Start searching for your next crossover SUV, and you will find plenty of great options from Hyundai. The Hyundai Santa Fe and the Santa Fe Sport are both popular choices in Madison thanks to their versatility, high-quality interiors, spaciousness, and range of features.

While these models are similar enough to earn nearly identical names, they have a few key differences that will make each a better choice for certain drivers.

Differences between the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport


The first thing you will notice if you compare the Hyundai Santa Fe with the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is that the first seats 7 passengers in 3 rows while the second only seats 5 in two rows. Clearly, this helps the Santa Fe appeal to larger families in a way that the Santa Fe Sport can’t.

Keep in mind that the second row in the Santa Fe has more legroom, as well, although the Santa Fe Sport still has an excellent 39.4 inches of it.

Cargo Space

Because it has 3 rows, it makes sense that you will get less cargo room in the Santa Fe with all seats occupied. Even so, you get 13.5 cubic feet. For a better comparison, the Santa Fe has 41 cubic feet behind the second row while the Santa Fe Sport has 35.4. The Hyundai Santa Fe also has more overall cargo space behind the first row than its Sport counterpart, 80 vs. 71.5 cubic feet.

While those figures make it clear that the Santa Fe is better for those who want extra cargo room, keep in mind that it is also larger overall. That means the Santa Fe Sport will be easier to squeeze into parallel parking spots and maneuver.

White Hyundai Santa Fe Sport on road

Engines, Efficiency, and Towing

Despite their similarities, the Santa Fe and Santa Fe Sport also have different engines. The Santa Fe has a 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 that gets up to 21 MPG combined and can tow as much as 5,000 pounds. By comparison, the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport runs on a 185 horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with up to 24 MPG combined and the ability to tow 2,000 pounds.

Because the Santa Fe is larger, it needs this extra power, and neither engine will leave you lacking. Based on the engine alone, the Santa Fe will be ideal if you want to tow more while the Santa Fe Sport is perfect for those in search of the best possible efficiency.


Since the Hyundai Santa Fe is larger and has a more powerful engine than the Santa Fe Sport, it should come as no surprise that it also costs a bit more. The 2017 Santa Fe Sport has a starting MSRP of $25,350 while the 2017 Santa Fe starts at $30,800.

Test-Drive Both for a Better Comparison

Reading about your potential SUVs can only tell you so much. The best way to tell whether the Hyundai Santa Fe or the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport is better for your particular needs is to take them both on a test drive. The team at Zimbrick Hyundai Eastside can get you behind the wheel and ready to test drive in Madison, Wisconsin.