Childre Nissan Compares 2016 Nissan Pathfinder VS 2017 Hyundai Santa Near Macon, GA

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2016 Nissan Pathfinder

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2017 Hyundai Santa

Safety Comparison

For enhanced safety, the front, middle and rear seat shoulder belts of the Nissan Pathfinder are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Hyundai Santa Fe doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle or rear seat belts.

Both the Pathfinder and the Santa Fe have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

A significantly tougher test than their original offset frontal crash test, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety does 40 MPH small overlap frontal offset crash tests. In this test, where only 25% of the total width of the vehicle is struck, results indicate that the Nissan Pathfinder is safer than the Santa Fe:


Santa Fe

Overall Evaluation






Head Neck Evaluation



Head injury index



Peak Head Forces

0 G’s

0 G’s

Steering Column Movement Rearward

3 cm

8 cm

Chest Evaluation



Max Chest Compression

15 cm

16 cm

Hip & Thigh Evaluation



Femur Force R/L

2.3/.1 kN

4.8/1.1 kN

Hip & Thigh Injury Risk R/L



Lower Leg Evaluation



Tibia index R/L



Tibia forces R/L

.8/.1 kN

1.6/1 kN

Warranty Comparison

There are over 86 percent more Nissan dealers than there are Hyundai dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Pathfinder’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Nissan vehicles are more reliable than Hyundai vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Nissan 12th in reliability, above the industry average. With 60 more problems per 100 vehicles, Hyundai is ranked 24th.

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the Pathfinder gets better fuel mileage than the Santa Fe:


Santa Fe



20 city/27 hwy

18 city/25 hwy



17 city/23 hwy

Ultimate V6/Auto



19 city/26 hwy

18 city/24 hwy



17 city/22 hwy

Ultimate V6/Auto

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

The Pathfinder’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Santa Fe are solid, not vented.

The Pathfinder stops shorter than the Santa Fe:


Santa Fe

60 to 0 MPH

116 feet

125 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Pathfinder Platinum has standard 20-inch wheels. The Santa Fe’s largest wheels are only 19-inches.

The Pathfinder has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Pathfinder’s wheelbase is 4 inches longer than on the Santa Fe (114.2 inches vs. 110.2 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Pathfinder is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 1.2 inches wider in the rear than on the Santa Fe.

The Pathfinder SL 4x4 handles at .76 G’s, while the Santa Fe Limited AWD pulls only .74 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

Passenger Space Comparison

The Pathfinder has 11.2 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Santa Fe (157.8 vs. 146.6).

The Pathfinder has 2.3 inches more front headroom, 1 inch more front legroom, .1 inches more front hip room, 1.3 inches more front shoulder room, 1.3 inches more rear legroom, .7 inches more rear hip room, 2.1 inches more rear shoulder room, 2.1 inches more third row headroom and 3.2 inches more third row shoulder room than the Santa Fe.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Pathfinder’s cargo area provides more volume than the Santa Fe.


Santa Fe

Behind Third Seat

16 cubic feet

13.5 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded


40.9 cubic feet

Third Seat Removed

42.4 cubic feet


The Pathfinder has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Pathfinder offers a remote vehicle starting system, so the vehicle can be started from inside the driver's house. This allows the driver to comfortably warm up the engine before going out to the vehicle. The climate system will also automatically heat or cool the interior. The Santa Fe doesn’t offer a remote starting system.

If the front windows are left down on the Pathfinder the driver can raise them using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Santa Fe can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Pathfinder SV/SL/Platinum’s standard wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Santa Fe’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

When the Pathfinder SL/Platinum is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Santa Fe’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

The Pathfinder has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Santa Fe.

Recommendations Comparison

The Nissan Pathfinder won three awards in Kiplinger’s 2015 car issue. The Hyundai Santa Fe only won one award.

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its August 2014 issue and they ranked the Nissan Pathfinder SL 4x4 higher than the Hyundai Santa Fe Limited AWD.

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