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2018 Hyundai Santa Fe in Covington, LA: Is the Subaru Outback Up to the Task?

The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe in Covington, LA has some stiff competition on its hands.  The 2018 Subaru Outback is the latest version of Subaru's iconic off-road-ready wagon, and it takes everything that made this model so beloved and made it even better.  Crossover SUVs like the Hyundai Santa Fe work hard to match the 2018 Subaru Outback, but rivals ultimately fall short of the Outback's exceptional safety, comfort, utility, and performance.



Safety Comparison

Subaru has a magnificent reputation when it comes to vehicle safety, and its impeccable engineering is in full display on the 2018 Outback. For instance, the prized All-Wheel Drive (AWD) comes standard on the 2018 Subaru Outback, giving it amazing traction and stability whatever road you drive it on. In contrast, you can only get All-Wheel Drive on the 2018 Santa Fe if you're willing to pay more for it.

Additionally, the Santa Fe doesn't offer backup collision prevention brakes.  The Outback is available with Reverse Automatic Braking which uses rear sensors that monitor what is happening behind the vehicle and will automatically apply the brakes to avoid rear collisions.

Head to head on safety tests; the 2018 Outback continues to beat the Santa Fe. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rated the Outback higher in 35 MPH front crash tests and side impact tests. The 2018 Subaru Outback doesn't take any chances when it comes to safety on the road.

Passenger Space Comparison

With 1.2 inches more front headroom, the Outback wins over the Santa Fe when it comes to passenger space. The Outback also has 1.6 inches more front legroom, so it never feels cramped even with all the seats occupied.

On top of this, you get to bring more on the road with the Outback. Fold the rear seats, and the Hyundai Santa Fe only yields 71.5 cubic feet of storage, compared with the Outback's roomier 73.3 cubic feet of cargo area. You'll find that everything back there is arranged well so you can organize your gear easily, and you also get a much lower liftover height for greater convenience and functionality. Overall, the 2018 Subaru Outback trumps the Hyundai Santa Fe when it comes to passenger comfort and storage capability.

Reliability Comparison

The Outback's wheelbase is 108.1 inches versus the Santa Fe's 106.3 inches. That 1.8-inch difference may look small, but not when you realize that it gives the Outback more stable handling and a smoother ride. In a Car and Driver skidpad test, the Santa Fe only pulled .75 G's of cornering force, while the Outback 2.5i Premium handled at .81 G's.

On top of this, the Outback 2.5i's front grille is equipped with electronically-controlled shutters that reduce drag and close off airflow when you need less engine cooling. Unfortunately, it's not possible to get these advanced active grille shutters on the Santa Fe.

Engine Comparison

The 2018 Subaru Outback's 3.6R's standard 3.6 DOHC 6-Cyl roars to life with 256 horsepower against the Santa Fe's lesser 240 horses. Based on Motor Trend tests, the Subaru Outback is faster than the Hyundai Santa Fe, achieving zero to 60 MPH in 9.2 seconds versus the latter's 9.3 seconds.

The EPA test cycle also found that the Outback offers consumers better fuel mileage than the Santa Fe. The Outback delivers 20 city/27 hwy (3.6 6 cyl./Auto) while the Santa Fe only gives 19 city/26 hwy (2.0 4 cyl./Auto).

Finally, the Outback comes with standard continuously variable transmission (CVT) which requires no steps between gears. You get an engine capable of indefinitely maintaining its peak horsepower if you need maximum acceleration, or prioritizing fuel economy by keeping most efficient speed. The Hyundai Santa Fe doesn't offer CVT, nor can it be obtained with a boxer engine configuration for enhanced handling stability thanks to a lower center of gravity.

Among midsize SUV's, the Outback was ranked 3rd by J.D Power and Associates ranked when it comes to owner-reported satisfaction, while the Santa Fe didn't make the top three.  And when you consider that the Subaru Outback has already out sold the Hyundai Santa Fe by 42% in 2017, then it's pretty clear- if you're looking for a wagon packed with state-of-the-art technology, premium cabin, and off-the-charts performance, the 2018 Subaru Outback is the way to go.  If you're still looking for a 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe in Covington, LA do yourself a favor and give the Outback an honest look before you buy.