Looking only at the spec sheets, it's easy to dismiss the 2011 Kia Sorento EX as a simple reskin of the 2010 Hyundai Santa Fe GLS that we tested not too long ago, and you wouldn't be too far from the truth. Both vehicles feature the same 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder engine outputting the same 175 horsepower; and both feature Kia/Hyundai's latest cabin tech package based around an 8GB solid-state navigation system.
However, in practice the vehicles are quite different. They're both big girls, but the angular Sorento is something of a sexier, younger sister to the Santa Fe's more dour and homely visage. The Kia's firmer suspension tune means that she's also the more agile sister and--identical horsepower numbers be damned--we'd swear she also has a bit more pep in her step. Available fold flat third-row seating also means that the Sorento is also the more flexible of the two. Flexibility is always good.
Perhaps we've gotten a bit carried away with the "hot sister" metaphor, but our point is that we like the Sorento so much more than we did the Santa Fe (at least in front-wheel-drive configuration). But how does the young CUV stack up against the competition from Toyota and Honda? Check out the full review to find out.