The Santa Fe is more modern thanks to its more recent redesign, but the Sorento presents an excellent value in 3-row crossovers.
Midsize crossovers are a happy medium between agile, efficient compact crossovers and bigger, more expensive full-size SUVs. Two prominent players in this segment are the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Kia Sorento, which are corporate cousins. They share many similarities, but the Santa Fe was fully redesigned in 2019 and an all-new Sorento is on the way for 2021. The Santa Fe is more modern, but the Sorento is still worth a serious look for drivers looking for a good value in a practical crossover.
Let’s take a closer look at the similarities and differences between these two SUVs and see which is better.
These two crossovers are almost identical in size, with the Sorento being 1 inch longer than the Santa Fe. The recently redesign Santa Fe wears the handsome corporate Hyundai look very well, and it strikes a nice balance between rugged and premium. The Sorento is another nice-looking crossover but could be considered a bit blander compared to its Hyundai cousin. See the 2020 Kia Sorento models for sale near you or See the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Models for sale near you
These SUVs both have impressive interiors, especially when you consider their pricing. They both use modern designs and nice materials to create a serene space that nicely complements their smooth, comfortable rides. The Santa Fe feels a little more modern on the inside since it’s been recently redesigned, but the interior design of the Sorento is aging very nicely.
One of the biggest differences between these two crossovers is that the Santa Fe has two rows of seats and the Sorento has three. Both offer plenty of room in their first two rows of seats, but the third row in the Sorento is a bit cramped. If you’re looking for a minivan alternative with a roomy third row, you may want to consider upgrading to a bigger crossover like the Hyundai Palisade or the Kia Telluride, but the third row of seats in the Sorento is still nice to have. Since the Santa Fe is about the same size as the Sorento but doesn’t have a third row of seats, it has especially generous interior space for a midsize crossover.
The Sorento and the Santa Fe both have two engines available. They share an identical base engine with the same performance and fuel economy numbers. In the Sorento, the optional engine upgrade is a powerful V6, and in the Santa Fe it’s a turbocharged inline four. Both SUVs have standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive.
2020 Kia Sorento Engines
2.4-liter inline four, 185 horsepower, 178 lb-ft of torque, up to 22 miles per gallon in the city and 29 mpg on the highway
3.3-liter V6, 290 hp, 252 lb-ft of torque, up to 19 mpg city/26 mpg hwy
2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Engines
2.4-liter inline four, 185 hp, 178 lb-ft of torque, up to 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway
2.0-liter turbocharged inline four, 235 hp, 260 lb-ft of torque, up to 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway
The base engine in both SUVs deserve props for their respectable fuel economy ratings, but they’re also a bit underwhelming when it comes to performance. We think the optional engine upgrades are worth the cost in both SUVs since they’re still pretty good on gas while improving performance pretty drastically.
Infotainment technology is very similar in these two SUVs. They both come standard with a user-friendly 7-in UVO infotainment system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. They’re also both upgradable to an 8-in unit with more features like navigation and satellite radio.
The Santa Fe is quite a bit more generous with standard safety and driver assistance technology than the Sorento. The Santa Fe comes standard with a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control, automatic emergency braking, forward-collision warning, pedestrian detection, driver drowsiness monitoring and lane-keeping assist. The Sorento has a standard backup camera, and all of the aforementioned technology is optional. Some tech you can get in the Santa Fe that you can’t get in the Sorento includes a head-up display, Safe Exit Assist and Blind View Monitor, which shows you what’s in your blind spot on your infotainment screen when your turn signal is on.
Both of these SUVs are priced quite attractively. The Sorento has a starting MSRP of $26,990, and the Santa Fe starts at $26,125. On the high end, the top trims of these crossovers come in around the $40,000 mark.
If you don’t need a third row of seats, then the Santa Fe is a better buy than the Sorento because of its more abundant standard and available driver assistance technology and slightly more affordable pricing. If you’re looking for an affordable midsize 3-row SUV, the Sorento is an excellent value. Find a Kia Sorento for sale or Find a Hyundai Santa Fe for sale