Crossover & Midsize

The 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe Blows the Kia Sorento Out of the Water

It’s no secret that Hyundai and Kia make some very similar cars. However, since, technically speaking, they’re both independent companies, they also end up competing with each other in most segments, too. Sometimes their cars are pretty equal, but when it’s a battle between the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Kia Sorento, it’s not even close.

Where the 2020 Kia Sorento wins or at least didn’t lose

U.S. News compared the two SUVs with one another, and there was a clear winner in the Hyundai Santa Fe. That said, the Kia Sorento isn’t a bad SUV by any means, and it did do well in a few categories. However, of the 10 different categories that U.S. News compared the two SUVs against, the 2020 Sorento only won one of them. But, it did get a few ties at least. 

The one category that the Kia actually won was its acceleration. Both SUVs have the same base engine, which is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that gets 185 hp. U.S. News didn’t like these base engines, but both SUVs have options.

The 2020 Santa Fe can have a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that gets 235 hp, but the Kia can have a 3.3-liter V6 that gets 290 hp. Obviously, those extra horses give it a lot of extra kick compared to the Hyundai.

That’s the category that Kia won, but it did tie in three other categories – ride and handling, interior quality, and reliability. U.S. News gave each SUV similar scores for each of these categories. That said, one other thing that the Sorento beats the Santa Fe at is seating capacity. This wasn’t a category, but the Sorento is the clear winner. The Sorento has third-row seating, which allows it to seat seven people, while the Santa Fe can only seat five people.

Where the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe wins

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As U.S. News wrote, the 2020 Hyundai Santa Fe wins in pretty much everything else. It’s about $700 cheaper than the Kia Sorento is, which, while it’s not a big difference, it’s still big enough to count. In terms of seating comfort, while the Sorento can seat more people, the Santa Fe can treat them more comfortably. For example, the second-row seats in the Santa Fe can recline while that’s not possible in the Sorento.

U.S. News also gave the win to the Hyundai Santa Fe in cargo capacity. Technically speaking, in ideal conditions, the Sorento has two cubic feet more space than the Santa Fe has. However, without folding any seats, the Santa Fe wins by a mile since it has about 36 cu. ft. of cargo room compared to the Sorento’s 11 cu. ft. of cargo room.

It’s a similar story when it comes to interior features, fuel economy, and safety ratings. Both are similar, but the 2020 Santa Fe just has a bit more that pushes it over the Sorento in those regards. For example, U.S. News gave the Sorento a 9.4 out of 10 for safety, while the Santa Fe got a 9.5 out of 10.

Why the 2020 Santa Fe is ultimately better

U.S. News said that the Santa Fe is ultimately the better SUV, but it was a closer race than it may seem. Because of how closely Hyundai and Kia work with each other, both SUVs are similar in most categories. The Santa Fe just happens to be slightly better in most of those categories, too. 

That said, this wasn’t necessarily the fairest comparison. The Sorento comes with third-row seating as standard, while the Santa Fe is purely a two-seater SUV. This makes the Kia Sorento an inherently better SUV for larger families, while the Hyundai Santa Fe is better for smaller ones. Regardless, both SUVs seem like great options that their new owners probably won’t regret.