2020 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2020 Hyundai Tucson: Compare Crossovers

April 28, 2020

Tucson and Santa Fe are separated by 510 miles of interstate that winds through dusty stretches of desert and mountains in the Southwestern U.S.

The 2020 Hyundai Tucson and 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe? Well, they’re a few feet apart on dealers’ lots and even closer on our TCC Rating scale.

Which crossover SUV is for you? The Santa Fe’s 7.0 overall rating tips our winner, but the Tucson’s 6.5 isn’t far behind. What’s more, the Tucson is less expensive and almost as spacious as the Santa Fe, but now we’re getting ahead of ourselves.

The two meet in the middle where the roads to Tucson and Santa Fe would: At Truth or Consequences, the best-named town in New Mexico—and probably the rest of the world, too.

MORE: Read our full reviews of the 2020 Hyundai Tucson and 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

2020 Hyundai Tucson

2020 Hyundai Tucson

2020 Hyundai Tucson

2020 Hyundai Tucson

The two crossovers diverge mostly in price and space. The Santa Fe is the larger of the two with an extra foot in length, but it’s not as big as you might think. The Santa Fe’s 146.6 cubic feet of interior space is only 10% larger than the Tucson.

The Santa Fe offers comfortable seating for up to five, with 35.9 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second-row seats. The Tucson also seats five, although we think it’s better for four, with 31.0 cubic feet of cargo room behind the second row. Adults will be comfortable in the back seat of the Santa Fe; adults will be more comfortable in the Tucson in the back seat once they recline the rear seats.

By the numbers, Hyundai says rear-seat riders get 38.2 inches of leg room in the Tucson and 40.2 inches in the Santa Fe.

Up front, they’re plenty comfortable for adults, although the Santa Fe is more modern in its materials and design. Both crossovers feature the same infotainment tech; a 7.0-inch touchscreen with smartphone compatibility is standard in the Tucson and Santa Fe, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen is available in top models of both. The Tucson and Sante Fe both get Hyundai’s excellent 5-year/60,000-mile warranty, which is exceptional among mainstream automakers.

They diverge in performance, although not in the way you might be expecting.

2020 Hyundai Tucson

2020 Hyundai Tucson

The Tucson is equipped with a 161-horsepower 2.0-liter inline-4 as standard equipment, and a 181-hp 2.4-liter inline-4 is optional. The Santa Fe starts with the same 2.4-liter inline-4 (albeit rated at 185 hp in the bigger crossover) and offers a 235-hp 2.0-liter inline-4 as an option. Front-wheel drive is standard in both crossovers, and all-wheel drive is available.

The Tucson is adequately powered with either engine, while we prefer the more powerful, more expensive engine in the Santa Fe.

Which brings us to our second point of contention between the two: price. The Santa Fe and Tucson start within earshot of each other in price, just $2,575 separates the entry prices for both—the Tucson starts at $24,670 and the Santa Fe costs $27,245 to start.

Our picks for both diverge further than that, however. A 2020 Tucson Value edition costs $26,120, including destination, and includes everything we’d ask from a small crossover, including automatic emergency braking.

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

The 2020 Santa Fe includes automatic emergency braking on every model, but we’d recommend the high-po engine, which costs at least $35,835 for a Santa Fe SEL 2.0T. It’s a nicer place to be, but the $9,000 ask may be too much for many buyers to jump up. 

(All-wheel drive adds $1,400 to the Tucson’s and $1,700 to the Santa Fe’s bottom lines.)

Our TCC Rating indicates we’re fans of both crossovers, but the Tucson’s compelling price may appeal to budget-first shoppers who only occasionally carry more than two adults or a lot of gear.

The truth? We’d be fine with either one. Consequences be damned. (See what we did there?)

Summary

6.5
Expert Rating
What the 2020 Hyundai Tucson lacks in distinctiveness, it makes up for in value, safety, and features.
7.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe is a sure bet for safety, space, and swiftness.

Styling

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Hyundai Tucson is both handsome and uninteresting at the same time, like a daytime soap opera star.
Read More
7.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe sports sharp sheet metal and a logical, high-quality cabin design.
Read More

Performance

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Hyundai Tucson is down on power but delivers on ride quality.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe handles predictably and rides smoothly; its base engine is just adequate.
Read More

Comfort & Quality

7.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Hyundai Tucson is not as spacious as rivals but features good material quality and comfort.
Read More
8.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe can seat up to five adults in comfort, and surrounds them with plenty of cargo space.
Read More

Safety

8.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Hyundai Tucson features some standard active safety features and great crash test scores.
Read More
8.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe earns excellent crash-test scores, but loses some formerly-standard active safety features this year.
Read More

Features

9.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Hyundai Tucson is well-equipped in mid-level trims, but gets expensive when fully loaded.
Read More
9.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe comes well-equipped, and loads up its options list into near-luxury territory.
Read More

Fuel Economy

5.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Hyundai Tucson manages only average fuel economy despite being down on power and turbochargers compared to rivals.
Read More
4.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe is reasonably fuel-efficient for a mid-size SUV.
Read More

MSRP

from $23,550
from $26,275

Invoice

from $22,669
from $25,247

Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway

25
25

Engine

Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.0 L
Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.4 L

Drivetrain

Front Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
Front Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
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