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2022 Hyundai Santa Fe vs Kia Sorento

2022 Hyundai Santa Fe vs Kia Sorento
Reviewed & fact checked by
James Murdoch

2022 Santa Fe vs Sorento - How Do They Stack Up? Which is Better?

Finding just the right vehicle to fit your unique and changing needs is not easy task, especially if you are on the hunt for a new SUV. No matter what size you go for, that segment is going to be utterly packed with fierce competitors. The 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe and 2022 Kia Sorento are two vehicles packed into an intensely competitive pack, and they also happen to be corporate cousins - both residing under the Hyundai Motor Group umbrella.

Both vehicles have something to offer the right buyer. On the 2022 Santa Fe, you get a five-seater that delivers more room than the smaller Hyundai Tucson but at a more justifiable price than the larger Palisade. There are even hybrid options: the Plug-In Hybrid has a larger battery pack than the standard Santa Fe Hybrid which gives it an extra 30 miles on pure electric power before it switches over to the hybrid powertrain. There is even a new XRT trim level on the gas-only Santa Fe; it adds unique exterior molding body molding, black bumper fascia, black roof rails and cross rails, and skid plates for the front and rear done in a sleek dark silver.

The 2022 Kia Sorento might not be quite as compact as its previous generation was, but having been introduced in 2021, the Sorento's fourth generation feels much more inspired by the bigger Telluride. The Sorento embodies a combination of value, comfort, and utility.

Which one could be the better fit for you? Which one has the better powertrain options, more drivability, safety, and overall value? It is time to find out.

The Powertrain

A powertrain can make or break your entire driving experience. On a SUV, it has to have ample power right off the line to get that bulk of a vehicle moving in a sufficient manner. On the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe, you get a base 2.5-liter four cylinder engine that generates a power output of 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque. This engine comes paired up to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Front-wheel drive (FWD) is standard across the line-up, but all-wheel drive (AWD) is an option for each trim level on the Santa Fe. Upgrading to the Limited gives you a stronger turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder, which generates 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque.

Equipping the more powerful 277-horsepower turbo engine will get the Santa Fe from 0 to 60 miles per hour in a mere 6.6 seconds, which is a bit quicker than other small and midsize SUVs in this class. When you are not pushing for top speeds, the turbo engine's power delivery feels unrefined and wishy-washy. The eight-speed automatic transmission seems tuned to get to the highest gears as quickly as possible, which comes off as being a touch jarring.

As you round through turns, you might feel the Santa Fe leaning too much, which leads to it not feeling as planted as other SUVs. The Santa Fe feels as though it was built for cruising along in a casual manner, not for engaging in any sporty driving. At least the vehicle's steering is tuned for laid-back, slow-speed maneuvering and a fair amount of stability on the highway.

With the turbo engine and AWD equipped, the EPA says you should get 24 miles per gallon in combined driving. Real-world tests show that you can actually achieve 27-28 mpg combined, which, given its higher power output, means it can hold its own against competitors with V6 engines equipped.

The 2022 Kia Sorento is powered by a base 2.5-liter four-cylinder that puts forth a power output of 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque while being matched up with an eight-speed automatic transmission. While front wheel drive (FWD) is standard issue, any trim level can optionally be equipped with AWD. The EX trim offers a stronger 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that gives the vehicle a power boost up to 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. This engine is matched to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission.

When it has the optional turbocharged engine equipped, the Sorento is swift to accelerate, zipping from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.7 seconds. The power even keeps building at higher speeds. Merging onto and passing other vehicles on the highway is easy-peasy for Sorento drivers. The brand new eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission demonstrates some almost seamless shifts while the vehicle is in either slow-moving traffic or pushing it to full-throttle to merge onto the highway.

Braking on the Sorento is simple due to the natural feel of the brake pedal. Coming to a stop from 60 mph results in just a tiny amount of nosedive and cane be achieved in a mere 121 feet. Steering could use more accuracy, but the Sorento's handling is on point, inspiring driver confidence while rounding through tight turns.

Fuel economy is respectable enough on the Sorento. It nabs an EPA estimated 24 mpg combined, and real-world tests have been able to achieve this. Also, the Sorento's turbo engine does not require premium fuel. While it doesn't quite match a few top rivals, the Sorento puts in a good effort.


What does it mean for a vehicle to be "drivable"? It is not just about getting from Point A to Point B; it is about doing so in comfort, style, and with plenty of tech to keep you entertained and informed the whole way there. Is a vehicle going to have enough cabin space? Cargo volume? Are its seats padded with enough lumbar and thigh support? How logically laid-out are the controls? All of these things - and more - factor into this blanket term we call drivability.

That being said, the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe is a good daily driver - with a few caveats. Comfort-wise, the Santa Fe's suspension absorbs most bumps and harsh impacts in the road surface, but the ride can start to feel too drifty and soft. Still, this SUV's front seats are highly comfortable and offer you plenty of adjustments - not to mention options for heating and cooling. The only drawback is that the padding on the door armrests feels somewhat thin.

The cabin is well insulated from noise thanks to its dual-pane front windows and advanced sound deadening design. Ambient, wind, and road noise are all pleasantly subdued. The climate controls are easy to adjust and are thorough at keeping the cabin at desired temperatures.

Legroom is generous inside of the cabin, and the interior is moderately spacious all around. Skipping over the panoramic sunroof will lend to more head room in both rows, but the rear seat can recline to off-set the lack of head space if you do go for that sunroof. You can easily reach the controls, which are smartly laid out along the dash. The controls you will find yourself using the most are physical knobs and buttons, so you won't need to go digging through the touchscreen interface to find everything.

Getting in and out is simple enough due to the wide door openings, and you happen to get a good amount of visibility from the sizable rear window (and unassuming head rests). The sideview mirrors are mounted to the door, which minimizes blind spots, and the available surround-view camera system makes parking in a tight spot even easier.

In terms of technology, the Santa Fe is outfitted with a standard array of Hyundai's latest gadgets. For the most part, things work well, but we'd recommend avoiding the optional 10.25-inch touchscreen display. It is ultimately too slow in its responses to your inputs, plus the graphics are not particularly crisp. The premium audio system sends out enough volume and clear enough sound quality, but it fails to be as immersive as other systems. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration is included, but if you have the 10.25-inch screen, CarPlay will only use about two-thirds of it - not the full screen.

You can opt up to get a wireless charging pad with a space-saving spring-loaded slot; the downside is that this slot might gobble up coins and other small items that are impossible to retrieve. At least you get four USB ports (two up front and two charge-only ports in the rear) as standard, and Blue Link connected services as included on the SEL trim level and above.

Cargo space feels generous enough. You do get 36.4 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats plus some handy underfloor bins for extra storage. The remote seat releases let you quickly drop the second row down from the rear of the vehicle as well as at the rear passenger doors. This all lends to a sense of versatility, not to mention the abundance of small item storage areas crafted throughout the cabin. The electronic gear selector leaves a reasonable amount of space below the center console. This SUV's maximum towing capacity sits at 3,500 pounds when properly equipped, which is decent enough for a vehicle this size.

The 2022 Kia Sorento's drivability factors are worth examining here, too. All three rows offer a good amount of support and comfort, although the optional second-row captain's chairs border on the firmer side. The dual-zone climate control system is easy to use and distributes air flow evenly throughout each zone. Skip the 20-inch wheels; they seem to compromise ride quality, allowing too many bumps into the cabin and emitting an unpleasant noise when speeding along on the highway. The smaller wheel sizes seem to bode better.

Space is a highlight for the Sorento. Even adults can feel comfortable sitting in the two back rows. The vehicle is ultimately kid-friendly, and the driver gets a fair amount of outward visibility all around the Sorento thanks to its slender roof pillars and wide glass. The optional surround-view camera system helps when you're trapped in a tight parking spot.

When you opt for the 10.25-inch touchscreen with navigation, an upgraded Bose audio system, and a 12.3-inch digital instrument panel, you get a well-rounded tech experience from the Sorento. The on-screen graphics are crystal clear, and prompts are easy enough to follow. Voice command is the only thing that just feels "meh" tech-wise. You can get up to eight USB ports and a wireless charging pad for the cabin, but there is no wireless connectivity for Apple CarPlay or Android Auto quite yet.

There are only 12.6 cubes behind the third row of seats for storing cargo, but when you fold that third row down, you can get between 38.5 and 45 cubic feet (depending on your configuration). This is better than both the Toyota RAV4 and Honda Passport, and the max volume of 75.5 cubes puts the Sorento on par with the Honda CR-V. There are also a lot of well-crafted interior storage spaces for stashing your valuables. Towing on the FWD sits at the industry average of 3,500 pounds while the turbo engine can only handle up to 2,000 pounds.


Hyundai and Kia share a lot of the same safety features and driver aids, so you will see some crossover here. And there is nothing wrong with that since they like to load their vehicles up with driver aids. On the Santa Fe, you get standard adaptive cruise control, forward collision mitigation, lane keep assist, and a driver attention warning. Upgrading to the SEL gets you a blind spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert and a rear passenger safe exit system. Adding the Convenience package gives you a rear seat reminder, and the Premium package has the lane keeping system. Going up to the Limited slaps on a surround-view camera system, a blind-spot camera, rain-sensing wipers, and an automated parking system. A head-up display gets tacked onto the line-topping Calligraphy trim level.

On the Sorento, you get a bundle of standard driver aids that includes a driver attention warning, forward collision mitigation, and lane keep assist. The S trim level adds on a blind spot monitoring system with a rear cross-traffic alert, rear automatic braking, and rear parking sensors. Adaptive cruise control, an enhanced forward collision warning system, and a lane keeping system are added to the EX trim. The line-topping SX adds a surround-view camera system, front parking sensors, and a blind spot camera for additional visibility around the vehicle.

Which Has the Best Value?

In terms of value, both the Hyundai and Kia have a lot to offer. For the amount of features you get equipped, the Santa Fe's price tag is quite justifiable. While a few areas of the cabin aren't perfectly crafted, most of it is made from quality materials and put together well for this segment. Even if you go all the way up to the Calligraphy trim level, it offers a more efficient and snappier powertrain than its competitors while being reasonably priced and well equipped with features.

Quite naturally, Hyundai's five-year/60,000-mile basic and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranties really stand out. Hyundai even offers three years of free scheduled maintenance, giving their vehicles even more in terms of value.

The Sorento offers similar value though. While the Sorento's cabin does show some hard plastics, there are a lot of nice-looking materials included in its design. Price-wise, the SX Prestige X-Line will take you up to a $44,000-ish tag, which places it among bigger, more equipped SUVs. Going middle-of-the-road with the EX is probably a buyer's best bet here.

Kia's warranty coverage means that the Sorento comes with five-year/60,000-mile bumper-to-bumper and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranties. Roadside assistance slides in at five years/60,000 miles. Overall, this adds quite a bit of value.

Which is Better?

Picking between the 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe and 2022 Kia Sorento is tough. They sure are a lot alike. The Sorento is the better choice if you absolutely need those extra seats in the back. It is undoubtedly the more kid-friendly option, but it also isn't a snooze to drive. Getting the turbo engine equipped really makes the Sorento feel capable.

The Santa Fe is no slouch though. If you only need five seats, this is your better bet. You get ample power from its turbo engine option and a slew of standard and available tech and safety features to make it worth the cost.

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2021 Hyundai Santa Fe VS Kia Sorento