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I have two great family cars on the driveway this week; the seven-seater 2021 Kia Sorento PHEV and Hyundai Palisade Highlander 3.8L V6! Check out my Kia Sorento PHEV vs Hyundai Palisade V6 verdict below, where I have compared the two to see which comes up as the most family-friendly large SUV.

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Round 1: Child Seats

Score:  Kia Sorento PHEV 1 / 0 Hyundai Palisade Highlander

When comparing the Kia Sorento PHEV vs Hyundai Palisade V6s for seating, there are some notable differences.

Hyundai Palisade

I found four Infasecure child seats fit nicely in the back seats of the eight-seater Hyundai Palisade; In the back of the 8 seater Hyundai Palisade there are six rear seats; three seats in both the second and third row. There are three sets of ISOFix; one in each of the outer second-row seats and one set of ISOFix in the third-row seat on the passenger side.

Hyundai Palisade V6 Isofix

None of the ISOFix points are within plastic guides but they are all nice and easy to connect to. There are five top tether anchorages; one on the back of all three second-row seats…

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander top tether child seat anchorages in the second row
Eight-seater Hyundai Palisade

…and one on the back of the outer and central third-row seatbacks.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander top tether child seat anchorages in the second row
Eight-seater Hyundai Palisade

When installing child seats, the Palisade is definitely the more spacious of the two, I found three Infasecure child seats fitted across the second-row seats really easily with a little room around them, it is very roomy. I fitted the Infasecure Achieve More and two Infasecure Attain More child seats. To learn more about the child seats I used in this review click on the link here.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander with three child seats installed in the second row
Eight-seater Hyundai Palisade

In the third row I could install one Infasecure child seat on the passenger side using the top tether anchorage but found there wasn't room beside it to put another child seat using the second top tether anchorage so could only put an Infasecure Versatile folding booster seat in the third row alongside it because this does not use a top tether anchorage. I found the Palisade easier to accommodate two adults/older kids either side of a child seat fitted to the middle of the third row than between two child seats.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander with two child seats installed in the third row
Eigh- seater Hyundai Palisade

Kia Sorento PHEV

I found five Infasecure child seats would fit in the back of the Kia Sorento PHEV.

Kia Sorento PHEV with three child seats installed in the second row
Kia Sorento PHEV

In the back of the Kia Sorento PHEV, there are three seats in the second row and two in the third row. There are four ISOFix points, one in each of the outer second-row seats…

Kia Sorento PHEV with one child seats installed in the third row
Kia Sorento PHEV

…and one in each of the third-row seats, not within plastic guides but still nice and easy to connect to.

Kia Sorento PHEV

This is where the Sorento does outdo the Palisade: There are top tether anchorages in the back of all three of the second row seats…

Kia Sorento PHEV top tether child seat anchorages in the second row
Kia Sorento PHEV

…and both of the third-row seats, so five top tether anchorages in total!

Kia Sorento PHEV with three child seats installed in the second row
Kia Sorento PHEV

I can install five Infasecure child seats in the back of the Kia Sorento PHEV. I fit two Infasecure Achieve More and one Infasecure Attain More in the second row.

Kia Sorento PHEV with two child seats installed in the third row
Kia Sorento PHEV

In the third row I fitted the Infasecure Aspire More and Roamer II child seats really comfortably.

Round 2: Third Row Access

Score:  Kia Sorento PHEV 1 / 1 Hyundai Palisade Highlander

When comparing the Kia Sorento PHEV vs Hyundai Palisade V6 for third-row access it is a similar story in both these big SUVs.

Kia Sorento PHEV

In both, the second-row seats are split 60:40 with the 40% section on the driver's side of the car so it is not on the kerb side when street parked.

Eight-seater Hyundai Palisade

With both cars, you use a press button on the shoulder of the seat back and then slide the second-row seat forward to climb through to the third row.

The Palisade and Sorento both have grab handles to help you to climb through to the third-row seats. The child seat has to be installed in this position using ISOFix rather than the seatbelt or you can’t slide it forward.

Kia Sorento PHEV

The child seats do hit on each other slightly in both vehicles and in everyday practicality, it’s not ideal because you have to move the driver's seat forward EVERY TIME you want to access the third-row in both cars, which gets annoying very quickly and would take too long for my liking if you were in an accident.

With both cars, if you only have two child seats installed in the second row, the third-row access would work much better.

Legroom is slightly better in the Hyundai Palisade; I found you can fit a 180cm passenger in the first and third rows with a rear-facing child seat in the second row.

Eight Seater Hyundai Palisade

Whereas in the Kia Sorento PHEV you can fit a 180cm passenger in the first row and a 162cm passenger in the third-row with a rear-facing child seat in the second row.

Kia Sorento PHEV

Round 3: Boot Space

Score:  Kia Sorento PHEV 0 / 1 Hyundai Palisade Highlander

The boot space in the Hyundai Palisade definitely trumps the Kia Sorento. It is bigger and more practical for large families, fitting eight shopping bags when using all three rows of seats which is incredible.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander boot space for shopping with all three rows in use
Eight-seater Hyundai Palisade

Or, it takes a whopping 21 shopping bags when only using two rows of seats. This is great for smaller families wanting to use just the first two rows of seats and have really big boot space for family camping trips or the family dog.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander boot space for shopping with two rows of seats in use
Eight-seater Hyundai Palisade

The Kia Sorento PHEV boot holds five bags of shopping when using all three rows…

Kia Sorento PHEV boot space for shopping with all three rows in use
Kia Sorento PHEV

…or 17 shopping bags when using just the first two rows of seats.

Kia Sorento PHEV boot space for shopping with two rows of seats in use
Kia Sorento PHEV

The Palisade really does win over the Sorento on this one because it also holds a twin pram in the boot with three bags of shopping when using all 8 seats!

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander boot space for twin side by side stroller pram and shopping with two rows of seats in use
Eight-seater Hyundai Palisade

Meanwhile, when all three rows of seats are in use the Kia Sorento PHEV will only hold a single pram with one shopping bag and a twin pram will not fit.

Kia Sorento PHEV boot space for single stroller pram and shopping with all three rows in use
Kia Sorento PHEV

Round 4: Storage

Score:  Kia Sorento PHEV 0 / 1 Hyundai Palisade Highlander

Storage is slightly better in the Hyundai Palisade too, with some real stand-out features!

Eight-seater Hyundai Palisade

It has a fantastic central console shelf which is perfect for your handbag, hat or shoes.

Eight-seater Hyundai Palisade

The rear doors have double cup holders which are in a fantastic position for kids to reach their drinks and snacks when you're driving. Great also for adults on long journeys who are double-parked!

The Kia Sorento PHEV has single rear door cup holders, which are great for kids to easily reach their water bottles.

Kia Sorento PHEV

There is also plenty of practical storage in all three rows for families.

Kia Sorento PHEV

Round 5: Aircon

Score:  Kia Sorento PHEV 1 / 1 Hyundai Palisade Highlander

Both cars have aircon vents in all three rows of seats and they can be controlled and locked from the front media screen.

Eight-seater Hyundai Palisade

Round 6: Airbags

Score:  Kia Sorento PHEV 0 / 1 Hyundai Palisade Highlander

The Kia Sorento PHEV does not have airbags in the third row whereas the Hyundai Palisade does have third-row passenger airbag protection. Only the Sorento has a five-star ANCAP rating though, the Palisade remains unrated.

Round 7: Fuel Efficiency

Score:  Kia Sorento PHEV 1 / 0 Hyundai Palisade Highlander

Although these two cars may both be on the same decision list for families the two cars are at opposite ends of the fuel efficiency spectrum, the eight seater Hyundai Palisade being a gas-guzzling 3.8L V6 snd the Kia Sorento is a super-efficient plug-in-hybrid PHEV that you can run on electricity alone for most local trips or sitting with the aircon going when you're stuck in the car with a sleeping baby.

 

Verdict

Score: Kia Sorento PHEV 4 / 5 Hyundai Palisade Highlander

In conclusion, the runner up of this comparison is the Kia Sorento PHEV which scores 4/7.

Kia Sorento PHEV

The Sorento PHEV does not have airbags in the 3rd row and there is not as much room across the 2nd row to install child seats or as much legroom in each row. However, it does hold five Infasecure child seats. That is one more than the Hyundai Palisade and it has five top tether anchorages to give families the most flexibility over where they seat various passengers.

Kia Sorento PHEV with three child seats installed in the second row
Kia Sorento PHEV

 

The winner, the Hyundai Palisade scores 5/7.

Eight-seater Hyundai Palisade

The Hyundai Palisade has a much more generous and practical size boot for large families needing to hold a double pram when using all eight seats.

2021 Hyundai Palisade Highlander boot space for twin side by side stroller pram and shopping with two rows of seats in use
Eight-seater Hyundai Palisade

The Hyundai Palisade also has airbags in all three rows of seats, which the Sorento does not. I also really like the stand-out storage features in the Hyundai Palisade.

Eight-seater Hyundai Palisade

The double door cup holders and handbag shelf are fantastic!

Eight-seater Hyundai Palisade

Read and watch my in-depth full reviews here:

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