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Discussion Starter · #1 ·

Family faceoff: Comparing the two newest three-row crossovers
by Mike Schlee

For decades the mainstay of family transportation was the station wagon. This sensible form of transportation could take the ‘fam’ and their gear anywhere they wanted. But by the 1980s, the station wagon had fallen out of favor. Blame it on the popularity of the minivan or maybe the Queen Family Truckster, but the wagon had suddenly become tragically uncool.

Since then, the minivan has come and gone as the favorite automotive choice for families, followed by the body-on-frame sport utility vehicle. After initial sales success, both have been abandoned by many in their key demographic. Why? Simple: whatever vehicles suburban families snap up today are avoided like the plague tomorrow. Heaven forbid that expensive new piece of metal sitting in the driveway has the stigma of ‘suburban soccer mobile’.


And so the cycle continues. Now, it is the full-size crossover’s turn. Many manufacturers, like Honda, Chevrolet, Ford and Toyota, have been playing in this field for years. But there are two newcomers this year competing for the title of best family vehicle; the Nissan Pathfinder and the Hyundai Santa Fe. Nissan is taking the same approach Ford did with the Explorer by turning the off-road capable Pathfinder in a three-row soft-roader. Based on a car platform, the Pathfinder is available as a front-wheel drive (FWD) vehicle for the first time.

The 2013 Pathfinder has an aggressive look and features Nissan’s trademark nose. This means an overdose of plastic chrome on the front grill and a massive Nissan logo. The rest of the vehicle looks good though, especially the optional 20-inch wheels and flowing back three-quarter section.

Also new for 2013 is the Hyundai Santa Fe. Earlier in the year came the five passenger Santa Fe Sport that is more in line size-wise with 2012 model. Joining it now is a regular Santa Fe that is stretched out to accommodate a 3rd row of seating, effectively replacing the largely unsuccessful Veracruz.

It continues the styling theme started by the handsome Sport model last year. The three bar grille has, however, been replaced by a five bar grille and overall it’s not as well proportioned as its smaller sibling and the rear quarters look rather minivan-like; not a good thing in this segment.
Read the complete Nissan Pathfinder vs Hyundai Santa Fe Comparison at

2013 Nissan Pathfinder vs 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe - YouTube

82 Posts
I have to admit that the Hyundai Santa Fe is the better looking vehicle here in my opinion. But that's not to say the Pathfinder is an ugly SUV, Hyundai just did a better job here when it comes to design.

Looking at the Santa Fe's rear end it almost takes on an Audi appearance. If it was debadged and had better looking luxury vehicle-like wheels I would think it was some high end VW SUV at the least, and then maybe audi.

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