Kia Sportage vs Sorento: Which SUV is Right for You?

If you’re considering a new Kia SUV, two popular models you may be debating between are the Kia Sportage vs Sorento. Both offer a blend of style, performance, tech features, and value that have made them stand out in the compact and midsize SUV classes.

But with different sizes, seating capacities, engines, and price points, how do you choose between the Kia Sportage vs Sorento? We’ll compare these SUVs across a range of factors to help you decide.

Size and Styling on Kia Sportage vs Sorento

The Sportage is Kia’s compact SUV, spanning 183 inches in length. The midsize Sorento stretches to 189 inches long. While not enormously bigger, the Sorento does feel more substantial and provides more cargo and passenger room.

Both SUVs deliver attractive modern styling, with the Sportage featuring a sportier, “fastback”-like silhouette. The Sorento has a more upright, boxy build, tapering toward the rear. Trim-specific wheeks and body details provide plenty of ways to customize the look.

Our Take:

The Sportage works well for small families or single drivers wanting a city-friendly compact SUV. The Sorento’s added size suits larger families needing maximum interior space.

Performance and MPG

The base Kia Sportage LX is motivated by a 2.4L 4-cylinder making 181 horsepower, routing power to the front wheels or available AWD system. Optional on higher Sportage trims is a punchier 2.0L turbo 4-cylinder (237 hp).

Sorento powertrains start with a 191 horsepower 2.5L 4-cylinder on LX and S trims, with a 281 horsepower turbocharged 2.5L 4-cylinder offered in higher EX and SX models. All Sorento models are front-wheel-drive or available with AWD. The Sportage earns up to an EPA-estimated 31 combined mpg, while the Sorento manages 26 to 27 combined mpg, depending on configuration.

Our Take: The Sportage offers slightly better fuel economy, but the Sorento turbo engine delivers more vigorous acceleration for freeway merging or mountain driving. Both SUVs earn quite good MPG within their classes.

Interior Design & Technology

Stepping inside, the Sportage impresses with quality materials and textures, blending modern flair with functionality. Key features consist of a highly adjustable driver’s seat, 8-inch touchscreen navigation on EX and SX trims, wireless device charging, and available heated rear seats.

The Sorento cabin makes use of similar premium-feel materials in a larger footprint. Syncing a phone is easier than ever with NFC tap-to-connect technology, and second-row passengers enjoy available quad-seat air vents and dual-screen entertainment to stay comfortable on long road trips.

Our Take: Those who drive clients or business associates may gravitate to Sorento’s more upscale backseat accommodations. Yet both SUV cabins deliver creature comforts above their price points.

Safety Technology

Kia has been an industry leader in advanced safety technology, with features like forward collision warning and lane keep assist standard on both the Sportage and Sorento. Higher trims add extras such as parking collision avoidance, blind spot monitoring, surround-view parking camera, and Safe Exit Assist.

What sets the Sorento’s safety suite apart is the availability of Highway Driving Assist, Kia’s name for SAE Level 2 semi-autonomous driving capability during longer cruises. It can maintain vehicle speed and brakes and even help keep the Sorento centered within highway lanes.

Our Take: The Sportage still provides the key basics, like auto emergency braking. But the Sorento offers next-level self-driving capability, useful for long highway drives if you do a lot of distance driving.

Storage and Cargo Flexibility

Don’t let the Sportage’s smaller footprint fool you; with 39.6 cubic feet behind the rear seat and 73.7 cu-ft total cargo volume with seats folded, it holds plenty for weekend trips or Home Depot runs. Clever storage cubbies throughout the cabin help keep small items tidy.

In Sorento form, that cargo space balloons to 36.4 cu-ft behind the third row and 75.5 cu-ft behind the first row. Plus you get the versatility of standard 7-passenger seating not offered in the Sportage. Removing those rearmost seats opens up serious cargo-hauling utility.

Our Take: The Sorento unsurprisingly provides maximum interior room for people and gear. Yet the Sportage still fits a surprising amount of stuff when you need it.

Cost to Own Kia Sportage vs Sorento

In terms of base pricing, the 2023 Kia Sportage LX sticker starts at $27,205, including $1,215 in destination fees. The Sorento LX opens at a $29,890 starting price. Those represent exceptional values just to start, considering all you get as a standard. Moving up trims, expect a $31,000 to $41,000 window for the Sportage and $34,000 to $47,000 for Sorento pricing.

In terms of annual repair and maintenance costs, Sportage owners can expect around $400, while Sorento owners have averaged $500, according to RepairPal. Additionally, Kia offers great warranty coverage, including:

  • 5 years/60k miles basic
  • 10 years/100k miles powertrain
  • 5 years/60k miles roadside assistance

That provides loads of long-term protection to cushion ownership costs.

Our Take: The Sorento sticker price is higher but retains its value well in resale. Both vehicles earn low maintenance estimates. Just be sure to follow scheduled service intervals to keep things running smoothly.

See Also: Lexus NX vs RX: Which Luxury SUV Is Superior?

Final Thoughts

The Kia Sportage vs Sorento are extremely compelling picks within the compact and midsize SUV segments. While pricing and dimensions may be your initial preference drivers, take time to test drive both models extensively.

Pay attention to rear seat room, standard features, engine sound, and ride comfort over various road surfaces. Although compact, the Sportage doesn’t feel cheap or cramped inside. And even as a larger 3-row model, the Sorento maintains excellent maneuverability and fuel efficiency.

Either compact or midsize SUV choice comes with Kia’s great ownership perks like industry-leading warranty protection and affordable maintenance needs. In the end, you can’t go wrong choosing between the Kia Sportage vs Sorento; only you know which size and capability mix best fits your lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1: Which Kia SUV has better towing capacity?

A: The Sorento offers substantially greater towing capabilities, with a 3,500 pound rating versus just 2,000 pounds for the Sportage.

Q2: Is the Kia Sportage or Sorento better in snow?

A: While both SUVs are offered with all-wheel drive for improved winter traction, the Sorento’s greater ground clearance provides an advantage. But winter tires can benefit either model when driving in deeper snow.

Q3: Does the Sorento or Sportage have a sunroof option?

A: Both the Sportage and Sorento offer available dual-panel sunroofs or panoramic sunroofs depending on trim level selected. These really open up the feeling of airiness inside when wanted.

Q4: How many seats does each Kia SUV have?

A: The Sportage seats 5 passengers, with optional third-row seating not available. The Sorento offers standard 7-passenger seating with an available 8-passenger configuration.

Q5: Which Kia model has better predicted reliability?

A: Kia’s in general score very well for reliability by industry trackers. The Sportage earned a Great rating from J.D. Power for 2023 versus just a Good score for the Sorento. So the edge goes to the Sportage.

Q6: Do these SUVs come with free scheduled maintenance?

A: Yes. All new Kia models include complimentary scheduled maintenance for the first three visits under the Kia Promise program. This includes oil changes, tire rotations and more.