you listed. The Camry hybrid is a terrific choice, except it doesn't have 4 WD or the space of even a small SUV. Once you list high mpg, it eliminates mostly everything. You may want to consider the highlander hybrid. Pricewise it's significantly more costly than the Camry Hybrid, but it gets good gas mileage and it has the other requirements.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "The Highlander has AWD as does my CR-V. "

    2007 Highlanders have optional AWD; 2008 models all have AWD standard.
  • stevedebistevedebi LAPosts: 4,098
    "If there were a small or really small SUV with AWD, fab mpg (37 or better), low emissions, and lots of fun bells and whistles such as moonroof, heated seats, dual climate controls (I like it cozy, my husband likes it arctic), optional satellite radio, and other stuff, I'd be seriously considering that. There are vehicles that have some but not all of those features."

    A fully equipped Ford Escape Hybrid would come close, but would probably yield only early 30's MPG. I have seen some reports of 35-38 for this vehicle. Unlike the Highlander, it has an I4 instead of a V6 engine. However, the Escape would vastly beat the Camry Hybrid for cargo room. I think the Camry has 10 Cu ft, where the Escape has around 30+ cu ft.
  • stevecarstevecar Posts: 148
    I started this discussion over a week ago. Considering Hyundai is willing to deal and has a $1000 rebate you could get a 4WD Ltd with no extras for somehwere under 25k. A similarly equipped CRV w/O Nav, a 4wd ex-L is selling for sticker 26,500. Except for the fact that the CRV is a Honda, has a higher resale value and gets better gas mileage, the Hyundai makes a very compelling value.
    Thanks to all of you for your input.
  • I'll just throw in a quick caveat. I am a Santa Fe owner and we really like ours (2005). We got a great deal on it because it was at the end of 2005 and they had to make room for 2006. It has 17k miles on it with no problems ever and has performed admirable with two toddlers in the rear.

    I am very much a 'drive it until it dies' kind of owner, so the resale value meant nothing to me. HOWEVER - someone else had a great deal and I decided to just see what the car is worth now. Shockingly, it's resale value plummeted. I know you folks will say 'what do you expect, its a Hyundai?' but this is still a new experience for me (first new car). Tradein is about 12.5k. Similarly equipped CRV from same year is 16.2k. Thats pretty amazing difference.

    So keep eye on long term - if you will drive this car for a long time and plan to get 150k miles out of it - go for it. If you know that you will want something else down the road and plan to trade it in after 6 years or so - the CRV will retain much better value.

    I think the Santa Fe rides better, but there's a price to pay for that. Good luck with your decision.
  • stevecarstevecar Posts: 148
    You make an excellent point. I've been buying cars for 40 years(yes I'm that old) We tend to lease. Our Subaru which we are trading has 48k miles and is 6 years old. it's worth a couple of thousand less than a comparable CRV from 2001. However, we did not like the CRV of that year.
    If we expect to keep it forever, it doesn't matter. I agree that the reason the Honda retains its value is there are very little discounts and that retains its value.

    Tahnk you. I can learn something from someone who purchased their first car.

    By the way, we want a more substantial car to tote around our two under 5 year old grandchildren.
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