Buying Guide

2020 Hyundai SUV prices, trim levels, features: Venue, Kona, Tucson, Santa Fe, Nexo, and Palisade

The 2020 Santa Fe is just one of the SUV offerings Hyundai sells in the U.S.

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

In recent years, Hyundai has added three SUVs to its lineup and is currently developing their next utility vehicle. They've also refreshed the Tucson, modified the Santa Fe to become a strictly two-row SUV, and began selling the Nexo hydrogen-fuel cell vehicle in the U.S. Hyundai is now selling the Kona in an electric vehicle format as the Kona EV.

Scroll down to see them all.

2020 Hyundai Venue

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Hyundai Venue is the smallest SUV in the automaker's lineup. It fits below the Palisade, Nexo, Santa Fe, Tucson and Kona. The Venue is considered a subcompact SUV.

The Venue comes in three trim levels: SE, SEL, and Denim. The Venue SE starts at $16,350 and Venue SEL starts at $18,250. Hyundai's top-tier Venue Denim model goes for $21,050.

It is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine that delivers 121 horsepower and 113 pound-feet of torque. The engine comes mated to a six-speed manual transmission as standard and a continuously variable automatic transmission is available. Models with the CVT are the most fuel efficient.

Hyundai does not offer the Venue with front-wheel drive.

The interior of the Venue focuses on passenger space rather than cargo space. It comfortably seats two adults up front but legroom is a little short in the back seat.

Cloth upholstery, an 8-inch touch screen, four speakers, HD Radio, a USB port, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto are standard. Buyers can add a sunroof, automatic climate control, push-button start, satellite radio, a second USB port, more speakers, and navigation for an added fee.

The 2020 Hyundai Venue is on sale now.

2020 Hyundai Kona

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The subcompact Hyundai Kona was much heralded when it debuted in 2018 as a desirable combination of the features and equipment buyers are looking for at the right price. Three model years in, the comments hold up.

The 2020 Hyundai Kona fits above the Venue and below the Tucson, Santa Fe, NEXO, and Palisade in the automaker's lineup. It is sold in five trim levels: SE, SEL, SEL Plus, Limited, and Ultimate. The Kona SE starts at $20,300 and the Kona Ultimate starts at $27,950.

It comes standard with a 147-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. A more powerful 175-horsepower 1.6-liter turbocharged four-cylinder is available. That engine is mated to a seven-speed automatic transmission. Both engines achieve 30 mpg combined.

Hyundai offers the Kona with all-wheel drive (front-wheel drive is standard) and a Sport mode, which adds a noticeable amount of spunk to the car's acceleration.

The five-seater Kona has standard cloth upholstery. There's more second-row legroom in the Kona than in the Venue, but it's still short on cargo space, which is common in its segment.

The SUV comes standard with a 7-inch touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a six-speaker stereo system, two USB ports, Bluetooth, and remote keyless entry. The long list of available features includes an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, satellite radio, wireless device charging, a head-up display, automatic climate control, remote keyless entry, a sunroof, and an eight-speaker sound system.

Each Kona comes standard with a rearview camera, forward collision warning, lane keep assist, and a driver attention monitor. Available upgrades to that list include blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, rear parking sensors, pedestrian detection, automatic high beams, and adaptive cruise control.

2020 Hyundai Kona EV

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Hyundai Kona EV was only introduced for the 2019 model year. It has many pluses, but it is pricey, like many other electric vehicles.

Hyundai offers the Kona EV in three trim levels: SEL, Limited, and Ultimate. Pricing on the Kona EV SEL starts at $37,190 and the top-tier Kona EV Ultimate goes for $45,400. Buyers may qualify for a tax credit.

The SUV has a 258-mile range. It is powered by a 201-horsepower electric motor that is paired with a single-speed transmission. The model gets 132 MPGe in the city and 108 MPGe on the highway.

The battery takes 9.5 hours to charge using a 240-volt/Level II outlet. Using a DC fast charger, the SUV can get up to 80 percent of its range back in 50 minutes.

Hyundai has equipped the model with a list of standard equipment that is typical of a mid-grade or higher subcompact SUV including automatic climate control, a 7-inch touch screen, satellite radio, HD Radio, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, push-button start, keyless entry, a six-speaker stereo, and navigation.

2020 Hyundai Tucson

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Hyundai Tucson is a more premium take on the Hyundai Santa Fe in its top-tier trim levels. Since the reconfiguration of the Santa Fe, the two are both two-row SUVs. The Tucson is larger than the Venue and Kona but smaller than the Palisade.

For the 2020 model year, Hyundai sells the Tucson in six trim levels: SE, SEL, SEL Plus, Sport, Limited, and Ultimate. The Tucson SE starts at $23,550 and the top-tier Tucson Ultimate starts at $31,900.

It comes standard with a 161-horsepower 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine and a 181-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder power plant is available. Both engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive is available. Neither engine is particular fuel efficient when compared to others in the class.

The five-seater Tucson has more room for adults in the second row than the Venue and Kona and significantly more cargo space. The compact SUV comes standard with cloth upholstery but finer materials are available in higher trim levels.

Hyundai has given the Tucson the same list of standard equipment as the Kona: a 7-inch infotainment touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, USB ports, and a six-speaker audio system. The available features list is similar too with a panoramic sunroof replacing the Kona's standard size one and dual-zone automatic climate control replacing single-zone automatic climate control.

The Tucson has a longer list of standard safety technology than the Kona and Venue, befitting its higher price tag.

2020 Hyundai Santa Fe

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Hyundai Santa Fe is now a two-row SUV that offers a lot of bang for the buck. The five-passenger SUV is sold in five trim levels: SE, SEL, SEL 2.0T, Limited, and Limited 2.0T. Hyundai prices the base model Santa Fe SE at $21,125. The highest grade Santa Fe goes for $36,475.

The base model is powered by a 185-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Buyers can opt for a 235-horsepower, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder power plant. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The engines get 23 and 25 mpg combined, respectively.

Hyundai has given the Santa Fe a good list of standard features (keyless entry, 7-inch infotainment system, four USB ports, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto) and a list of options that includes an 8-inch infotainment system, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 12-speaker sound system, navigation, wireless device charging, satellite radio, keyless entry, and a panoramic sunroof.

The model offers competitive passenger and cargo space, as well as an extended warranty for every grade.

2020 Hyundai Nexo

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The Hyundai Nexo is the automaker's hydrogen fuel-cell SUV. It is about the same size as the Santa Fe and Tucson and has two rows of passenger space. Hyundai sells the model in two trim levels: Blue and Limited.

The SUV uses a hydrogen fuel cell, lithium-ion battery, and electric motor to propel the vehicle down the road. Its powertrain delivers 161 horsepower and 291 pound-feet of torque, which helps move the heavy model down the road with ease.

The front-wheel drive model has three drive modes: Comfort, Eco, and Eco+. It gets 57-61 MPGe depending on the trim level and has a maximum driving range of 380 miles.

Like other Hyundais, the SUV has a long list of standard equipment including heated outside mirrors, privacy glass, leatherette upholstery, eight-way power-adjustable driver's seat, heated front seats, six-way power-adjustable passenger seat, a 12.3-inch infotainment touch screen, navigation, satellite radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, USB ports, wireless device charging, automatic climate control, leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel, and a luggage screen.

The 2020 Hyundai Nexo starts at $58,735 but it is only available in select states.

2020 Hyundai Palisade

2020 Hyundai Palisade

Photo courtesy of Hyundai Motor America

The three-row Hyundai Palisade is a new SUV for the 2020 model year. It has much of the same equipment as the 2020 Kia Telluride, but it's looks are a completely different experience.

Hyundai sells the model in three trim levels: SE, SEL, and Limited.

The Palisade is a front-wheel drive SUV that is powered by a 291-horsepower 3.8-liter V6 engine that is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. It is available in all-wheel drive and has five drive modes: Eco, Comfort, Sport, Snow (AWD only), and Smart. It has average fuel efficiency.

Hyundai has given the Palisade standard cloth upholstery, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, an 8-inch infotainment touch screen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and five USB ports. Dual-zone automatic climate control, keyless entry, a sunroof, 10.25-inch infotainment touch screen, and additional USB ports are among the available features.

The 2020 Hyundai Palisade starts at $31,775.

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The Kia Sorento Hybrid offers a lot to like for families looking to save on fuel.

Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The redesigned Kia Sorento looks good. Kia has given the three-row SUV new life, not as a substitute for the Telluride SUV but instead as its own crossover, with plenty of differences to give them their own identity.

The 2021 Sorento comes in two variants, the Sorento and Sorento Hybrid. Each is offered in its own set of trim levels. The Sorento base model is powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder internal combustion engine that delivers 191 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. Higher grades get a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that is rated at 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque.

Sorento Hybrid comes in two trim leaves, S and EX. Both are powered by the company's turbocharged 1.6-liter hybrid powertrain that offers up 177 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The SUV prioritizes fuel efficiency over performance, an important distinction that sets the Sorento Hybrid apart from other hybrid variants, including the Toyota RAV4 Prime, a plug-in hybrid that delivers an energetic boost to the RAV4 lineup.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid The Sorento Hybrid is the type of vehicle that can get you to a trailhead, but isn't built to go beyond that.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The power output is fine if you plan on sticking to in-town driving and aren't looking to load up the Sorento Hybrid for a long road trip. In the default Eco drive mode, the car responds to the throttle the most comfortably. Under traditional and harder acceleration, the Sorento Hyrbid's powertrain is noisy and ill-mannered. It's almost like the SUV is telling you, "I'm built for efficiency, not speed". Message received.

Kia's done a good job making the Sorento agile and it drives nicely and makes for a pleasant daily runaround. Unlike what Toyota has done with the Highlander, all-wheel drive is not available on the Sorento Hybrid.

The 2021 Sorento Hybrid comes standard as a six-seater with captain's chairs in the second row. The seats, leatherette in the upmarket trim level, are comfortable enough. There's a decent amount of cargo space with the third row erect or stowed.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid The cabin of the Sorento Hybrid is plush enough for its price point.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The well-thought out cabin design delvers exactly what customers need and in the EX trim level, the car's appointments are near-premium. The SUV has the usual list of standard and available features, but nothing is too fancy: Bluetooth, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, voice recognition, satellite radio, push button start, keyless entry, a rearview camera, wireless smartphone charger. Nothing looks, feels, or operates like it's cutting edge, but it doesn't have to - this isn't a luxury vehicle.

There is one very nice design touch in the cabin. On either side of the infotainment touch screen are vents that service the front row of the auto. Their output is divided into two each with the bottom vent able to serve the midsection of front passengers' bodies while the upper part goes higher. More automakers should design vents this way.

The Hybrid EX model that was delivered for testing had its lane keeping and centering system not as honed in on lane lines as is optimal, which resulted in crossing over the lines without any alert going off or corrective action being taken by the vehicle's computer.

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid Cargo space is always tight in three-row SUVs, but Kia has given the Sorento a good balance between cargo space and third-row legroom.Photo courtesy of Kia Motors

The 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid starts at $33,590. That's a thousand-and-a-half over the starting price of the Telluride and $4,000 more than the traditional 2021 Sorento.

There are currently only two other three-row hybrid SUVs on the market, the Toyota Highlander Hybrid and the Ford Expedition Hybrid. The three models and their varied price tags and third-row layouts service very different customers but they generally all get lumped together. The Sorento Hybrid is, by far, the lowest priced model of the three, and it feels like it when you're inside. There's nothing wrong with that. Dodge sold a lot of Journeys despite the fact that it wasn't the best or most expensive SUV out there.

Think of the Kia Sorento Hybrid as the Dodge Journey of three-row hybrid crossovers and you won't be disappointed.

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Red light camera usage in the U.S. has declined over the last few years.

Photo by Mathieukor/Getty Images

New research shows that communities across the U.S. are not using as many red light cameras as they used to while implementation of speed detection cameras is increasing. Both have been shows to reduce the occurrence of automobile crashes.

A new checklist devised by AAA, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA), the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) and the National Safety Council (NSC) was designed to serve as a roadmap for communities that are establishing or expanding automated enforcement programs and to dispel myths surrounding the use of the cameras.

"Research by IIHS and others has shown consistently that automated enforcement curbs dangerous driving behaviors and reduces crashes," says IIHS President David Harkey. "We hope this document developed with our highway safety partners will help communities take full advantage of this tool."

From 2011 to 2014 more than 500 communities across the U.S. operated red light cameras. Today that number stands at 340. The systems are costly. In 2003, the U.S. Department of Transportation estimated the cost as $67,000 to $80,000 per intersection. That number doesn't include the manpower hours, ticket mailing fees, court costs, or maintenance time and money associated with the ticketing. Today, the cost of the system is estimated to be in the $100,000 range per intersection.

Running red lights kills hundreds and injure tens of thousands of people every year, according to IIHS. In 2019, 846 people were killed and an estimated 143,000 were injured in red light running crashes. Most of those killed were pedestrians, bicyclists and people in other vehicles and not the red light runners or passengers riding with them.

"Red light running and speeding are known killers on our roads," says Advocates President Cathy Chase. "Well-designed and implemented automated enforcement programs can deter these hazardous driving behaviors and reduce crash deaths and injuries. They can also provide an equitable, neutral option for upgrading safety. We urge states and localities to use this checklist together with road safety infrastructure improvements to help protect motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians and other vulnerable road users."

Nearly one-quarter of all traffic fatalities in 2020 (9,478 deaths) occurred due to high speed. Crashes that occur at higher speeds tend to have more severe results.

"We know from the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety's research that more than two people are killed every day on U.S. roads by impatient and reckless drivers blowing through red lights," says Jill Ingrassia, AAA's executive director of advocacy and communications. "Automated enforcement can play a role in a comprehensive strategy to address dangerous driving behaviors and improve traffic safety for all road users. This new set of best practice guidelines is an excellent starting point in helping jurisdictions ensure these programs are well-designed, data-driven, transparent and equitably implemented."

Camera laws vary from state to state. Currently, Maine, Mississippi, New Hampshire, South Carolina, Texas, and West Virginia prohibit both red light and speed cameras. Montana and South Dakota disallow red-light cameras, and New Jersey and Wisconsin have outlawed speed cameras.

The checklist features first-, second-, and long-term steps including many common sense action items including:

  • Identifying problem intersections and roadways
  • Make engineering and/or signage changes
  • Establish an advisory committee
  • Identify key stakeholders
  • Utilize safety data to determine camera locations
  • Require regular evaluations
The full checklist is available now at IIHS.org.

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