Two appealing crossovers from the same brand – but which one is worth your money.

See our coverage of the 2022 Hyundai Tucson here, and watch the livestream here.

The new 2022 Hyundai Tucson looks sharp, literally. It has an edgy front fascia, angular body panels, and knife-like taillights, all designed to give the small crossover an aggressive appearance. And while the Tucson certainly looks distinct, it's the details underneath its new body that make the Hyundai a great package overall.

But buyers in the market for a small crossover – one from Hyundai specifically – have more than a few options to choose from. Excluding competitors, of which there are over a dozen, Hyundai itself has six crossovers on sale right now: the Venue, Kona (and electric), Tucson, Santa Fe, Palisade, and Nexo. In terms of size, though, it's the compact Santa Fe that makes for an interesting sibling rivalry with the new Tucson.

Though Hyundai has already released images of the facelifted 2021 Santa Fe and some scant details, full details won't arrive until the end of the year, closer to the SUV’s on-sale date. So we're stuck comparing the new 2022 Tucson to the 2020 Santa Fe in terms of size, powertrain, and options, and on paper, the two crossovers are pretty evenly matched. 

Tucson Vs Santa Fe: Size

2022 Hyundai Tucson Vs Hyundai Santa Fe
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

Technically, both the Santa Fe and Tucson are the brand's compact options – but one is on the slightly larger side of compact. The Santa Fe has a wheelbase of 108.9 inches versus the new Tucson's 105.5-inch wheelbase, and the Santa Fe measures in at 187.8 inches long overall, while the Tucson is just 177.2 inches. In terms of width, the Santa Fe is bigger still, measuring in at 74.4 inches versus the Tucson's 73.4 inches. Clearly one sibling is shopping in the husky area of the store and one isn't.

Naturally, the Santa Fe's larger size means more cargo and passenger room inside. The 2020 Santa Fe has 35.9 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row and 71.3 cubic feet total with the second row folded flat. The Tucson, meanwhile, has more room behind its second row – 38.7 cubic feet – but less total – 63.5 cubic feet – with the second row folded flat.

Those two figures right there could determine which of these two SUVs is right for you: do you want more cargo room with all seats accessible or more total cargo room? If your answer is the former, pick the Tucson, and if the latter, choose the Santa Fe.

Hyundai hasn't provided every passenger volume figure for the new Tucson, but it does promise an extra inch of legroom compared to last year's model. That means rear legroom will grow to a total of 39.2 inches, making it near-identical to the bigger Santa Fe's 40.9 inches.

  Wheelbase Length Width Cargo Room
Hyundai Tucson 105.5 Inches 177.2 Inches 73.4 Inches 38.7 / 63.5 Cubic Feet
Hyundai Santa Fe 108.9 Inches 187.8 Inches 74.4 Inches 35.9 / 71.3 Cubic Feet

Tucson Vs Santa Fe: Power and Performance

2022 Hyundai Tucson Vs Hyundai Santa Fe
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

The 2022 Hyundai Tucson comes with a few different engine options, including both pure gas and hybrid. The base Tucson has a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine capable of 190 horsepower (142 kilowatts) and 182 pound-feet (247 newton-meters), paired to an eight-speed automatic. The optional hybrid powertrain with a 1.6-liter four-cylinder, meanwhile, produces 230 hp (171 kW) and 258 lb-ft (350 nm), and is paired to a six-speed dual-clutch. The Tucson will also have a plug-in hybrid option using the same 1.6-liter engine, but Hyundai hasn't released other important details about it yet like its all-electric range.

As for the 2020 Santa Fe, buyers can choose from either a base 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 185 hp (137 kW) and 178 lb-ft (241 nm) or a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter engine good for 235 hp (175 kW) and 260 lb-ft (352 nm). Both crossovers also have offer optional all-wheel drive.

When questioning which crossover's powertrain is best, going by the numbers, we'd give the Tucson's new hybrid powertrain the nod. Its power figures nearly equal the Santa Fe's most powerful engine option, and being a traditional hybrid powertrain in a smaller, lighter vehicle, it will surely return superior fuel economy.

  Engine Horsepower Torque Transmission
Hyundai Tucson 2.5L / 1.6L Hybrid 190 / 230 182 / 258 8-Speed / 6-Speed
Hyundai Santa Fe 2.4L / Turbo 2.0L 185 / 235 178 / 260 8-Speed

Tucson Vs Santa Fe: Technology

2022 Hyundai Tucson Vs Hyundai Santa Fe
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

Visually, the inside of the new Tucson looks like a step above a few years ahead of the Santa Fe. It comes standard with an 8.0-inch touchscreen display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, but opting for the range-topping models gets you a sleek and nearly flush 10.3-inch screen with CarPlay, Android Auto, and navigation, as well as split-screen and voice functionality. There’s also a fully digital instrument cluster just behind the steering wheel.

The 2020 Santa Fe, meanwhile, gets a slightly smaller 7.0-inch touchscreen to start, with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto functionality. A larger 8.0-inch screen is available and offers all those same features plus navigation, but it's not nearly as impressive as the new Tucson's main screen. Hands down, the Tucson wins on the technology front.

Tucson Vs Santa Fe: Price

Hyundai hasn’t released pricing for the 2022 Tucson yet, but given that the 2021 model starts at $23,700 in the US, expect the new one to get a slight price hike. The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe, meanwhile, costs $26,275 to start in the US. It's a bigger vehicle, so it's not surprising its price is higher, but it's also now more dated to compared to the all-new Tucson, which makes it higher price harder to swallow.

That said, there is an updated Santa Fe also coming for 2021. Although we don't have all the details yet, it should improve on its predecessor and borrow some of the same powertrain options and technologies from the smaller Tucson.

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