Whether you have a big family, a little league team, or just a bunch of friends, the full-size three-row SUV class is an attractive option. Most offer seven seats but with more power than a minivan. In this comparison guide, we introduce the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder and the Hyundai Santa Fe. We'll see which big SUV is the best deal for you.
Passenger and Cargo Space: 2018 Nissan Pathfinder
Considering the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder is 13 inches longer, 3 inches wider, and 650 pounds heavier than the Santa Fe, it comes as no surprise that the Pathfinder has more passenger and cargo space. There's 30 cubic feet more of passenger room, to be precise, which contributes to more head room, more leg room, and more seating. The Pathfinder seats up to seven, two more than its competitor. On top of that, the 2018 Pathfinder boasts a cavernous 79.5 cubic feet of cargo space with the seats folded down.
The 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe has only two rows of seating, giving you room for five passengers only. The Santa Fe still manages to have less head and leg room for the first and second rows compared to the Pathfinder. The Santa Fe offers 35.4 cubic feet of cargo space with those rows up, an advantage over the Pathfinder, but that advantage disappears when you fold the seat down and have 71.5, more than 8 cubes less than the Pathfinder.
Power: 2018 Nissan Pathfinder
You need more power the heavier your load is. Luckily, the Nissan Pathfinder has power in spades. The base engine generates a healthy 284 horsepower and 259 pounds per feet of torque. To top it off, the Pathfinder is slated to tow up to 6,000 pounds, in case you have an RV or boat itching to go to the lake.
Meanwhile, the 2018 Hyundai Santa Fe has a base engine that produces only 185 horsepower and 178 pounds per feet of torque. Even controlling for the difference in size, that's lackluster power. You can tow up to 5,000 pounds with the Santa Fe, but that's less than the Pathfinder as well.
Fuel Economy: Tie
You'd expect the large and powerful Pathfinder to perform poorly in this category. Surprisingly, in the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder the fuel economy sticks to a bearable large SUV average, getting 20 city and 27 highway miles per gallon. Now hold onto your seats. Though it's smaller and carries fewer people and smaller loads, the Santa Fe does not make up for it at the pump. The Santa Fe gets 21 city miles and 27 highway miles, almost exactly the same as the longer and wider Pathfinder.
A big SUV is a big commitment, so you want to make sure that you choose wisely. If you're looking for the ability to haul more people and more loads without racking up fuel bills, the 2018 Nissan Pathfinder will show you the way. It's a three-row-lover's dream.