Compact and midsize crossover SUVs are a hot commodity these days. There’s plenty to choose from, whether you need 2- or 3-row seating as the showdown between the Kia Sorento and GMC Terrain shows.
2020 Kia Sorento
Above Average: Less expensive than many in its size class; optional V6; automatic braking with pedestrian detection; 7-passenger capacity; excellent warranty; standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
Below Average: Smaller than average for its class; base engine is not particularly powerful; third row is somewhat cramped; all-wheel drive not available on base model
Consensus: In the midsize crossover class, the Kia Sorento differentiates itself by being a bit smaller than other 3-row competitors, but also less expensive. The third row is tight, so it’s best for small children. We suggest opting for the V6, which comes with a smoother 8-speed automatic.
2020 GMC Terrain
Above Average: Elegant Denali trim level; stylish and well equipped; cargo area is relatively small but very flexible; a standard suite of safety features; comfortable ride
Below Average: Some rivals have more passenger and cargo space, 1.5-liter engine’s underpowered; button-activated transmission takes some getting used to
Consensus: The 2020 GMC Terrain is a handsome, decently equipped crossover that has a pleasant interior, an excellent upgrade turbocharged engine, and a chassis that emphasizes a comfortable ride. The interior does have some hard plastics, however, and its interior space for both passengers and cargo trails some of its competitors.
Kia Sorento vs. GMC Terrain: Family or luxury hauler, you decide
The 2020 Kia Sorento and 2020 GMC Terrain are actually in slightly different classes, with the Kia being a smaller midsize SUV to the GMC’s compact. They’re not terribly different in size, however, with the Kia a mere seven inches longer. However, the Kia does provide three rows of seats to the GMC’s two although the third row is tight for adults, and best for smaller children. Base engines are comparable, with the Sorento making a bit more power and the Terrain’s turbo a little more torque. However, for both, we strongly suggest the upgrade engines. In the Kia, that’s an optional V6 or in the GMC, a 2.0-liter turbo I4. We like driving both the Sorento and the Terrain. Neither handles like a sports car, although that’s not exactly expected in this class. They are well-suited for daily driving with rides that focus more on comfort than corner carving.
Both the Sorento and the Terrain earn 5-star safety ratings from NHTSA, although the Terrain features what GMC calls the Pro Safety suite across all trims. Some driver-assist and active safety features are not available on lower trim levels of the Kia. Both the 2020 Kia Sorento and the 2020 GMC Terrain come standard with front-wheel drive, although all-wheel drive is available on any trim except the base of either. But neither is a true off-roader. As far as towing, the GMC tops out at 3,500 pounds, with the Sorento’s V6 enabling it to tow up to 5,000 pounds. Resale value for both the Sorento and the Terrain is about average, with the Kia having a class-leading powertrain warranty.
Both offer Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration; all-wheel drive not optional with base trim; some hard plastics
Kia Sorento Advantages
Longer warranty; higher seating capacity; larger cargo capacity; higher towing capacity
GMC Terrain Advantages
Better gas mileage; less expensive, particularly in the higher trim levels; some options offered à la carte rather than grouped with trim levels
The significant difference between the 2020 GMC Terrain and Kia Sorento regards seating capacity, with the slightly larger Kia offering three rows of seats to the GMC’s two, for a total of seven. A 2020 GMC Terrain Denali, the highest trim, starts in the $34,000 range, with a loaded top-trim Sorento costing nearly $9K more. There is much that is admirable about both. But given its cargo capacity, excellent warranty, and the optional V6, the nod here goes to the Kia.
Ready to buy a GMC Terrain or a Kia Sorento? Shop now for one on sale near you.
|2020 Kia Sorento||2020 GMC Terrain|
|Engine||2.4-liter I4||1.5-liter I4, turbo|
|Horsepower||185 hp @ 6,000 rpm||170 hp @ 5,600 rpm|
|Torque||178 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm||203 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm|
|Transmission||Automatic, 6-Spd||Automatic, 9-Spd|
|Fuel Economy||25 mpg (22 city/29 hwy)||27 mpg (26 city/30 hwy)|
|Also Available||3.3-liter V6; Automatic, 8-Spd||2.0-liter I4, turbo|
|Warranty||5 years/60,000 miles||3 years/36,000 miles|
|NHTSA Overall Safety Rating||5 Stars||5 Stars|
|Max Seating Capacity||7||5|
|Wheelbase||109.4 inches||107.3 inches|
|Overall Length||189.0 inches||182.3 inches|
|Width||74.4 inches||72.4 inches|
|Height||66.3 inches||65.4 inches|
|Turning Diameter||37.2 feet||37.4 feet|
|Headroom, Front||39.5 inches||40.0 inches|
|Headroom, Rear||36.3 inches||38.5 inches|
|Legroom, Front||44.1 inches||40.9 inches|
|Legroom, Rear||31.7 inches||39.7 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||59.1 inches||57.2 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||52.8 inches||55.6 inches|
|EPA Passenger Volume||142.9 cu. ft.||103.2 cu. ft.|
|EPA Cargo Volume||73.0 cu. ft.||63.3 cu. ft.|