Choosing the right SUV for you and your family can be a daunting task even between two similar models like the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe and the 2020 Hyundai Tucson. Nearly every automaker has several options ranging from compact to mid-size to full-size to meet whatever your needs may be. But how do you decide which is best for you? If you like the look of what Hyundai has to offer, which is going to be the better option for you, the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe or the 2020 Hyundai Tucson? Let’s compare and see what each Santa Fe vs Tucson brings to the table and what will best meet your needs on the road.
What Size SUVs are the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Hyundai Tucson?
The biggest difference between the Santa Fe and the Tucson that you’ll notice just from the exterior is the size. The Tucson is a compact SUV. It has a total length of 176.2 inches and offers up 61.9 cu.ft of storage space. As you can see it’s not a huge vehicle by any means which is why it’s a compact but it still offers a decent amount of space, especially compared to something like a standard car.
The Hyundai Santa Fe is one size up from the compact as a midsize SUV and that means more size overall. You’re looking at 71.3 cu.ft. of storage in the Santa Fe and an overall length of 187.8 inches. That’s nearly a foot more in length which, when put side by side, is a noticeable difference. If you like the idea of a truck or feeling like you’re in control of a more powerful vehicle, the Santa Fe is definitely getting you closer. The Tucson is the better choice if you like something that handles more like a car and has that small vehicle feeling that some people are much more comfortable with. But because they’re so close in size, it’s really more a matter of taste than practical driving.
Speaking of practical driving, it’s worth noting that the Tucson is a slimmer vehicle than the Santa Fe. If you live in a place where parking can get a little cramped, you’ll find more spaces that are able to fit the Tucson than the wider Santa Fe.
How Much Do The Hyundai Santa Fe and Hyundai Tucson Cost?
As with most vehicles, there are different trim levels available for both the Santa Fe and the Tucson that are going to change the price significantly from one to the next. There are 6 trim levels for the Tucson and three for the Santa Fe but in several configurations that can alter the final price. The 4-door, SE Tucson has a base price of $23,550 while the same version of the Santa Fe is $25,900. Since the Santa Fe is the larger vehicle it makes sense that the price would reflect this.
For a more feature-laden version of the vehicle the Limited 2.0T AWD Santa Fe starts at $39,200 while the comparable Ultimate AWD Tucson starts at $33,300. That means, even between Tucsons, you have a range of $10,000 while the lowest trim level of Santa Fe is nearly $14,00 off from the highest level. So there is a good range of prices and options for each, and they do stay within a reasonable rage of one another. Your own budget and needs will come into play, but there is enough crossover between prices here that you need not exclude one of these models entirely in favor of the other based on price alone.
Is the Fuel Economy Better in the Hyundai Tucson or the Hyundai Santa Fe?
In terms of operating costs, you want to be aware of the cost to fuel this vehicle and keep it running. Both the Santa Fe and the Tucson are very similar in terms of gas mileage and will give you around 23-25 combined MPG depending on the trim level. When you break that down, the Tucson has around 23 mpg city and about 30 highway. Compare that to the Santa Fe which offers 22 mpg city and 29 on the highway. The difference is small, but it’s there. In general, you’re looking at a slightly more affordable vehicle in the 2020 Hyundai Tucson, but only slightly.
Because of the basic similarities, there is no edge in terms of maintenance and repair. If you are able to repair one, you should just as easily be able to maintain and repair the other. Parts are equally available and generally of a similar cost between the two. This is one spot where there is no clear advantage or disadvantage so you need not worry about it since Hyundai is a popular make and the ability to care for it in most places in America will not be difficult.
How Does the Hyundai Santa Fe Handle Vs the Hyundai Tucson?
Because the two vehicles are made by the same manufacturer there are a lot of similarities between the two. Both vehicles have an AWD option if that’s a concern for you, which means they should be able to handle a bit of rougher terrain than your average car on the road. This is also helpful even if you’re not the kind of person to be heading down rough gravel roads or doing any off-road driving, just because it will help you in poor driving conditions caused by bad weather.
The Tucson also has a smaller turning radius than the Santa Fe making it more maneuverable overall which is good if you get into tight spaces or you need to react to something in a pinch.
If you were taking this as a head-to-head competition and took both vehicles for a test drive, there’s a good chance you wouldn’t notice a ton of difference in handling. It’s not like one has really loose steering or shaky suspension compared to the other and for that reason, you can't say one handles much better than the other. Both are comfortable rides and both handle well so you there’s no loser in this battle at all.
Which Performs Better, the Hyundai Santa Fe or the Hyundai Tucson?
The big question for any vehicle after you establish cost is performance. If it doesn’t do what you want it to do, why would you ever buy it? Fortunately, Hyundai is known for making vehicles that perform incredibly well and provide not just a smooth but a fun drive. There is no sport option for either the Santa Fe or the Tucson, so there’s no option to open these up on the highway but they’re family SUVs and you probably weren’t planning to do that anyway.
The powertrain options for the Santa Fe make it the faster and more powerful option overall. The Santa Fe has the option of a turbocharged engine, which is what really sets it apart in terms of performance. That increases your acceleration over the Tucson and gets you where you're going that much faster. The Tucson has a 6-speed shiftable automatic with lower torque and a lower horsepower while the Santa Fe comes with an 8-speed. The result is that the Santa Fe is going to feel a little bit more powerful overall and a little faster on the road. The horsepower of the Tucson is considerably less than the Santa Fe, offering up only 164 hp to the Santa Fe’s 185.
Which SUV is More Comfortable Between the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Hyundai Tucson?
There’s a good chance that if you’re driving an SUV you’re not driving alone. SUVs are family vehicles very often and they have the room to make moving a large group of people possible. Both the Tucson and the Santa Fe have seating for five plus the room to make sure those people don’t feel squished.
The Santa Fe is going to be the standout here for comfort. As a larger vehicle, it has more room to make you more comfortable on the ride. The Santa Fe offers an extra two inches of headroom. Likewise, the front legroom of the Santa Fe is greater at 44.1 inches compared to the Tucson’s 41.5 inches. Again, it’s close, but if you’re a tall person, you’re getting nearly 5 more inches between the head and leg room of the Santa Fe than the Tucson, which makes a big difference.
Interestingly enough, rear headroom between the two vehicles is identical at 39.2 inches for each one so your passengers will have no preference. The Santa Fe does offer more than two more inches of extra legroom for rear passengers though, so if you’re not transporting young kids you might want to take that into consideration.
Which is Safer, the Hyundai Santa Fe or the Hyundai Tucson?
Hyundai is an industry leader when it comes to safety features, so you can be sure that either the Santa Fe or the Tucson is going to be a good choice in terms of safety ratings. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration rated the 2020 Santa Fe excellent overall with a 5-star safety rating. The Tucson scored the same 5-star rating overall.
When you get into the finer details, the Santa Fe got a 5-star rating for side crash testing and a 4-star for front and rollover. The Tucson pulled 5-stars in both side and front and a 4-star rating for roller over, making the 2020 Tucson slightly safer overall. In total, we’re talking the difference between 19 out of 20 stars vs 18 out of 20 stars so you should feel safe behind the wheel of either of these SUVs.
Are the Interior Features Better in the Hyundai Tucson or the Hyundai Santa Fe?
When it comes to the interior details that make the driving experience more enjoyable, Hyundai goes all out to provide a lot of standard features. Both the Santa Fe and the Tucson offer very similar options, such as USB ports, 6-speaker sound systems and 7-inch touch screens in the dash. You can boost the Tucson to an 8-speaker system and an 8-inch screen but the Santa Fe goes all the way up to a 12-speaker system.
Overall, the look and feel of the Santa Fe interior reflects the added price of the vehicle, and it’s generally nicer for you as a driver. That’s not to say that the Tucson is not a well-appointed vehicle, but there’s a level of refinement in the Santa Fe that takes it up a notch like its ability to deaden sound to make for a more quiet drive that makes it the winner in this head-to-head comparison.
Which is Better Overall, the Hyundai Santa Fe or the Hyundai Tucson?
In the world of car shopping, some vehicles offer a stark contrast in performance and price when you’re comparing them. A Lamborghini Huracan is so much different from a Mini, right? You can barely even compare anything between the two of them in a reasonable way because they’re not the same kind of vehicle and they are definitely not being sold to the same kind of car buyer. But the comparison between a Hyundai Santa Fe and a Hyundai Tucson is very different because of just how similar these two vehicles are. Fuel economy, price and safety are points in the Tucson’s favor while performance, features and comfort favor the Santa Fe. How can you choose in such a tight race? It all comes down to personal tastes and needs.
If you’re looking for an affordable, reliable and safe vehicle for your family, then the Tucson is a great option. If you want a little more room and a little more performance and you don’t mind paying more to get it, then the Santa Fe is going to be a great option. Luckily Hyundai doesn’t cut corners for any of its models so if you’re deciding between the two of these vehicles you can rest easy knowing that no matter what direction you go, it won’t be the wrong choice by any means.