Honda Cars of Katy Compares 2017 Honda Pilot VS 2017 Hyundai Santa Near Houston, TX

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2017 Honda Pilot

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2017 Hyundai Santa

Safety Comparison

Both the Pilot and the Santa Fe have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front-wheel drive, height-adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems, rear parking sensors and rear cross-path warning.

Warranty Comparison

There are over 24 percent more Honda dealers than there are Hyundai dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Pilot’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

The engine in the Pilot has a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engine in the Santa Fe has dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Honda vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Honda 7th in reliability, above the industry average. With 32 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked 19th.

Engine Comparison

The Pilot’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 10 lbs.-ft. more torque (262 vs. 252) than the Santa Fe’s 3.3 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Honda Pilot is faster than the Hyundai Santa Fe:



Santa Fe

Zero to 60 MPH

6.5 sec

7.3 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.8 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.2 MPH

89.1 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Pilot gets better fuel mileage than the Santa Fe:




Santa Fe



3.5 V6/9-spd. Auto

20 city/27 hwy

18 city/25 hwy

3.3 V6/Auto


3.5 V6/6-spd. Auto

19 city/27 hwy

17 city/23 hwy

3.3 V6/Auto


3.5 V6/9-spd. Auto

19 city/26 hwy

18 city/24 hwy

3.3 V6/Auto


3.5 V6/6-spd. Auto

18 city/26 hwy

17 city/22 hwy

3.3 V6/Auto

An engine control system that can shut down half of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the Pilot’s fuel efficiency. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Pilot Touring/Elite’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Santa Fe doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The Pilot has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Pilot has larger tires than the Santa Fe (245/60R18 vs. 235/60R18).

The Pilot Touring/Elite’s tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Santa Fe Ultimate’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Pilot Touring/Elite has standard 20-inch wheels. The Santa Fe’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

The Pilot has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The Pilot (except LX)’s optional drift compensation steering can automatically compensate for road conditions which would cause the vehicle to drift from side to side, helping the driver to keep the vehicle straight more easily. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer drift compensation steering.

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Pilot is 2.2 inches wider in the front and 1.8 inches wider in the rear than on the Santa Fe.

The Pilot Elite 4WD handles at .83 G’s, while the Santa Fe Limited AWD pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Pilot Elite 4WD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Santa Fe Limited AWD (27.8 seconds @ .62 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

The Pilot uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Pilot has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Santa Fe can only carry 7.

The Pilot has 6.3 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Santa Fe (152.9 vs. 146.6).

The Pilot has .2 inches more front headroom, 2.4 inches more front hip room, 2.6 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, 1.9 inches more rear hip room, 3.7 inches more rear shoulder room, 3.2 inches more third row headroom, 1 inch more third row legroom, .5 inches more third row hip room and 3.7 inches more third row shoulder room than the Santa Fe.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Pilot’s cargo area provides more volume than the Santa Fe.



Santa Fe

Behind Third Seat

18.5 cubic feet

13.5 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

55.9 cubic feet

40.9 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

109 cubic feet

80 cubic feet

The Pilot has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Pilot EX/EX-L/Touring/Elite has a standard remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

If the windows are left down on the Pilot the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Santa Fe can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Pilot’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Santa Fe’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The Pilot Elite’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

When the Pilot Touring/Elite is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Santa Fe’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Pilot is less expensive to operate than the Santa Fe because it costs $468 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Pilot than the Santa Fe, including $16 less for front brake pads, $51 less for front struts, $132 less for a timing belt/chain and $270 less for a power steering pump.

Recommendations Comparison

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Honda Pilot, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels.

The Honda Pilot outsold the Hyundai Santa Fe by 199 units during the 2016 model year.

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Based on 2012-2018 EPA mileage ratings. Use for comparison purposes only. Your mileage will vary depending on driving conditions, how you drive and maintain your vehicle, battery-pack age/condition, and other factors. Government 5-Star Safety Ratings are part of the U.S. Department of Transportation’s New Car Assessment Program ( Model tested with standard side airbags (SAB).

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