2020 Hyundai Tucson vs Santa Fe
Hyundai SUVs have grown in popularity in recent years. They are reliable, comfortable, and perhaps most importantly, relatively affordable. The first Hyundai SUV to really catch drivers attention was the Santa Fe. This is still a strong option for today's families. As the Hyundai SUV family has grown, however, more great options have emerged.
One good example would be the Hyundai Tucson. This vehicle is smaller than the Santa Fe but offers many of the same advantages. Plus, it has a lower starting price tag, making it worth at least a look from any consumer interested in a new Hyundai SUV.
The following guide provides a detailed comparison of the Santa Fe and the Tucson in all of the ways that matter most to today's buyers. While there are many similarities to be aware of, there are also some key differences which are important to factor in. Ultimately, the goal is to help drivers determine which vehicle would be a better fit for their life.
Size and Styling
The Santa Fe is quite a bit larger than the Tucson. While the Santa Fe is 187.8-inches long, the Tucson measures in at 176.4-inches in length. The Santa Fe is also significantly wider, at 74.4-inches, not including the side mirrors. On the other hand, the Tucson is only 72.8-inches. As a result, drivers who are concerned about fitting into tight parking spaces may be better off in the more compact Tucson.
Although it may be a bit harder to park, the Santa Fe will offer up more room for drivers and their passengers. This is made very clear when comparing legroom. The Santa Fe offers front row occupants 44.1-inches and back row passengers 40.9-inches. Sitting in the Tucson will reveal 41.5-inches for the front and 38.9-inches for the back when it comes to legroom. Passengers, especially those on the taller side, know that every inch to stretch their legs matters when it comes to comfort on long journeys.
Not surprisingly, the overall interior volume for the Santa Fe is larger than that of the Tucson. For the Santa Fe, buyers are looking at 146.6-cubic feet total, with 110.7-cubic feet being for passengers. The Tucson has 133.2-cubic feet total, 102.2 cubic feet of which is for passengers. Both of these SUVs have room to seat five.
The rest of that space is dedicated to cargo. With the back seat up, drivers are looking at 35.9-cubic feet behind the second-row in the Santa Fe and 31-cubic feet in the Tucson. Folding down the backseats will give Santa Fe drivers 71.3-cubic feet and Tucson drivers 61.9-cubic feet. The significant difference in cargo volume may be a deciding factor for buyers, especially those prone to road trips.
Exterior design features are similar but not the same for the Santa Fe and Tucson. Both have useful things like LED daytime running lights. LED lighting accents are standard for all models of the Santa Fe and all but the entry-level Tucson. Similarly, all but the entry-level Santa Fe has fog lights, with may models upgrading to LED ones. Only the top three out of six trim levels of the Tucson have fog lights. Those wanting heated side mirrors will get them on all but the entry-level versions of both SUVs.
The 2020 Santa Fe and the 2020 Tucson both offer two engines. For the Tucson, the base engine is a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that has the ability to create 161-horsepower and 150 lb-ft of torque. Higher trim levels go with a 2.4L four-cylinder instead, upping them to 181-horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. Either way, Tucson drivers are looking at a six-speed automatic transmission.
For the Santa Fe, a 2.4L four-cylinder is standard across the board. This engine makes 185-horsepower and 178 lb-ft when underneath the hood of this SUV. Optional for select trims is also a turbocharged 2.0L four-cylinder engine. This boosts the Santa Fe all the way up to 235-horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque. Santa Fe models all get an eight-speed automatic transmission paired to either engine.
Both vehicles offer up respectable fuel economy numbers, depending on the engine and drivetrain. It is worth noting that both the Santa Fe and Tucson can be had with front-wheel or all-wheel-drive. This is true of either engine option for both SUVs.
With the base engine and front-wheel-drive, the Tucson gives drivers 23mpg in the city and 28mpg on the highway. Switching to all-wheel-drive means getting 22mpg city and 25mpg highway. As for the more powerful engine, it gives drivers 22mpg city along with 28mpg highway when sticking with front-wheel-drive. Going to all-wheel-drive with this engine means getting 21mpg city and 26mpg highway. Those who want an all-wheel-drive Tucson should note that the more powerful engine is more efficient on the highway.
Switching over to the Santa Fe with the base engine and front-wheel-drive, buyers will get 22mpg in the city and 29mpg on the highway. Opting for all-wheel-drive drops this to 21mpg city and 27mpg highway. The turbocharged engine provides 20mpg city and 27mpg highway. Going with all-wheel-drive will not impact efficiency in the city and drop the highway number down by just one.
Both the 2020 Santa Fe and 2020 Tucson have comfortable rides and a quiet cabin, even at highway speeds. As for the actual driving experience, both engines for the Tucson are adequate but far from thrilling. Anyone who is deciding between these two SUVs who prioritizes acceleration is going to want the Santa Fe with the turbocharged engine. On the flip side, the Tucson has an edge when it comes to maneuverability. This is the result of its smaller size and tighter turning radius.
The Santa Fe can tow up to 3,500 pounds when properly equipped. Towing in the Tucson should probably be avoided. The max capacity for this SUV is only 1,000 pounds when properly equipped. This is something to keep in mind for those who like to bring along their favorite toys.
Comfort, Options, and Performance
Both of these SUV options were designed with family comfort in mind. Cloth upholstery is standard for either option. The upper two trims of both come with leather upholstery instead. Dual-zone automatic climate control is standard for the mid-level trims and higher. Both the Santa Fe and Tucson also have heated front seats on all but their entry-level trim. Those wanting ventilated front seats and heated rear seats will need to go to the Ultimate trim of the Tucson or the Limited trim of the Santa Fe.
Technology features are very similar between these two Hyundai SUV offerings. Both give buyers a 7-inch touchscreen standard and offer an 8-inch touchscreen on select trim levels. Also shared by these two vehicles is the standard smartphone integration via Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. Steering-wheel-mounted controls are also found on all trim levels for both the Tucson and the Santa Fe.
One significant difference between these two is the available stereo upgrade. For the Tucson, drivers can get an eight-speaker setup. The Santa Fe's upgraded system features 12 speakers instead. Both premium sound systems are made by Infinity and include advanced music restoration technology.
Otherwise, available technology features are identical. Buyers can get things such as satellite radio and navigation. A wireless charging pad is also available on upper trims of both the Santa Fe and Tucson.
Both the Santa Fe and the Tucson have driver information displays. The entry-level Santa Fe has a monochromatic one without any bells or whistles. All other models go up to a 7-inch LCD display. As for the Tucson, most trims have a 3.5-inch display and upper trims go up to only 4.2-inches.
While both SUVs are comfortable and convenient, the Santa Fe utilizes materials in a way that makes it feel just a bit more upscale. This helps to justify the higher price tag associated with the Santa Fe over the Tucson. That said, the Tucson does not feel cheap or poorly made in any way.
Going with either the 2020 Santa Fe of the 2020 Tucson will mean getting several advanced driver aids standard. They both have forward collision warning, lane keep assist, a driver drowsiness monitor, and automatic emergency braking on all models. The Santa Fe furthers add adaptive cruise control as a standard feature, whereas it is optional for the Tucson.
The Santa Fe has the Safe Exit Assist feature available. This feature monitors traffic coming up from behind and can prevent the doors from being open when necessary to prevent a collision. This is a feature that is not currently available for the Tucson. Also available for the Santa Fe and not the Tucson is the Blind View Monitor. Using cameras, this feature displays what is in the vehicle's blind spots on the infotainment screen.
Other than that, the driver aids reserved for upper trims are very similar for both vehicles. They can both have a traditional blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert. A surround-view camera system can also replace the standard rearview camera for either SUV on certain models.
Despite having more available driver aids, the Santa Fe did slightly worse when it comes to safety testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Both of these vehicles received five stars overall in crash testing. However, the Santa Fe received only four stars for front crash testing. The Tucson received five stars in this category. Both vehicles got four stars when it came to rollover tests.
Airbag setup is identical between these two options. They both feature six total overall, including roof-mounted side-curtain airbags with rollover sensors. Overall, drivers should feel relatively safe behind the wheel or either the Santa Fe or the Tucson.
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Which Model to Choose?
Ultimately, the right choice for consumers will depend on their lifestyle and priorities. Those who need more cargo space or who like a turbocharged engine will want to go with the Santa Fe. This option also has adaptive cruise control standard and two more advanced driver aids on its list of optional equipment. As a result, it may be more appealing to families who want all of the latest safety tech.
At the same time, those who want to spend a little less up front and at the pumps will prefer the Tucson. When comparing entry-level models, the Santa Fe costs just over two thousand more than the entry-level Tucson. Although it is smaller, it still offers ample space for the average family. It also has plenty of standard driver aids and is a bit more maneuverable as a result of its more compact size.
In this fight, the Santa Fe maintains a slight edge overall. It continues to be the ideal family Hyundai SUV with its more powerful engine and long list of standard features. At the same time, it really does not cost much more than the Tucson and will likely be worth it to a majority of shoppers.