2021 Hyundai SUV Buyer’s Guide

Jessica Shea Choksey | Apr 09, 2021

Like Hyundai’s car lineup, the brand’s SUV range is varied and multi-faceted, offering an array of choices from a subcompact commuter vessel to a large and luxurious people hauler. 

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Front Driving Through Water

All-wheel drive is available across most of the 2021 Hyundai SUV lineup, and all models are competitive in terms of cargo space. The automaker also meets the demands of eco-conscious buyers with a host of hybrid, plug-in hybrid, battery electric, and fuel cell electric variants. 

Better yet, every 2021 Hyundai comes with free maintenance for three years in addition to an industry-leading warranty. And the automaker’s free trial period for its Blue Link connected services technology is exceptionally generous.

Changes to the 2021 Hyundai SUV lineup include a substantially refreshed Santa Fe, now with available hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions, plus new luxury-themed Calligraphy trims for the Santa Fe and Palisade. The Venue, Kona, Tucson, and Nexo SUVs are mostly carryover for the new model year. 

2021 Hyundai Venue - Find the best Hyundai deals!

2021 Hyundai Venue Denim Front Quarter View Action

Hyundai’s smallest and most affordable SUV is called the Venue. Aimed at youthful customers who live in an urban environment, the Hyundai Venue comes in SE, SEL, and Denim trim levels, each equipped with a 121-horsepower 1.6-liter 4-cylinder engine. The 5-passenger, 5-door crossover does not offer an all-wheel-drive system.

For the 2021 model year, the Venue comes only with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The 6-speed manual gearbox is discontinued. Hyundai also adds standard 15-inch alloy wheels with SE trim, 17-inch alloy wheels with SEL trim, and equips the Venue SEL with standard blind-spot warning with rear cross-traffic warning.

Cargo space measures between 18.7 cubic feet and 31.9 cu.-ft., depending on whether the rear seat is in use or not. Learn more about the 2021 Hyundai Venue.

2021 Hyundai Kona - Find the best Hyundai deals!

2021 Hyundai Kona Blue Front Quarter Action

The Hyundai Kona is a stylish, 5-passenger subcompact crossover utility vehicle ideal for city driving and suburban commutes. It comes in six trim levels: SE, SEL, SEL Plus, Night Edition (new), Limited, and Ultimate. Cargo space expands from 19.2 cu.-ft. to 45.8 cu.-ft. when the rear seats are folded down.

Base models are powered by a 147-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine, while higher trims utilize a 175-horsepower turbocharged 1.6-liter 4-cylinder. There is also a Kona Electric offering 258-miles of all-electric range. All models offer standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive.

The Kona Night Edition trim is new for 2021, adding black 18-inch alloy wheels and black upholstery. The Kona Electric now comes with 250-hours of free charging from Electrify America. 

A refreshed 2022 Kona is coming soon, and will offer new Kona N Line sport and Kona N performance variants. Learn more about the 2021 Hyundai Kona.

2021 Hyundai Tucson - Find the best Hyundai deals!

2021 Hyundai Tucson White Front Quarter Action

Unchanged for 2021, the Hyundai Tucson is a 5-passenger compact crossover. An all-new, completely redesigned 2022 Tucson is coming soon.

Power comes from either a 161-horsepower 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine or a more potent 181-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder. Both engines pair with a 6-speed automatic and offer either standard front-wheel-drive or available all-wheel-drive. 

Abundant in feature content, the Hyundai Tucson comes in six trim levels: SE, Value Edition, SEL, Sport, Limited, and Ultimate. The base Tucson continues to offer a standard 7-inch infotainment screen, while the top-level Ultimate trim includes adaptive cruise control and a panoramic sunroof.

The Tucson’s 31 cu.-ft of cargo space nearly doubles when the second row is folded down. Learn more about the 2021 Hyundai Tucson.

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe - Find the best Hyundai deals!

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe Calligraphy Gray Front Quarter Action

The Hyundai Santa Fe midsize SUV has undergone numerous updates for 2021. Available in SE, SEL, Limited, and the new top-of-the-line Calligraphy trim levels, the 2021 Santa Fe receives exterior and interior enhancements as well as new powertrains. 

A 191-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder is the new standard gas engine, while higher trims boast a 277-horsepower turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder. A hybrid powertrain also joins the lineup, and a plug-in hybrid version is on the way. The Santa Fe offers both front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive setups.

The Calligraphy trim brings Nappa leather seating, quilted door panel trim, and a suede-like headliner to the Santa Fe’s 5-passenger cabin. Other new features to the Santa Fe include available power-folding rear seats and a premium Harman Kardon sound system.

Cargo space measures 36.4 cu.-ft. and opens to 72.1 cu.-ft. with the back seats down. Learn more about the 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe.

2021 Hyundai Palisade - Find the best Hyundai deals!

2021 Hyundai Palisade Calligraphy Blue Front Quarter Action

The Hyundai Palisade is a 3-row, 7- or 8-passenger midsize crossover utility vehicle. 

Attractive and upscale, the 2021 Palisade arrives in SE, SEL, Limited, and range-topping Calligraphy trim levels. The sole engine is a strong 291-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 tied to an 8-speed automatic transmission. Maximum towing capacity is 5000 pounds, and the Palisade comes with a choice between front- and all-wheel drive.

In addition to the new Calligraphy trim, standard feature upgrades for 2021 include wireless smartphone functionality on the SE trim and a sunroof for the SEL trim. Cargo room expands from 18 cu.-ft. behind the third-row seat to a cavernous 86.4 cu.-ft. with the second and third rows down. 

Learn more about the 2021 Hyundai Palisade.

2021 Hyundai Nexo - Find the best Hyundai deals!

2021 Hyundai Nexo White Front Quarter Action

Sold only in California, the Hyundai Nexo is a zero-emission, hydrogen fuel-cell electric vehicle. Its distinctive styling, quick and quiet driving attributes, and 350-plus mile driving range make it a compelling choice among eco-friendly vehicles. 

The Nexo is available in two trim levels: Blue and Limited. It’s electric motor outputs 161 horsepower and 291 lb.-ft. of torque, and because it uses its onboard fuel cell stack to convert compressed hydrogen fuel into electricity to power the vehicle, it emits nothing but water vapor from its tailpipe.

The 2-row, 5-passenger Nexo touts a modern and well-equipped interior. Cargo volume expands from 29.6 cu.-ft. to 56.5 cu.-ft when the rear seat is not in use. 

Learn more about the 2021 Hyundai Nexo, and find out how a fuel-cell electric vehicle works.

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