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Published August 26, 2022

Should I Buy the Kia Sorento or Hyundai Santa Fe?

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Image shows a dark green Kia Sorento driving down a highway in a desert.

If you’re looking for an affordable mid-size SUV, the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe are likely to come up as options during your search.

There’s a lot to love about both of these budget-friendly SUVs. U.S. News points out that these SUVs are “corporate cousins,” so they share a lot of the same attributes, such as powertrains and technology features. One large difference is that a third row of seats comes standard with the Sorento for 2021 models. Third-row seating isn’t available in the Santa Fe.

To help guide you in making a decision, this article will take a closer look at the following for the two SUVs:

  • Specifications
  • Safety
  • Reliability
  • Interior and infotainment
  • Cargo space
Kia Sorento vs. Hyundai Santa Fe
Image shows a Hyundai Santa Fe driving on a highway bridge with a valley in the background.
Hyundai Santa Fe

As you can see the Kia Sorento and Hyundai are similar when it comes to price, engines and specifications. Both SUVs come standard with front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is available for both.

2021 Kia Sorento: Price, engine and specifications

From: $29,390

Engine: 2.5-liter, 191-horsepower 4-cylinder; 2.5-liter, 281-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder

Miles per gallon: up to 24 mpg city/up to 29 mpg highway based on engine and powertrain

2021 Hyundai Santa Fe: Price, engine and specifications

From: $28,185

Engine: 2.5-liter 191-horsepower 4-cylinder; 2.5-liter 277-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder

Miles per gallon: up to 25 mpg city/up to 28 mpg highway

The Santa Fe’s base engine is considered underwhelming, but the SUV offers balanced handling and peppier acceleration with the turbocharged version.

The Sorento offers the better driving experience, with an energetic powertrain and poised handling, according to U.S. News. Both SUVs get good gas mileage for their class.

While we’re focusing on the gas engine versions of these SUVs, it’s important to note that both the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe are available as hybrids.

Head to head: Safety features

The Kia Sorento comes with a longer list of safety features than the Hyundai Santa Fe. The Sorento’s standard features are:

  • Rearview camera
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Forward collision warning
  • Pedestrian detection
  • Forward automatic emergency braking
  • Lane keep assist
  • Lane departure warning
  • Driver drowsiness monitoring

Standard safety features for the Santa Fe:

  • Rearview camera
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Forward collision avoidance assist (pre-collision warning and braking system with detection for pedestrians, cyclists, and junctions in the road ahead)
  • Lane keep assist
  • Driver attention monitor

Available safety features for both SUVs include: blind spot monitoring, front and rear parking sensors, rear cross traffic alert and more.

Head to head: Reliability

Having a reliable vehicle means you’ll spend less time at the repair shop, and therefore, less money on upkeep for your car. The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe has the higher predicted reliability score of 86 out of 100, according to J.D. Power, while he 2021 Sorento has a score of 77 out of 100.

A J.D. Power predicted reliability score of 91-100 is considered the Best, 81-90 is Great, 70-80 is Average, and 0-69 is Fair and considered below average.

Head to head: Interior and Infotainment

The Kia Sorento’s interior is described as upscale, well designed and comfortable. The cabin is well insulated from road noise and premium materials abound, according to U.S. News.

Standard infotainment for the Sorento includes an 8-inch touch screen, a six-speaker stereo, HD Radio, Bluetooth, USB ports, and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, while upgrades include a 10.25-inch touch screen, wireless device charging and 12-speaker Bose stereo system.

The Hyundai Santa Fe’s interior is comparably less plush than the Sorento’s, but still appealing, according to reviews. Standard infotainment is similar to the Sorento and includes an 8-inch touch screen, four USB ports, Bluetooth, and wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.

Available features include a 10.25-inch touch screen (with wired smartphone integration), navigation, HD Radio, a 12-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system, wireless device charging and a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster.

Head to head: Cargo space

Other three-row SUV competitors have more space behind the third row than the Sorento, which has 12.6 cubic feet. Still, the Kia still has decent cargo area for the midsize SUV class with the third row folded – 45 cubic feet – and 75.5 cubic feet with the second and third rows folded.

The Santa Fe boasts 36.4 cubic feet behind the rear seats and that goes up to 72.1 cubic feet with the rear seats folded. There’s also more room to store your gear in the second-row underfloor storage space.

Buy a Kia Sorento or Hyundai Santa Fe from EchoPark

Trying to decide between a used Hyundai Santa Fe or Kia Sorento? Schedule a test drive at the EchoPark nearest you today. Decide on your dream SUV online? Have it shipped to an EchoPark location for convenient pick-up.

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