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2020 Nissan Rogue vs. 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe: Which Is Better?

In the compact crossover SUV segment, the 2020 Nissan Rogue and 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe offer turbocharged engines and room for five. Beyond that, though, which is better?

Quick Facts

  • Neither is a great choice for off-roading.
  • 2020 Nissan Rogue averages 29 mpg.
  • 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe comes with a class-leading 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

2020 Nissan Rogue

2020 Nissan RogueBase price: $26,585 / Read our 2020 Nissan Rogue Review

What we like: Cargo capacity; standard Apple CarPlay/Android Auto integration; fuel economy.

What we would change: Add an optional engine upgrade; increase towing capacity; improve the CVT.

Overview: Nissan’s biggest seller, the 2020 Rogue has a lot going for it, including good driving manners, a roomy interior, and some good standard technology such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  Formerly available with a hybrid option, the 2020 Nissan Rogue now only sports one engine and transmission combination, which to our tastes is a little underpowered, and the CVT drones when pushed hard. That said, it’s perfectly adequate in the city, has very comfortable seats, and there’s plentiful headroom and legroom for all passengers.  With all seats folded, the 2020 Rogue boasts 70 cubic feet of cargo capacity, and as the seats fold flat, the space is versatile, with even enough room for an 8-foot surfboard. The exterior is pleasant enough, and three trim levels offer different features, although to our mind, it’s a bit behind on the times and could use an update.

What’s new for 2020: The only change for 2020 is that there is no longer a hybrid model available.

Features and technology: There are three trim levels of the 2020 Nissan Rogue, with only one powertrain choice, a 2.5-liter four-cylinder hooked to a CVT. Front-wheel drive is standard, but any trim level can be optioned with all-wheel drive. The lowest model is called the S, with a 6-way manually adjustable driver seat, cruise control, and keyless entry. Safety systems include automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, and blind-spot monitoring with rear-cross-traffic assist. The infotainment system consists of a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto connectivity and a 4-speaker audio system with AM/FM and USB inputs. A rarity these days, the Rogue also includes a CD player.

The next trim level up is called the SV, which adds an 8-way power-adjustable driver seat, a power tailgate, heated front seats, heated outside mirrors, an upgraded 6-speaker audio system, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, automatic dual-zone climate control, and other goodies. The top SL trim adds such things as navigation, leather seats, a Bose audio system, Nissan’s Around View 360-degree rearview camera, intelligent cruise control with the ProPilot Assist semi-autonomous driving system, and 19-inch wheels.

What does the future hold: In this competitive segment, we feel that the Rogue has fallen behind some of its other competitors, which offer more driver-assist and safety features and fresher interiors. We think the Rogue is overdue for a redesign, and we would like to see Nissan offer at least one optional upgrade engine. Find a 2020 Nissan Rogue for sale near you

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

2020 Hyundai Santa FeBase price: $27,415 / Read our 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Review

What we like: Lots of standard features for the money; quiet cabin; smooth automatic transmission; turbocharged upgrade engine; advanced AWD system.

What we would change: The base engine is weak and there’s no optional V6; safety nannies can be intrusive; too many hard plastics.

Overview: Formerly an also-ran in the midsize SUV segment, the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe has now established itself as a player in the crossover SUV category. It’s got plenty of features, ample space for five passengers, and boasts a fantastic upgrade turbocharged engine. That said, the base 2.4-liter engine is perfectly adequate, but the base Santa Fe is no one’s idea of quick. The 8-speed transmission, however, is fantastic, and the steering gives good feedback, with a smooth ride as well and a quiet cabin. The Santa Fe comes standard with front-wheel drive, although the optional HTRAC all-wheel-drive system is a gem, sending power to whatever wheel needs it for good all-whether traction. Even the base Santa Fe includes a good slate of driver-assistance and safety features, and higher trims add some nicer materials and upgrade audio. Resale values are about mid-pack within the segment, but the 2020 Santa Fe comes with Hyundai’s class-leading 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

What’s new for 2020: In an effort to simplify things, Hyundai dropped the Ultimate and SEL Plus trims from the lineup. Other than that, some driver-assist features that were previously options now come standard, a driver blind-spot mirror is added to the SE  trim, the Blind View Monitor is added to the Limited trim, and there’s no longer a sliding rear seat.

Features and technology: The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe is offered with a base four-cylinder engine and an optional turbo, both of which send their power to the front wheels via an 8-speed automatic. All-wheel drive is offered on all trims. Of the five trim levels, even the base FE comes well equipped, with forward-collision assist, lane-keeping assist, a rearview monitor, smart cruise control, and a driver attention warning system. The infotainment system includes a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto, Bluetooth, and rear USB power ports.

The next up SEL trim adds a blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, a proximity key and push-button start, an 8-way power driver seat, heated front seats, and Sirius/XM radio. The top Limited trim adds a panoramic sunroof, leather seats, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats, an Infinity audio system, navigation, and both Surround View and Blind View monitors.

Options beyond these are many, with such things as the SEL trim Convenience package with rear parking sensors, 18-inch wheels, dual-zone automatic control, a 12-speaker 630-watt Infinity audio system, and wireless charging. The SEL Premium package adds such things as LED headlights, leather seats, and an 8-way power passenger seat.

What does the future hold: The Santa Fe has been a good seller for Hyundai, and has steadily improved over the years, so we don’t expect too much other than maybe a reshuffling of options and added safety and driver-assist features. Find a 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe for sale near you

Rogue vs. Santa Fe: Strengths comparison

Rogue Benefits: Better fuel economy; more versatile cargo space; great seats.

Santa Fe Benefits: Choice of engines; fresher interior; longer warranty.

2020 Nissan Rogue vs. 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe: Which is better?

One of the more competitive automotive segments, the compact crossover/SUV space is full of excellent contenders, and it pays to keep up. While we like the 2020 Nissan Rogue and feel there is much to recommend it, in this case, the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe makes a more convincing case with an optional upgrade engine and the kind of safety and infotainment features we’ve come to expect in this segment. Find a 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe for sale or Find a 2020 Nissan Rogue for sale

2020 Nissan Rogue 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.5-liter I4 2.4-liter I4
Horsepower 170 hp @ 6,000 rpm 185 hp @ 6,000 rpm
Torque 175 lb-ft @ 4,400 rpm 178 hp @ 4,000 rpm
Transmission Continuously variable Automatic, 8-Spd
Fuel Economy 29 mpg (26 city, 33 hwy) 25 mpg (22 city, 29 hwy)
Also Available 2.0-liter I4, turbocharged
Basic Warranty 3 years or 36,000 miles 5 years or 60,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 5 years or 50,000 miles 10 years or 100,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 4 Stars 5 Stars
Max Seating Capacity 5 5
Wheelbase 106.5 inches 108.9 inches
Overall Length 184.5 inches 187.8 inches
Width 72.4 inches 74.4 inches
Height 68.0 inches 66.1 inches
Turning Diameter 37.6 feet 37.5 feet
Headroom, Front 41.6 inches 41.2 inches
Headroom, Rear 38.5 inches 39.2 inches
Legroom, Front 43.0 inches 44.1 inches
Legroom, Rear 37.9 inches 40.9 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 56.6 inches 59.1 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 55.9 inches 58.3 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 105.8 cu. ft. 110.7 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume 70.0 cu. ft. 71.3 cu. ft.

Doug Lloyd
Doug Lloyd
Doug Lloyd is an author specializing in comparison tests. A veteran of the automotive press world, Doug started at Sports Car International and Vintage Motorsport magazines and has worked at both Porsche Panorama magazine and Doug is also a jazz piano player and a composer for television.

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