Toyota Fortuner vs Hyundai Santa Fe


That Toyota Fortuner has been a runaway success for Toyota Kirloskar Motors is a known fact. So much so that the company had to stop the bookings for this SUV for nearly 6 months to clear the back logs. Many think that the Toyota Fortuner was long in the coming to Indian soil and hence the mad rush for the bookings. There are many who are ready to pay a premium to slightly offset the waiting period. Its success mirrors that of the launch of the Maruti Suzuki Swift and its booted version, the Swift Dzire. However the reason for the Toyota Fortuner ending up with so good sales figures is due to the fact that there were no true claimers to the throne of an SUV in the sub Rs.20 lakhs segment. Many would argue that there is the Mitsubishi Pajero and the Ford Endeavour. However both this look outdated and lack the charm of the butch Toyota Fortuner. Now, to stake a clear claim on the throne, enters another hard core SUV and this one is by Hyundai Motors India Limited. Now, it is a known fact that Hyundai Motors India Limited weren’t quite successful in their earlier SUV endeavors namely the Hyundai Terracan and the Hyundai Tucson. But with the Hyundai Santa Fe, Hyundai Motors India Limited are looking to re-enter the SUV segment and lock horns with Toyota Kirloskar Motors,  Toyota Fortuner.


Toyota Fortuner – A debatable topic however a job is a job and I have been given the duties of according points to the SUVs according to their looks. First comes the Toyota Fortuner. Now, I am a big fan of the snout that the Toyota Fortuner sports. It has a small grille which is a cross between a slated one and a honeycomb mesh. The Toyota logo sits admist this grille. There is a bonnet scoop which points to the sporty pretensions of the Toyota Fortuner. There is an air dam which is partly covered by the skid plate and the front fog lamps are housed in their own scooped out units. Viewed from the front, The Toyota looks quite imposing and makes the Ford Endeavour to shy away from it. We have to give it to the Ford Endeavour to be the only other SUV in the sub Rs.20 lakhs segment to scare the day lights out of you but now the position has been taken up by the Toyota Fortuner. It has 17 inch tyres and those fill the wheel arches well. The outside rear view mirrors are quite big but are housed in chrome compartments. The rear end is also quite butch with horizontally stacked tail lamps and the big chrome grille acting as the lift up tail gate. There are also inserts for the rear fog lamps.

Hyundai Santa Fe – The Hyundai Santa Fe in contrast features a mellowed down look and has the typical family face. The head lamps are not placed so close to the grille as that on the Toyota Fortuner’s. The air dam design is similar to the one found on the Toyota’s. The fog lamps are housed in their own elliptical pods. The bonnet is long but not as snouty as the Fortuner’s. The side profile highlights the not so big outside rear view mirrors having the turn indicators embedded in them. The Hyundai Santa Fe does have bigger 18 inch tyres. The door handles are also body colored. The rear also features elliptical tail lamps and clear lens. The tail pipes are also twin units and are quite big, actually befitting a sports car. What the Hyundai Santa Fe lacks is road presence. Hyundai Motors India Limited could have done well by bringing in their latest Hyundai iX 30 SUV to India and it could have done wonders with its futuristic design.

Round 1 definitely goes to the Toyota Fortuner for its sheer road presence.


Toyota Fortuner – This is one of the disappointing part in the Toyota Fortuner. Don’t get me wrong. The Toyota Fortuner has the impeccable build quality as expected from the Toyota Kirloskar Motors stable however its interiors remind one of the Toyota Innova. Now, the Toyota Innova on its own has a nice cabin however with the Toyota Fortuner been a very pricey SUV and several rungs above the Toyota Innova, I expected something different. Nevertheless, everything seems well put together. The surfaces are all soft to touch with a build quality that would last several generations. The front seats are quite comfortable and hold you properly. They are also 6 way adjustable. There are audio controls on the 4 spoked steering wheel. There is automatic climate control on offer with rear AC vents. It offers leather trims as well. The rear seats are not that comfortable for any one above 6 foot as the floor is set too high. You can however definitely slide the rear seats back by a few inches. The third row of seats however is a joke and meant only for kids. The luggage space with the rear seats flipped comes to a huge 960 liters.

Hyundai Santa Fe –
The interiors of the Hyundai Santa Fe are a class apart from other Hyundai’s. It has a leather wrapped steering wheel. Compared to that of the Toyota Fortuner, the Hyundai Santa Fe has a rich black color interiors. Its 4 spoked steering wheel has audio, cruise control as well as Bluetooth function in it. It has a dual zone climate control, pillar mounted AC vents, chiller compartment under arm rest and also a thoughtfully designed dead pedal. The front seats feature 10 way adjustable seat functions and also with memory functions. The front seats are quite comfy as also the rear ones. The third row of seats is too low for comfort however better than that of the Toyota Fortuner’s. It has traditional Hyundai build quality as well and not a plastic seems out of place. Overall, the interiors exude a rich feel and befitting of this SUV.

Round two obviously goes to the Hyundai Santa Fe for its plush and rich interiors.

Handling and ride quality

Toyota Fortuner – The Toyota Fortuner is built on a ladder frame chassis as most of the hard core SUVs are built on. This means that it is quite capable off-road. On the road, the Toyota Fortuner is blessed with a hard suspension. This translates to a slightly stiff ride however not as disconcerting on the city roads as it is on the highway. The big potholes on the highway somehow do upset its composure. The steering wheel is typical Toyota affair and lacks feedback. It has quite a dead spot in the center. Take the Toyota Fortuner off roading and it would certainly compensate for big brother Landcruiser’s absence. It has a permanent 4 wheel drive which gives it quite an agility while cornering and even in the slush. There is also a low ratio transfer which helps when the going becomes tough. Its high ground clearance of 212 mm also helps its case while crossing rivers and mountains. Its cumbersome size in the city is dispatched by the use of parking sensors which help in safe parking of this huge SUV.

Hyundai Santa Fe – The Hyundai Santa Fe cannot be called a true off-roader for the simple fact that it doesn’t have permanent 4 wheel drive but only a 4 wheel drive lock. It is built on a monocque chassis and to be precise, on the Hyundai Sonata’ chassis. This means that it is more car like to drive albeit with an elevated driving position. The steering wheel is also light however weighs up nicely when the speeds elevate. The ride quality is quite plush both in the city as well as highway speeds. At low speeds, there are some bumps which get filtered into the cabin however this is not something which can be termed as disconcerting. The Hyundai Santa Fe has McPhersons up front and multi-link set up at the rear. This gives it a sedan like agility and it exhibits a better road poise than the Toyota Fortuner. There is some amount of body roll though while going around fast corners however it is well controlled. Going off road might seem a daunty task for this big Hyundai however once in the mud, the Hyundai Santa Fe changes poise and is ready for anything thrown at it. It however has a low ground clearance than the Fortuner at 186 mm and this along with the absence of low ratio marrs its off road capabilities.

Round three has been won by the Hyundai Santa Fe however by a whisker.

Engine,Performance and fuel efficiency

Toyota Fortuner – The engine in the Toyota Fortuner is the 2982 cc D-4D Diesel with Intercooler Turbocharger. It is the same engine derived from the family of diesel doing duty in the Toyota Innova. It produces 171 PS @ 3600 rpm and a huge 343 Nm @ 1400-3400 rpm. That said, the Toyota Fortuner races from 0-100 kmph in 12.9 seconds. It utilizes a 5 speed gear box which has long throws. There is a slight lurch during take offs and then on, the going is smooth.The Toyota Fortuner reaches a top speed of 176 kmph. What it can do is relaxedly munch miles while doing triple digit speeds.

The braking was quite an issue with earlier Toyota Fortuner SUVs however it has now been rectified by Toyota Kirloskar Motors. Braking is handled by discs at the front and lead-trailing drum brakes at the rear. They do their best in bringing the SUV to a stop from 100-0 kmph in 4.14 seconds. Aiding the brakes are ABS, EBD and also traction control. Safety is taken care by the GOA body construction along with 4 air bags, 3 point seat belts for the first two rows, side intrusion beams, collapsible steering column and anti whiplash head rests.

Coming to the all important fuel economy stakes, the Toyota Fortuner returns 8 kmpl in the city and about 13 kmpl on the highway.

Hyundai Santa Fe – The Hyundai Santa Fe is powered by a 2199 cc turbo charged common rail diesel engine. This produces 197 Ps @ 3800 rpm and 421 Nm of torque @ 1800- 2500 rpm. This is enough to propel the Hyundai Santa Fe from 0-100 kmph in a scant 11 seconds. This makes it the fastest SUV in its class. The gear box used is a 6 speed manual with short throws for sporty intentions. The SUV is so fast that it can induce wheel spin in first and second gear in rapid take offs. It reaches a top speed of 191 kmph. This is quite an achievement considering its kerb weight of approximately 2 tonnes. The motor is also quite smooth and rev happy. Its tractable nature is displayed in the fact that it can potter around town in 3 rd gear all day long at speeds of 20 kmph.

Braking is done on the Hyundai Santa Fe by ventilated discs at the front and Solid ones at the rear. This do a fantastic job of bringing this SUV to a complete stop from 100-0 kmph in a scant 2.8 seconds. The brake pedal feel is also nicely modulated. It has ABS, traction control, EBD as well as ESP to support the stopping power of the brakes. Since the Hyundai Santa Fe is a CBU, it has been crash tested in Europe and the Euro NCAP ratings show it to be a totally safe SUV in its class. Infact, the best in its class. It has 8 air bags, side intrusion beams, 3 point ELR seat belts, crash sensors, collapsible steering column and anti whiplash head restraints.Fuel efficiency is also good with the 6th gear playing a big role. The Hyundai Santa Fe delivers 9.2 kmpl in the city cycle and a very good 15.4 kmpl on the highway.

Round four has been suitably won by Hyundai Santa Fe with its better fuel efficiency and safety features.


This should be a tough call wherein which the Toyota Fortuner has been bested by the Hyundai Santa Fe in 3 sections. The Toyota Fortuner has been usurped from its numero uno position finally and with good measure. This doesn’t diminish its appeal in any way and it shows by the queues outside the Toyota show rooms. It’s a rugged SUV that you can be comfortable even in the Himalayas as you would be in the city. Its looks are still so butch and yet desirable in the wake of new competition. Add the fact that it is cheaper by the Hyundai Santa Fe by about Rs.3 lakhs and it does make sense to have Toyota’s legendary reliability at your side. The price for the Toyota Fortuner is Rs. 19.64 lakhs { ex-showroom, Delhi}. That said, the Hyundai Santa Fe is not an all show and no go types. It has the better cabin of the two, an extensive features list, excellent performance and good fuel economy to boot for. Since it’s a CBU, its an expensive proposition standing at Rs. 22.90 lakhs { ex-showroom, Delhi}. Whichever SUV you buy, you cannot go wrong with either of this. In the end, though the Hyundai Santa Fe wins, my heart would still go with the Toyota Fortuner.

Technical Specifications comparison between the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Toyota Fortuner

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5 thoughts on “Toyota Fortuner vs Hyundai Santa Fe

  1. i was just returning from my hospital and as i was a few minutes away from my home; i saw a suv with hyundai logo and the features were so mesmerising that i drove slowly behind it. i reache home and took my laptop and searched for the hyundai site immediately. i am really occupied by the looks and features of santa fe.i really rank it above fortuner.the only thing is i cant buy it,but hats off to hyundai.

  2. santa fe is the winner but when it comes 2 reliability & longevity the toyota has the upper edge…since hyundai has a poor record for the suv’s peopl wud keep this thing pity much in their mind…but wud luv 2 go 4 the santa because it is more featuristic….

  3. i m the proud owner of santa fe , gr8 car smooth handling n feature packed…very very satisfied….

  4. Though I agree interior of Fortuner needs improvement, but still it is the best I have tried it many times on rough terrains, it is simply superb. it is a true SUV. Toyota is much reliable brand when it comes to quality. I remember the Crde engine of Hyndai in my Accent which demanded huge maintenance on 85000 kms and my Innova has done 275000 trouble free and still running. toyota should think of launching a more variants with AT and more features.

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