BMW X1 versus Hyundai Santa Fe

  • Apr 06, 2012

BMW is known to be one amongst the top manufacturers in the world for luxury and high performance cars. They recently launched their newest SUV and the youngest amongst the X series of high performance sports utility vehicles. The BMW X1 is their latest entrant in India in the Sports Activity Vehicle segment as BMW likes to call it and today we pitch it against Hyundai’s offering in the SUV segment; Hyundai Santa Fe. Hyundai is another popular and leading passenger car manufacturer in India and across many countries around the globe. Let’s find out which of these two new cars in the Indian automotive scene is the one that you always wished to buy.

Looks and design:


The BMW X1 has a very aggressive looking front end and looks absolutely stunning. It has the trademark BMW chrome-lined twin kidney grills and the skid plate combined with the black bumper gives it a very contemporary feel to its design. The BMW looks very pleasing from 3/4th view and has a huge road presence from the front. 18” wheels which are on the options list exudes aggression in its design. BMW X1 has a curvier side profile and comes with an optional panoramic sunroof. The rear of the car is well designed and looks fantastic and lends to the overall muscular and sporty character of this Beemer. The mix of LED tail lights and Steel skid plate combined with the dark paint all add to the classy feel of the car. The build quality is very BMW; Excellent. It feels solid and the fit and finish is superb and paint quality feels top notch.


Hyundai Santa Fe is a good looking SUV which would perfectly fit the market if launched a few years ago but the styling although being contemporary can feel little out-dated if compared with its rivals who sport aggressive and modern styling. Santa Fe sports Hyundai’s fluidic design concept and it is apparent in the design of its front grille, air dam and design of its headlights and fog lamp housing designs. This SUV has smooth lines and has an excellent road presence. It had flared wheel arches which lend it sporty and muscular looks and the roof rails add to the character of this car. The rear has a well proportionate design and looks well sorted with the rest of the design elements. The 16” multi spoke alloys look sporty on the Santa Fe and the car looks best when looked at 3/4th profile. Hyundai has done a good job and build quality is good and fit and finish and paint quality looks great.

Looks overall – BMW X1 – 8.5/10
Looks overall – Hyundai Santa Fe – 8/10

Interiors – design, space and features:


BMW X1 has excellent interiors with bits and pieces resembling the 3 series sedan. It will amaze new owners and current BMW owners will feel at home. BMW design logic usually follows function over form and this is visible in the X1. It brings large amounts of cabin space. The seats are firm yet comfortable and offer excellent lower back support. The driver gets adjustable seats and the front passenger has vast amount of leg room owing to the design of the dashboard. The center consoles feels very C-class with good quality plastic and feels premium. The console is tilted towards the driver and offers easy to reach controls. BMW X1 comes with Harman/Kardon speakers, USB/Aux-in, Bluetooth. The wood finish feels excellent. While the highline will only features the i-Drive. X1 comes with a 4” screen which displays the vehicle functions. It also boasts of ambient lighting, adjustable armrests, vanity mirrors and satin silver interior trim. There is plenty of space for the rear passengers. The cushioning at the rear feels excellent. There is plenty of storage area inside for your small items and the boot coupled with foldable seats is capable of holding 430 liters of luggage.


Hyundai Santa Fe interiors are loaded with features. It has comfortable seats for the passengers and driver seat is multi-adjustable. It has plenty of leg and head room for taller passengers. There is plenty of being and faux wood used inside and it lends to the overall luxurious feel of the interiors. It brings plenty of features such as the 6CD changer, automatic climate control system and 8 speakers all around the car. There is USB, Aux-in and BlueTooth connectivity as well. The list of features is nearly endless in this car with the Instrument cluster sporting 3 dials; speedometer, tacho meter, MID and fuel gauge. It has steering mounted audio controls, cruise control. The centre console on the dash presents a ton of options to choose from. The rear passengers get their individual AC air vents for superior cooling. The Santa Fe packs a lot boot space and brings 380 liters of space without folding the rear passenger seats.

Interiors overall – BMW X1 – 8.5/10
Interiors overall – Hyundai Santa Fe –

Engine – performance, power, torque, fuel economy, smoothness:


BMW X1 brings the powerful engine seen in the BMW 320D sedan but in the X1 it is tuned to produce 177 BHP at 4000 RPM and deliver a maximum torque of 350 NM between 1750-3000 RPM. This is courtesy a variable nozzle turbo which gives this sports activity vehicle stellar on road performance. The turbo lag is at a minimum and it brings a close ratio 6 speed gear box which allows it very good performance across all gears. Triple digit speeds are easily achieved and is addictive on the X1. It brings a quiet engine and the cabin noise is well controlled. The BMW X1 sounds great when revved hard and will rev upto 5200 RPM. ARAI has certified the newest BMW SUV to deliver an excellent fuel efficiency of 15.06 kmpl. This makes it a highly fun to drive while ensuring that the fuel bills are manageable. There is also a petrol variant available with 150 BHP and peak torque of 200 NM from its 1995cc petrol engine and delivers an ARAI certified 11.25 kmpl.


Hyundai Santa Fe brings a powerful engine to the segment. It doesn’t have multiple engine options but comes with a 4x2 and 4x4 wheel drive package. The 2.2 litre diesel engine produces 194 BHP at 3800 RPM and makes a peak torque of 420 NM at 2200 RPM. These power figures make it a scorcher of a ride. It makes it more powerful than most of its competition in the segment and makes it an extremely fun to drive SUV on the road. It has plenty of low end torque needed for the city and highway performance is fantastic. This car is eager to overtake anything. The motor revs freely to 5400 RPM redline and makes it a very tractable motor. The engine feels smooth and refined and the gear shifts are pretty slick. Santa Fe has been certified by ARAI to deliver a fuel economy of 14.66 kmpl. This makes a fuel efficient yet powerful SUV that is great to drive in the city.

Engine overall – BMW X1 – 8/10
Engine overall – Hyundai Santa Fe –

Suspension – Ride, comfort and handling:


BMW X1 has ultra low profile tyres which sometimes can give a jarring ride on extremely rough roads. The road noise can be felt inside the cabin. However with the 16” and 17” alloy versions this is somewhat less noticeable. The ground clearance is high and this car will pass over most speedbreakers comfortably and through bad potholes without scraping its underbelly or causing any discomfort to its passengers inside. It has an overall comfortable ride quality which will be appreciated by all. The steering is an EPS unit and gives good feedback at speeds. The BMW X1 comes with Dynamic Stability Control –ESP and Dynamic Traction Control for better control at all times. The X1 comes with front and rear disks with 4 channel ABS and EBD for that ultimate control in braking to a stop. All round airbags comes as standard and helps in providing maximum safety to its passengers.


Hyundai Santa Fe has a well sorted chassis and provides very good level of drive. It may not sport the driving dynamics of some of its higher priced and specced counterparts but will holds its own for most parts. It has a comfortable ride quality which is well cushioned. It has high ground clearance which swallows all potholes and the suspension is well sorted to handle the worst of Indian road conditions. It comes with an on demand four wheel drive system which increases or decreases power to a wheel depending on the amount of slippage to the wheel. It is quite stable at high speeds and in corners. It brings 10 Airbags for safety and comes with 4 channel ABS, Traction Control and EBD for better braking under any conditions. It is a great if you like to be chauffeur driven to your choice of location.

Suspension overall – BMW X1 – 8/10
Suspension overall – Hyundai Santa Fe – 8/10

Value for money – sticker price, standard features:

BMW X1 is quite an excellent performer on road and although being a soft-roader it might be an all-out 4x4 but it still packs a lot of utility value while giving a prestigious sense of ownership. BMW X1 is priced at a fantastic value for a BMW X series car. It delivers strong performance and combines style and elegance with fantastic ownership experience courtesy BMW after sales. It has been priced from Delhi ex-showroom price for BMW X1 sDrive 18i at 22.40 lakhs for the petrol variant. While the diesel variants are priced at 24.40 lakhs for the base variant BMW X1 sDrive20D. While the top variant of the BMW X1 sDrive20D Exclusive has been priced at 30.80 lakhs. The pricing is quite sensible for all that is on offer on the X1 and makes it value for money purchase for prospective BMW owners.

Hyundai Santa Fe comes loaded with features and feels luxurious and is a great car to drive thanks to its powerful and peppy motor. It comes with Hyundai’s excellent service backup and being a CBU import it comes at a slight higher price tag than it should be. It has a Delhi ex-showroom price of 22.34 lakhs for the Hyundai Santa Fe 4x2. Hyundai Santa Fe 4x4 is priced at 24.43 lakhs while the most expensive variant with automatic transmission Hyundai Santa Fe 4x4 AT is priced at 25.37 lakhs. However all things considered we think the pricing for the Hyundai Santa Fe is great and most certainly value for money. Hyundai generally comes with a low cost of ownership given their reliable cars and this holds true for the Hyundai Santa Fe as well.

Value for money overall – BMW X1 – 8/10
Value for money overall – Hyundai Santa Fe – 8/10


BMW X1 is fantastic sports activity vehicle which offers the ultimate driving experience to its owners also perfect if you want a chauffeur driven SUV for your daily runs. BMW brand is one of the biggest names in luxury and premium car manufactures and they are known for quality craftsmanship. The ownership experience is complete given a good service back and after sales experience. The Sante Fe from Hyundai is also another great soft roader and comes with a whole lot of goodies for its owner. The only things lacking is the fact that it is not a BMW and despite Hyundai being on the largest manufacturers in India and have one of the best service backups in the industry by size and scale. Hyundai Santa Fe packs a ton of features and performance is class leading. It brings luxury too and at a great price.

BMW Hyundai
Car version sDrive18i sDrive20d sDrive 20d Exclusive 2 WD 4 WD AT
Ex-showroom price 2234000 2440000 3080000 2234000 2443000 2537000
Length 4453 4453 4453 4660 4660 4660
Width 1796 1796 1796 1890 1890 1890
Height 1544 1544 1544 1760 1760 1760
Wheelbase 2758 2758 2758 2700 2700 2700
Boot space 419 419 419 NA NA NA
Kerb Weight NA NA NA NA NA NA
Turning radius NA NA NA NA NA NA
Tank capacity 61 61 61 70 70 70
Clearance 193 193 193 200 200 200
Displacement 1995 1995 1995 2199 2199 2199
Max. Power 152PS @6400rpm 179PS @4000rpm 179PS @4000rpm 197PS @3800rpm 197PS @3800rpm 197PS@4000rpm
Max. Torque 200Nm @3600rpm 350Nm @1750rpm 350Nm @1750rpm 421Nm @1800rpm 421Nm @1800rpm 436Nm@1800-2500
Fuel economy 11.25 15.06 15.06 14.66 14.66 11.72
Cylinders 4 4 4 NA NA 4
Type Automatic Automatic Automatic Manual Manual Automatic
Speeds 6 6 6 NA 6 6
Tyre 225/50 R17 94H 225/50 R17 94H 225/50 R17 94H 235/60 R18 235/60 R18 Tubeless
Front NA NA NA Mc Pherson Strut Type Mc Pherson Strut Type MacPherson Strut
Rear NA NA NA Multi - Link Tyep Multi - Link Tyep Multi link suspension

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