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2023 Kia Sportage vs. Kia Sorento specs

1. Overview

Both new Kia models are built on carlike unibody vehicles and replace models that were more trucklike in their underpinnings. Kia has said that it emphasizes the way those carlike underpinnings help both vehicles drive more like cars, while retaining much of the functionality and flexibility of the models they replace. We hope that's the case; Kia's outgoing models are good-handling and with some of the best ride quality in their respective classes, in part because of their independent suspension designs and more sophisticated, isolated subframes. Please visit our Comprehensive Guide to Kia Model Comparisons to learn more about 2023 Kia Sportage vs Kia Sorento Specs.

Both 2023 Kia models are available with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive, but they target different shoppers—the Sportage targets small-car drivers as well as those in need of more function and cargo space, while the Sorento goes after larger families. Both will come with a four-cylinder engine, and in the case of the Sorento, there's also a V-6.

The new Sportage has a fashion-forward, almost Porsche-like appearance from some angles, and it looks far less rugged and SUV-like than its predecessor. Last year's Sportage offered an SX sporty model and a more deluxe Limited edition; we have no doubt that the SX and Limited will be back, but we'll have to wait and see. The Sorento's new look pivots more toward a rugged appearance, with the new SX model getting a rather overtly different look, with a more chiseled look in front, different grille texture, and more of a hooded, shielded appearance.

The 2023 Kia Sportage is a compact SUV with small dimensions: it's 0.6 inches shorter and 1.4 inches lower than the model it replaces, but with a wheelbase that's two inches longer. The new Kia Sorento is also a compact SUV in dimensions, and it sits on the same 106.3-inch wheelbase (2 inches longer than the Sportage's). Both SUVs look like scaled-down versions of other Kia utility vehicles, and in their top trim levels both take on a more premium look and a more overtly masculine look compared to the vehicles they replace.

1.1. Introduction to Kia Sportage and Kia Sorento

On the other hand, the first generation of Sportage was introduced in 1993, and it was KIA's first-ever SUV. This was the period when SUV demand was quite good. With its compact and small size compared to other SUVs, it had its unique selling point. Following the trend of crossover SUVs, the second generation of Sportage was introduced in 2004, up to the latest model. With drastic changes to the car design and an increase in the car size to be compared with its brother Sorento, Sportage has changed its segment from a compact SUV to a mid-size SUV. This was proven when the third generation of Sportage was introduced at the 2010 Frankfurt Auto Show; it was categorized as a mid-size SUV. [1][2][3][4][5][6][7]

Kia Sorento was first introduced in 2002. At that period, the demand for mid-size SUVs, particularly crossovers, was very high, and KIA tried to take this golden opportunity to face-lift the condition of the company, which was affected by the financial crisis in 1997. Since the Sorento was categorized as a mid-size SUV or full-size, it was directly compared to the Ford Escape, Mazda Tribute, and even Honda CRV and Toyota RAV4 due to the size and marketing mix. This had caused a negative impact on the demand for Sorento itself, as consumers were considering that with the same price, they could get a Honda or a Toyota. This is also due to consumer perceived quality and the brand image. In 2004, there were minor changes to the car design with the same model, and finally, the second generation of Sorento was introduced at the New York Auto Show on March 28, 2009, ready to face the new era of mid-size SUVs.

In line with our thesis title, "Consumer Preference for Compact Sport Utility Vehicle", we are introducing two models from KIA Motors Corporation: Sorento and Sportage. The main theme to be discussed in this comparison is the consumer preference or the consumer buying behavior toward the Sorento and Sportage, and a comprehensive comparison of the marketing strategy implemented by KIA Motors Corporation between these two models.

2. Exterior Features

Unchanged from its robust design, the new Sorento possesses a sophisticated style achieved through a restructured visual layout, a fully integrated wrap-around of the rear glass, and a wider stance; all of which creates a strong, stable SUV aesthetic. With a focus on ensuring the vehicle conveys presence and pride, other notable design features include newly-designed wheels, a reprofiled rear spoiler to reduce turbulence and improve stability, and a sportier exhaust. [8][9][10][11][12]

The new Sportage will be available in 2 different wheel sizes globally, the 17-inch wheel offering unique to European models. This serves to further differentiate the comfort and dynamic characteristics of different regional offerings through suitable tire types. The wheelbase, dimensions, and specific features of European models will be confirmed closer to the car's on-sale date.

Greater distance between the front and rear axles not only equates to more legroom but allows for improved ride quality, yet still maintains the model's inherent agility. At 4,480 mm in length, the new Sportage is 90 mm longer than its predecessor and 60 mm longer than a Kia Niro, effectively creating a clear differentiator between the compact SUV and its global best-seller. Width remains the same for the vehicle at 1,855 mm, but a 10 mm increase in height (now 1,645 mm) results in increased headroom without compromising the model's overall dynamic design.

The new Kia Sportage's exterior sees a more modern reinterpretation punctuated with crisp lines and sinuous architecture, inclusive of the practical features, elements, and stance of a genuine SUV. The fourth incarnation of Kia's compact SUV includes a noticeable shift in stance for the new model, highlighted by a longer wheelbase, shorter overhangs, and a noticeably increased track width. This shift results in significantly more space inside the vehicle and superior driving characteristics – a key area of focus for the brand.

2.1. Design and styling

Sorento has gone more rugged and boxy for its 2023 version, which is evident in the cuts and creases on the doors and wheel arches. Also, there is a new X-Line variant of Sorento, which comes with an additional 20.3 ride height, raised roof rack, unique bumper, and 18 dark alloy wheels. As per the current popular market trend, Sorento is offered in two special editions: the nightfall edition and the nightfall X edition. Both feature black aspects on the grille, skid plates, roof rack, and various other locations on the car. The Nightfall edition comes with black 18 alloy wheels, whereas the Nightfall X comes with 20 gloss black alloys. The roof rack on Sorento has a 100kg weight limit, and it is the newest feature that has not been previously available. The size of Sorento has decreased slightly, now dimensions read 4810 length, 1890 width, and 1700 height, and now Sorento is available in 8 seat configurations for the standard and nightfall editions.

New Sportage has taken the bold, angular styling from the larger Telluride and sharpened certain details for good measure. Titan's grille still looms over Soul headlights, but the grille is much more intricate than before. Turn signals are now integrated into the air curtains on the lower part of the grille, and the headlights have more aggressive boomerang-shaped LED daytime running lights. The SX model comes with a black roof and a thin LED light bar linking the tail lights of the rear. New Sportage is 6 cm longer than the previous model, dimensions now read 4765 length, 1865 width, and 1660 height.

2.2. Dimensions and body structure

From our view now, Kia Sorento has the bigger body structure compared to Kia Sportage, and there are advantages in terms of safety. With a bigger body structure, it will be easier for the driver to prevent a rollover due to a bigger ground clearance. In terms of crash safety, bigger cars are generally safer, and Sorento has already passed the IIHS test and it is the Top Safety Pick for 2011.

Kia Sorento is 184.4 inches in length, 74.2 inches in width, and 68.6 inches in height. While Kia Sportage is 174.8 inches in length, 73 inches in width, and 64.4 inches in height. From these figures, we can see that Sorento is taller and longer than Sportage while the width is slightly different from each other. Both vehicles use MacPherson strut suspension at the front, and both suspensions are fully independent. But when it comes to the turning radius, Sorento has a smaller turning radius at 35.8 ft compared to Kia Sportage at 36.7 ft.

Kia Sorento is a long-wheelbase vehicle that comes with five doors and it has a capacity of seven passengers. Kia Sportage is a bit smaller than Sorento with a capacity of five passengers. When we make the comparison between the two, it is obvious that Sportage is much smaller than Sorento.

2.3. Lighting and visibility

Finally, both vehicles feature power-adjustable heated door mirrors with LED indicator lights to finish, and depending on the model and additional attached features, both are equal in visibility and style.

Both the Sportage and Sorento feature high solar energy absorbing (HSEA) front glass and privacy glass in the rear windows, offering added privacy and protection from the sun. However, the Sorento uses a 'soundproof windshield' to block noise and vibration from entering the cabin. A clearer difference is between the Sorento and the Sportage regarding sunroofs. The top-of-the-range GT Line Sorento offers a 10-way adjustable powered tilt and slide sunroof with automatic electric roll blinds and safety close function, and the sunroof access is optional on the GT-Line Sorento. This feature is not available on the Sportage. So the Sorento has variation in roof options, whereas the Sportage has a fixed roof and is consistent with the same option of sunroof or no sunroof.

Both the Sportage and Sorento offer a wide selection of alloy wheels with tyre options, including 17-19 inch alloy wheels and varying section width. Whilst a nice set of wheels can make a car stand out, however, the benefits of differing alloy wheels are primarily in appearance. Equal appearance can be achieved from both the Sportage and Sorento through the snowflake style 17-inch alloys.

Both models finish with LED rear combination lamps, standard on most modern vehicles now, and are equal in visibility when vehicle braking.

Where the Sportage and Sorento differ is in turning headlamps. The Sportage offers bending lights, where the vehicle turns the lights in the direction of the steering wheel. This is a feature for added visibility on winding roads and is effective, according to Kia, on the Sportage. The Sorento offers static bending lights which have the same effect. However, according to Kia, bending lights use the turning signal or steering wheel as a trigger and disable the turning signal when the gear is changed, whereas static bending lights cannot disable the turning signal and the static bending light mechanism continues to work as long as the vehicle is powered. A minor difference between the two vehicles, however, in this instance, the Sportage offers more advanced technology.

This is the area where both vehicles are very similar as far as features are concerned. Both the Sportage and the Sorento feature auto on/off headlamps that are becoming a common feature on most vehicles, offering better safety and convenience. Both vehicles also feature front fog lamps and LED daytime running lights, so they are equal in visibility in low visibility conditions and both look modern in the process.

3. Interior Features

The Sorento is one of the first Kia models to benefit from UVO eServices with telematics, an updated version of the company's infotainment and connectivity system. Featured on an 8-inch touchscreen display audio, standard on EX or better Sorento models and optional on the LX, UVO eServices features smartphone integration with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as access to emergency 911 services, maintenance, and vehicle diagnostics, and on-demand diagnostics capabilities from the vehicle. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are both standard features on the Sportage EX and SX models, and while the system used is different from the Sorento with no eServices or touch display, features are otherwise similar. Both vehicles offer a comprehensive list of technology and safety features, giving consumers the ability to equip their vehicles to suit their needs.

The Kia Sorento has an attractive and well-built interior with high-quality materials and space for up to seven passengers. Base L and LX models have a standard sliding and reclining 40/20/40 second-row seat for eight-passenger capacity and third-row seats that fold flat into the floor. However, these versions are also available with optional 50/50-split third-row seats and a two-passenger third-row seat with a console in the middle, reducing capacity to seven. SX and SX Limited models have standard captain's chairs in the second row and offer the seven-passenger layout. The Sportage also has a well-made and user-friendly interior, although front-seat head and legroom are less than what the Sorento offers. The Sportage's sliding and reclining 60/40-split folding rear seat is a standard feature, but like the Sorento, fifth-passenger comfort is best left for shorter trips. The Sorento's multitude of configurations amount to a vehicle that can be best tailored to suit your family needs, while the Sportage's generous standard features list offers a good value at any level. Both vehicles have easy-to-find and use controls and high build quality in the cabin.

3.1. Cabin space and seating capacity

Karesh reports further that larger adults and forward-facing child-safety seat installations should have no issues fitting into the Sorento's third row now that it offers 2.8 inches/70mm more space. He also estimates that there is just enough cargo space available behind the third row, though once folded the amount is more than what is available in the Sportage.

The Sorento, on the other hand, offers various seating configurations and overall slightly more space than the Sportage. Buyers have the choice of 5 or 7 seat variants with second-row captain's chairs on higher spec models and all seats foldable into a flat surface. For second-row passengers, the Sorento is also the first Kia to offer reclining seats, with higher grade models offering heating and cooling as well. This, combined with the added legroom given by a 35mm longer wheelbase than its predecessor, indicates a comfortable environment for passengers.

In terms of its interior, the Sportage should offer a slight boost in space compared to its predecessor. There are 5 more millimeters of second-row legroom than before, a claimed 26mm of added rear cargo space, and the liftgate opening is now 60mm wider. Kia has made efforts to ensure that the upgraded model is slightly more practical than the last one.

3.2. Comfort and convenience features

The Sportage is available as a hybrid, PHEV, or mild-hybrid. Its hybrid and PHEV powertrains both feature a 1.6-liter turbo-four, electric motor, and six-speed automatic transmission. The hybrid-only Sorento powertrain comes with a 1.6-liter turbo-four and an electric motor attached to a six-speed automatic. Hybrid Sorentos come with FWD or AWD, while the Sportage offers FWD or AWD on the hybrid and front-biased AWD on the PHEV. The Sportage hybrid with FWD is EPA-rated at 39/35 mpg city/highway, while the AWD version is rated at 37/32 mpg. PHEV Sportage models are rated at 38 mpg-e in EV mode and 32 mpg combined in hybrid mode. The Sorento hybrid FWD is rated at 39/35 mpg and AWD at 37/33 mpg. Opting for a PHEV version brings similar efficiency with ratings of 37 mpg-e and 33 mpg combined. Pricing for the Sorento hybrid starts at $34,245 and rises to $37,845, while the Sportage runs between $28,845 to $37,015. Both SUVs come with a 10-year/100,000 powertrain warranty, but the Sportage has a slight edge when it comes to efficiency, range, and price.

3.3. Infotainment and technology

All new Sorento models are also missing the HDMI input that featured on the outgoing model for the purpose of connecting other multimedia devices such as games consoles, as well as a second and larger USB port in the center fascia. This means that the new Sorento gets just one USB port and an audio jack for connecting and charging multimedia devices. Although this is acceptable for smaller cars or base models, it is a bit of a disappointment for larger families or those with higher spec models. The same can be said for the next-generation Sportage, which has also omitted the HDMI input and multiple USB ports in favor of just one USB and an audio jack. For the purpose of having better flexibility and reducing family squabbles over whose iPad needs charging, the ideal setup would be at least two USB ports and an audio jack in the front and another USB or two at the rear.

However, both the new Sorento and the upcoming new Sportage have lost out when it comes to media storage and connectivity. Kia has removed the CD player from the equipment list for all new Sorento models. This is another case of Kia and other manufacturers following the general trend in the car market. With the development of USB and Bluetooth connectivity and the average mobile phone being capable of doing everything a CD can do and more, the demand for in-car CD players is dramatically decreasing, and in some cases, they are now being completely omitted, especially with small cars.

The Sorento pulls away slightly in terms of standard infotainment and technology features, which include a larger 8.0-inch touchscreen, six-speaker stereo, and satellite radio. This is higher than the entry-level Sportage, which makes do with a 5.0-inch screen, four-speaker stereo, and lacks DAB digital radio. But at the higher end of the Sportage range, GT-Line models and above get the same setup and features as the Sorento, so it's only the entry and mid-level grades of the Sportage that get let down.

4. Performance and Specifications

Some engine options will be available at a limited level. The standard hybrid and automatic 6-speed transmission are only available on LUXE and PLATINIUM trims, while the plug-in hybrid variant is only available in the GT LINE. This makes it easier for consumers to choose the engine variant and their favorite trim because there is a limitation between the engine and trim. Buyers only need to choose the trim and variant that fit what they need. Step by step, Kia has been realizing the need to make a distinction between the GT LINE and the regular version because the GT LINE is only available at a high-grade level, which means it is not for the general version.

Diesel and petrol engine options are offered in the 2023 Kia Sportage Europe. The diesel engines consist of the Smartstream 1.6-litre diesel engine (115/136 PS and 280/320 Nm) and the Smartstream 2.0-litre diesel engine (185 PS and 417 Nm). The petrol engine with the Smartstream 1.6-litre T-GDi engine will produce 150 PS and 250 Nm torque.

Engine options for the 2023 Kia Sportage will be available in hybrid, plug-in hybrid, and petrol. The two hybrid variants consist of the Smartstream 1.6-litre T-GDi engine and an electric motor. The first variant uses 230 PS and 350 Nm torque as the output, while the other variant is more performance-oriented with 265 PS and 350 Nm torque. The plug-in hybrid will utilize the same Smartstream 1.6-litre T-GDi engine but with a more powerful electric motor. It is capable of producing 265 PS as the total system output. Lastly, the petrol version will have a 2.0-litre CVVL engine with ethanol and LPI, generating 160 PS and 194 Nm torque. The CVVD-T 2.5-litre Turbo T-GDi engine will be available in the GT LINE with 305 PS and 422 Nm torque. All engine variants use either a 6-speed automatic transmission or an 8-speed automatic transmission.

4.1. Engine options and powertrain

The 2.4 L I4 engine present in the upcoming Sportage is actually pretty similar to a powertrain that was phased out of the Sorento's lineup in 2009. Therefore, today's Sorento is more powerful than yesterday's version of the midsize SUV. The 2010 Sorento became a unibody crossover and stepped its game up in the power department. The compact SUV boasts a 3.5 L V6 with 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque at 5000 rpm. The 5-speed Sportmatic automatic is the only gear changing choice. This powertrain allows the Sorento to achieve fuel efficiency on par with the 2.4 L Sportage. The FWD Sorento is rated at 20/27 mpg (city/highway) while AWD models are rated at 18/25 mpg. Both the FWD and AWD Sorento are capable of towing up to 3500 lbs. This was a significant increase over the previous tow rating of 2000 lbs for the 2010 Sorento and puts it on par with the ratings for the current generation Sportage. The towing and fuel consumption capabilities of the current Sorento are competitive with its midsize crossover rivals that include the Chevrolet Equinox, Ford Edge, and Toyota RAV4.

Kia offers a variety of powertrain options to suit the needs of their consumers, but some of their most popular engines are the 2.4 L and 2.0 L I4, 2.7 L, 3.3 L, and 3.8 L V6. The 2023 Sportage subscribes to the former category with a 2.4 L I4 serving as the sole powerplant. This engine is capable of 175 hp at 6000 rpm and 168 lb-ft of torque at 4000 rpm. The base LX model is offered with either a 6-speed manual or automatic transmission while the upgraded EX and SX models are only offered with the automatic gearbox. The FWD 2.4 L Sportage is rated at 21/28 mpg (city/highway) while AWD versions decrease the fuel economy by 1 mpg in both driving conditions.

4.2. Fuel efficiency and driving range

The fuel efficiency of the vehicle is the measure of distance covered for a given amount of fuel. The driving range is the distance a vehicle can travel before refueling. Fuel economy and reliability have been the trademark of Korean manufacturers. This crossover vehicle has an estimated 23 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway for the FWD. The AWD has slightly reduced fuel efficiency with 22 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway. The combined fuel efficiency for the FWD is around 26 mpg and the AWD is around 24 mpg. This is compared to the current 2023 Kia Sorento 2.5L model that has 24 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway for the FWD, and 23 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway for the AWD. This will be higher fuel efficiency than the current Sorento V6 3.5L Engine model that has 21 mpg in the city and 28 mph on the highway for the FWD, and 19 mpg in the city and 24 mpg on the highway for the AWD. This shows that the fuel efficiency has slightly improved between generational changes in the Kia Sorento and the new Kia Sportage. The driving range for the vehicle alone can be calculated by multiplying the fuel tank capacity by the fuel efficiency of the vehicle. The 2023 Kia Sportage has a fuel tank capacity of 14.3 gallons. This will give the FWD a driving range of about 371 miles and the AWD a driving range of 344 miles. This is similar to the Kia Sorento 2.5L Turbo engine model that has an 18.8-gallon fuel tank capacity, which will give the FWD a driving range of 451 miles and the AWD a driving range of 472 miles. The driving range for the Kia Sorento V6 3.5L engine model will be slightly less than the base Sportage at 340 miles for the FWD and 456 miles for the AWD. This shows that the vehicle's driving range has decreased with the improvement in fuel efficiency in mind, but it is still a very acceptable range for the consumer.

4.3. Towing capacity and off-road capabilities

Off-road prowess for both vehicles is modest. The unibody constructed Kia Sorento is more able than one might expect, but still nothing compared to a traditional body-on-frame SUV. It is not uncommon for those with all-wheel drive Sorentos to go off-roading, some even do some light-duty rock crawling and are satisfied with the vehicle's performance. The Kia Sportage, on the other hand, is strictly for on-road duty. With its car-like suspension, 7.5 inches of ground clearance, and lack of low-range 4WD, it's really not cut out for any off-road duty. Time and time again we hear from customers who have purchased a Sportage with 4WD thinking it is an off-road vehicle, only to be disappointed.

The Kia Sorento, built upon an SUV platform, is able to equip a trailer hitch and pull 3,500 lbs, more than most other 4-cylinder powered rivals. Only a four-cylinder Chevrolet Equinox or GMC Terrain will best that. The base Kia Sportage is only capable of towing 1,650 lbs, but the optional V6 allows the Kia Sportage to tow 2,000 lbs. Towing capacities do vary by model year and it's always a good idea to double-check your owner's manual and consult the manufacturer or an approved dealer to verify.


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