A reader asks: Should I buy Ford Explorer or Hyundai Santa Fe?

Help your fellow reader by taking the poll
by Botchi Santos | Nov 19, 2014

Hyundai Santa Fe vs. Ford Explorer

Hi, Botchi. I am an avid reader of your column. I'd like to thank you for sharing your knowledge in helping others decide which car is best suited to them.

Now, I'd like to ask for your advice to help me decide which SUV I should go for next. I am currently a proud owner of a Mitsubishi Montero Sport GLS 4x2. It is already four years old, and I am planning to buy another SUV. I am looking at the following:

* Hyundai Santa Fe 4x2 or 4x4

* Ford Explorer EcoBoost

I'd like to have another SUV--one that has a more comfortable ride--and the two models that I mentioned are my choices. My considerations are fuel economy, ease of maintenance, comfort, lots of features and good looks.

Thank you in advance. I hope you will be able to shed some light.


Hi, Ark. The Hyundai Santa Fe is a pretty good SUV. It's roomy inside, and it has tight exterior dimensions and a really good engine and transmission.

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Should you get the 4x4? It depends if you plan to use it off-road. But in hindsight, the Santa Fe isn't well-suited to off-road use because of its low-ish ground clearance. It is meant to be an urban ute after all. Generally, though, the top-model variants get better resale value because they have more goodies inside and out.

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As for the Ford Explorer with the EcoBoost engine, I was genuinely surprised when I test-drove it. In purely city driving, you won't really notice it has a small engine. Fuel consumption is decent considering the SUV's size (about 8km/L), but out on the highway (and going up Tagaytay), I missed the V6 Limited's broader spread of power. In steady-state highway driving, the EcoBoost is also fine, but should you need to overtake vehicles that pose a threat to you (such as dump trucks spewing their load), you will also miss the V6's added grunt. And if you're fully loaded inside the Explorer (five passengers or more), the lack of muscle is exacerbated further.

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Obviously, the Santa Fe will have cheaper running costs as diesel fuel is 20% cheaper than gasoline. Servicing for both cars seems comparable. A friend just serviced his Explorer--although it was a V6 Limited--and it cost him around P8,000 for the service, while a Santa Fe's normal oil change tallies up to right around the same because it also uses a lot of fully-synthetic engine oil.

Hyundai has indeed made huge strides to improve build quality, but the Explorer is simply on another level when it comes to fit, finish and polish. The Ford is better-built. It feels more solid and ultimately more premium. The Santa Fe's suspension is on the soft side for me. This is rather disappointing as it doesn't have the legs to fully match the power coming from the engine out on the highway.

I hope this helps. Good luck and drive safely!


Botchi Santos
Consumer Editor

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Artwork by Faye Lacsamana

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