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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.

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