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Car group tests

Nissan X-Trail vs Hyundai Santa Fe

Nissan has transformed its pioneering X-Trail crossover from rugged workhorse into classy family 4x4. Can it beat its Hyundai rival?

Nissan X-Trail vs Hyundai Santa Fe

Thanks to its chunky looks, car-like handling and rugged practicality, the original Nissan X-Trail was a crossover pioneer that struck a chord with UK buyers when it was launched in 2001. Over the space of nearly 15 years and two generations, us Brits have bought 75,000 examples of the X-Trail. 

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However, in recent years it’s slipped into obscurity – so the all-new model aims to revitalise the SUV’s fortunes. Not only is it bigger and more efficient than before, it takes its styling cues from the handsome new Qashqai. And that’s not all; it’s also available with a practical seven-seat layout. 

How will it fare against our reigning SUV champ, the Hyundai Santa Fe? The off-roader is pricier and not quite as clean, but it’s bigger, well equipped and backed by a brilliant five-year warranty.

So which car will take top honours in this off-roader duel?

Nissan X-Trail review

Hyundai Santa Fe review 

You can read the full reviews of the cars by clicking the links above, and find out the verdict by scrolling down...


Real 4x4s?

Neither of these cars is what you’d describe as a rugged off-roader, but the all-wheel-drive versions do have their benefits. They’ll have better traction in wintry conditions and can cope with tough inclines. On top of that, the Hyundai and Nissan have electronically locking centre differentials, while the Santa Fe gets hill descent control. In both cases automatic models are better suited to towing and off-road use. 

Optional extras

There’s limited scope to add options to our test models. You could go for illuminated stainless steel side runners on the Nissan for £749, while practical features like a towbar are dealer fit extras. Hyundai options are also limited to dealer fit accessories, plus the addition of a lighter shade of trim.

Seat layouts?

The Hyundai’s rear seats offer a bit more room than the Nissan’s, but both cars should be viewed as seven-seaters for occasional use only. Stick to five seats and you not only save money, but also get a bigger boot: the Nissan goes from 445 to 550 litres and the Santa Fe increases from 516 to 585 litres.


1st place: Nissan X-Trail

The Nissan X-Trail is back and better than ever. Its 1.6-litre diesel engine might be a bit short on performance, but like the very similar Qashqai, it’s a well built and versatile SUV. And while it isn’t thrilling, this car is better to drive than the Hyundai, while improved economy means more affordable running costs. Plus, you can get behind the wheel of an X-Trail for £22,995 – nearly £5,000 less than an entry-level Santa Fe.

2nd place: Hyundai Santa Fe

Splitting this pair is tough and the Hyundai finishes second by a tiny margin, largely due to its higher emissions and more expensive running costs. Still, the Santa Fe has more comfortable row three seats, although they’re still for occasional use. With a bigger engine it’s quicker than the Nissan. Engine refinement is better, too. The Santa Fe is still a strong contender in this class.

Nissan X-Trail vs Hyundai Santa Fe: key specs

 Nissan X-Trail 1.6 dCi n-tecHyundai Santa Fe 2.2 CRDi Premium
On-the-road price/total as tested£29,695/£30,245£31,220/£31,805
Residual value (after 3yrs/30,000)£14,313/48.2%£14,798/47.4%
Annual tax liability std/higher rate£1,357/£2,715£1,673/£3,346
Annual fuel cost (12k/20k miles)£1,753/£2,922£2,042/£3,403
Ins. group/quote/road tax band/cost20/£526/E/£13019/£340/G/£180
Cost of 1st/2nd/3rd service£159/£249/£159£499 (3yrs/30k)
Engine4cyl in-line/1,598cc4cyl in-line/2,199cc
Peak power 128/4,000 bhp/rpm194/3,800 bhp/rpm
Peak torque 320/1,750 Nm/rpm422/1,800 Nm/rpm
Transmission 6-spd man/4wd6-spd man/4wd
Fuel tank capacity/spare wheel60 litres/space saver64 litres/full size
Boot capacity (7/5/2 seats) 135/445/1,982 litresN/A/516/1,615 litres
Kerbweight/payload/towing weight1,580/470/2,000kg1,963/637/2,500kg
Turning circle/drag coefficient11.2 metres/N/A10.9 metres/N/A
Basic warranty (miles)/recovery3yrs (60,000)/3yrs5yrs (unltd)/5yrs
Service intervals/UK dealers20,000 miles (1yr)/22510,000 miles (1yr)/162
Driver Power manufacturer/dealer pos.18th/25th22nd/13th
Euro NCAP: Adult/child/ped./starsN/A96/89/71/86/5
0-60/30-70mph11.2/12.2 secs8.7/9.2 secs
30-50mph in 3rd/4th 4.4/6.0 secs3.5/5.9 secs
50-70mph in 5th/6th 8.9/11.5 secs7.6/10.5 secs
Top speed/rpm at 70mph 116mph/2,000rpm118mph/2,000rpm
Braking 70-0/60-0/30-0mph 53.0/37.2/10.4m53.9/34.4/10.3m
Noise levels outside/idle/30/70mph71/50/67/74dB75/47/62/71dB
Auto Express econ (mpg/mpl)/range41.7/9.3/550 miles35.8/7.9/504 miles
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined45.6/58.9/53.3mpg37.7/54.3/46.3mpg
Govt urban/extra-urban/combined10.0/13.0/11.7mpl8.3/11.9/10.2mpl
Actual/claimed CO2/tax bracket182/139g/km/23%211/159g/km/27%
Airbags/Isofix/parking sens/cameraSix/yes/yes/yesSeven/yes/yes/yes
Climate control/leather/heated seatsYes/no/noYes/yes/yes
Hill descent ctrl/hill hold/cruise ctrlNo/yes/yesYes/yes/yes
Metallic paint/auto box/keyless go£550/no/yes£585/£1,710/no
Sat-nav/USB/DAB radio/BluetoothYes/yes/yes/yesYes/yes/yes/yes
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