SUV shoppers who don’t need a third row but want something more upscale than your run-of-the-mill compact model have the mid-size SUV class to look at. We spent a week testing six model-year 2019 examples popular with small families and couples: the returning Chevrolet Blazer and Honda Passport, redesigned Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Edge, Jeep Grand Cherokee and our 2016 Challenge winner, the Nissan Murano. Could any of the competitors top the Murano this time?
After testing in 17 categories that included both subjective scoring by our judges and objective categories, the results were clear that the Murano had been bested. By the slimmest of margins, it was the 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe (formerly the Santa Fe Sport; the three-row 2019 model is now the Santa Fe XL) that emerged victorious. The Santa Fe’s unparalleled value for the money, common sense multimedia and controls layout, expansive cargo space and well-executed safety features gave it the edge in a field where each competitor had its pros and cons.
Its single-point victory over the Honda Passport came despite a weak powertrain, unremarkable handling and braking, uncomfortable front seats and mixed interior quality.
There’s more to our results than just dissecting the Santa Fe’s strengths and weaknesses, however. For the full rundown on each vehicle’s strengths and weaknesses, check out the video below.