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2019 Kia Sorento

Starting Price: $26,980 | Price yours

Above Average: Feature set, great standard warranty, upscale styling, price

Below Average: 3rd-row legroom, no hybrid option, V6 fuel economy 

Consensus: A complete midsize SUV loaded with great features and backed by a great warranty, but just a bit tight if you need room for seven adults.

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2019 Toyota Highlander

Starting Price: $32,625 | Price yours

Above Average: Easy to live with, available hybrid powertrain, standard driver assists, impeccable reliability and resale figures

Below Average:  Interior volume, infotainment options, base price

Consensus: One of the best family vehicles money can buy, lacking only in some interior dimensions and infotainment applications like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. 

The Kia Sorento fits up to seven, whereas the Toyota Highlander boasts seating for eight. However, neither has a very roomy 3rd-row seat and even less cargo space when that seat is in place. Both SUVs are better as 5-passenger carriers. Both the Sorento and Highlander earn 5-Star safety ratings from the government, but whereas the Sorento’s driver assist systems are optional and limited by trim, the Highlander makes them standard on every model. Both SUVs come standard with a 4-cylinder engine and offer the option of a powerful V6, however only the Highlander goes a step further with an available hybrid powertrain that gets up to 30 mpg in city driving. The Sorento is superior to the Highlander in the areas of warranty coverage, features and infotainment, but the Highlander still holds its value better over time.  Both SUVs offer numerous luxury upgrades, available all-wheel drive and unique features such as the Highlander’s Driver Easy Speak intercom and Sorento’s available driver’s seat thigh extension.

Kia Sorento Advantages

Better warranty, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, low entry price, more 3rd-row seat legroom, tighter turning radius

Toyota Highlander Advantages

Resale, room for eight, standard driver assists including pre-collision braking, adaptive cruise control and lane departure warning plus an available hybrid engine option

Similarities

Both models have 5-Star safety ratings, offer 3-row seating, offer an optional V6 engine and can be equipped with all-wheel drive. Both the Sorento and Highlander have modern, comfortable cabins, a smooth ride and good visibility all around.

Final Recommendation

The Highlander is known for its quality and strong resale value, and its ability to seat eight people gives it a slight edge over the lower-priced Sorento. It also makes important driver assist systems standard on every trim. However, the Sorento offers more legroom in the third row, more high-end features and a better infotainment setup, plus the driver assist systems on upper-end trims. The Toyota wins on room and resale, while the Sorento warrants a look for its low price and long warranty.

  2019 Kia Sorento 2019 Toyota Highlander
Popular Powertrains    
Engine 2.4-liter I4 2.7-liter I4
Horsepower 185 hp @ 6,000 rpm 185 hp @ 5,800 rpm
Torque 178 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 184 lb-ft @ 4,200 rpm
Transmission Automatic, 6-spd Automatic, 6-spd
Fuel Economy 25 mpg (22 city/29 hwy) 22 mpg (20 city/24 hwy)
Also Available 3.3L V6, Automatic 8-spd 3.5L V6, 3.5L V6 Hybrid Automatic 8-spd
Specs    
Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 5 Star 5 Star
Max Seating Capacity 7 8
Wheelbase 109.4 inches 109.8 inches
Overall Length 189.0 inches 192.5 inches
Width 74.4 inches 75.8 inches
Height 66.3 inches 70.0 inches
Turning Diameter 37.2 feet 38.7 feet
Headroom, Front 39.5 inches 40.7 inches
Headroom, 2nd row 39.3 inches 39.9 inches
Headroom, 3rd row 36.3 inches 35.9 inches
Legroom, Front 44.1 inches 44.2 inches
Legroom, 2nd row 39.4 inches 38.4 inches
Legroom, 3rd row 31.7 inches 27.7 inches
Shoulder Room, Front 59.1 inches 59.3 inches
Shoulder Room, 2nd row 58.0 inches 59.0 inches
Shoulder Room, 3rd row 52.8 inches 55.0 inches
EPA Passenger Volume 146.4 cu. ft. 144.9 cu. ft.
EPA Cargo Volume (behind 2nd-row) 38.0 cu. ft. 42.3 cu. ft.
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