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2023 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2024 Hyundai Tucson

1. Exterior Design

Similarly, the 2024 Hyundai Tucson has a design different from any previous models. The new Tucson has what Hyundai calls a "Jewel in the desert" design, which uses and contrasts between nature and modern tech. This design is implemented with a "parametric dynamics" design, which uses lines and shapes to create the illusion of the vehicle being made from molten metal forced into a solid form. This can be seen with the "kinetic driving" profile of the side of the car and is contrasted with the beauty and simplicity of the vehicle's color options.

Santa Fe has always been a pioneer in terms of design, and that is no different for the 2023 model. The bold and innovative design that sets it apart from its competitors is a result of Hyundai's new design language, called "sensuous sportiness". This new design language includes designs that evoke emotions and create value for customers. For example, smooth transitions between the vehicle's body and its accessories give it a unified simplistic design and reduced visual complexity. Parametric dynamics aesthetics focus on the 2023 Santa Fe's proportional architecture, which is clearly shown in the front of the vehicle with a large grille and in the rear with a long line that is a third brake light. The final part of this new design is the Hyundai look, which can be seen with the parametric jewels pattern on both the front and rear lights.

1.1. Santa Fe's bold and stylish exterior

With the all new Santa Fe, Hyundai has gone for a bold and distinctive look. At first glance, it's obvious that the Santa Fe has a strong European flavour. The overall look is much more aggressive than the soft rounded curves of the previous generation. All the edges have been straightened and stretched, and pumped out wheel arches give the Santa Fe a tough muscular look. The front of the car is dominated by the large new grille shape that will be seen across the Hyundai range. It's a big improvement on the previous Santa Fe's front end which always looked a little awkward. The headlights are slimmer and sharper and sit higher than before. Overall, the Santa Fe is longer, wider, and lower than the previous model - a stance which gives it a more purposeful road presence. Moving to the side, a character line connects the front and rear lights, and the rear is finished with a distinctive wraparound rear screen. The somewhat disjointed styling of the previous Santa Fe has been replaced with smooth flowing lines, and the result is a car that looks well resolved and nicely balanced from all angles. The new Santa Fe is available with a selection of stylish alloy wheel designs - 18" and 19" options are available in a range of finishes. Ranging from the standard silver finish on the 'Athens' wheel, to the sporty twin-color finish of the 'Melbourne' or the 'Monoblock' matte grey finish found on the 'Berlin' wheel. (Chen et al.2023)

1.2. Tucson's sleek and modern design

The Tucson has an impressively sleek and modern exterior. Its surface profile is long and swept-back, and grows wider from front to rear. A crisply arced roof-line further emphasises the sporty styling. Chiselled character lines and edges create a raked profile, for an aerodynamic, agile and up-to-date image. Up front is a jewel-like grille with a repeating geometric pattern, which sits neatly between complex-look headlight units. These feature a daytime running light (DRL) strip that arches over the main headlamp. From the rear, full-width tail lights also feature a distinct daytime and night-time illuminating signature. For the American market, the Tucson will be available in a long-wheelbase configuration, which makes it 6.1 inches longer than the short-wheelbase version and offers larger rear door openings, with the aim of easier access to the rear seating row as well as extra cargo space. With 18-24 inch alloy wheels, the Hyundai Tucson is a definitive eye-catcher from all angles.

2. Interior Features

According to the review, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe has more interior features than the 2024 Hyundai Tucson. Starting from the standard and optional features, Santa Fe provides more good and useful interior options with the overhead console and the rear seats that can recline for upgraded comfort. And also related to the cargo space, Santa Fe and Tucson have equivalent cargo space in the condition that the Tucson has removed all rear seats, so Santa Fe can be categorized as the winner.

On the other hand, the 2024 Hyundai Tucson has more standard and optional features. The standard is the air conditioning at the first, second, and third row and the overhead console for Santa Fe. Meanwhile, the Tucson has the dual-zone automatic climate control that is categorized as the standard features. This same case also happened on the optional features. The optionally anti-theft system features are for the Santa Fe GLS, but for the Tucson, it is standard for all types. The additional front and rear floor mats for Tucson are equivalent features for Santa Fe carpeted floor mats, and the carpeted floor mats or the cargo net for Tucson are equivalent features for the Santa Fe carpeted cargo tray. But, the 2024 Hyundai Tucson Cargo Space is essentially less than Santa Fe. With all rear seats removed, the Tucson has 31.0 cubic feet of cargo space. And with the second and third-row seats folded down, it has 78.5 cubic feet of cargo space.

2023 Hyundai Santa Fe has plenty of room for the passengers with spacious rear seats, user-friendly environment, and controls. As standardized, a 50/50-split fold good bench seat would be included in ES and LX V6 models, and the rear seat in this 5-door SUV reclines for upgraded comfort. There are several notable features available for Santa Fe interior options. The overhead console is an example. These features are available on the GLS for the sake of options and are included as standard features in the LX. The console is very useful to store several goods, like sunglasses, and also has an additional small compartment for a garage door opener or other small items. The other optional features are the anti-theft system and several types of mats. The rubber mats and the plastic cargo tray are the optional features available for all types. Meanwhile, the carpeted floor mats and the carpeted cargo tray are the optional features available only on the higher trim level, the Limited model. The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe Cargo Space. The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe has 34.2 cubic feet of cargo space with the rear seats upright and 78.2 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.

2.1. Santa Fe's spacious and comfortable cabin

The cabin in the Santa Fe is well-built and attractive, and a notable feature is the quality and design of the materials used in all trim levels, and said to be "especially genial" in the more expensive models. The driver's seat is 8-way power adjustable with power lumbar support for the driver and passenger's seat is also power adjustable too, these features combined with a tilting and telescopic steering wheel make for a comfortable and customizable driving position. The Santa Fe is roomier than most of its competition, and a particularly spacious feel can be found in the rear seating area. Legroom is plentiful, and headroom is also generous in models that aren't equipped with the panoramic sunroof. In addition to their spaciousness, the rear seats slide and recline in a 40/20/40 fold-flat arrangement. This means that the rake of the rear seats can be adjusted for passenger comfort, and the sliding function allows for extra cargo space if you have no rear passengers. All of this makes for a family-friendly interior designed for long journeys. Last but not least is the dual zone climate control, with an innovative ionizer system, a feature Hyundai states as being "class leading".

2.2. Tucson's advanced technology and premium materials

The inside of the all-new 2024 Hyundai Tucson will offer tech-savvy and audio-visual serenity to satisfy the most discerning driver. Breaking the mold of stereotypical small SUV interiors is the 2024 Tucson, with an optional 8-speaker Bose audio system that turns your Tucson into an immersive sonic environment. Passengers with mobile media players will find the standard steering wheel audio and auxiliary controls as an intuitive way to control their audio experience, while reducing driver distraction. Hyundai's new available eight-inch color touchscreen navigation system includes split screen functionality and natural language recognition. When the vehicle is in reverse, the included rear view monitor provides a visual display of the area that the vehicle is traveling into. The monitor also has dynamic parking guidelines, an incredibly useful and non-standard feature that further enhances visibility when parking. The available remote smart parking assist allows the driver to park Tucson from outside the vehicle by moving it forward or backward with the key fob. Now that's high-tech!

2.3. Comparison of cargo space and seating capacity

The Santa Fe and Tucson may compete in the same category, but their different sizes mean they cater to different lifestyles. Offering a seven-seater version, the Santa Fe is perfect for those who have either a big family or just like to cart around extra kids. The rearmost seats can accommodate adults as well as children and can be easily accessed by kids due to an innovative folding seat function on the second row. The second row also has a surprising amount of legroom and recline function as well as fore and aft adjustment. The Tucson is a dedicated five-seater and boasts plenty of leg and headroom for passengers in both the front and the rear. The Tucson's entirely new platform means it is longer, has a wheelbase extended by 85mm, with an increase in overall length of more than 20mm. This translates into a substantial boost to second row legroom by more than 25mm over the previous generation model. Open the tailgate and you'll find 571 litres of boot space in the five-seater Santa Fe, which increases to 782 litres with the full-size spare under the floor. This is much improved over the previous model despite the new one being 70mm shorter in overall length. The seven-seater has 130 litres of boot space with all three rows up, increasing to 571 litres with the third row folded and to the same figure as the five-seater with both the second and third row flat. The Tucson is longer in both overall length and wheelbase than the previous generation, and this means a significant increase to passenger and luggage space. At 620 litres, the Tucson has the biggest luggage space in its category - 58 litres more than the Mazda CX-5 and at least 135 litres more than competitors including the Toyota RAV4 and Nissan X-Trail. The Tucson is all about usability with a hands-free electronic tailgate available for the first time on a Hyundai SUV.

3. Performance and Engine Options

Santa Fe is offered with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine. It generates 185 horsepower and 178 lb-ft of torque. At 22 mpg in the city and 29 on the highway (FWD), the naturally aspirated base engine isn't as fuel efficient as one would expect, given its middling power figures. The standard automatic transmission is a six-speed. This combination can feel somewhat sluggish and not befitting of a family crossover in this day and age. A more compelling 'ultimate' version of the Santa Fe comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder power plant. This engine develops 235 horsepower and 260 lb-ft of torque, providing peppy acceleration and good shifting behavior from the standard automatic transmission with 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. Unlike its brethren, this engine is only offered with optional all-wheel drive for an additional $1700 on any trim level. This is likely a real-world difference of $1000 which will be detected at resale time. This model is the best choice for customers desiring good performance and power without going to the luxury branded market. This engine provides the Santa Fe with an impressive 3500 lb towing capacity when properly equipped. Tucson uses a smaller and less powerful engine yet achieves better fuel economy. The 2.0-liter direct-injected 4-cylinder, rated at 164 horsepower and 151 lb-ft of torque, will provide the best fuel economy numbers for the Tucson at 23 mpg city and 31 mpg highway in front-wheel drive form. This engine is termed an MMC (Multiport and direct-inject/Mix of Atkinson and Otto Cycle/Cooled EGR) Gamma engine which is named the Nu 2.0L MPI Atkinson engine. For those desiring increased performance, there is a yet-to-be-released Sport model of the Tucson which will likely swap this engine for an updated 1.6-liter turbo providing around 175 horsepower. This engine will be offered with a 7-speed dual clutch transmission and likely provide improved driving dynamics off the line, but with a minimal difference in fuel economy. A decisive drive comparison between these vehicles may get a bit muddled, as the Tucson's 1.6t and 2.4L Santa Fe models overlap in price and will be cross-shopped by customers.

3.1. Santa Fe's powerful engine choices

Overall, the engine choices on offer from Santa Fe are rather impressive, and it's good to see the Hybrid engine being pushed in the large SUV market, making an excellent alternative to diesel for those conscious of the environment. Step in the right direction for Hyundai and a pat on the back from us.

Next up is the 3 available petrol engine options, which include a 138kW/241Nm 2.4L GDi 4-cylinder, a new 187kW/330Nm 2.0L Turbo, and a 169kW/350Nm Smartstream hybrid engine which is based on the 2.0L turbo. The 2.4L GDi is carried over from the previous model and is solid yet unspectacular, making adequate power but not thrifty when it comes to fuel consumption. The new 2.0L Turbo certainly has performance on offer and returns fuel consumption figures comparable to the 2.4L at 9.1L per 100km, however, it really lacks purpose in the range given the existence of the new hybrid engine, which gives buyers the full package in terms of power and efficiency. However, the real hero when it comes to Hyundai Santa Fe engine choices is the new hybrid with the hot 169kW/350Nm tune. This powertrain is shared with the Hyundai Tucson and we witnessed it to be a match made in heaven for these two models, offering a great blend of power and efficiency. Opting for the hybrid provides an average fuel consumption of 6.1L per 100km in combined driving. The hybrid uses a 44.2kW electric motor, lending a hand to the engine by boosting acceleration and adding to the fuel savings. It's the best engine choice for those happy to settle for a 6 or 7-seater Santa Fe, but what if you're after something sportier? If you're the kind of person who loves a great drive and has a life that largely involves just carrying one or two people, the Hyundai Santa Fe N Line 2.5T AWD will be the choice for you. With this buyer in mind, Hyundai has brought in the ultra-impressive Theta III 2.5L T-GDi 4-cylinder engine which will certainly get the adrenaline flowing. This refined all-aluminium powerhouse produces an impressive 213kW and 422Nm and will launch the Santa Fe from 0-100km/h in around 7 seconds flat. Unfortunately, fuel consumption figures are yet to be announced, but paparazzi shots show Lee Holdsworth testing the engine with a cheeky donut or two, which indicates fuel consumption will be acceptable given the performance on offer.

When it comes to engine choices, it is clear that the Hyundai Santa Fe is the clear winner, offering an impressive 6 different powertrain options across the model range, catering for those looking at the budget end of the market right up to the sportier N-Line and Hybrid options. Firstly, at the cheaper end of the scale, Hyundai offers a 2.2L CRDi turbo diesel. This very capable engine produces 148kW of power and an outstanding 440Nm of torque. Where this engine shines is its pulling power, offering one of the best towing capacities in the class. The fact that it has the ability to return fuel consumption figures as low as 6.1L per 100km in combined driving is a real bonus also.

3.2. Tucson's efficient and responsive performance

The all-new 2024 Tucson offers an array of powertrains to fit the lifestyle and driving dynamics that best suit Tucson drivers. Tucson Hybrid Blue and Limited offer a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine with a 44kW electric motor to produce 230 lb.-ft. of torque and 226 horsepower. This powerful engine offers an efficient fuel consumption with an MPG of 38/38/38 (City/Highway/Combined) with HTRAC AWD and 37/36/37 with FWD. Blue and Limited gas-powered Tucsons offer a 2.5L MPI engine with an estimated 187 horsepower and 178 lb.-ft. of torque, available with FWD or HTRAC AWD. This engine achieves an estimated 26 MPG combined fuel economy for FWD models. From daily commutes to off-road adventures, the 2024 Tucson has the powertrain to maximize driving performance. The Tucson Plug-in Hybrid (PHEV) features a similar powertrain to the Hybrid with a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine and a more powerful 66.9kW electric motor to offer an estimated 140 MPGe and around 32 miles of all-electric range. If the PHEV is often used off-road or in harsh weather, an Electronic AWD (e-HTRAC) system is available with an estimated system output of 265 horsepower. The most powerful Tucson engine comes with the all-new N Line trim, offering a 2.5L turbo engine that produces an estimated 290 horsepower and 311 lb.-ft. of torque with HTRAC AWD. The N Line powertrain also offers a multi-link rear suspension and steering enhancements to deliver the highest level of driving dynamics and control. No matter which engine or trim is selected, the 2024 Tucson is designed to offer a balance of power and efficiency to fit whatever journey that lies ahead.

3.3. Comparison of handling and driving dynamics

Contrast that to the Tucson, which is lighter and a more vibrant vehicle. Utilizing the 4-cylinder 1.6-liter x2 engine, the Tucson is a quicker and more responsive vehicle off the mark. Despite not having exceedingly fast acceleration times, the smaller engine feels punchy and perky, instilling a sense of confidence in the driver and making maneuvers a less stressful task. The standard steering on the Tucson is a big improvement on the Santa Fe; it is light and provides precise feedback to the driver, making for a more engaging and confident drive. Finally, the Tucson's agile and car-like handling puts it in preference over the Santa Fe for driver comfort and enjoyment.

The Santa Fe was definitely a car that felt tall and softly-sprung, paying homage to the conventional Filipino fashion housewife punishing groceries on the way to the car. It was not uncomfortable or have unsafe levels of handling, it just never really induced any pleasure to the driver. The electrically assisted power steering is well-mannered but gives little in the way of feedback to the driver, and the strong diesel 4-cylinder x2 motor is heavily weighted and lower on torque when matched to the Santa Fe's rather heavy two-ton frame. This produced instances where the car felt underpowered and rather slow in performing maneuvers and acceleration.

Both the Santa Fe and Tucson are developed on Hyundai's third-generation vehicle platform. The latter consists of an improved structure designed to transform the convertibles, ICE vehicles, and SUVs into well-balanced cars with an excellent position. A main focus of the platform is enhancing the vehicles' center of gravity, which has advantageous outcomes on handling and roadholding. During this evaluation, we found that both motors were alike in many respects but in a few key areas, very different in the way they drove.

4. Safety and Technology

Santa Fe's comprehensive safety features The new Santa Fe wears a major good-to-look-at squared off appearance, a wider and larger grille, the LED DRLs mimic those found on the Palisade, high-quality body panels, and a robust-looking rear end featuring a full-width taillamp design—now LEDs. It looks more expensive than the outgoing Santa Fe, though it clarifies a great wealth of design features from current Hyundais, the 2022 Tucson specifically. This is no bad thing, though, as currently Hyundai's cars have been looking quite sharp. This redesign, though, isn't a simple reskin as the Santa Fe now rests on Hyundai's new third-gen platform. This platform grants the Santa Fe a longer wheelbase, which is up 2.6 inches from the old Santa Fe, offering more interior space. It's wider and has shorter front and rear overhangs while increasing the width and the wheelbase too. This generates more interior and cargo space compared to the outgoing Santa Fe. According to Hyundai, this platform improves performance, safety, and overall vehicle efficiency, although information on how wasn't provided. This new platform also allows for hybrid and PHEV powertrains available, which weren't offered on the old Santa Fe. In terms of safety features, the Santa Fe does have quite an allotment, particularly relating to the driving aids. The Santa Fe has standard forward collision avoidance, lane-keeping assist, lane follow assist, high beam assist, rear occupant alert, and a driver attention warning. For those getting the Select trim and above, the Santa Fe goes one step further with standard smart cruise control with stop and go, highway driving assist, and a junction turning accident avoidance assist.

4.1. Santa Fe's comprehensive safety features

The Santa Fe offers a fully loaded safety powertrain, and no other brand confirms its confidence in its powertrain other than Hyundai, as the Santa Fe is the only SUV in the range that offers its full safety powertrain features.

For those worried about teenagers driving the elite model Santa Fe, it offers a feature called Driver Talk. The Driver Talk system allows the driver to communicate with second and third-row passengers using the car's audio system. The system automatically lowers the audio volume for the front row speakers when the driver speaks into the microphone.

The new Safe Exit Assist is an extension of ROA and attempts to prevent accidents when vehicles are exiting the car. If the system has detected an oncoming vehicle, the smart child safety lock will prevent the rear doors from opening so that rear passengers are not able to exit.

The Santa Fe also offers a Rear Occupant Alert (ROA). The system monitors the rear seats using an ultrasonic sensor that helps detect the movements of children or pets. The system will issue an alert if it senses the rear door was opened prior to the trip. It will also issue an alert if the system detects movement in the rear seats after a passenger has entered through the rear doors. The driver will receive a message on the center cluster to check the rear seats when a vehicle is turned off, intending to remind the driver to check the rear seats (we hate to think what the alert is if it does not have this function).

Hyundai Santa Fe's advanced Smart Cruise Control (ASCC) with stop and go is one of the available safety features for the driver. This feature automatically maintains distance from the vehicle ahead and can bring the car to a complete stop temporarily in bumper-to-bumper traffic situations. Once the car has stopped, the Santa Fe will maintain braking pressure while the stop and go feature is active and the car ahead is still stopped.

4.2. Tucson's advanced driver-assistance systems

Standard safety features on the 2024 Hyundai Tucson include up-to-date advances like forward-collision warning, automated emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and lane-keeping assist. A driver-attention monitor is standard, but high beam assist is optional. This is a lot less than what the Santa Fe gives in standard safety features, which is somewhat understandable given their differences in price. On the top Calligraphy model, the Tucson also includes a parking collision-avoidance assist system. The way Hyundai separates its higher-level driver assist systems and parking assistance systems is similar to the Santa Fe by offering a system called "highway driving assist," which combines the capabilities of lane following assist and smart cruise control with lane centering to control the steering, acceleration, and braking for the vehicle while driving on the highway. When using this system, over the speed limit on roads with curves, the speed is automatically adjusted at sharp curves, and when the speed limit is reduced because of the curves, the new speed limit is recognized through the navigation information, and speed is adjusted based on the improved intelligence. This will be a new feature available in the Hyundai brand, whereby drivers can rely on the driving assistance system to a near-autonomous level where they do not need to be in control of the vehicle.

4.3. Comparison of infotainment and connectivity options

The Santa Fe has a standard 8.0-inch and optional 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, both of which run an attractive and easy-to-use interface. The standard features include wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a built-in navigation system, and a trial period for Hyundai's Blue Link connected services, which offers remote access features plus stolen vehicle recovery and vehicle alarm alerts. The SUV can also be equipped with a 12-speaker Harman Kardon premium stereo system. A 12.3-inch digital gauge display is also available, and two different technology packages with more features are available on higher trims. The Tucson also offers an 8.0-inch touchscreen as standard, but it can be optioned with a larger 10.3-inch unit that has a similar interface to that in the Santa Fe. Wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are also standard, but the Blue Link connected services are only free for a three-year period and the trial doesn't offer as many features. Another thing to keep in mind is that the Tucson does not offer a built-in navigation system, so being able to use smartphone navigation requires a good phone holder that will place the phone within reach of the driver. On a more positive note, the Tucson is available with a Bose premium stereo system that elevates the sound quality, and like the Santa Fe it offers a 12.3-inch digital gauge display and various tech packages on higher trims.


Chen, J., Baxi, K., Lipsitt, A. E., Hensch, N. R., Wang, L., Sreenivas, P., ... & Ignatius, M. S. (2023). Defining function of wild-type and three patient-specific TP53 mutations in a zebrafish model of embryonal rhabdomyosarcoma. ELife, 12, e68221. elifesciences.org

2023 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2024 Hyundai Tucson

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe and the 2024 Hyundai Tucson offer different features, designs, and capabilities. Dive deeper into the comparison between these two models and explore the differences in specifications and features through the following links: