The Hyundai Santa Fe and Hyundai Tucson are two comfortable, adventure-loving small crossover SUVs perfect for families or busy travelers. 

Hyundai's Tucson is the smaller of the two, but it has sporty turning and better fuel economy thanks to its lighter weight and well-tuned four-cylinder engines. The Santa Fe is larger with three rows that can accommodate up to seven people, and utilizes a more powerful V6 engine that bests the Tucson by over 100 horsepower. 

Aside from these main differences, both vehicles come with an enviable set of standard features that were once unheard of on base trims in their segment. Cape May County, Salem County, and Cumberland County drivers looking for utility, versatility, value, and a surprising amount of comfort would do well to choose either model based on their needs. Continue reading our Hyundai Santa Fe vs. Tucson vehicle comparison to see which model is right for you.

Exterior Styling

The Hyundai Tucson and Hyundai Santa Fe share a design language, and cues from it can be seen on Hyundai's sedans. These noticeable cues include upswept headlights, a gaping trapezoidal grille, a prominent character line crease traveling along the sides, and a rounded rear hatch. 

All of these cues seem to translate slightly better on the mini-me Tucson, which has pleasing design proportions thanks to a longer-looking nose overhang and more accentuated wheel flares. By comparison, the Santa Fe comes across larger and broader, with more subtle curves, over an extra foot in length, and a slightly less recognizable profile. 

In the end, both cars have good looks, but the Santa Fe trades off a bit of style for size and a more muscular presence.


Both the Santa Fe and Tucson are strong performers. The Tucson's meeker-sounding base 164 horsepower 2.0L four-cylinder engine actually has better performance than those numbers indicate. Turning is particular engaging-even fun-while a refined suspension and extra sound deadening keep the ride comfortable and quiet. A turbocharged 175-hoursepower 1.6L engine comes on the Eco version, adding a dual clutch seven-speed automatic transmission and a bit more pickup under acceleration. Front wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available. 

The Santa Fe comes with only one powertrain choice: a 290-horsepower 3.3L V6 in either FWD or AWD. With more horsepower under the hood, the heavier Santa Fe actually has stronger acceleration and quite smooth shifts. Turning is highly composed, although it does sacrifice a bit of the sensations one might feel in the Tucson. Overall, the Santa Fe drives comfortably and has muscular acceleration on tap when needed.

Interior Comfort and Features

Hyundai has really stepped up their level of quality in the past few years, and nowhere is this more apparent than in their SUV line. Tight-fitting materials and soft-touch surfaces can be found on the Santa Fe and the more premium trims of the Tucson. Still, the base Tucson's hard plastic trim pieces have a wide variety of interesting textures and colors. 

Both vehicles come standard with touchscreen-based infotainment systems, alloy wheels, cruise control, rear backup cameras, split folding rear seats, and a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel. The Santa Fe brings the base-level goodies with dual-zone climate control and an eight-way power driver's seat as standard. 

For bigger families, the Santa Fe can accommodate either seven passengers on SE trims or six passengers, including two who get to sit in the comfortable second-row captain's chairs, on Limited trims.

Hyundai Santa Fe vs. Tucson Conclusion: Pick a Size

Despite the minor differences in power, handling, and standard base model features, the ultimate decision between the Tucson and Santa Fe comes down to how many people you want to carry. Road trippers and family haulers will likely need the extra row the Santa Fe provides, while drivers going mostly solo can enjoy the smaller and slightly thriftier Tucson. 

Cape May County, Salem County, and Cumberland County drivers can decide which model works best for them when they come to Action Hyundai Millville and take each one on a test drive. Book your appointment today!


Action Hyundai

1935 North 2nd St
Directions Millville, NJ 08332

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