2020 Hyundai Santa Fe vs 2021 Hyundai Tucson

What is it that you look for when you want to buy a brand new car? Do you focus on the design and look of the vehicle or do you prefer a high-performance engine? The struggle is always tricky.

Likewise, buying a brand new SUV, deciding on the best model and manufacturer is often cumbersome. Many models appear similar to the common consumer but seasoned automobile enthusiasts can determine the best ones. If you don’t want to go down the rabbit hole of trims, features, safety, and specs; choosing a reliable SUV manufacturer can ease your purchase.

The South Korean automobile giant, Hyundai, has successfully established itself as one of the world’s leading car manufacturers. Hyundai also runs the world’s largest integrated automobile manufacturing unit in Ulsan, South Korea.

In this review, we are going to compare two of the most popular models from the company: the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe and the 2021 Hyundai Tucson. Let’s begin with Hyundai Tucson.

2021 Hyundai Tucson

While Hyundai Santa Fe is a midsize SUV, Tucson is a more compact SUV. However, that is not the only difference between the two vehicles. Both the cars feature a similar engine lineup. The car’s base unit is the Hyundai’s non-turbo 2.5-litre four-cylinder, generating 178 lb-ft of torque and 187 horsepower.


  • EPA Classification: Small SUV 2WD
  • Drivetrain: Front Wheel Drive
  • Maximum Torque @ RPM: 175 @ 4000
  • Maximum Horsepower @ RPM: 181 @ 6000
  • Fuel System: Gasoline Direct Injection
  • Transmission Description: Automatic w/OD
  • Steering Type: Rack-Pinion
  • Displacement (liters/cubic inches): 2.4 L/144




SEL: $27,285                

Limited: $30,585

Sport: $29,435

Value: $26,335

Ultimate: $33,235

SE: $24,885

Tucson now boasts a hybrid drivetrain. It is available with AWD, and works with a 1.6-litre turbocharged engine featuring an electric motor for a 258 lb-ft of torque and 226 hp. A plug-in hybrid will arrive later with slightly more power owing to a better battery and a larger electric motor.

When it comes to headroom and legroom, the Tucson doesn’t disappoint. In the front row, you get 40.1 inches or 38.1 inches of space with a panoramic glass roof. Passengers can enjoy an impressive legroom space of 41.4 inches up front with merely 0.1 inches less space in the second row. The vehicle’s width pays off as it features 57.6 inches of shoulder room. The total passenger volume is 108.2 cubic feet.

Standard equipment boasts an 8.0-inch touchscreen featuring Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. Like numerous other auto manufacturers, Hyundai doesn’t offer SiriusXM satellite radio on every model.

The standard 2021 Hyundai Tucson SE features a standard 7-inch touchscreen Audio system and six speakers. However, the Value, SEL, Sport, and Limited editions have a 7-inch colour touchscreen Display Audio system with VR, Sirius XM, and Blue Link. The Tucson Ultimate impresses with built-in navigation and an 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

If you look closely, the Santa Fe mirrors the smaller Tucson engine lineup which means it boasts the same 2.5-litre four-cylinder base engine. However, outputs are up to 181 lb-ft of torque and 191 hp for the ‘Fe. The model utilizes the same eight-speed automatic and is available with either all-wheel or front drive. Drivers who wish to save fuel will prefer the hybrid Santa Fe which offers the same specs as the Tucson. The feature includes a six-speed automatic, 258 lb-ft, 226 hp, and a six-speed automatic, and a standard AWD.




  • EPA Classification: Small SUV 2WD
  • Drivetrain: Front Wheel Drive                 
  • Displacement (liters/cubic inches): 2.4 L/144
  • Number of Transmission Speeds: 8
  • Maximum Horsepower @ RPM: 185 @ 6000
  • Transmission Description: Automatic w/OD
  • Fuel System: Gasoline Direct Injection
  • Fuel Capacity / Gas Tank Size: 18.8
  • Maximum Torque @ RPM: 178 @ 4000


SE: $27,450

SEL: $29,200

Limited: $37,200

The limited trim and the above model have only one other engine choice: the 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. That adds up to 130 lb-ft and 90 hp to this model’s arsenal, totalling 281 hp and 311 lb-ft. The robust engine pairs to an eight-speed dual-clutch transmission.

Furthermore, Santa Fe features more headroom with 41.2 inches. The numbers drop to 39.5 inches in models featuring sunroofs. The legroom space is also impressive with 44.1 inches in the front and 41.7 inches in the back. Total passenger volume measures up to 111.5 cubic feet.

The standard equipment includes an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto capability. The infotainment features of the two machines are widely similar. Higher Santa Fe trims have a larger 10.25-inch screen. The models have an optional 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster along with a powerful 12-speaker Harman Kardon audio system. But the good news is that even the standard base trim features four USB ports and adaptive cruise control in the cabin.

Bottom Line

When we analyze factors such as the space, features, and other specs, Hyundai Tucson wins the competition. Unless you need a vehicle for towing weight, the Tucson seems to offer the best combination. With a starting price of $23,700, the 2021 Hyundai Tucson costs less than an average compact SUV. The price goes up to $32,050 for the range-topping Ultimate trim level.

Recommended Read: Honda Civic: America’s Top-Selling Car

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