New Hyundai Santa Fe and Toyota Highlander vs Kia Sorento: costs
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Buying and owning
Costs, equipment, reliability, safety and security
Here’s where it all goes wrong for the Highlander. You see, we’ve chosen the cheaper of the two trim levels offered, and even then the asking price is more than £50,000. You can’t pay that much for a Santa Fe or Sorento even if you want to and, after haggling, the Korean cars, both tested in their range-topping trims, undercut the Highlander even further.
The Highlander is also predicted to depreciate the fastest, and if you factor in relatively high insurance costs, it’s likely to cost private cash buyers around £4000 more than the Sorento and a whopping £7500 more than the Santa Fe over three years of ownership.
That’s despite the Highlander topping our real-world fuel economy tests with an average of 36.4mpg to the Sorento’s 33.2mpg and the Santa Fe’s 32.6mpg.
The Highlander is pricey on PCP finance, too. Put down a £6000 deposit and you’ll be forking out an eye-watering £734 a month for the next three years, assuming an annual mileage of 10,000. Choose the Santa Fe or Sorento instead and, on the same terms, you’ll be paying £514 or £517 respectively.
And although the Highlander emits slightly less CO2 than its rivals, its lower company car tax band is more than offset by that high list price. A 40% taxpayer choosing the Sorento will pay £33 less per month, and opting for the Santa Fe will save a further £9.
It isn’t even as if the Highlander comes with more kit than its rivals. Yes, all three are loaded up with adaptive cruise control, keyless entry, leather seats (heated in the front) and a heated steering wheel as standard, but the Korean cars add ventilated front seats and heated outer rear seats to that list.
At the time of writing, only the Sorento has been appraised for safety by Euro NCAP, receiving the full five stars. However, all three come with plenty of active safety aids, including automatic emergency braking that can detect cyclists and pedestrians as well as other vehicles, blindspot monitoring and a system that warns you of approaching vehicles if you’re backing out onto a road.
Reliability is an area in which the Highlander should impress. That’s because Toyota finished second out of 31 manufacturers in the 2020 What Car? Reliability Survey, although Hyundai (sixth) and Kia (seventh) hardly disgraced themselves. Kia provides the longest standard warranty of seven years (limited to 100,000 miles), compared with the five years of cover you get from Toyota (also capped at 100,000 miles) and Hyundai (with no mileage limit).
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