Should I Buy a Nissan X-TRAIL Diesel, Hyundai Santa Fe or Kia Sorento?

QUESTION

Hi John, I have a dealer really pushing me to take an in-stock model Kia Sorento Platinum at $43,000, which seems great but I just wonder why its so cheap and what are the differences with the new model Kia Sorento, which I have heard arrives after Christmas? I really had my heart originally on the new Nissan X-TRAIL but I want the diesel and I'm not sure when that is due to arrive in Australia. Thank you, Rebecca.

NISSAN X-TRAIL click to enlarge

  • Engine: 1.6-litre diesel
  • Power: 96kW @ 4000rpm
  • Torque: 320Nm @ 1750rpm
  • Trans: 6sp man/7sp CVT
  • Economy: 5.3L/100km
  • Seating: 5
  • Towing: 750kg/1500kg (unbraked/braked)
  • Warranty: 3yr/100,000km
  • Safety: Five-star ANCAP

2015 KIA SORENTO - click to enlarge

2015 HYUNDAI SANTA FE - click to enlarge

  • Engine: 2.2-litre diesel
  • Power: 145kW @ 3800rpm
  • Torque: 436Nm @ 1800-2500rpm
  • Trans: 6sp auto
  • Economy: 7.3L/100km
  • Seating: 7
  • Towing: 750kg/2000kg (unbraked/braked)
  • Warranty: 5yr/unlimited km
  • Safety: Five-star ANCAP

2014 KIA SORENTO - click to enlarge

  • Engine: 2.2-litre diesel
  • Power: 145kW @ 3800rpm
  • Torque: 436Nm @ 1800-2500rpm
  • Trans: 6sp auto
  • Economy: 7.3L/100km
  • Seating: 7
  • Towing: 750kg/2000kg (unbraked/braked)
  • Warranty: 5yr/unlimited km
  • Safety: Five-star ANCAP
  • Engine: 2.2-litre diesel
  • Power: 145kW @ 3800rpm
  • Torque: 436Nm @ 1800-2500rpm
  • Trans: 6sp auto
  • Economy: 7.3L/100km
  • Seating: 7
  • Towing: 750kg/2000kg (unbraked/braked)
  • Warranty: 5yr/unlimited km
  • Safety: Five-star ANCAP

ANSWER

The diesel Nissan X-TRAIL is on sale in Australia now.

Regarding the top-of-the-range Kia Sorento: Very nice SUV. Unbeatable warranty. However, you should also check out the Hyundai Santa Fe, which is essentially the same car (Hyundai and Kia are the same company but different brands, so the Sorento and Santa Fe are essentially twins with the same major body components and engines, transmissions, drivelines. (Only the hair and makeup is different, in engineering terms.)

Reason being: Santa Fe is slightly better in the details than the Sorento. As in, better to drive and better equipped. Financially, the Santa Fe has just had a 2015 upgrade. Details of the 2015 Hyundai Santa Fe model upgrade >> 

Because the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento are essentially the same vehicle with minor styling differences only, the Hyundai Santa Fe upgrade is probably an excellent window into the likely upgrade in the wings for the Kia Sorento. (Hyundai and Kia are different brands essentially owned by the same company in South Korea, although the brands compete fiercely here in Australia.)

What this means is the Hyundai Santa Fe is insulated from a depreciation hit because that’s what happens to the car you own whenever a new model or an update is released. The Kia Sorento is due for an upgrade (see images above: it's not a new model, but an equipment upgrade to the existing one) some time in 2015. If you buy one now, it will take a resale value hit as soon as the new model arrives, which is why so-called 'model runout' deals are often falsoe economy.  I know the Kia has a great warranty now, at seven years, but Hyundai still offers five years with unlimited kms, plus capped price servicing for the life of the vehicle and 10 years free roadside assistance with Santa Fe - so still a very impressive consumer support package.

It’s not a mistake to buy the Kia Sorento, but I just wanted you to know what’s going on in the background. (Kia has that ‘family pack’ offer at the moment because it struggles to sell Sorento against Santa Fe - for good reason.) 

The Nissan X-TRAIL is a good SUV but as you can see it is a little out-classed by the Hyundai Santa Fe and Kia Sorento in some key areas like engine performance, warranty and towing capacity.

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