Skip to main content

The Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Telluride are value-priced SUVs with upscale features and reliable performance. While the midsize Santa Fe has agile handling and multiple powertrain options, the larger Telluride has third-row seating and a 5,500 lb towing capacity. Either one is a solid pick. However, in the first half of 2023, there’s one way the Hyundai Santa Fe is beating the Kia Telluride: sales.

Sales of the Santa Fe and Telluride

According to GoodCarBadCar, the Hyundai Santa Fe has a small but notable sales lead over the Kia Telluride. So far this year, 61,142 drivers have purchased the Hyundai SUV, compared to 55,284 buying the Kia. Let’s go over the high points of both and why they’re so popular in the U.S.

Hyundai Santa Fe features, specs, and pricing

The 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe costs $30,085 (with destination). For that, buyers get a full-featured midsize SUV that competes with pricier competitors.

Exterior-wise, the Santa Fe doesn’t look like an affordable sport utility. Narrow LED headlights and a mesh grille combine with deep creases and chrome accents for an elegant look. Standard 18-inch alloy wheels round out the package.

Hyundai offers several powertrain options on the Santa Fe. The base engine is a 2.5-liter four with 191 hp and 181 lb-ft of torque. Buyers can also upgrade to a turbo 2.5-liter four-cylinder with 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. Both route power through an eight-speed automatic and come with standard FWD or optional AWD.

Hybrid models add fuel-sipping efficiency to the equation. The Santa Fe Hybrid uses a turbo 1.6-liter four and two electric motors for 226 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. That’s not only powerful but efficient, with a 30/33/32 city/highway/combined mpg rating. Hyundai’s HTRAC all-wheel drive comes standard.

The Santa Fe Plug-In Hybrid (PHEV) takes those figures even further, using the same turbo 1.6-liter engine and an electric motor but adding a larger 13.8 kWh battery. Horsepower and torque stand at 261 and 258 lb-ft, respectively. That results in 30 miles of all-electric range and an EPA-rated fuel economy of 76 MPGe.

Inside, the Santa Fe continues the theme of more for your money. With quality materials and excellent fit and finish, the Hyundai is a nice place to take a drive. Car and Driver lauded the Santa Fe’s passenger space, noting how it improved long-distance comfort. They also liked its abundant cargo space. And for safety concerns, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the Santa Fe a five-star crash test rating, placing it among the safest vehicles on the road.

Features, specs, and pricing of the Kia Telluride

The 2023 Kia Telluride has the luxury and looks of SUVs, costing thousands more. However, with an MSRP of $37,255 (with destination), it won’t break the bank. Driving down the street, the Telluride has the style and stance of a high-priced luxury SUV. With boxy bodywork and a tall greenhouse, it has a capable and robust appearance.

All Telluride models come with a 3.8-liter V6 making 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. Routed through an eight-speed automatic, it offers plenty of pep around town and ample passing power on the highway. Front-wheel drive comes standard, with all-wheel drive optional.

Car and Driver praised the Telluride’s luxurious interior, noting its appealing materials, solid build quality, and abundant features. With seating for eight (using a second-row bench seat), the Telluride has room to spare. Additionally, 87 cubic feet of space (with all seats folded) ensure ample storage for any task.

For capability concerns, an available 8.4 inches of ground clearance allows the Kia Telluride to handle rough roads and snow storms alike. And, for those who tow a boat or an RV, its 5,500-pound towing capacity is nice to have.

The Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Telluride give drivers a feature-focused SUV with a reasonable MSRP. From the engine to the interior, both midsize SUVs up the game with solid specs and quality equipment. While the Hyundai enjoys a slim sales lead year-to-date, the Telluride’s going strong, with a 17.89% increase year-over-year. Both demonstrate the popularity of value-driven vehicles.

Related How Much Does a Fully Loaded 2024 Kia Telluride Cost?

How Much Does a Fully Loaded 2024 Kia Telluride Cost?