The criteria of seven seats shakes up the Medium SUV ranks because some brands only offer seven-seaters in up-spec variants, while others don’t give you the option at all. Kia’s Sorento crests the value summit by giving buyers seven seats and big petrol power for entry-level front-drive money. Not having to fork out for a diesel saves cash up front, but you do pay for it over time, courtesy of the 3.3-litre V6’s 9.9L/100km consumption. But that’s about the only area in which the Kia costs more than the average rig to run. It has stout resale (54 percent), is inexpensive to insure, has a convenient 12-month service interval and a generous seven-year warranty.
There’s no seven-seat version of the base Outlander, so the XLS 4WD is Mitsubishi’s opening bid. But at $36,490 it’s still much cheaper than the winning Kia.
A smaller petrol four, better resale and bargain insurance help offset the all-wheel-drive Santa Fe’s slightly higher price and shorter warranty than the Sorento, though there’s not much in it.
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