Crossover & Midsize

Is the 2021 Hyundai Palisade Worth the Extra Cash Over a Hyundai Santa Fe?

The Hyundai Palisade is nothing short of a smash hit for the Korean carmaker. It’s only natural then that the things we love about the Palisade trickle down into cheaper models. The Hyundai Santa Fe, for example, was unveiled recently with Palisade looks and tons of tech.

If the previous-gen Santa Fe‘s $26,275 base price is anything to go by, the difference between these two could be over $5,500. Today we’re going to find out if the Palisade is worth that extra cash.

Let’s recap what we love about the Hyundai Palisade

One of the most appealing aspects of the Hyundai Palisade is its value for money. The Palisade’s $32,525 starting price undercuts most luxury midsize SUVs by a considerable margin. Add on to that all of the equipment that comes as standard, and you’ve got a winning combination.

An image of a Hyundai Palisade on the road.
Hyundai Palisade | Hyundai

Under the hood of the Palisade lives a 3.8-liter six-cylinder engine developing 291 hp and 262 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission drives that power to the front wheels. An all-wheel-drive system is available.

In terms of safety tech, the Palisade is loaded with standard features. On the list are things like Forward Collision-Avoidance with Pedestrian Detection, Smart Cruise Control, Lane Keeping Assist, and Driver Attention Warning, to name a few. Interior tech is also a strong point for the Palisade, offering Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard equipment.

An image of a Hyundai Palisade on the road.
Hyundai Palisade | Hyundai

If you want more out of the Palisade, higher trim levels such as the Limited and Calligraphy add tons of extra luxury. These higher trim levels focus on offering a heads-up display, quilted leather, dual sunroofs, and larger 20-inch wheels.

However, it is important to note that these higher trim levels elevate the Palisade’s price dangerously close to $50,000, worlds away from the Santa Fe. So if you’re between the two, it’s best to stick to the lower level Palisade.

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is the new kid on the block

The 2021 Santa Fe came out swinging, and the Hyundai Palisade is right in its path. Despite only offering seating for five, unlike the Palisade’s available eight seats. These two SUVs are relatively close in size and, as a result, compete in the midsize SUV segment.

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is the brand's newest SUV.
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe | Hyundai

RELATED: You Should Buy the 2021 Kia Sorento Over the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe

For 2021, the Santa Fe gets a new Palisade-inspired front end. By far, the largest upgrade, however, is the all-new interior. Like with everything else, Hyundai took heavy inspiration from the Palisade for the Santa Fe’s interior and now features nicer materials. Like with the Palisade, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto Come standard.

Powering the 2021 Santa Fe is a standard 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine developing 191 hp and a 2.5-liter turbo-four developing 277 hp. Later in its life, there will be a Santa Fe Hybrid and a plug-in hybrid model.

The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe is the brand's newest SUV.
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe | Hyundai

According to Hyundai, the Santa Fe includes standard safety tech such as Forward-Collision Warning, Adaptive Cruise Control, and Lane-Departure Warning. Unlike the Palisade, however, most of the safety tech doesn’t come standard, meaning you’ll have to opt for higher trim levels if you want them. This trim upgrade only draws the price closer to that of the Palisade.

The Hyundai Santa Fe just might dethrone the Palisade

An image of a Hyundai Palisade on the road.
Hyundai Palisade | Hyundai

While Hyundai has yet to release official pricing for the 2021 Santa Fe, we know the 2020 model has a starting price of $26,275. If we assume a gradual increase for 2021, the Santa Fe could have a starting price of $27,000. The Hyundai Palisade, on the other hand, starts at $32,525. What we’re looking at then is a difference of about $5,500.

In terms of aesthetics, the two SUVs are evenly matched. Thanks to Hyundai’s style borrowing, they look almost identical. The gap in interior quality has also shrunk considerably. The only real differentiator here is the fact that the Santa Fe doesn’t offer quite as much standard equipment.

Hyundai Logo | Atilgan Ozdil/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

Yes, the Hyundai Palisade is worth the extra cash to answer the original question if you’ve got it. To get the Santa Fe to a similar equipment level as the Palisade, you’ll have to spend more, bringing the price closer still. At that point, the one to go is the larger and more powerful Palisade.

However, that is not to discount the Santa Fe’s value on offer. If the standard equipment is all you need, then it is a no brainer. The plus side of this debate is given Hyundais latest efforts; the buyer will win either way.