Hyundai Tucson vs. Hyundai Santa Fe

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Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

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, Automotive Editor - May 24, 2021

Like a lot of other automakers, Hyundai has been focusing on upgrading its lineup of SUVs. The 2022 Hyundai Tucson has been fully redesigned, while the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe arrived as a refreshed SUV. Both models feature bold designs, are available in hybrid variants, and come with high-tech features. You’ll even find a similar interior design with both SUVs.

While the Tucson and Santa Fe share a lot of the same qualities, design elements, and features, there are quite a few differences that separate the two SUVs. There are obvious differences, like pricing and size, but other, smaller ones that may have you leaning toward one option. Which one deserves a spot in your garage? That’s what well answer here with a comparison of the key specs and features.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Hyundai Tucson & the Hyundai Santa Fe »

What The Tucson Gets Right

Let’s get the biggest difference between the two out of the way right off the bat – the Tucson is the more affordable option. The Tucson starts at $26,135 (with destination), while the Santa Fe carries a starting price tag of $28,185. The $2,050 difference between the two can be used for a lot of fuel with the Tucson or to move up to a higher trim level. For shoppers working on a budget, the Tucson is the better bet.

In addition to saving you money in the initial purchase, the Tucson will also save you money in the long run on fuel. As the smaller SUV, the Tucson has a better overall fuel economy rating of 28 mpg. The best the Santa Fe can get is up to 26 mpg in combined city & highway driving. Both SUVs are available with hybrid powertrains, but the Tucson Hybrid carries a combined rating of 38 mpg, while the Santa Fe Hybrid is rated at up to 34 mpg.

As the option that’s fresh off of a complete redesign, the Sonata features a more upscale design. The Santa Fe’s cabin matches ones you’ll find with other Hyundais, while the Tucson is new and more high-end.

What The Santa Fe Gets Right

As a midsize SUV, the Santa Fe has a more spacious cabin than the compact Tucson. The Santa Fe has more front headroom, more front and rear legroom, more front and rear hip room, as well as more front and rear shoulder room. For shoppers looking for an SUV that’s comfortable for up to five on a daily basis, the Santa Fe is a better fit.

When it comes to safety features, the Santa Fe comes with a few more features as standard. Pedestrian, cyclist, and junction turning detection and adaptive cruise control are standard on the Santa Fe and not on the Tucson.

As the larger SUV, it shouldn’t be surprising to hear that the Santa Fe comes with more powerful engines than the Tucson. A 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine is standard on the Santa Fe and is rated at 191 horsepower. A turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder is optional and produces 277 hp. The only available engine in the Tucson is a 2.5-liter four-cylinder that makes 187 hp.

Need Some Extra Space?

Hyundai’s refresh for the 2021 Santa Fe does wonders for the midsize SUV. It looks better than ever, comes packed with more tech features, and has new engines that are more powerful than before.

While the refreshed Santa Fe is a better SUV than before, few consumers need a five-passenger midsize SUV, as a lack of an available third-row hampers the usability of the SUV. The all-new Tucson is plenty spacious, but if you’re looking for something with a bit more passenger space, the Santa Fe is the way to go.

Our Verdict: Hyundai Tucson

The all-new Hyundai Tucson is a home run for the South Korean automaker. It’s larger than before, comes with more tech features than before, and is available in both hybrid and plug-in hybrid models. Being cheaper, more fuel-efficient, and nearly as well equipped as the Santa Fe makes the Tucson the better option for most buyers.

Take a closer look at the Hyundai Tucson »

Take a closer look at the Hyundai Santa Fe »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Based out of the Washington, D.C. area, Joel Patel is an automotive journalist that hails from Northern Virginia. His work has been featured on various automotive outlets, including Autoweek, Digital Trends, and Autoblog. When not writing about cars, Joel enjoys trying new foods, wrenching on his car, and watching horror movies. 

Follow On: Twitter

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