Kia Sportage vs. Kia Sorento

By

Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


, Automotive Editor - April 21, 2021

Last year, the Kia Sportage passed the Sorento to become the brand’s bestselling SUV. The two occupy popular spots as compact and midsize crossovers, and both have gained ground against popular rivals.

The two share plenty of Kia DNA, but a few important differences set them apart. Here’s our comparison of some of the models' key specs and features to help you make the most informed decision when buying.

See a side-by-side comparison of the Kia Sportage & the Kia Sorento »

What the Sportage Gets Right

As the smaller vehicle, the Kia Sportage is substantially cheaper. The two models share roughly the same trim structure, and the Sportage generally costs around $5,000 less than an equivalent trim in the Sorento.

If features are a priority, the price difference makes the Sportage a strong value. Its interior feels upscale, and it comes with all the same safety tech as its big sibling. A Sportage EX, which comes with heated front seats and dual-zone automatic climate control, still costs less than a base Sorento.

The Sportage is due for a redesign soon, but we still find it attractive. The Sorento’s interior and exterior design is busy and polarizing — we prefer the cleaner lines of the Sportage. Note that buyers may need to wait another year for the Sportage redesign.

What the Sorento Gets Right

The Sorento carries more bulk than the sprightly Sportage, but it gets extra power to make up the difference. The base engine has a 10-horsepower advantage over the Sportage, and the gap widens with the optional turbo.

Unlike the Sportage, the Sorento is available with a hybrid powertrain (a plug-in version is on the way, too). The Sorento Hybrid earns a stellar EPA rating of 37 mpg combined, which is far superior to the Sportage’s maximum of 26 mpg combined.

The Sorento’s final advantage is its size. The larger crossover comes with a third row and a seating capacity of seven, where the Sportage seats only five. With both rows folded, the Sorento boasts 75.5 cu ft of cargo capacity to the Sportage’s 60.1.

Spending for Size

Deciding between these two crossovers boils down to a simple question: how much is the Sorento’s extra size worth?

If you frequently carry extra passengers or you need the extra cargo space, the Sorento is an easy choice. It’s a strong competitor in a crowded field of midsize SUVs.

If you can live with the smaller cabin, the Sportage is an excellent value. Especially in the middle trims, it offers abundant features at a more approachable price.

Our Verdict: Kia Sorento

Both of these models do an admirable job fulfilling their mission. The Sportage is a bargain, but we give the Sorento a slight edge for its fresher platform, hybrid powertrains, and impressive versatility.

Take a closer look at the Kia Sportage »

Take a closer look at the Kia Sorento »

Side-by-side comparison of features, pricing, photos and more!

, Automotive Editor

Willis is a freelance writer based out of Philadelphia. Born and raised in Colorado, he graduated from Williams College. When he's not writing about cars or the outdoors, he spends his time rock climbing or reading with his two cats.


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