Hi, Botchi. I just sold my 2005 Toyota Fortuner V, so I'm now looking for a replacement. After test-driving several SUVs (Captiva, Sorento, Santa Fe, CX-7/9), it's mainly down to two choices: the CRDi 4x2 Kia Sorento and the 4x2 eVGT Hyundai Santa Fe.
Several reasons why I short-listed these two are comfort, interior, and seven-seat capacity. The Captiva was on the compact side and its drive was not as good, so it was out. I really loved the CX-9 as it was my favorite, but it was really too expensive. I didn't get the chance to test the Montero Sport because there was none available.
So anyway, I'm now torn between the Sorento and the Santa Fe.
First of all, the Sorento is only equipped with a five-speed automatic dual transmission, whereas the Santa Fe has a six-speed automatic dual shifter. Interior-wise, both units are almost similar, but the Santa Fe has the backing-up camera installed for when reversing, which is a cool feature. Exterior-wise, the Sorento looks more like an SUV. Price-wise, the two units are not much of a difference with the Sorento costing P1.6 million after discounts, and the Santa Fe costing P1.5 million.
Kia also offers a five-year or 160,000km warranty. Hence, I am writing you this e-mail hoping you can offer me your valuable advice on the two units--specifically about their performance, handling, and fuel efficiency. Of course, I'd be happy to hear your suggestions for other SUVs that you may recommend.
Hope to hear from you soon. Thank you.
Hi, Christopher! Thanks for sending us an e-mail. We love hearing from you guys out there!
I'm impressed that you made the bold decision to put two Korean SUVs on your short list, foregoing the traditional Japanese brands. Both SUVs are crossover-based platforms and share some similarity underneath their skin if you do some research online. Interestingly, each Korean SUV caters to different tastes.
The Kia Sorento feels more like a traditional American SUV: the colors used, the feel of the materials inside the cabin, the overall design and layout. If you were blindfolded, you would think you had stepped inside a Chevrolet or Ford or Chrysler all-American SUV. It's cozy and comfortable, and it feels somewhat familiar, like your favorite pair of jeans and trainers that will always be comfortable to jump into any day of the week. It also feels like an American car to drive, best to be driven at moderate speeds in traffic or on the highway but is a steady eddy, very comfortable on very long drives.
The Hyundai Santa Fe, however, feels more sophisticated, like a sharp three-button fitted suit. It feels classier and more luxurious, thanks to features like the contrasting piping on the leather seats (popular with British carmakers such as Aston Martin and Land Rover). It's also better spec'd--the six-speed automatic transmission and the powerful 2.2 liter R-eVGT engine that pumps out almost 200hp. It loves to be driven hard and fast, yet still delivers amazing fuel economy and efficiency even when driven flat-out.
Your choice will depend on whether you want something sophisticated or more casual and comfortable. I didn't find the need to go on the technical side because, ultimately, the feel and the character of these two SUVs are where the battle will rage on.
If you can wait for a few more months, perhaps by then the all-new 2013 Santa Fe will have been launched by Hyundai Asia Resources to our market. Based on the rumors we've been hearing through the grapevine, the new Santa Fe promises to be a real ringer!
Hope this helps. Good luck and God bless!