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Hyundai makes some of the most popular SUVs. The Santa Fe and Palisade midsize crossovers are both top sellers for the brand. But recent sales numbers show the two-row SUV has outsold its three-row sibling by about 12,000 units so far this year. Both have similar styling and features, so what makes the Santa Fe more popular? We dove into the details, and here are three possible reasons more people are picking the Hyundai Santa Fe over the Palisade right now.

1. Starting MSRP might be a factor

One primary reason the Hyundai Santa Fe is outperforming the Palisade might be the price among other pros.

The Hyundai Santa Fe and Palisade have a similar aesthetic, but the Santa Fe is smaller and seats five passengers, compared with the Palisade’s seven. Both have front-wheel drive as standard equipment and are chock-full of advanced driver assistance features. And buyers of either SUV will get Hyundai’s robust warranty coverage.

But if you don’t need a seven-seater, you can save quite a bit of money with the two-row SUV. Hyundai starts the 2023 Santa Fe at $28,750 and the 2023 Palisade at $35,900 – a $7,150 difference.

2. The Hyundai Santa Fe is more fuel-efficient than the Palisade 

Another reason consumers might prefer the Hyundai Santa Fe over the Hyundai Palisade is fuel efficiency. The Santa Fe is not only more affordable to buy but also cheaper to keep on the road.

Because the two-row crossover has a smaller engine, a 191-hp inline four-cylinder, than the Palisade’s 291-hp V6, it uses less gas. Fuel economy estimates for the Santa Fe are 25 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway mpg. Those numbers are much easier on the wallet than the Palisade’s 19/27 mpg city/highway. According to Edmunds, expect to pay an average of $12,345 to fuel the Santa Fe and $14,591 for the Palisade over the vehicle’s life.

Edmunds also compares the five-year ownership cost estimates for the two Hyundai SUVs. The Santa Fe is more affordable, with a “True Cost to Own” of $45,646, versus the Palisade’s $58,599.

In addition, depreciation is less impactful on the Santa Fe, with an estimate of $15,489, compared with the Palisade’s $21,654.

3. Despite its smaller size, the Hyundai Santa Fe has more cargo space than the Palisade

Overall, the 2023 Hyundai Santa Fe is smaller than the 2023 Hyundai Palisade. But if you need more cargo volume behind the back row, the smaller Santa Fe is more spacious. The Santa Fe provides 36.4 cubic feet, while the Palisade has 18 cubic feet. However, their maximum cargo capacities are 72.1 cubic feet and 86.4 cubic feet, so the Palisade can carry more belongings with its second and third rows folded flat.

As for passenger space, the Santa Fe actually provides more front headroom: 41.2 inches versus the Palisade’s 40.7 inches. However, the Palisade measures larger in most other areas. But the margins are mere inches, so the Santa Fe’s interior feels as roomy as its bigger sibling’s cabin.

So unless you must seat seven or eight passengers or haul oversized items, there’s no need to pick the three-row Hyundai SUV over the two-row SUV.


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