2013 Hyundai Santa Fe vs. 2013 Kia Sorento

By Emme Hall.

Hyundai and Kia have been making huge strides in the car market lately. Both have been producing well appointed and stylish cars at decent prizes and covered by a great warranty. So what happens when we look at a popular crossover from each line? Find out as we compare the 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe and the 2013 Kia Sorento.

There are a few different engine choices in the Santa Fe. The base Santa Fe Sport is powered by a 2.4L four cylinder engine good for 190 horsepower and 181 lb/ft of torque. Power goes to the front wheels, although AWD is optional, via a six speed automatic transmission. EPA fuel ratings are 21 mpg in the city, 29 mpg on the highway, and 24 mpg combined for the FWD, and 20/26/22 for the AWD. The Santa Fe Sport 2.0T ups the ante with a turbocharged 2.0L engine, producing 264 horsepower and 269 lb/ft of torque. Again FWD is standard, with EPA ratings of 20/27/23. The AWD returns 19/24/21.

2013 Hyundai SantaFe

Finally, the GLS and Limited Santa Fe models get a 3.3L V6, knocking out 290 horsepower and 252 lb/ft of torque. The FWD returns a fuel economy of 18/25/21 and the AWD gets 18/24/20. This top of the line model will get you from 0-60 mph in 7.7 seconds. The Santa Fe Sport seats 5, the Limited seats 6, and the GLS seats 7. All models are well appointed.

2013 Hyundai SantaFe

Standard features on the base Sport model include 17” alloy wheels, cruise control, power accessories, Bluetooth, air conditioning, 40/20/40 split folding rear seats, and a six speaker audio system with satellite radio, a CD player, and iPod connectivity. The Sport 2.0T adds 19” wheels, keyless entry and ignition, and an upgraded gauge cluster.

The GLS gets the same features as the Sport but adds 18” wheels, foglights, 50/50 split folding third row seats, and a longer wheelbase to accommodate that third row.

The top of the line Limited adds a power liftgate, automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated second row seats, power passenger seat, driver seat memory, a 4.3” touchscreen, and a rearview camera. The second row seats are replaced with two captain’s chairs, reducing the passenger count to 6.

There are a variety of packages and options you can add to your Santa Fe, including heated front seats, navigation, premium sound system, foglights, a heated steering wheel, and blind spot monitoring.

The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe easily functions as a commuter or more likely a kid taxi. The ride is comfortable, the cabin quiet, and power is delivered with a minimum of quirks. Even in the twisties, which are often the downfall of larger crossovers, the Santa Fe feels confident and composed. The steering does have a tendency to drift a bit on the highway, so attention should be paid.

2013 Kia Sorento

The 2013 Kia Sorento also has a few engine choices. Standard is a 2.4L four cylinder engine, good for 175 horsepower, and 169 lb/ft of torque. Power goes to the front wheels via a six speed automatic transmission, although AWD is an option. EPA fuel economy comes back at 21 mpg in the city, 29 mpg out on the highway, and 24 mpg combined for the FWD, and 20/26/33 for the AWD.

A direct injected version of the 2.4L four cylinder engine is also available, producing 191 horsepower and 181 lb/ft of torque. EPA fuel ratings are 21/30/24 for the FWD and 21/27/23 for the AWD.

2013 Kia Sorento

For those with a need for speed, you can also get a 3.5L V6, knocking out 276 horsepower and 248 lb/ft of torque. 60 mph comes in a better than average 7.6 seconds. EPA fuel estimates are 20/26/22 for the FWD and 18/24/20 for the AWD. The Kia Sorento comes in three trim levels: LX, EX, and SX. Room for five is standard except in the SX and the LX V6 which come with a third row, upping the capacity to seven.

The base LX includes 17”alloy wheels, power accessories, keyless entry, air conditioning, cruise control, Bluetooth, CD player, satellite radio, and iPod connectivity. You can add the optional Convenience package to the LX.

The EX adds 18” wheels, keyless ignition/entry, automatic climate control and headlights, heated front seats, rear parking sensors, an eight way power driver’s seat, and a leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.

The EX models with the V6 add the third row seat, rear view camera, upgraded sound system with 10 speakers, panoramic sunroof, rear air conditioning, and an auto dimming mirror. The four cylinder EX models can get the above plus the EX Premium Plus package, including touchscreen navigation. The V6 EX Limited gets everything above plus a cooled driver’s seat.

The SX is only available with the V6 and adds some distinct styling elements, LED tail lights, a two tone interior color design, and an Infinity audio system. The SX Premium adds a heated steering wheel.

If you regularly carry a full carload of people or cargo, the V6 is your best bet, but most people will be satisfied with mid-level direct injected engine. The ride is a bit firm yet still comfortable and the cabin is impressively quiet. The Sorento handles better than you would expect for a crossover, and steering is direct and responsive.

2013 Hyundai SantaFe Sport

The 2013 Hyundai Santa Fe starts at $24,700. The number rises to $35,955 with the larger V6. The 2013 Kia Sorento starts at $24,100 and the V6 tops out at $40,100. You won’t be disappointed with either car, but I’m going with the V6 Hyundai Sante Fe. It’s fairly equal to the Sorento and there isn’t one feature that is worth the extra $4000 and change.

(Note: All vehicles provided by manufacturers for comparison test purposes. Photos provided by Kia and Hyundai.)