What’s The Difference Between The Hyundai Santa Fe and The Tucson?

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Recently, Hyundai has been working hard to refine and redesign their vehicle models with special attention to their lineup of SUVs. 

Hyundai has a unique way of blending style, performance, and opulence in its models.

 Two of the most conspicuous SUVs that have become popular and widely applauded by drivers all over the world are the Tucson and Santa Fe models. 

Hyundai Santa Fe and Tucson have an undeniable resemblance, both in exterior style, interior design, performance, and driver quality. 

The new 2022 Hyundai Tucson has been fully upgraded with the latest high-tech features, whereas the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe was released as a completely redesigned SUV. 

Despite their extreme similarities, these two SUVs have some subtle differences that cumulatively set them apart. 

What’s The Difference Between The Hyundai Santa Fe and The Tucson?

Despite sharing many qualities, the Hyundai Tucson and Santa Fe have some noticeable differences, including price, fuel economy, comfort, size, styling, trim levels, safety features, performance, and reliability. These differences may be small, but they are enough to influence the prospective buyers to choose one over the other. 


The price difference between these two SUVs is subtle but significant enough to sway a buyer. 

Hyundai Tucson models and trim levels are more affordable compared to the Hyundai Santa Fe. 

While the 2021 Tucson was introduced at around $23,700, its counterpart, the Santa Fe, was retailing at $26,850 at the same time for an equivalent trim level and features.

Fuel Economy

Hyundai Tucson, which is ideally a smaller SUV, gets 28 mpg on city and highway, while the Hyundai Santa Fe gets 26 mpg for a combined city and highway ride. 

Comfort, Size, and Accommodation

Inside the cabin, these two SUVs have similar styling and comfort features, although Tucson sports some additional latest luxury styling that makes it stand out from its peers of the same class. 

The Santa Fe features larger headroom, legroom, hip room, and headroom, both in front and rear. 

Additionally, Santa Fe is a good choice for drivers looking for a spacious SUV that can accommodate up to five people. 

Hyundai’s Santa Fe received a facelift for its 2021 model that elevated it to a midsize SUV.

 This upgrade enhanced the overall looks and drive quality of the Santa Fe. 

Although it lacks the third-row seat which limits its people hauling abilities. 

On the other hand, the all-new Tucson is fairly big with a comfortable and spacious cabin.

 This gives Tucson a luxurious ambiance inside the cabin to complement its generally high performance.

 Both the Hyundai Santa Fe and Tucson are adventure-ready SUVs with stellar off-road capabilities that will get you anywhere with ease. 

Styling (Interior and Exterior) and Technology

Although they may seem similar from a distance, a closer look reveals subtle differences between these two SUVs. 

The new Tucson and Hyundai Santa Fe both come with heated leather rear and front seats, a sunroof, and a high-quality infinity sound system as additional trim options. 

Hyundai Tucson comes standard with a seven-inch touchscreen infotainment system, which can be upgraded to an eight-inch display in the higher trim levels. 

The base-level infotainment system on Santa Fe is an eight-inch touchscreen that can be upgraded to a 10-inch display on higher trims. 

Both come with Apple and Android CarPlay for wireless connectivity in the cabin. 

They also feature a surround-view monitor that shows a 360-degree view of the surroundings of the vehicle.

 The Tucson and the Santa Fe SUV can carry five passengers although the Santa Fe (147.9 cubic feet) seems to have more interior space compared to the Tucson (133.2 cubic feet). 

Trim levels

Hyundai Santa Fe is offered in four trim levels, namely: 

  • SE
  • SEL
  • Limited
  • Calligraphy

While the Hyundai Tucson comes in the following trim levels:

  • SE
  • SEL
  • N Line
  • Limited

Both SUVs come with a hybrid powertrain that can offer 38 mpg for Tucson and 34 mpg for Santa Fe.

 This makes the SUV ideal for a quiet ride in the city. 

Safety Features

All Hyundai vehicles are popularly known for their state-of-the-art safety and security features. 

The Hyundai Santa Fe and Tucson are not left behind. 

The base level of these models comes standard with a host of high-tech driver-assistance and safety features.

This makes them family-centric SUVs because they give the occupant peace of mind and confidence when driving. 

On the other hand, Santa Fe comes with a couple of extra features besides the standard features, which include pedestrian and cyclist alert system, blind spot monitoring, as well as an adaptive cruise control system that is lacking on the base level Hyundai Tucson SUV. 

Additionally, the 2021 Tucson and 2021 Santa Fe both have forward collision alerts to warn the driver of oncoming traffic or objects while driving.

 They also come with a driver attention alert feature, which is a new high-tech safety feature to ensure the driver’s eyes are always on the road. 

Besides the many safety features, these Hyundai SUVs include a free five-year unlimited mile 24-hour roadside support to provide drivers with the peace of mind that they will be rescued in case of any eventuality. 

However, the new 2021 Santa Fe comes with some extra safety features that are lacking on the Tucson, such as highway driving aid, and remote parking assist that can be used to park and come out of the parking autonomously by a simple press of a button on the key. 

Both vehicles are covered by an industry-leading powertrain guarantee of 10 years or 100,000 miles. 

Performance and Reliability

Under the hood, the Santa FE features a more powerful engine compared to the Tucson.

 This is because Santa Fe is the big brother in terms of size. 

The new Tucson is available with either a modest 2.0L inline four-cylinder engine that offers 161-hp or an optional 2.4L inline four-cylinder engine that provides 181-hp. 

These engines come mated to a six-speed swift-shifting automatic transmission for smooth and easy handling. 

In contrast, the Hyundai Santa Fe model includes larger engine options as you move up the trim levels. 

This SUV comes fitted with a 191-hp 2.5L four-cylinder engine and an optional 277-hp 2.5L four-cylinder turbocharged engine. 

Unlike its counterpart, the Santa Fe comes paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission for easy handling and steering. 

They are both offered with a standard front-wheel drive that can be upgraded easily to an AWD. 

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Is the Hyundai Tucson any better than the Tucson?

The Santa Fe, as a midsize SUV, has a roomy cabin compared to the Tucson. 

Albeit subtle, this difference is significant cumulatively if you are looking for a cargo or people hauler.

Santa Fe will be a good choice for a family since it has more legroom for passengers. 

Which is the best Hyundai SUV to buy?

The incredible 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is an excellent choice for a family SUV or a lone rider for your daily commute. 

This compact SUV is capable of handling any terrain.

 Inside, Santa Fe packs a spacious interior and a high-tech dashboard that makes it triumph over other SUVs of its class. Plus, the handling and steering of the Santa Fe are equally smooth and easy. 

Between Tucson and Santa Fe, which one is cheaper?

Hyundai Santa Fe is slightly bigger than Tucson and, therefore, it is a tad more expensive than Tucson, although the Tucson comes in with more trim levels, hence offering more affordable options compared to Santa Fe.


The year 2021 has been a successful one for Hyundai. 

With the unveiling of both the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe and 2021 Hyundai Tucson, the automaker affirms its resolve to redesign and redefine the SUV market segment. 

These compact SUVs have been completely remodeled and come equipped with a slew of technology and safety features. 

If you are shopping for a Hyundai SUV, choosing between the 2021 Tucson and the 2021 Santa Fe can be a big challenge since they’re very close in features and performance.

 These two compact SUVs are reasonably comparable and come with a host of matching features.

 However, the Hyundai Tucson is less expensive and has some extra safety features compared to Santa Fe. 

While on the other hand, Santa Fe is slightly larger than Tucson and has more engine options to choose from and reasonable standard safety features. 

Both SUVs offer wonderful choices for a buyer. 

Whether you are buying your first vehicle or upgrading your existing vehicle, these two will give you a good user experience. 

Therefore, the final decision will be based on your preference and the price range that you can afford. 

The subtle difference between these two SUVs can be overlooked without having the feeling of mission on any features. 

Especially if you compare the highest trim levels for both models that come with all the necessary features. 

But if you can afford the extra $3000, Santa Fe would be an excellent choice, and more economical in the long run compared to Tucson.