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Virtual Adviser's™ opinion
Two significantly similar cars, no doubt about that. Still, each one has something different to offer. Having both cars powered by petrol engines and utilizing the 5-door suv body style within the same 'SUV' segment, the only major difference here really is their wheel drive configuration (front for the Hyundai and 4 x 4 in the case of the Mazda). The first one has a Hyundai-engineered powertrain under the hood, a 6-cylinder, 24-valves 190hp unit, while the other one gets its power and torque from a 4-cylinder, 16-valves 260hp engine designed by Mazda.Safety
The fact that the Hyundai got tested by the European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP), while the other contender didn't, offers a slight advantage, as the 4-star rating is better than none. Still, apart from the official crash test results there are other things we need to be aware of. Both vehicles belong to the suv segment, which is generally a very good thing safety-wise, but that fact doesn't break the tie between the two cars. On the other hand, if we'd like to consider vehicle mass in this context too, which we definitely should, the Japanese car offers a marginal difference of 2% more metal.Reliability
I don't like generalizing things when it comes to reliability, although it does seem that both brands display similar results in faults and breakdowns, when all the models are taken into account. These are the official statistics, while our visitors describe reliability of Hyundai, as well as Mazda, with the same average rating of 4.5 out of 5. The same official information place Santa Fe as average reliability-wise, and CX-7 is more or less at the same level.Above it all, drivers of cars with the same engine as the Korean car rank it on average as 4.8, while the one under the competitor's bonnet gets 4.7 out of 5.Performance & Fuel economy
Mazda is undoubtly more agile, reaching 100km/h in 2.1 seconds less than its competitor. In addition to that it accelerates all the way to 210 kilometers per hour, 20km/h more than the other car. When it comes to fuel economy things look pretty much the same for both cars, averaging around 10.2 liters of fuel per 100 kilometers (28 mpg), in combined cycle.
Mazda appears just a bit more reliable, although the difference is truly marginal. The most important thing when deciding between any two vehicles should always be safety, both passive and active. In my opinion, everything taken into account, the Korean car offers much better overall protection, which launches it ahead of the other contender. From there things take a different direction, with Mazda being considerably quicker, thus putting more smile on driver's face. It does come at a cost though, and that's the fuel consumption... I believe that, when we take all into account, we have only one winner here - the Hyundai. In any case that's my personal view, built upon all the data available to me. What should decide here though is the way you feel about the two vehicles, and I hope you'll find my guidelines useful in the process. I suggest you spend two more minutes in order to find out which car, based on your needs and budget, would be picked by the virtual adviser™, among thousands of similar, yet so different vehicles.