Comparison Guide To Hyundai Santa Fe vs Ford Explorer

hyundai santa fe vs ford explorer

Many family-friendly SUVs are now entering the competitive automotive market. We know how difficult it is to find the best one, so we decided to compare two of our favorite models, the Hyundai Santa Fe vs Ford Explorer, to see exactly which one is better. 

These two models have evolved over many years and now perform well while maintaining their status as a robust, safe, and powerful means of transportation. Both SUVs have earned their accolades. The Explorer is currently in its sixth generation with multiple powertrains and chassis designs.

On the other hand, Hyundai introduced the fourth-generation Santa Fe in 2018. Its premium feel is reflected in its representative appearance, 

It is equipped with the latest technology, as well as first-class safety features and an exceptional amount of space that is good for the best SUVs for camping

Because these two SUVs have a great reputation. Now we’ll find out here with this Hyundai Santa Fe vs Ford Explorer.

2021 Hyundai Santa FE Overview

2021 hyundai santa fe vs 2021 ford explorer

Hyundai’s oldest offering in its five-power SUV lineup is the Santa Fe, which is getting a significant upgrade for the 2021 model year on moving lights. 

Inside, the new Santa Fe has a sleek, high-mounted center console and updated driver infotainment displays. 

This year a new calligraphic top model also debuted with a 277 hp 2.5-liter turbo 4-cylinder engine. It has a stiffer, stronger structure that has been updated to improve handling and impact safety. Santa Fe will also receive two new gasoline engines and transmissions.

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2021 Hyundai Santa FE Specifications

hyundai santa fe sport vs ford explorer
  • MSRP: $27,000 – $42,450
  • Engine: 2.5 L 4-cylinder
  • MPG: 25 City / 28 Hwy
  • Horsepower: 277 hp
  • Capacity: 5 Seats

2021 Ford Explorer Overview

ford explorer vs hyundai santa fe

Ford has made a variety of minor adjustments to the Explorer SUV 2021 based on demand since its first year of sales. Externally, the XLT equipment is now available with a sporty appearance package that adds 20-inch alloy wheels.

XLT models come with Heated front seats that are now standard on the, and a luggage organizer is optional on the Base, XLT, Limited, and ST models. Two new Explorer models have also been introduced with the Timberline, a more off-road-oriented model, and the King Ranch, which gives you more luxury.

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For hybrid lovers, this more efficient powertrain also comes with the Platinum specification. Eventually, some exterior color options were removed or replaced for the New Year.

2021 Ford Explorer Specifications

ford explorer vs Hyundai santa fe specs
  • MSRP: 32,925 – $54,730
  • Engine: 3.3 L 4-cylinder
  • MPG: 27 City / 28 Hwy
  • Horsepower: 300 to 400 hp
  • Capacity: 7 Seats

2021 Hyundai Santa FE vs 2021 Ford Explorer

In the SUV world, the Hyundai Santa Fe and Ford Explorer are icons that are becoming more popular every day.

Both models are equipped with technical function options such as proximity key entry, push-button start, hands-free tailgate, and reverse detection. 

The Hyundai Santa Fe offers more safety than standard, including assistance to prevent forward collisions. Although the Explorer has security technologies, these are available at an additional cost. 

Both have features that many might appeal to, picking one out of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe vs 2021 Ford Explorer can seem difficult but here we will see hand-to-hand competitions of these two high-performance SUVs.

1. Price

The base Hyundai Santa FE SE starts at $ 28,025 with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control, and lane departure warning. 

And the highest quality all-wheel drive calligraphy starting at $43,275 and new for 2021 adds a windshield, faux suede, and Nappa headliner. On the flip side, the 2021 Ford Explorer Base model has an MSRP of $32,225 with standard exterior features like LED headlights with auto high beam, LED tail lights, an electrically adjustable tailgate, and 18-inch alloy wheels.

A Non-hybrid Explorer Platinum top variant with leather, wood, and standard AWD starts at $55,725. So Santa Fe vs Ford Explorer Price, Hyundai Santa FE is more affordable.

 Winner: Hyundai Santa FE

2. Performance

The Ford Explorer comes with a 3.5 liter 6 cylinder engine that produces 365 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. 

The Hyundai Santa Fe, on the other hand, comes with an impressive 3.3-liter 6-cylinder engine that produces 290 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 rpm.

Although both vehicles have an 8-speed gearbox, the Hyundai’s is more advanced. This is one of the best vehicles with paddle shifters so that you can change gears if you wish.

This greatly improves the driving experience in the Hyundai and gives you better performance compared to the Ford Explorer vs Hyundai Santa Fe.

 Winner: Hyundai Santa FE

3. Appearance

Santa Fe has an elegant design. His sporty profile is immediately noticeable. The entry-level SE model already has LED running lights and a slim rear spoiler. 

LED fog lights are optionally available. Equipped with an impressive set of 19-inch alloy wheels, the SE Ultimate looks particularly powerful. 

The striking exterior colors are Regal Red, Storm Blue, and Night Sky. On the other hand, the Ford Explorer is an attractive SUV in its own right. 

Still, it doesn’t look as sporty as Santa Fe. The Explorer looks more like a truck and is far behind in the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe vs 2021 ford explorer competition.

Winner: Hyundai Santa FE

4. Features

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe comes with an excess of popular components. With the smartphone integration of Android Auto, the user-friendly infotainment system BlueLink from Hyundai promises to make your trip even more pleasant.

A responsive 7.0-inch touchscreen is also standard. Satellite and HD radio, on the other hand, provide additional entertainment. To get similar functionality in Explorer, buyers are forced to spend more money upgrading to a more expensive version.

Note that the Santa Fe also comes with a number of exciting upgrades, including an infinity surround sound audio system and adaptive cruise control, and it has an edge over the features of the Hyundai Santa Fe vs. ford explorer.

 Winner: Hyundai Santa FE

5. Towing Capacity

With a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 pounds when properly equipped, the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe fulfills that need by being able to tow your boats and jet skis.

On the other hand, the 2021 Ford Explorer, if properly equipped, can tow between 3,000 and 5,000 pounds, making it easy for you to pull your trailer or boat. 

All Ford vehicles are known for their towing capabilities as Explorers. Ford Explorer upper hand in the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe vs 2021 ford explorer towing comparison.

 Winner: Ford Explorer

6. Cargo Space

The 2021 Ford Explorer has 18.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row. For the best transportation experience, the second and third-row seats fold down to provide the Ford Explorer’s maximum cargo capacity of 87.8 cubic feet.

The cargo space extends to 47.9 cubic feet when only the third row is folded. Santa Fe has 36.4 cubic feet of standard cargo space. And can pack weekend luggage, a grocery store walkway, sports equipment, and more. 

When the rear seats are not in use, the driver can fold them down to expand the cargo space to 72.1 cubic feet of total space. Overall, the Ford Explorer offers you good cargo space compared to Ford Explorer vs Hyundai Santa Fe.

 Winner: Ford Explorer

7. Reliability

The Hyundai Santa Fe’s reliability rating is 4.0 out of 5.0, which ranks second out of 26 for midsize SUVs. 

The average annual repair cost is $ 515, which means that the running cost is less than the average running cost. Ford’s reliability rating is 3.5 out of 5.0, ranking 21st out of 32 for all car brands. That score is below average and frankly worrisome.

Also, the projected owner satisfaction rating is only three out of five. Hyundai Santa Fe is the winner in the reliability comparison between Hyundai Santa Fe vs Ford Explorer.

 Winner: Hyundai Santa FE

8. Safety

The Ford Explorer 2021 model range is equipped with a full range of safety functions from basic to the highest equipment. As standard, Explorer offers the Ford Co-Pilot 360, which includes forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking.

The Ford Explorer has received 5 out of 5 stars in its safety ratings from the NHTSA. The Hyundai Santa Fe 2021 also has advanced safety features and scores phenomenally in the NHTSA and IIHS ratings.

NHTSA gave an overall rating of 5 stars which is the best on their report, and the people at IIHS got the bill listed until 2021. In the safety analysis of the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe vs 2021 ford explorer, both SUVs performed well.

 Winner: Tied

9. Fuel Efficiency

The EPA estimates that Santa Fe will gain up to 25 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway in 2021 with the non-turbo four-cylinder. 

The optional turbocharged version has ratings of up to 22 mpg in the city and 28 on the highway. 

Hybrid models scored as high as 36 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway. The 2021 Ford Explorer has a gas mileage of up to 21 MPG city / 28 highway according to EPA estimates on gasoline models. 

With the available hybrid equipment, the Explorer can achieve 27 MPG city / 28 highway according to the EPA. Again, Santa Fe does well in the competition between the Hyundai Santa Fe vs. ford explorer MPG.

 Winner: Hyundai Santa FE

10. Final Verdict

The 2021 Ford Explorer is characterized by its strength and athletic ability and offers more seating and cargo space with many functions. 

But the Santa Fe 2021 is our pick in comparison to Hyundai Santa Fe sport vs ford explorer because it is affordable, reliable, and has a powerful engine with some quality features – less space for passengers but comfortable seating throughout the cabin.

 Winner: Hyundai Santa FE

Top FAQs About 2021 hyundai santa fe vs 2021 ford explorer

Is Explorer or Santa Fe better?

The Ford Explorer is a strong competitor as a luxury SUV, but it falls short of the safety features expected of such an SUV. You’ll want to use it for a highway cruise or maybe on a snowy day, but you want the 2021 Hyundai Santa FE to be your travel companion on any terrain.

Its safety features come standard and it is much more comfortable and affordable, making it a better vehicle than a luxury family SUV.

Which is bigger between Ford Explorer or Hyundai Santa Fe?

The Ford Explorer cab is 4.9 cubic feet more spacious than the Santa Fe XL and offers 146.6 cubic feet of passenger space. The Explorer also excels in cargo volume, offering 21.0 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. Ford Explorer offers more seating and cargo space with many functions.

Is the Ford Explorer a good SUV?

Yes, the Ford Explorer is a great SUV. It has several powerful turbo engines, has good fuel economy, and offers a smooth ride. It also offers plenty of cargo space and a long list of standard features including multiple active safety technologies and an intuitive infotainment system.

How much should I pay for a Hyundai Santa Fe 2022?

The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe costs $ 27,200 in its basic configuration, making it the cheapest vehicle in the mid-size SUV class. Pricing is up to $ 29,000 for the premium SEL kit, while the high-end Limited and Calligraphy kits are priced at $ 38,960 and $ 40,960, respectively.

Final Thought

If you’re looking for a mid-size SUV by comparing Hyundai Santa Fe vs Ford Explorer that can accommodate both your family and all of your travel loads, you’ve come to the right place with the Santa Fe, the best touring SUV in its class.

While the Ford Explorer is a formidable three-row SUV, it falls short of the new 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe. Not only does Santa Fe come with a more impressive list of features, but it also benefits from a long warranty. And Santa Fe offers you a convenient option that Explorer doesn’t.

Pawan K

Passionate automotive journalist who enjoys writing about the automobiles industry. I have covers every detail, from new vehicle reviews to the functionality of auto accessories, and everything that car enthusiasts want to know. I am Pennsylvania and loves to write. In my free time, I reads novels and explores new places.

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