Can a Hyundai challenge a Jeep? The question is more than legitimate considering the shapes and dimensions of the new Hyundai Santa Fe, which seem to invite a direct confrontation with a true SUV icon like the Jeep Grand Cherokee.

To answer this curious question we decided to compare, at least on paper, the dimensions, equipment, styling, performance and powertrains of the Korean and American models. It may seem strange, but we found more commonalities than differences between Hyundai's and Jeep's largest (in Europe) vehicles. Let's put them side by side!

Hyundai Santa Fe vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee: the exterior

There are only two years of styling evolution between the new Hyundai Santa Fe and the Jeep Grand Cherokee: the Korean has been introduced in 2023 and the American in 2021. Both have reached their fifth generation and have grown up quite a bit. 

Let's start with the younger of the two, the Hyundai Santa Fe, which has adopted a decidedly boxy and imposing design, with sharp lines underlined by the H-shaped light signature (both front and rear).

Hyundai Santa Fe 2023

Hyundai Santa Fe (2023)

Hyundai Santa Fe 2023
Hyundai Santa Fe 2023

Its appearance is close to that of an SUV, with a straight roof to provide headroom for rear passengers and a completely vertical tailgate. The result is a highly original vehicle measuring 4.83 metres long, 1.90 metres wide and 1.72 metres high. The wheelbase has also been lengthened to 2.81 metres (5 cm longer than before). Curb weight of the plug-in hybrid version comes to 2,295 kg.

With the fifth generation, the Jeep Grand Cherokee confirms its flagship role, with the typical seven-slot front grille taking on a new, slimmer shape connected to the slim headlamps.

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Exclusive Launch Edition

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe Exclusive Launch Edition
Nuova Jeep Grand Cherokee (2022)

The Grand Cherokee also sports a long third side window and the five-seat version (the seven-seat version is not coming to Europe) is 4.91 metres long. The Jeep Grand Cherokee's width is 1.97 metres and height is 1.81 metres. The Jeep's wheelbase is 2.96 metres. The 4xe plug-in hybrid version weighs 2,434 kg.

  Hyundai Santa Fe Jeep Grand Cherokee
Length 4,83 m 4,91 m
Width 1,90 m 1,97 m
Height 1,72 m 1,81 m
Wheelbase 2,81 m 2,96 m
Weight 2,295 kg (PHEV) 2,434 kg (PHEV)
Cx  0,29 0,35

So, if we compare sizes and weights, the Jeep is still slightly larger in all dimensions, but also heavier than the Hyundai, thus reiterating its belonging to a higher segment. In short, the Grand Cherokee rightly remains an E-segment SUV, while the Santa Fe comes very close to it, now sitting at the top of the D-segment.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2023
Jeep Grand Cherokee 2021

Interesting and somewhat unsuspected is the aerodynamic advantage of the Korean, which has a Cx of 0.29 compared to 0.35 for the American.

Hyundai Santa Fe vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee: the interior

The new Hyundai Santa Fe, which will arrive in dealerships in the first half of 2024, should only be available in a seven-seat configuration, while the Jeep Grand Cherokee is sold in Europe exclusively in a five-seat version.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2024

Hyundai Santa Fe, tercera fila de asientos

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe 2023

Jeep Grand Cherokee, segunda fila de asientos

Very interesting is the comparison between the internal measurements of the two vehicles that can be made for both the first and second row of seats. Basically, the head, leg and shoulder room for the occupants of the Santa Fe is slightly larger, despite the slightly smaller exterior dimensions.

  Hyundai Santa Fe Jeep Grand Cherokee
Front-row passenger headroom 1,04 m 1,01 m
Second-row passenger headroom 1,03 m 1,00 m
Passenger legroom in the first row 1,05 m 1,05 m
Second-row passenger legroom 1,07 m 0,97 m
Shoulder room for front row passengers 1,51 m 1,50 m
Shoulder room for passengers in the second row 1,47 m 1,47 m

Climb aboard the Hyundai Santa Fe 2024 and you'll find the modern, minimalist layout typical of oriental cars, with two 12.3-inch screens integrated into a single rectangular module that dominates the dashboard and a third screen in the centre tunnel for the climate control.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2024

Hyundai Santa Fe, el interior

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe 2023

Jeep Grand Cherokee, el interior

The Jeep Grand Cherokee, meanwhile, has classic American styling, but reinterpreted with three digital displays, two 10.1-inch screens for the instrument cluster and infotainment, and a third 10.25-inch display for the passenger. All finished off with luxurious leather upholstery and walnut wood inserts.

  Hyundai Santa Fe Jeep Grand Cherokee
Boot capacity (minimum) 725 l 580 l
Boot capacity (maximum) N.D. 1.463 l

The Hyundai' s boot is characterised by a very wide access sill which is achieved by positioning the light clusters in the lower part of the tailgate and its load capacity starts from a minimum of 725 litres with the second row seatbacks in position.

Hyundai Santa Fe 2024

Hyundai Santa Fe, el maletero

Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe 2023

Jeep Grand Cherokee, el maletero

The Jeep's rear load compartment starts at 580 litres and reaches a maximum of 1,463 litres with the second-row seatbacks folded down.

Hyundai Santa Fe vs. Jeep Grand Cherokee: the engines

And here we come to the powertrains, with the Hyundai Santa Fe coming to market in both hybrid (HEV) and plug-in hybrid (PHEV) versions. Both are based on the 1.6 turbo T-GDI petrol engine and use a six-speed torque converter automatic transmission. Power output ranges from 158 bhp for the HEV to 178 bhp for the PHEV. The battery capacity and electric range of the rechargeable hybrid are not yet known. All-wheel or front-wheel drive is available.

  Hyundai Santa Fe
Hyundai Santa Fe
Jeep Grand Cherokee 4x4 (PHEV)
Engine 1.6 T-GDi electric + 1.6 T-GDi + electric 2.0 turbo + electric
Power 158 BHP 178 BHP 375 BHP
Maximum torque 265 Nm 265 Nm 637 Nm
Top speed 190 km/h 190 km/h 210 km/h
Acceleration 0-100 km/h 9.5 seconds 9.1 seconds 6.3 seconds
CO2 emissions (WLTP) N.D. 37 g/km 60-69 g/km
Battery - N.D. 17.3 kWh
Electric range - N.D. 48 km

More powerful is the Jeep Grand Cherokee 4xe, the plug-in hybrid now on sale with a total output of 375 bhp and an eight-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive and performance is clearly superior to the Santa Fe. The electric range of up to 48 km is guaranteed by a 17.3 kWh battery.