TWINS SO SIMILAR
The console has a two-stage lid which helps keep some items separate.
However, the Kia has a bigger bin with a small removable inner small bin inside.
Both have good build quality inside and while the plastics are a bit hard in places, the Hyundai has slightly better feel on the steering wheel.
Its leather seats are also just a shade softer, but neither is particularly plush against your backside.
The Kia brings a little bling inside with nice touches of chrome and the word ‘‘Sorento’’ in the door kicker which lights up. It’s a slightly more upmarket feel in the cabin.
Instruments are near identical except that the Hyundai lights up in blue and the Kia in red.
Both have three rows of seats and separate airconditioning controls for the passengers and even the supplied iPod cable will work in either vehicle.
So a buying decision could come down to your favourite colour.
In driving dynamics there is even less of a divide.
They both steer slightly lightly around the centre and have an initial tip in the body on turn-in, but don’t wallow or lean too much more under heavy cornering.
I had previously found the Hyundai engine noise a little intrusive, but once settled into the rhythm of the highway, it was not a problem and no louder than the Kia.
While both have similarly capable offroad drive components with electronic locking diffs, slightly more serious offroaders who like to tackle steep descents may consider the Kia which has a hill descent selector.
Over a week of bush driving, the two diesel vehicles returned identical fuel econmomy figures of 8L per 100km.
That was the same figure I obtained from the Santa Fe over a week of purely urban duties.
The extra load and off-road duties obviously offsetting the highway cruise.
So if you are making a choice between these two capable Korean SUVs it might come down to the flip of a coin or your favourite colour. Either way, you shouldn’t be disappointed.