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2024: Hyundai Tucson vs. Santa Fe


1. Introduction

The 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe is a redesigned sleek and stylish mid-sized sport utility vehicle. The new Santa Fe model debuts a mid-sized three-row, seven-passenger SUV. The Santa Fe provides a unique two-row, five-passenger and three-row, seven-passenger offering. This increases the perfect fit for those families who are looking to purchase a mid-sized vehicle. The 2024 Santa Fe model comes in five different trims: SE, SEL, Limited, Calligraphy, and the All-New XRT. Each of the trims is unique in their own way, with customizable features perfect for any buyer. Standard on all trims, the 2024 Santa Fe has a 2.5L Inline-4 which provides 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. This is the same powertrain as the last Santa Fe. The estimated fuel economy of the new Santa Fe is 25 mpg city and 28 mpg on the highway. The starting price for the Santa Fe is $28,940, a marginal increase from the 2022 model price point.

Hyundai's latest model of the Tucson crossover is a thoroughly redesigned and substantially improved version of its predecessor. The 2024 Tucson model comes in four available trims: SE, Value, SEL, and Limited. All four trims of the 2024 Tucson come with a 2.5L, 187 horsepower, 178 lb-ft torque 4-cylinder engine with an 8-speed automatic transmission. This is the same horsepower and torque as the former Tucson, but the new engine is more fuel efficient. The estimated miles per gallon (mpg) of the new Tucson is 23 mpg city and 28 mpg highway. This is a significant improvement over the last model's 20/25 mpg. For those that desire extra traction, there is also a HTRAC all-wheel-drive version available in each trim. Pricing for the 2024 Tucson is a bit more expensive than the former model, with the base SE starting at $24,950.

1.1. Overview of the 2024 Hyundai Tucson

The new Tucson features a completely overhauled exterior and interior. The Tucson now appears larger and more rectangular while its predecessor had a rounded look. Supposedly, this change in design is to drive sales of the new Santa Fe. The new Tucson has also grown in size significantly and is now classed as a mid-sized SUV, clearing up a market for a compact SUV for the Korean company, which will apparently take up the spot of the European-only ix35. In the interior, it features a new 'floating' console similar to the one found in the Lexus RX, and its changed layout overall for a simpler and cleaner look. A key feature that has been released in the Tucson is its hidden LED daytime running lights, located on the top of the grille and only becoming visible when the lights are turned on. The car also features a remote smart parking assist system, which allows the driver to park the vehicle from outside of it, handy for parking situations with a small amount of space. The system also allows the vehicle to be driven out of a parking space remotely.

1.2. Overview of the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe

SE $28,000 SEL $31,000 Limited $37,000 Calligraphy $43,000

Four different 2024 Santa Fe trims are available, all with a choice of front-wheel drive or HTRAC AWD. The base SE, SEL, and Limited are powered by a four-cylinder naturally aspirated engine. SEL and Limited models get a 2.5-liter four making 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. SE models use an older 2.4-liter engine rated at 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque, which is expected to be discontinued after 2021. A 2.5T replaces the previous 2.0T turbo engine in the Santa Fe lineup. The Calligraphy trim is exclusively 2.5T. This powerful and smooth-running 2.5-liter turbocharged engine, available in many other Hyundai and Genesis models, produces 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. All 2024 Santa Fe engines are coupled to an 8-speed automatic transmission with SHIFTRONIC manual shift mode. A Multi-Terrain control mode is added to AWD Santa Fe models. Fuel economy figures are still awaited, but Hyundai estimates Santa Fe 2.5T mpg to be 22 city/28 highway with FWD and 21/28 with AWD. Step up from the SE to the SEL trim is recommended as the new model carries a slim $600 difference for added features. The availability of SEL and the new 2.5T engine makes it a more common purchase for buyers. Focus on Calligraphy 2.5T earmarks the most stylish and well-equipped Santa Fe. As in the past, Hyundai will offer many aggressive lease and purchase incentives for the Santa Fe. The published MSRP for the 2024 Santa Fe is as follows:

The Santa Fe’s exterior is a clean yet bold expression of its "Sensuous Sportiness" philosophy with a distinctive dark chrome grille, standard premium LED headlights, and signature T-shaped LED daytime running lights. The side and rear views also stand out. The Santa Fe has a panoramic tilt-and-slide sunroof, new roof rails, and bold wheel design. Premium Calligraphy AWD models get exclusive 20-inch alloy wheels.

Hyundai’s best-selling SUV with an ultra-sleek profile, the 2024 Santa Fe is redesigned, reflecting the company’s "Sensuous Sportiness" design philosophy. The Santa Fe uses the Hyundai Global Modular Platform (GM) and is now longer with a longer wheelbase than previous versions. The fourth-generation Santa Fe has more interior room than most midsize competitors, with an emphasis on comfort and space. Pricing starts around $28,000.

2. Exterior Design

On the other hand, the Santa Fe has a lot going on in terms of design. It shares the similar upscale frontal styling compared to the Tucson, but has an aggressive and overstyled plastic body cladding over the wheel wells and sills, to mimic an off-road look. This clashes with the upscale styling and, in contrast, makes the wheel wells look smaller. From the side, there is a more distinctive character line on the top half of the Santa Fe, but a less sloping roofline reduces rear cargo space. The rear is a much busier design with horizontal tail lamps connected with a reflector that stretches across the width of the liftgate, with a crease from the D pillar and an offset Santa Fe badge to suggest motion. It is more flamboyant and upscale. The trim levels can look drastically different due to the different wheel sizes and roof color options. The Santa Fe offers more options to personalize with different wheel designs and styles compared to the Tucson. Both vehicles are available in a wide variety of colors to appeal to a wide audience.

Hyundai Tucson is fully revamped for the 2024 model year, while the Santa Fe is carryover from the 2023 model year. Both vehicles have a bolder look than their previous generations, but the Tucson looks significantly different than the outgoing model, while the Santa Fe does not. The Tucson has a traditional three-box shape, but it has more aggressive frontal styling with angular headlamps and squared-off bodywork. It adds upscale presence with the LED daytime running lights positioned on top of the headlamps. The grille is eye-catching with intricate patterns and the dual chrome bars that connect to the headlamps. The wider fender arch suggests a more athletic stance. From the side and rear angle, the Tucson looks simple and clean. The tail lamps have a very unique vertical design that is connected by the LED strip.

2.1. Styling elements of the 2024 Hyundai Tucson

• The styling of the 2024 Hyundai Tucson is minimalistic and modern, blending in with Hyundai's new design language. The front features an evolution of the Tyges concept which smooths out the front into a big grille that stretches across the front of the car, with little details such as the DRLs integrated into the grille and the hidden headlights. The side profile shows off a strong shoulder line and design line that leads up to the C-pillar, both of which are supposed to mimic the movement when an animal pounces. There are also a few lines on the lower parts of the doors and wheel arches that give the Tucson an athletic stance. The rear shows off two muscular lines on the boot, a rear wiper delete and a license plate moved up to the bumper to give a unique and different look. The rear taillight is also a full-width unit and connects through the middle with the Hyundai badging. The car will also come with a floating roof option to give a more bold two-tone design. Overall, Hyundai has opted to give the car a more youthful and sporty feel compared to its predecessor. The contrasting design and more premium options are similar to when the original Tucson went into its second generation. • There are three options for the Tucson: an S Line, Sport Line, and N Line, with each getting an increase in design and sportiness. The S Line opts for a similar design to the base model but adds more premium touches with a different version of the wheel, which is presented in a silver alloy, more trimming around the car, and a panoramic sunroof. The Sport Line adds a more athletic design with a reworked front grille, different styled lights, a different rear bumper with dual exhaust, and a new asymmetrical alloy wheel design. The top-spec N Line goes all out with a sporty design, featuring a bespoke grille and a more aggressive lower intake, model-specific 19-inch wheels, a rear diffuser, and extra beefy wheel arches. The N Line will also feature a 1.6L Hybrid.

2.2. Styling elements of the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe

The 2024 Santa Fe relies on a design language that Hyundai has been developing over the course of the past half-decade. It debuts the next evolution of the automaker's "parametric dynamics" design language, which imitates the natural world and specifically the formation of crystals. Most people won't see the crystals, but they will see an SUV that looks upscale, modern, and assertive. The Santa Fe's incredible departure from the visually-tame fourth-generation model is sure to be polarizing; there are lots of interesting forms and curves here, and the whole vehicle is a riot of design. The new Santa Fe is 4.5 inches longer in length, but the wheelbase remains the same. Notable changes include a roof that sits 0.2 inches lower, as well as a vehicle that's 0.6 inches wider, which Hyundai says will offer better stability. The stance is more aggressive, and there's a strong wedge motif; Hyundai says this is most pronounced in the side profile, which adopts a long design, accentuating the vehicle's prestige and volume. We can certainly see the afforded prestige, but "elongation" isn't a styling choice we're big on, especially when it's been achieved behind the scenes. The rear has a fixed-wing spoiler, a reflector that runs the entire width of the vehicle, and a new lighting signature within some rather aggressive rear lamp modules.

2.3. Differences in exterior design

Starting with the front-end of both vehicles, while the Santa Fe has Hyundai's new parametric shape which gives the Santa Fe a bold presence, the Tucson has a more expressive and dynamic design. This is characterized by the new jewel pattern grille and the T-shaped LED Daytime Running Lights (DRL). The Tucson's clamshell hood and aggressive looking bumper give it a more solid look compared to the Santa Fe. The side profile is where the differences become more noticeable. The Santa Fe has a sleek look characterized by the more horizontal and harmonious line starting from the top of the headlamp to the taillamp. The Tucson on the other hand has a more futuristic and sporty look with the sharp-edged body panels and the wedge line that goes from the top of the front wheel arch all the way to the taillamps. The difference is topped off with the trend-setting parametric hidden type DLO (Day Light Opening) which gives the Tucson a very distinct look. As for the rear-end of both vehicles, Santa Fe has a more uniform rear quarter with a wide stance using detailed tail lamps that are connected across the rear hatch by a thin illuminated bar, and the tailgate features a prominent wide glass with a wiper at the bottom. The Tucson uses a more unique full tail lamp on top of a wider body, topped by an outer glass with an undulating curve giving it a slimmer rear glass look. Overall, the Santa Fe prioritizes a classic and luxurious look compared to the Tucson's more imposing and aggressive look.

3. Interior Features

The interior amenities that are available for the Tucson 2024 are going to be pretty impressive. With the top of the line model, you can expect to enjoy such features as an 8-way power passenger's seat and an 8-way adjustable driver seat. Doing long drives and finding a comfortable seating position is not always the easiest task, but with a wide range of adjustability in the seating, this task is made quite a bit easier. Included in this model is also a ventilated driver and passenger seats, heated 2nd row seating, and rain sensing wipers. Any added visibility in the rain is always a plus. A 10.25-inch fully digital gauge cluster and 10.25-inch touch screen navigation are also included in the top model. High-resolution screens can really add a touch of class to the interior and give it a modern feel. This particular model also includes a Bose premium audio system containing 8 speakers. A nice sound system can really change your driving experience in a positive way, especially if you are a music or podcast enthusiast. Finally, this model of the 2024 Hyundai Tucson includes easy-to-clean premium cloth material for the seating, something that is always on the mind of anyone that may have children or quickly eat and spill things in the car. A quality interior should look great, feel great, and be low-maintenance. Premium cloth seats are just one way to check off all of those boxes.

3.1. Interior amenities of the 2024 Hyundai Tucson

Due to the fact that many vehicles proven as reliable have come up with improved interior amenity, Hyundai is no exception for such chance to bring more comfort for the passengers. The new 2024 Tucson goes with the theme of a 'high tech' interior. There is a large digital screen on the dashboard, where the steering wheel will surround for full driver assist. Most importantly, the driver will be able to keep closer concentration to the road compared to previous models. This is also accompanied by a heads up display which will show vehicle speed and vital information. This way, the driver will not need to look away from the road. Furthermore, the rear tailgate will come with Smart Open which allows the tailgate to open automatically when the key is sensed within 3 ft for more than 3 seconds. This function is also accompanied by a height adjustment function for the rear tailgate, allowing the tailgate to function in any indoor space. This 'techy' environment in the Tucson will be very different from the Santa Fe, giving a high advantage for tech-conscious consumers.

3.2. Interior amenities of the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe

There is an impressive variety of options available on the Santa Fe. Some of the more noteworthy are a 10-way power driver seat with lumbar, driver-selectable steering mode which includes an epic snow setting, proximity key entry with push-button start, dual-zone climate control, and a fantastic 12-speaker Infinity Logic 7 surround sound audio system. Step it up to the Santa Fe Limited and you get treated to such luxuries as heated rear seats, manual rear side window sunshades, and a clever little feature that will make any parent smile: a standard rear seat conversation mirror. This feature allows the driver to see the rear passengers without having to turn around.

A great deal of thought has gone into the interior space of the Santa Fe. The SUV comes nicely equipped with standard features such as air conditioning, cruise control, and power windows, locks, and mirrors. Some other nice standard features are a cooled glovebox, tilt and telescoping steering wheel, and a breathtaking panoramic sunroof. The Santa Fe will feature Hyundai's new "touch screen" radio interface. This system mirrors the layout of a smartphone and features Google-based voice recognition. There are also strategically placed "helping handles" throughout the interior.

3.3. Variations in interior features

Both the Hyundai Tucson and Santa Fe come equipped with some of the most up-to-date improvements in comfort and technology. The Tucson, with more standard safety features, offers an electronic parking brake, automatic LED headlights, rear occupant alert, and push-button gear selector. Available features include a panoramic sunroof, 8-way power driver's seat with power adjustable lumbar, heated and ventilated front seats, digital key with push-button start, rain-sensing wipers, 10.25" digital gauge cluster, and Bose audio system. Hyundai's Digital Key is an app that allows you to use your phone as a key to start the vehicle and select climate and infotainment systems all custom to your personal settings. The Santa Fe, also with modern features, includes new additions such as a larger touchscreen, heads-up display, and a Harman/Kardon audio system. The Santa Fe, unlike the Tucson, sports an electronic shift dial and also offers remote parking assist. Although these features are a step up from the Tucson, they are not available in all trims and will be more costly. However, both the Tucson and Santa Fe come with a complimentary 3-year subscription to Hyundai Bluelink Connected Car Service which includes remote start with climate control, destination search by voice, smartphone-guided remote control, and much more.

3.4. Comparison of passenger and cargo space

The first consideration when comparing the passenger and cargo space in the Hyundai Tucson and Santa Fe is that the Tucson is a smaller vehicle classified as a compact, whereas the Santa Fe is a midsize vehicle. With this in mind, the Santa Fe is going to have the advantage in terms of interior space. The Tucson has a total interior volume of 133.2 cubic feet compared with 141.5 cubic feet for the Santa Fe. It should be noted that although there is greater total interior room in the Santa Fe, the Tucson has more cargo room with the rear seats up. The Tucson has 31 cubic feet of cargo room compared with only 13.5 cubic feet in the 7-passenger Santa Fe, which would leave very little room for cargo if all the seats are filled with passengers. When the rear seats are folded down in the Tucson, the cargo area increases to 65.2 cubic feet, whereas the Santa Fe in 5-passenger model has only slightly more room at 71.3 cubic feet. This is due to the sagging roofline in the back of the Santa Fe in comparison to the upright back end of the Tucson. Overall, if you are a 5-passenger family that requires a lot of cargo room, the Tucson takes the cake. If you are a 4-5 passenger family that typically uses extra cargo space for long trips, the Santa Fe in 5-passenger mode is an ideal fit. An important preference for families with small children is the availability of captain's chairs, which the Santa Fe offers in 6-passenger configuration. This is not available in the Tucson.

4. Performance and Technology

2024 Hyundai Tucson engine options include an interesting selection of hybrid and plug-in hybrid power systems. If you're not a fan of hybrids, the conventional engine is a 2.5-liter inline-4 that makes 187 horsepower and an estimated 32 combined MPG. The Hybrid Tucson will offer a pair of front and all-wheel-drive models – and Hyundai's estimating an impressive 38 MPG or better for the combined fuel economy rating. The Hybrid's net output is 227 horsepower, which makes it a bit perkier than the conventional Tucson. But for the best-in-class fuel economy, you'll want to go with the Tucson Plug-in Hybrid; it has a 13.8-kWh battery and a much longer 28-mile all-electric driving range. 2024 Santa Fe models offer the most variety in terms of engine options and will be available in 4 different trims. The Smartstream powertrain lineup includes the newly developed 2.2 diesel engine and the 4th generation R 2.2 4-cylinder. These trims will be available in 6 and 5-seat varieties matched with an 8-speed wet DCT or 8-speed automatic transmission. The hybrid system is carried over from its predecessor, and improved aerodynamics, a lighter body, and an uprated electrical system with voltage increased from 12 to 48V contribute to better fuel economy and a better driving experience.

4.1. Engine options and performance of the 2024 Hyundai Tucson

While the new Santa Fe offers limited choices - a base 185-hp 2.4-liter inline-four and an optional 242-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four, both mated to variable automatic transmissions - the Tucson provides a broader selection. The base engine is a 164-hp 2.0-liter inline-four, but there's also an optional 175-hp 1.6-liter turbo four. Both can be had with a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic and front- or all-wheel drive. In our experience with a 1.6-liter and front-wheel drive, a Tucson was responsive around town but struggled on the highway. It managed just 21 mpg overall in our testing, matching the 1.6-liter Santa Fe for fuel economy. Keep in mind that the ratings and this Tucson test were performed with regular fuel; Hyundai now recommends premium fuel for better performance, but it does not improve the 1.6-liter's efficiency. By contrast, the Santa Fe with the 2.4-liter engine and regular six-speed automatic returned 23 mpg overall in our testing - a respectable result for an SUV of this size. And the fact that the 2.4 costs less than the 2.0 turbo and is available with popular features should make it an attractive choice for many buyers. Note that the Sport trim level on a 2018 Santa Fe is actually a renamed 2017 model, and it uses a 240-hp 2.0 turbo mated to a six-speed automatic and front- or all-wheel drive. We expect the performance and fuel economy to be similar to the regular Santa Fe with the 2.0 turbo, which was 20 mpg overall in our testing with AWD; the six-speed transmission in the Sport has no advantage in shift quality or response compared to the latest eight-speed.

4.2. Engine options and performance of the 2024 Hyundai Santa Fe

The Tucson may have transformed dramatically, but none of these changes have taken place under the bonnet. The pair of 2.5-litre four-cylinder engines may be new to the Tucson, but they have already been put to work in the Sonata and Santa Fe. The conventional engine produces 178 bhp and 178 lb ft of torque, which is sent to the front wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission – no change there for the better part of 20 years! There is a new eight-speed automatic for the 190 bhp Hybrid and its electrically driven all-wheel drive, but it’s the 1.6-litre turbo petrol engine and electric motor combo borrowed from the Santa Fe and Kia Sorento that is the pick of the crop. Offering 227 bhp with the FWD model and 235 bhp when AWD is selected, it’s a relaxed yet potent powertrain that prioritises refinement over performance. Response from the steering wheel mounted drive mode button is minimal, yet the six-speed ‘box helps to make the most of the available shove, kicking down more eagerly than when it’s bolted to the naturally aspirated lump. That said, it’s disappointing a diesel equivalent has not made it into the UK line-up, especially as it’s still a popular choice with those buying a 4x4. European markets will be offered the 2.0-litre mild hybrid diesel powertrain taken from the new Sportage. The Santa Fe can also be had with the 2.5-litre Hybrid, but it’s that 1.6-litre turbo unit which will catch the attention of keener drivers. The self-charging Hybrid is available only in combination with an intelligent HTRAC all-wheel drive system, with power equating to 226 bhp and 350 nm of torque. This should make it a half decent tow car, but it’s the lesser powered 2WD 1.6 T-GDI that is a standout option in the line-up. Step out of a diesel Santa Fe and into this and you’d really have to concentrate to notice any obvious drop in outright pep, particularly if you’re towing or carrying heavier loads. Spinneys and sloped driveways near the end of the school run are the only areas you’re likely to wish for an all-wheel drive system, but downsizing to 17 or 18-inch alloys and selecting ‘mud, snow or sand’ using the Terrain Mode select will help negate some of the torque loss experienced by front drivers. With fuel economy and CO2 emissions becoming an increasing priority, it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see Hyundai push these powertrains even harder, taking more customers away from what would normally be a default choice of 4x4 and a lot of stint at the pumps to a more cost effective and environmentally friendly mid-sized SUV.

4.3. Technological advancements in both models

The Santa Fe is expected to have a less aggressive and more conservative style compared to its little brother, the Tucson. The build of both vehicles will focus more on stability and comfort and offer a wider range of styles between the two. In the Santa Fe's case, it will offer a sporty "Santa Cruze" model that will have a unique look compared to the rest of the line. Overall, the changes in the model build and style will offer the buyer a more personalized selection for what type of vehicle they want.

Hyundai expects to change the game with the build of the fourth generation Tucson. The main changes are expected to be in the "Future Utility Vehicle" model which will then affect the base model. Hyundai will try to set the FUV model to be used for later use. According to Hyundai, "To flaunt a more boldly styled look, the next Tucson will be slightly larger and will cost more than the existing model that will remain in the lineup as the Tucson Classic". The styling of the vehicle is expected to surpass other competitors in the market.

The Tucson and Santa Fe are expected to take a step into the future for the build of both of the cars. They are predicted to have some new technological advancements that will make both cars stand out from the previous 3rd Generation Tucson and Santa Fe. Both will have an updated Special Edition Trim including some good package options.

2024: Hyundai Tucson vs. Santa Fe

The Hyundai Tucson and Santa Fe are two of Hyundai's most popular SUVs, offering different sizes and features. Whether you're interested in technology, comfort, or fuel efficiency, each vehicle has something unique to offer. For a deeper dive into how these models compare and differ, check out the following links: