The Kia Sorento -- once a truck-based SUV short on features and quality -- has become a viable competitor in the tough midsize crossover market.
But how does the Sorento compare against one of the segment's leaders: the Toyota Highlander?
What the Toyota Highlander Gets Right
The Highlander's interior is one of the best in its class, roomy, refined and filled with lots of technology. Second-row seating is especially luxurious; its split 40/20/40 design and storage capabilities are particularly innovative. With all seat folded, the Highlander offers a cavernous 95.4 cubic feet of storage.
The Highlander is agile for a midsize SUV, and the V6 upgrade is particularly nice. Options on its four trim levels are plentiful, but even the base model is well-equipped. Versatile and quiet, the Highlander is well-rounded and an ideal choice in a competitive market.
What the Kia Sorento Gets Right
It's hard not to love the fact that Kia's top-of-the-line Sorento is fairly affordable. But even the less expensive base model includes a good selection of standard features.
Buyers choose between a trio of four-cylinder and V6 engines, and may also opt for all-wheel drive. Fuel economy is good for a midsize SUV with all three power plants. The Kia rides with an unexpected quietness -- when equipped with the V6, it also handles large loads with ease.
Interior design is a bit dull, but controls have a smart layout. There's optional third-row seating, and folding all the seats produces 72.5 cubic feet of cargo space.
How does the Sorento Stack-Up Against the Highlander?
Despite appreciating standard equipment levels on the affordable Kia and its superior fuel economy, the Highlander offers a far superior interior, more space and a more versatile and adaptable interior.
Our Verdict: Toyota Highlander
While we like the Sorento's price and ride, we prefer the interior appointments and overall performance of the Highlander.