Comparo: 2013 Toyota RAV4 vs Honda CR-V vs Hyundai Santa Fe vs VW Tiguan

Comparo: 2013 Toyota RAV4 vs Honda CR-V vs Hyundai Santa Fe vs VW Tiguan

Comparo: 2013 Toyota RAV4 vs VW Tiguan vs vs Honda CR-V vs Hyundai Santa Fe
A comparo is the best way for an automotive publication to lose advertisers. That’s why you never see a clear winner in so-called comparos by local magazines, with lots of pretty photos to sell copies, no figures to back up any conclusions and three-way ties to make everybody happy. We’ve rarely picked a winner in our previous comparos either, but that’s because most of them were not proper straight-up comparos. We decided to do a serious comparison test this time though, if only to answer certain recurring questions once and for all. And the category we decided to tackle is the hotly-contested compact crossover segment. So we roped in four of the most popular compact crossovers in the UAE — the 2013 Toyota RAV4, the 2013 Honda CR-V, the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe and the 2013 Volkswagen Tiguan. They’ll battle it out in the same ring. And there will be no four-way tie.

A Word About The Contenders

Comparo: 2013 Toyota RAV4 vs VW Tiguan vs vs Honda CR-V vs Hyundai Santa Fe

We poured over sales data for crossovers in the UAE to pick potential candidates that people actually care about. We deliberately left out the top-selling Hyundai Tucson & Kia Sportage twins on account that they’re much cheaper than the price brackets of the other cars in this category, and would’ve lost anyway on account of their poor interior packaging alone, so only get one of those if you can’t afford anything better. So we went for the Hyundai Santa Fe instead, in 2.4-litre 4×4 form, which is still the cheapest car in our group and also pushing the boundaries of how large a “compact” should be. The Toyota RAV4 AWD and the Honda CR-V were default choices. The VW Tiguan is the wild card here, with a 2.0-litre turbo engine and the R-Line kit bumping up the price to daft levels, but cheaper versions fall nicely in line with the other contenders, with that same engine.

We also asked for a Kia Sorento, a Ford Escape and a Renault Koleos. All of their dealers refused to provide a car, but they’re no big loss. The Kia Sorento is just a rebodied Santa Fe, the Escape is front-wheel-drive and would’ve lost anyway, while the Koleos nobody actually asks about. We skipped the Mazda CX-5 2.0 because they don’t offer the right engine choice yet to directly go up against this group, while we couldn’t get the slow-selling Chevy Captiva because GM banned us, although we believe it would’ve done pretty well in our test. We also skipped the Mitsubishi Outlander because it’s about to get replaced, while the Nissan X-Trail is just an aging fleet-special now, and no reader ever implored us to review the Jeep Compass or the Skoda Yeti. A Suzuki Grand Vitara would’ve been nice, but we have no contact with the dealer. That about covers every notable car in this specific segment, so don’t ask us daft questions like why the midsize Ford Edge or the sub-compact Nissan Qashqai is not in here. Now on with the comparo!

Interior size & cargo room

Crossover-2013-Toyota-RAV4-VW-Tiguan-Honda-CR-V-Hyundai-Santa-Fe 15

1st: Hyundai Santa Fe
The Hyundai is among the best in rear legroom, and also has great headroom, even with the optional panoramic glass roof. It is the only one here with a third-row seat. It also has the longest and widest boot area with the third-row seats folded down, and somehow matching in cargo-area height with most of the other contenders as well, by moving the full-size spare tyre underneath the car. It helps that the Santa Fe has a sliding second-row seat, although the third row is only fit for small kids. There is no cargo cover, unlike the other three, but you do get a power socket in the boot.

2nd: Honda CR-V
The Honda has great headroom and good rear legroom as well. It also has the second-longest and second-widest boot as well as the tallest, with a low opening to ease loading.

3rd: Toyota RAV4
The Toyota has the best headroom, and ties the Santa Fe for best rear legroom in this group. But only has the third-longest boot, and second in terms of width and height. It has a low tailgate opening, but the cargo floor bulges up to fit the spare wheel. We liked the adjustable cargo-net feature though.

4th: Volkswagen Tiguan
The little VW has good headroom and rear legroom, though not as much as the other three. The boot area is also the shortest and narrowest in this group, although matches most of them in height. Aside from the Santa Fe, the Tiguan is also the only other one with a sliding rear bench, to potentially increase either legroom or cargo space. It is also the only other car with a power socket in the boot, to run your cooler-box or coffee-maker.

Interior quality & features

Crossover-2013-Toyota-RAV4-VW-Tiguan-Honda-CR-V-Hyundai-Santa-Fe 24

1st: Volkswagen Tiguan
The Tiguan’s an original German car at an original German price, a league above those cheaper non-European sedans that VW sells nowadays. And this is reflected in the cabin materials, with a soft-touch dash and front-door sills, and swaths of leather on all door panels. Our car was fully-loaded, with touchscreen navigation, Bluetooth, smart keyless entry and start, dual-zone a/c with rear vents, panoramic glass roof, rear camera, power driver’s seat, all possible safety features such as standard front-side airbags, standard ESP, standard ABS, HID headlights and a general feeling that you’re driving something that has a luxury badge.

2nd: Hyundai Santa Fe
The Santa Fe has a very detailed interior, and while it does not all look too expensive, the sheer amount of soft-touch padding on the dash and all the doors is what won us over. We weren’t even driving the top-spec V6 version, but our well-endowed 2.4-litre tester still came with a panoramic glass roof, manual front a/c with rear vents as well as fan controls for the third row, Bluetooth, CD/MP3 stereo, cruise control, basic keyless entry, standard ABS, rear parking sensors and all the basic necessities. Things were missing, such as side airbags, ESP, power driver’s seat, HIDs, rear camera and navigation, but considering our tester’s price and the fact that all those features are offered in the V6 version at a price that matches all the top-spec contenders here, we were not complaining.

3rd: Toyota RAV4
The RAV4 actually has better interior materials for the door-panel inserts, armrests and that sliver of stitched leatherette on the dash, but it falls below the Korean because the rest of the cabin is made up of hard plastics. Our top-spec car is well-equipped though, with a power driver’s seat, navigation, rear camera, dual-zone a/c, Bluetooth, front airbags with optional side airbags, standard ESP and ABS, cruise control, sunroof and smart keyless entry with starter button. However, a big omission is the lack of rear a/c vents, while there are no HIDs either.

4th: Honda CR-V
The CR-V falls further below the Korean because, aside from the seats and armrests, every inch of the dash as well as door panels are composed of hard plastics. It’d feel like a Yaris-grade car were it not for the LCD colour screen on the dash that holds the stereo display and rear camera. Being the top model, other features include cruise control, power driver’s seat, basic keyless entry, sunroof, standard front airbags with optional side airbags, standard ESP and ABS, dual-zone a/c with rear vents and even HID headlights. Omissions here include navigation and smart key with starter button, in a car that costs as much as the RAV4.

Ride comfort & noise

Comparo: 2013 Toyota RAV4 vs VW Tiguan vs vs Honda CR-V vs Hyundai Santa Fe

1st: Hyundai Santa Fe
The Santa Fe has the smoothest ride by far, and also the quietest. We measured the interior noise at 67-68 dB while doing 120 kph, which is the same as the pricier VW. The engine is also decently muffled.

2nd: Toyota RAV4
It’s amazing how alike the RAV4 and the CR-V are. They’re both noisier than the other two, measuring in at 69-70 dB doing 120 kph. They both also ride a wee bit firmer than the Santa Fe, though not by much. Engine noise at full throttle also causes a ruckus, but both rev-happy motors sound good.

3rd: Honda CR-V
As we said, the CR-V is very similar to the RAV4 in terms of ride comfort. It only comes in third here by the slimmest of margins, with a slightly-firmer ride than the RAV4 on some road surfaces, which paid dividends in our handling loop later on.

4th: Volkswagen Tiguan
The Tiguan rides the firmest, but only because it has 19-inch alloys in top-spec trim. For a car with such thin-profiled tyres, the bump-absorption is actually pretty commendable, though the harshest road imperfections become readily apparent. Lower-spec models actually come with smaller wheels, so they might be more comfortable. It is also as quiet as the Hyundai, with a reading of 67-68 dB at 120 kph.

Engine power & acceleration

Comparo: 2013 Toyota RAV4 vs VW Tiguan vs vs Honda CR-V vs Hyundai Santa Fe

1st: Volkswagen Tiguan
The Tiguan’s 200 hp 2.0-litre turbo 4-cylinder, mated to a 6-speed automatic, murders the rest of the field here, with an as-tested 0-100 kph time of 9.0 seconds. It actually feels a whole lot faster thanks to its instant torque that makes overtaking and junction-jumping a breeze. And if you can live without navigation, leather and big alloys, you can get a well-equipped base model for only a little more than the base price of an all-wheel-drive RAV4.

2nd: Toyota RAV4
The real surprise of the day is the second-place finish of the RAV4’s 176 hp 2.5-litre 4-cylinder, mated to a 6-speed auto. It managed a time of 9.8 seconds, largely thanks to its well-spaced gearing.

3rd: Honda CR-V
We expected the CR-V’s 188 hp 2.4-litre 4-cylinder to do better here, but it fell behind the RAV4 with a time 10.3 seconds, no doubt due to the lack of gears on the 5-speed automatic. It doesn’t feel particularly slow though, with its shorter-ratio initial gears.

4th: Hyundai Santa Fe
The Santa Fe is the snail of the group. The 174 hp 2.4-litre 4-cylinder powertrain is so lacking that we were wondering if the factory forgot to put an engine in the car. It is maybe about 200 kg heavier than the other crossovers, so our test car only managed a time of 12.2 seconds. It doesn’t help that the 6-speed automatic has some seriously-tall ratios, even in first gear.

Fuel economy

Comparo: 2013 Toyota RAV4 vs VW Tiguan vs vs Honda CR-V vs Hyundai Santa Fe

1st: Honda CR-V
Honda retains their leadership in matters of thriftiness when it comes to fuel, as our tester’s trip computer showed 9.7 litres/100 km on our mostly-highway test loop. Trip computers are pretty accurate nowadays, based on our experience. It does 2200 rpm at 120 kph.

2nd: Toyota RAV4
The Toyota managed 10.5 litres/100 km on the same loop, not as good as the Honda, but still pretty good. It does 2200 rpm at 120 kph.

3rd: Hyundai Santa Fe
The Hyundai is way behind, even with its tall gearing, clocking in 11.7 litres/100 km. It didn’t help that the engine has to be worked harder to make it gain speed. It does 2700 rpm at 120 kph.

4th: Volkswagen Tiguan
The powerful VW managed 11.9 litres/100 km, although admittedly, our daft photographer ran away with it for a brief while in the middle of our test loop, and probably drove it like a moron. It does 2200 rpm at 120 kph.

Handling & driving dynamics

Comparo: 2013 Toyota RAV4 vs VW Tiguan vs vs Honda CR-V vs Hyundai Santa Fe

1st: Volkswagen Tiguan
The Tiguan R-Line is a Golf GTI on stilts. Again, it murders the other cars with its handling. It has excellent body control and endless grip from its 255/40-19 tyres. It actually seems to cleanly rotate the rear the harder you turn. The steering offers a little feel, but is sharper than any of the others, with a nice weight to it as well. Sudden lane changes are accomplished with hot-hatch precision. The only weak point are the brakes, which offer nothing on initial tip-in, but stop the car well on full press, with a tiny bit of wiggle.

2nd: Honda CR-V
The CR-V is a good handler in its own right, although it is limited by its 225/60-18 tyres and less-direct controls. The steering offers a little bit of feel, but is on the light side. Body control is good, with no untoward motions in emergency lane changes. Understeer creeps in very linearly and predictably. The only weak point are the average brakes, which don’t do much if not pressed hard, and seemed to have slightly-longer stopping distances than the others.

3rd: Toyota RAV4
The RAV4 is a good handler as well, again limited by its 225/65-17 tyres in terms of grip, so it understeers cleanly at the limit. The steering offers as little feel as the others, but it is also light and a bit more vague than the CR-V. Body control is good, and it handled lane-change moves well in our changing-elevation handling loop. It has decent brakes are well, at least as good as the Tiguan, but with a more linear action.

4th: Hyundai Santa Fe
The Santa Fe fails to impress yet again in the driving department. It suffers from noticeably more body roll than the Japanese “twins” and understeers heavily as speeds increase on curves. Heck, it even understeers on sudden lane changes, and can get a little out of shape, but thankfully comes back in line without serious drama, that too without stability control. The steering offers as little feel as the others, but is artificially heavy and rubbery. The brakes are pretty good though, with linear feel and straight stops on hard application.

Offroad abilities

Comparo: 2013 Toyota RAV4 vs VW Tiguan vs vs Honda CR-V vs Hyundai Santa Fe

1st: Toyota RAV4
The RAV4 is easily the best offroader here, as much as you can expect a crossover to do on mild sand dunes. It has a 4×4 50:50 “lock” mode, the smallest alloys at 17-inches, and the meatiest tyres in this group. Our resident offroad psycho Vivek “Pajero” Menon managed some small inclines without even deflating the tyres. Of course, none of these crossovers have low-range gearing, but at least you can cross minor desert terrain without fear.

2nd: Volkswagen Tiguan
We actually expected the Tiguan to be the worst, but it turned out to be one of the better ones. It can actually keep up with the RAV4 on the dunes using sheer power and turbo torque alone, even with those gangsta 19-inch wheels. The tyres are extra-wide though, while a proactive all-wheel-drive system with roots to the VW Golf R helps a lot, even without a 50:50 “lock” option. The ground clearance is a bit limited by the R-Line kit, but VW actually offers a cheaper model with an “offroad” front bumper and an optional “offroad” mode that does things with electronics to help things along. Vivek “Pajero” Menon became a fan of the Tiguan by the end of our sandy jaunt.

3rd: Hyundai Santa Fe
The Santa Fe actually did fairly fine in our mild offroad excursion, because it was armed with a 4×4 50:50 “lock” option and no interfering ESP. Even the wider-than-average tyres helped offset the disadvantage of 18-inch alloys. But it was hampered by low ground clearance, a lazy engine with poor transmission gearing and more weight. Only take this offroad if you know what you’re doing, because Vivek “Pajero” Menon kept digging that front bumper into the sand on several occasions.

4th: Honda CR-V
The CR-V loses out here due to its less-than-the-others ground clearance and an all-wheel-drive system that is slow to react in loose sand if you don’t keep the speed up. Combined with the fact that there is no 50:50 “lock” mode and its 18-inch alloys, the CR-V needs to be abused more to get the most out of it. It can take the abuse even, because it has a better approach angle than most, with its pointy front bumper. Vivek “Pajero” Menon still never got it stuck either, which is always a good thing.

If you’re buying a two-wheel-drive SUV, you might as well buy a car instead. Because you’ll miss the traction of all-wheel-drive as soon as you get your “jeep” stuck on the beach in front of everyone. An all-wheel-drive crossover isn’t ever going to be a sturdy dune-basher, but you can drive one with confidence on camping trips, wadi gravel trails and even rainy weather.

Overall value

Crossover-2013-Toyota-RAV4-VW-Tiguan-Honda-CR-V-Hyundai-Santa-Fe 22

1st: Hyundai Santa Fe
Hands down, the Korean offers the best value in the group, with an as-tested price of Dhs 92,900. A fully-optioned V6 version costs Dhs 123,900, with as many gadgets as the Volkswagen, though not necessarily the same Germanic quality of trim.

2nd: Toyota RAV4
This Japanese-built softroader is nowhere near as value-packed as the Korean, but it offers more compared to the CR-V, such as navigation, offroad lock and nicer leather upholstery than either of the Asians. Our fully-specced version rings up the register at Dhs 124,900. A basic AWD model starts at Dhs 110,000.

3rd: Honda CR-V
The American-built CR-V falls behind the RAV4 because of its bargain-basement interior and lack of options such as navigation and offroad extras, even though it costs about the same as the RAV4, at Dhs 126,000. You do get bigger alloys, HIDs and rear a/c vents though, and it still is the top choice when it comes to fuel economy. Go for the base model with fewer luxuries, and the starting price is a palatable Dhs 99,000.

4th: Volkswagen Tiguan
The German-built Tiguan R-Line is the most premium offering in this group, with a price to match, at Dhs 151,000. Losing the body kit and gaining an offroad bumper lowers the price down to Dhs 144,000. Cut out more of the luxuries, such as navigation, glass roof and leather, and you have a base price of Dhs 109,000, about the same as the RAV4! But despite that awesome engine, suspension and interior, you still get a smaller vehicle than the others at this price-point, and space counts for a lot in this segment.

Final rankings

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1st: Hyundai Santa Fe
The Santa Fe offers the worst driving performance in this group, but is also the most comfortable, practical, spacious and stylish, and that matters more to crossover buyers than driving pleasure. This value-packed runner got a huge head-start based on price alone, whether it’s this 2.4-litre version or the top-spec 3.3-litre V6 version.

Crossover-2013-Toyota-RAV4-VW-Tiguan-Honda-CR-V-Hyundai-Santa-Fe 11
2nd: Toyota RAV4
The top-spec RAV4 is a nice enough car that edges out the Honda with a nicer interior, slightly more features, and slightly better acceleration. It also retains a certain degree of offroad credibility, which sealed its second-place finish.

Crossover-2013-Toyota-RAV4-VW-Tiguan-Honda-CR-V-Hyundai-Santa-Fe 12
3rd: Honda CR-V
The CR-V is so similar to the RAV4 in drive that we’re starting to wonder if Toyota benchmarked this Honda to create their own car. It may be third behind the RAV4 here due to its crummy interior, but the feature set generally goes for what crossover buyers prefer, ditching the navigation in favour of rear a/c vents, HIDs, bigger alloys and class-leading fuel economy.

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4th: Volkswagen Tiguan
The Tiguan was never going to win this race, with its small size and high price. But it was insanely better to drive than any of the others. If our rankings were based on driving pleasure alone, this list would be upside-down, with the Tiguan R-Line at the top. While it sort of competes in this plebeian segment, it is really a legitimate alternative to the overpriced Audi Q5. Even while coming in last, it went home as the favourite crossover in all our minds.

Photos by Faisal Khatib and some by Mashfique Hussain Chowdhury. Additional evaluation drivers included Vivek “Pajero” Menon, Marouf Hussain Chowdhury, Rahul Jones and Saifur Rahman.

We’d like to thank Hyundai, Toyota, Honda and Volkswagen for providing the vehicles for the purpose of this test.

What do you think?



  1. Very nice comparo, every one was waiting for it, I was considering either xterra or fortuner but after this I may consider a fully loaded v6 santa fe and skip the off road trips I was planning to make occasionlly

  2. Honest & remarkable review. I think all your advertisers have reason to be happy. You brought out the best in all of the 4 !

  3. A real good effort and non biased review.. Good Job DA

    However my personal picks in order would be:
    1. VW Tiguan
    2. Toyota Rav4
    3. Honda CRV
    4. Hyundai Santafe
    (Based more on quality rather than quantity)

    • An honest and detailed comparison…and my selection similar to you
      1. Tiguan (Quality)
      2. RAV4 (Overall)
      3. CRV (now looks very odd or like MPVs)
      4. Santa Fe (last choice based on poor quality)

  4. Nice review! (Y)

  5. Thanks A ton Guys for this superb-complete head-to -head review… I still missed Grand Vitara being reviewed … I hope some day U’ll have chance to review that car also …

  6. My only take on Hyundai cars is the transmissions they use, the ratios make no sense, as you said, it revs at 2700 and that is too much for 6 speed, if they change the ratio and makes it rev at 2200 or even less it will be much more effecint and quieter, in my current Genesis coupe which has 8 speed automatic, it revs at 2300 for 120 and that is too much for an 8 speed trans, in my previous avalon and although it is a car from different category but it has 3.5 V6 and 6 speed trans and it was revving at 2000-2100 at 120 while the Genesis has 3.8 so that is too much

  7. I don’t know why the CRV is third here. It was by far the worst of the lot and I’d honestly take a mid option Tiguan over a CRV.

    The Santa Fe was indeed a surprise. It even got a stamp of approval from my parents for its generous leg space and comfort. I’d love to see a V6 version review with meatier tires, better engine and more tech. Make it happen Mashfique… 🙂

    And sorry about running away with the Tiguan. It’s just a fantastic car to drive that I ended up taking the wrong turn… ^_^

  8. First time in awhile I have seen put up a video! Great work & I was laughing at how appropriate the music was. Here’s to hoping that we can get more manufacturer’s to share cars so we can have a Muscle car Shootout along with a Full Size SUV comparing the Land Cruiser and the Patrol….maybe even a Hot Hatch comparo for good measure!

  9. I’m not sure whether the exclusion of Kia Sportage was because had cheap interior or because it had a cheap price. I guess its because its top selling and can easily put the rest to shame.

  10. 2.5ltr cx5 would be available from june onwards in uae market…

  11. Nice comparo and fairly reasonable final rankings 🙂

    Mash, is there any plans to make a comparo between the Camry, Altima and Accord 2.5?

  12. I wonder how my kia sorento fare with these bunch. Its a bit cheaper than the santa fe?

    • It should shine neck to neck with the Santa fe.

      Except for the lack of power its awesome vehicle. Even the handling was better for what you will expect from Hyundai.

  13. Great Enjoyed it ……now need Camry vs Sonata vs Accord !!

  14. Great comparo, Hope to see more in the future. (Y)

  15. wondering why GM banned DriveArabia. :/ oh and i hope you guys get the Vitara soon!

  16. Good job mash!…
    if you may, consider doing a comparison of
    BMW – 3
    merc – C
    Lexus – IS
    Cadillac – ATS
    infinity – G25

  17. I’m glad that the Santa-fe came at the top. It’s my favorite of the lot anyway. After the VW i.e.

    Eagerly waiting for the Santa-fe V6 review.

  18. VW Tiguan Rocks better than the other 3 . Awesome Review Guys . Guys do a next comparo of Sedans of UAE .

  19. Great Comparator !
    Can you Road Test the new Subaru Tribeca 2013 with the new 3.6L Boxer 6-Cylinder engine ?
    by the way the car is not updated with that engine in “Car Prices & Specs” section of the website.

  20. Great review and very well written article, but there is one major point that was left out in your comparison, and it happens to be a very inportant factor in all car specially Crossover SUVs given they are mostly family cars and that is “SAFETY” features.
    should have been one of the major factors.

    anyways great article. keep up the good work.

    • Author

      Safety features are mentioned within the article. All of them were the same anyway, except for the Hyundai.

  21. I own a 2013 v6 santa fe for a little over two months now.. And for those who are interested with this vehicle, I can share here my own experience so far.

    1. Fuel economy – ave. 14.5l/100km (manually calculated based on actual 5x petrol refills and mostly city driving)
    2. Engine – it’s quite powerful but the delivery is not crisp. There’s a little delay in throttle response.
    3. Handling – same as per Mash comment.
    4. Ride comfort & noise – for me it has a little more shudder than my other car 2009 Mit outlander.
    5. Build quality – This is where Hyundai has really improved. Lot’s of nice touches.

    • Kenshinrs, I heard many complains about Santa fe small fuel tank, it is only 65 liters, and of course we will not fully empty the tank before refilling, let us say we have 55 liters to use, so according to you the tank will only takes you for 370-380 kms, that is really not good, for me it means I will refill every 2 or 3 days maximum and this is a pain in the a**. it was supposed to be 75 liters at least

    • Samer, yes you are right, I fill up around 55 liters every week.

    • Author

      The Santa Fe had the least fuel remaining after our test. Probably due to the spare tyre and third row taking up space in such a small car.

    • Hi, How has your expeience been so far? I have just booked a 2.4l Car, and was impressed with the overall quality build. etc. Power is not 2 much of a concern as we dont really drive fast and needed a stylish station wagon wth 3rd row.
      I drove the 2.4 and found it adequate – no dreams of being a sports suv.

      My conerrn now is that reading into deeper reviews, there is an issue of the car steering alignment issue (in US models). Have you experienced anything like that at all or any other niggles you can mention! Thanks!

  22. What about the Audi Q3/Q5? I guess it falls into this category as well. Although not sure of prices, but wouldn’t it be neck to neck with the Tiguan?

  23. Great Comparo, my eyes are on Tiguan 😀

  24. Mash’s assessment is correct, these vehicles are small family haulers and that market cares little of driving dynmaics apart from the fact it should be roomy,comfortable, partical and easy to maintain..

    some people mentioned something about quality…. VW is much lower in technical rating in terms of both quality and reliability…

  25. So if the 3.3V6 Santa Fe was used instead of this under powered 2.4, would you guys still go for the vw?

    • Author

      Changing the engine doesn’t change the handling.

    • the 3.3L would have performed way better off-road..but that low ground clearance and handling, will be the same story..

    • Mars i would have looked for comfort, quite ride, every inch of extra space counts, the additional power is always useful, the safety, struggling weak engine may more or less consume same fuel to pull a heavy vehicle as a properly powered one. Another thing is almost all manufacturers are churning out good 3+ litre engines with almost same fuel efficiency as lower specked ones, so spend more and get an aptly powered car. If you want offroad and space and are ready to sacrifice, buy a Pajero which is in same range, stupid to except offroad from crossovers, when you know ultimately they will will fail when put to task.

  26. I have been following drivearabia for the last 2 years & have always felt many unwanted sentences are written taunting someone or some firm. Drivearabia is an interesting take on the auto journalism in the UAE and should stick to it. The toyota n honda are way better cars than your comparos suggest and clearly better than the hyundai to own and live with. Drivearabia is headed in the right direction with comparos and I hope to see more of these now and then but drivearabia needs to work hard on the car evaluation area.

  27. clearly better than the hyundai to own and live with.*******

    RE: sure… you mean like premature brakewear and tear issues, insane dealer service charges, unintended acceleration etc etc…

    the reality Koreans are hammering the Japs left right and centre… look how many koreans are on the road v only a few years back…

  28. Mufaddal is the peegoat guy. I remember how he hates kia sportage

    • oh yes i remember.. poor guy


      feel sorry for people who buy cars that at the bottom of JD Powel vehicle quality reports…

  29. Had a test drive yesterday on the 3.5L Kia Sorento @ IBN Batuta promotions…, found very nice to handle, lot of value stuff with the panaromic roof model, neat interiors.., could be a competetion to it’s cousin Santa Fe. Just that found it bulky !
    But great effort by the Koreans in providing a money value & comfortable ride to a family ! What else would one need..?

  30. All these cars have weirdly similar fronts.

  31. Just a suggestion. Some sort of scoring which would also give marks to the participants for each segment. Sort of like an x out 5 where 5 would have been an ideal for the segment

    • Author

      We did do a points system, but they did not make any sense once we totalled them, so we scrapped it.

  32. This test really sucks without the Koleos in it.

  33. Thank you DA for the excellent comparo.

    Although, I think it’s a bit unfare to choose the Santa Fe, which is a mid-size crossover, to go against compact crossovers, eventhough it’s admittedly in the same price bracket.

    I’m also wondering why the GMC Terrian was left behind?

    Nevertheless, many thanks for this interesting and rarely unbiased comparo.

  34. Amazing comparison…. something everyones been waiting for

  35. am planning to buy an SUV,from asx, juke, sportage which sholud i go for? can you suggest guys
    i am looking for ride comfort, handling , fuel economy
    not for offroad

  36. this website stole your article and photos ( and it is not the first time ! )

    • Author

      Yep, we ranted about it on our Facebook page, and then used parts of it as a free translation (after fixing their mistakes) for our Arabic site!

  37. lol Someone Stole your Comparo and put as if it was their own : .

    Look to the picutres

  38. Dear Mash,

    Awesome job here. Can u undertake one more such comparison with the next segment of affordable Midsize SUVs??? A direct comparison between Pajero, Prado, Pilot, Explorer and Acadia perhaps????
    Hope to read the article soon.


    Jithu Thomas

  39. hey mash!!! how about you compare nissan pathfinder with these crossover. It comes under same segment

  40. Subaru should feature in a crossover comparison!

  41. You guys really missed out a direct competitor: The 2014 2.5L Mazda CX-5…..It’s gonna beat all these 4 IMO

  42. The Rav4’s front grille makes it as ugly as the toad look-alike nissan juke. The santafe looks extremely nice that one could ignore its weak performance for the sake of its looks especially the beautiful rear which is dervied from audi q5

    I really hope that hyundai does extra work on santafe’s performance because it is a very nice car to own for a very acceptable price

  43. Very nice review. The first time i saw Hyundai making improvements was back in 2007 with their Elantra. They have come a long way after that. i bought accord two years back. This new santa fe v6 would have been a perfect alternative. back then nothing like that was available.

    Would be nice to see a detailed review of santa fe v6 full option.

  44. I was going to buy R. Koleo, but after the campro I changem my mind!

  45. How’s the Air Conditioning on the Santa Fe? Feedback from current owners would be highly appreciated.

    • Owned this car for 4 months and I find the a/c quite good and the vents at the 2nd and 3rd row seats works fine.. But the real test will come in the heights of summer months.

    • Just rented it for last week and i was out in the sun middle of the day starting from 1 pm. Believe me baby carriage in the boot was also cold. A/C is v.good.

  46. When choosing our car 15 months ago we narrowed down the list to more or less the same cars (the Rav4 was the Mitshibushi ASX) and pumped for the Tiguan purely on safty record as it was the only one that had side airbags as standard. Had the chance to drive the Sante Fe again recently and was shocked how poor it was in comparison to the Tiguan. Total lack of power, handling and quality inside. VW seem to add so many little touches like lights in the boot, auto parking, opening the windows with key fob etc. We find it uses about 10.5L/100k normal driving (sports mode included). You say that it was your favourite crossover and it murdered the others in power and handling… my Tiguan new was 99900Dhs and it is identical to the R Line minus Moonroof, leather seats, coloured bumpers and Satnav. Bargin!

    Only bad point is the boot a little small… only enough room for a weeks shopping and a pram!

  47. I want to thank you guys for the honest review, and it covered most points we’re concerning.

  48. Can we compare also subaru forester with them..?
    Check also in youtube the comparison of subaru forester to other compact SUV..

  49. Trust me guys the hyundai Santa fe is the best out of the lot, if it had the 2.2 litre diesel motor that it has in Australia. Then the ratios make sense, the motor is so much smoother and dynamic than it’s petrol motor. Yes hands down VW should have won but price is a factor ,but when it comes to quality Hyundai, starting with this vehicle, is now surpassing other manufacturers (toyota, nissan, VW…their main competition).

  50. Muy buena comparación, creo que la rav4 comple con lo necesario

  51. How about a Santa Fe Sport 2.0 turbo version? Not available in the country? or a 2.2 diesel crdi e-vgt? These engines perform better than the naturally aspirated, less powerful 2.4 petrol engine on your Santa Fe test vehicle. Also it is not equipped with electronic stability program, thus resulting in inferior performance in handling compared to the other three vehicles I believe.

  52. Im an expat and part of my concerns is also selling the car after, let say, 5-6 years. Any advice about re-sale?

  53. i have Cherokee 2005 and i need to change it and inside the price i need. these cars all coming into my mind, and in my mind i found that my comparison should be between santafe and tiguan, when i saw that great comparison, i was very happy and also that was my choice, although i love tiguan but i find santafe better for me.
    but i see that the fair comparison should result
    1- santafe
    2- tiguan.
    3- rav4
    4- CR-V

  54. Dear Mash,

    It was a very good & apt camparison between compact crossovers. I really request you to carry out a caoparison between Camry, Accord, Mazda 6, Altima and Sonata. Please include more if I missed any car of same segment.

  55. why do the agency downgrade the power of most the cars?? & also why is the hyundai santa fe 2.0turbo not available in uae??

  56. Good solid review!

    But I was disappointed that you guys completely forgot about Forester!!

  57. Ok so I get why the GMC Terrain was left out but i’ve got it in my head that I want one.

    Please help convince me otherwise.

  58. Vivek. Could you advise how Mitsubishi ASX performs on offroad comparing toyota rav 4

  59. It seems that hyundai paid to author for this result.

    • Author

      We haven’t had Hyundai ads on this site in years, including at the time when this story was published. The other three have advertised with us.

  60. Effective life time of Korean cars are up to 5 years.

    • Is it…. Lets see, my Accent (5th car) has completed 3 yrs 4 months with around 60,000 on odo, still not even brakepad changed. Till now only regular service done from agency. No mechanical failure or issue with electronics, same mileage from day one. Lets wait for another year and 8 months to see how true you are…

  61. ‘We have no contact with the dealers’!!!!
    Good excuse to skip the other cars.

  62. I would say, simply an intelligent comparo, quality always wins!

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