New Hyundai Santa Fe and Toyota Highlander vs Kia Sorento: practicality

Even large SUVs have to move with the times, and electrification to improve efficiency is the way forward. So, which of these seven-seat hybrids is best?...

Hyundai Santa Fe 2021 third row

Space and practicality

Front space, rear space, seating flexibility, boot

You’ll have no issues fitting in the front seats of any of these SUVs, even if you’re well over six feet tall. There’s loads of leg room in the second row, too (the Highlander has the most), and all three cars have sliding and reclining seats.

Kia Sorento 2021 third row

However, second-row head room is compromised by the panoramic roofs that all three cars feature as standard, and the average six-footer will probably feel his or her head brushing the ceiling, particularly in the Highlander.

Getting into the third row isn’t too much of a challenge in any of them, but it’s the Highlander that’s the most cramped back there, with the least knee room by some margin and, by a smidge, the least head room, too. Smaller adults will still find things bearable, but probably only for short trips.

Toyota Highlander 2021 third row

With bums on all seven seats, none of these cars has a huge boot, but folding the rearmost pews into the floor makes all three boots enormous. Indeed, each of them managed to swallow 10 carry-on suitcases below their tonneau covers (with the second-row seats slid all the way back). Need even more space? You can fold down the second-row seats as well for the carrying capacity of a small van.

The Highlander can tow a braked trailer of up to 2000kg, beating the 1650kg limits of the other two cars.


Boot space

Hyundai Santa Fe

Hyundai Santa Fe 2021 boot

Boot 634-1652 litres* Suitcases 10**


Kia Sorento

Kia Sorento 2021 boot

Boot 608-1996 litres Suitcases 10**


Toyota Highlander

Toyota Highlander 2021 boot

Boot 648-1909 litres Suitcases 10**

Max figure measured to window line rather than roof
** Boots’ suitcase-carrying capacities are measured with the second-row seatbacks in place and up to the parcel shelf


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