2021 Toyota RAV4 Vs. Hyundai Santa Fe

2021 Toyota RAV4 vs. 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe at Stampede Toyota in Calgary, Alberta

As Toyota’s flagship SUV, the RAV4 has no shortage of competitors in a crowded segment. Whether you’re looking for a family friendly vehicle, or something to shepherd you on your next adventure, a versatile SUV like the Toyota RAV4 has you covered thanks to smart and efficient performance, advanced safety, and no shortage of cargo space. Of course, there are plenty of competitors out there, like the Hyundai Santa Fe, looking to supplant the RAV4 on the road. Read on to learn how these two SUVs stack up against each other, with help from the team at Calgary’s source for all things automotive: Stampede Toyota!

Design & Features

Toyota RAV4 Design

Bold lines define the sharp exterior styling of the 2021 Toyota RAV4, giving it a rugged appearance—a throwback to the classic SUV look. Solid ground clearance continues the rugged feel of the RAV4, while LED lighting and available fog lights add serious capability along with style. Special edition versions of the 2021 RAV4 like the TRD Off-Road model, offer performance perks while proudly displaying TRD badging along with unique, 18-inch TRD branded wheels and Falken all-terrain tires, while the RAV4 Trail edition features a more aggressive grille, fenders, and fog light surrounds (among other details).

Inside, the available SofTex interior offers all of the comfort of leather without the maintenance, and available heated and ventilated front seats give way to the optional heated rear seats. Premium materials can be found throughout the RAV4’s interior, as well as a ton of space for both passengers and cargo alike.

Hyundai Santa Fe Design

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is almost 200 mm longer than the RAV4, while their width, height, and wheelbase are all substantially closer in size—giving the RAV4 an edge in comfort when it comes to the ride. In terms of design appeal, the Santa Fe lacks the rugged element found in the RAV4, with rounded edges and a somewhat blunt rear leaving it to sort of blend in with the pack in terms of other midsize SUVs. 

The 2021 Santa Fe offers many of the same interior features found inside the RAV4, such as available heated rear seats, heated steering wheel, or LED lights, though the power liftgate in the back is offered on fewer trims—taking away a bit of the utility that makes an SUV such a capable and convenient ride.

Specifications: 2021 Toyota RAV4 LE AWD 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
Length 4,596 mm 4,785 mm
Width 1,854 mm 1,900 mm
Height 1,702 mm 1,705 mm
Wheelbase 2,690 mm 2,765 mm


With similar sized engines, the 2021 Toyota RAV4 takes the cake thanks to 203 horsepower compared to 191 in the 2021 Santa Fe. Both are matched to 8-speed automatic transmissions with manual transmission modes, providing greater control over your shifting and therefore your vehicle—allowing you to downshift and engine brake when the snow starts flying and the Alberta roads are a bit tougher to navigate. The Santa Fe does offer a turbocharged version of their 2.5-litre engine on their top trim level, but it comes at a significant cost in terms of both money and efficiency. 

Speaking of efficiency, the Santa Fe offers the option of a hybrid engine in their Preferred and Luxury Hybrid trims; however, it pales in comparison to the award-winning performance of Toyota’s hybrid technology, or the choice afforded by the four different hybrid models including the athletic XSE, luxurious Limited, or the RAV4 Prime. 

Both of these SUVs are also available with a choice of either front- or all-wheel drive, as well as the ability to switch between different drive modes depending on the terrain you encounter. All-in-all, these two SUVs both offer exceptional performance, though the boost in horsepower, the award-winning fuel economy, and inclusion of a Stop & Start engine system in the RAV4 give it the edge when it comes to on (and off) road performance.


Vehicles nowadays are safer than ever, though you can tell where a manufacturer’s interests lay when it comes to which features are standard and which are optional. Toyota’s Safety Sense™ 2.0 is found standard across the 2021 RAV4 lineup, with features like Pre-Collision Safety System with Daytime Cyclist Detection and Enhanced Low Light Pedestrian Detection, Lane Tracing Assist, Automatic High Beams, Full Speed Range Dynamic Radar Cruise Control, and Intelligent Clearance Sonar. When it comes to the 2021 Santa Fe, the list of features is just as long, but the list of standard features is substantially shorter. When it comes to included safety features, the RAV4 simply can’t be beat.

Toyota RAV4 vs. Hyundai Santa Fe Verdict

With similar size, performance specs, and safety features, the battle between the 2021 Toyota RAV4 and the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe started off as a close one. However, when you consider the Santa Fe offers fewer (yet more expensive) trim options than the RAV4, Toyota’s SUV starts to pull ahead. And in terms of style, the rugged looks—and matching capabilities—of the 2021 RAV4 give it a clear edge over the unoriginal, bland look of the Santa Fe. Add in the impressive utility of the RAV4, which the Santa Fe lacks, and it seems like an easy choice.

You can learn more about the 2021 RAV4 by visiting Stampede Toyota, or simply explore the wide range of new and pre-owned vehicles in our inventory. For any other vehicle needs, from financing to service, parts, accessories, and more, we’re Calgary’s premier destination for all things Toyota. Simply stop by our dealership, give us a call, or fill out the contact form below.

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