2020 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. Mazda CX-5 Buddy Review: Can Either Really Beat The Toyota RAV4?

They're both good options

How do these two turbo crossovers stack up to America’s best-selling car?

These days, crossovers are king. If you’re an automaker looking to really rack up some sales, pooling your resources and investing toward a strong offering between $25,000 and $40,000 is exactly where you need to be. The Toyota RAV4 is strong evidence of that on its sales alone — in 2019, the redesigned model shifted some 450,000 units in the United States. This is the hottest automotive segment, so if the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe or Mazda CX-5 really want to play ball, they need to bring their A game.

The Mazda CX-5 is the best car to drive in its class, but it’s not the roomiest nor is it the strongest seller.

So, do they? In this video, Roman and Tommy take a look at two of Hyundai and Mazda’s strongest offerings, both with turbocharged engines and fresh, modern designs. These two compete in roughly the same space — though Hyundai also pitches their compact, soon to be revamped Tucson in this space as well. On price, however, these two are nearly identical. The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Limited with all-wheel drive runs up to $40,430, while the Mazda CX-5 Signature rings in at $38,925.

How the CX-5 and Santa Fe compare

On the design front, Mazda has clearly been going for a more upscale, up-market approach over the past few years, and its ambitions show in the CX-5. A more minimalist design with sharper, arguably more delicate control surfaces make the mainstream crossover punch above its weight. Not only that, but the Signature’s 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine is punchy as well, putting out 227 horsepower (on regular fuel) and 310 lb-ft of torque. It comes mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, and the top-end trim is strictly available with all-wheel drive. Front-wheel drive is available down the rest of the CX-5 lineup. While you do get a partially digital instrument cluster and all the latest driver assistance technology, the infotainment system in its current iteration — unlike what’s in the new Mazda3 and CX-30 — is dated compared to the competition.

2019 Santa Fe
The most recent Hyundai Santa Fe sports a much bolder design than previous generations, and it comes with a good amount of technology to boot.

The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe, on the other hand, is more thoroughly modern with its exterior design and available tech. Its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine manages 235 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the Mazda, you can get the Santa Fe Limited with front-wheel drive, as well as a less powerful 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. No matter which version you buy, you’ll get an eight-speed automatic transmission.

On the inside, the Hyundai Santa Fe makes more of its technology available to the driver through buttons on the center stack, and it packs a more up-to-date infotainment system. Both cars support Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, however. The Hyundai Santa Fe is also much roomier than the CX-5, making it a choice for families who need to make use of more space and aren’t necessarily focused on a sharper drive.

When it comes to speed, the Mazda CX-5 manages a 0-60 sprint in 8.22 seconds, while the Santa Fe takes 10.31 seconds at a mile above sea level.

Despite each car’s strengths, they sell less than half what the Toyota RAV4 manages each year. Both are solid choices, but Toyota also has strengths that play well in the segment, like their reputation for reliability and available hybrid options.