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A red 2021 KIA Sorento for sale is shown driving on a highway.

A Look at the Kia Sorento and Hyundai Santa Fe: Which Midsize SUV Is Right for You?

Do you ever think about where your vehicle came from? Not the dealership you bought it from, the factory where it was put together, or even the company that designed it, but the geographical location that spawned an idea in someone’s head, resulting in a certain design philosophy. Most people think about this very little, but the geographical location makes an enormous impact on the creation of a car, truck, or van, and with this in mind, if on the hunt for a reliable midsize SUV, consider the Kia Sorento for sale or its rival, the Hyundai Santa Fe.

While both brands originated in Seoul, South Korea, the first Hyundai vehicle was a long-held dream by Chung Ju-Yung, who decided to have the first Hyundai model, the “Cortina,” manufactured in Ulsan, South Korea, on the coast. Long stretches of beach and plenty of rocky terrains resulted in a small, hardy car, akin to the Icelandic horses built to withstand the elements and terrain of their homeland. The name “Hyundai” is also the company’s focus, remaining a modern choice for drivers.

The Kia Sorento, on the other hand, comes from a long line of vehicles that began with bicycles, and the “Kia” brand is noted for its dedication to remembering its roots, as the word chosen literally spells out where the vehicle is from; it arose in Asia, specifically in the heart of South Korea, close to the capital of Seoul. This resulted in quick, reliable vehicles that could withstand the daily commute day in and day out for at least a decade.

Curious about their differences? Wondering if they have anything in common? Let’s take a look at each of these sibling companies and see if they’ve learned how to compete in a healthy manner, with the main goal being making each other better, thereby raising not only each other to a higher standard but the entire family as well. Whether you’re looking for a Kia Sorento or a Hyundai Santa Fe, each model comes with their own unique set of features and capabilities.

A red 2019 Hyundai Santa Fe is shown driving on a road near water.

Comparing Engine Options

What sort of engine do you look for? Are you looking for a traditional gas-powered vehicle? What about a plug-in hybrid? If you’re looking for options when it comes to powertrains, Kia and Hyundai each have enough options to make any driver happy. You can choose from a variety of four-cylinder gas-powered engines or opt for a more efficient hybrid version with both models, giving you plenty of options when considering both midsize SUVs.

This willingness to provide drivers with an array of powertrain choices and the attention given to the wants and needs of their drivers is a common thread between Kia and Hyundai. Their focus on their customers remains one of the biggest reasons why their drivers remain loyal. Why would you go elsewhere to find your next vehicle if you had only great options from a company that prided itself on making reliable, high-quality vehicles packed with tons of innovative tech?

A Closer Look at Towing Capacities

The Sorento and Santa Fe won’t win any “Strongest Towing” awards, but when they are properly equipped, they can both tow enough weight so that a teardrop trailer, a recreational vehicle, or a small boat can tag along on your next adventure. With each able to tow up to 3,500 lbs, Kia and Hyundai’s midsize SUVs are prepared for whatever wild idea your family has next. Taking a horse and rider to 4-H? Loading up a few animals for the county fair? Need a weekend away to yourself? You’ve got plenty of room and power to make that happen. Anxious about loading up the Christmas presents? Wondering if that new piece of furniture you want fits inside or on the trailer? You can haul quite a bit with these two models; with the seats put down, you can get up to 75.5 cu.ft. of storage in the Kia Sorento or just over 72 cu.ft. of space in the Hyundai Santa Fe.

If you prefer to buy your vehicle without needing extra accessories, then the Sorento is the best option. With it, you can tow your teardrop camper, mountain bikes, four-wheeler, or other recreational vehicles to your favorite places, ready to make some memories. Again, it makes sense when you consider the geographical location of the two vehicles. The Hyundai comes from a line of cars built to weather wind, sand, and rock, while the Sorento is made to shoulder the responsibility of everyday driving, day trips, and weekend getaways.

A green 2021 KIA Sorento Hybrid is shown driving on a road.

Seating Arrangements

Seating arrangements can be a big deal, especially if you’re spending long hours in the car, either spending a day running errands, going to appointments, or you’re planning a two-week road trip with family or friends. Choose wisely, and you’ll treasure those moments from point A to point B. Seating isn’t just for human bodies, either. Sometimes you need an extra row of seats for the family pet or that holiday shopping excursion.

Sometimes you might need to fold down a seat to bring a new piece of furniture home or load up the bags of food you’re taking to the local shelter. Whatever you use seating for, you’ll need a bit extra every so often, and one extra row can make or break your plans. Of course, if you lived in a place with steep drives, rugged terrain, and inclement weather, you might prefer a smaller vehicle, but if you’re going to be spending a lot of time navigating city streets, chances are, you’ll want that extra seating for whoever is coming along for the ride.

The Santa Fe has two rows of seats capable of carrying up to five people. They might all have a little room, but if you ever need to fold down the second row, you lose valuable seating, necessitating a change of plans, an extra vehicle, etc. The Sorento has three rows of seating, enough for up to seven passengers, and if you’ve got an item or animal that needs a third row or for the row to be folded down, you’ve still got plenty of seating for everyone. Whether you have a large family or find yourself being the designated driver during the night out with friends, the Sorento will give you the seating and space you need.

Both Offer Similar Warranties With a Few Differences

We all know that the more wear and tear a vehicle experiences, the shorter its life expectancy. When it comes to things like warranties, many automotive companies are wary of providing longer time periods or extra miles to said warranties, as they can be held responsible for any number of things that may or may not go wrong. Of course, since Hyundai is Kia’s parent company, both share exceptional warranties that will have you covered for an array of issues during most of your vehicle’s ownership.

Both models share the same extensive coverages for the two main warranties. This includes a 10-year/100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile limited basic warranty. From here, some protections differ, which include the anti-perforation warranty. For the Sorento, this is covered for 5 years/100,000 miles, while the Santa Fe is covered for 7 years/unlimited miles. This also applies to the roadside assistance plan, which is covered for 5 years/60,000 miles for the Sorento and 5 years/unlimited miles for the Santa Fe. Warranty coverage is an important factor when considering a vehicle, and certain protections are more important to specific drivers. While the main coverages are the same, these other protections and their differences are worth noting during the selection process.

A blue 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe is shown parked off road.

Each Model Offers Its Own Set of Advantages

Does it make that much of a difference where a vehicle comes from? Think about the key differences between the Kia Sorento, a car built near the heart of its country of origin, and the Hyundai Santa Fe, built near rugged terrain; it’s clear there are some differences, big and small, resulting in two very different philosophies about what drivers want and need. Though neither is wrong, it’s a good idea to consider what kind of driver you are and what you want from an SUV.

Do you want a vehicle that can withstand the elements but might not zip through city streets following the flow of traffic, or would you rather have a vehicle that can easily handle daily living? Each model has its own set of advantages; the Sorento edges out the Sante Fe with just a bit more cargo space, while the Santa Fe offers a slight advantage with its protections, offering unlimited miles for roadside assistance and anti-perforation. Regardless of which model you choose, you’ll still get to take advantage of exceptional engineering, as well as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid option, making every driver who gets behind the wheel of these two standout models a winner.