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Kia Sorento vs. Chevy Traverse

1. Introduction

Kia Sorento There are three engines available for the Kia, but for the sake of fairness, we shall compare the top-end model and features to the Traverse. This is likely the most expensive model under comparison and would hold the most appeal for potential buyers. A 2.4L four-cylinder engine with gasoline direct injection is the base model, but the top end is powered by a 3.5L V6 engine. The V6 uses a timing chain, double overhead cams with variable valve timing - a more advanced setup than the Traverse. A timing chain also requires less maintenance than a timing belt, although this is not explicitly mentioned in the Chevrolet owner's manual. It produces 278 hp @ 6300 rpm and 248 ft/lb of torque @ 5000 rpm. The stronger V6 engine and advanced torque rating will give the Kia the edge in power and should be the preferred choice over the base four-cylinder. An optional all-wheel drive system will also be available. This engine is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission with a gated shifter. Build quality is a little more refined, but repair costs can potentially be much greater than the Chevrolet. The engine and transmission brandish the typical Hyundai/Kia optics, with an emphasis on fuel efficiency and less reliance on raw performance. This is evidenced by Kia's claim that the V6 Sorento would be the most fuel efficient in its class, although the rating is far from the established I4 model at 20 mpg. The engine and transmission constitute a sturdier choice over the Chevrolet, but it is debatable whether the fuel savings will offset the increased repair cost for the average consumer. The superior V6 torque can lead to surprising initial acceleration on slick or icy surfaces. Please visit our Comprehensive Guide to Kia Model Comparisons to learn more about Kia Sorento vs Chevy Traverse.

The category comparisons are as follows: Pricing & Specifications, Fuel Economy, Comfort, Power, Handling, and Heating Ventilation & Air Conditioning. We'll be comparing the lowest model's price and features to the highest model with the same degree of features. This way we can determine which vehicle has the better value for money. Let's begin. (Rawal et al.2020)(Taheri et al., 2022)(Romero et al., 2024)(Lee & Lee, 2023)(Moghadam et al.2023)(Litardo et al.2023)(Farghali et al.2023)

Would you ever have considered buying a Kia over a Chevy? Perhaps a few years ago, this would have seemed preposterous. But times have changed and car manufacturers have developed and changed their brands. In this comparison, we'll be looking at Kia's latest SUV, the Sorento, and putting it head to head with Chevrolet's Traverse. The goal is to determine which vehicle is superior and, if possible, help potential buyers come to a decision on which vehicle is best for them. The way we'll be doing this is by comparing several categories, giving them a score out of five, in which the vehicle with the highest total amount of points at the end will be proclaimed the winner. The categories can receive five possible points for a high score, three for average, and one for a low score. This is to provide a gauge as to which vehicle is particularly better in certain areas. We will pick a price range that is within both vehicles, for any given model, to compete for a nature of fairness.

2. Performance

Both the Sorento and Traverse engines feature increased power, versatility, and fuel economy while still offering the customer great power-to-weight ratio. All Traverse engines are equipped with dual-overhead camshafts, 4 valves per cylinder, variable valve timing, and a 6000-mile engine air filtration filter. The Kia Sorento offers continuously variable valve timing on all engines. The Sorento's 4-cylinder also features gasoline direct injection technology. Step up to the Sorento V6 and another noteworthy feature is an available towing package that allows a maximum 3500 lbs of towing capacity. This could prove to be very useful for any family vacation, whether towing a boat to the lake or a camper to the mountains. Any Traverse model is not going to provide more than 2000-2500 lbs of towing capacity.

The Kia Sorento offers 25 more horsepower than the Traverse with incomparably better fuel economy. The Sorento boasts a 276 horsepower V6 engine compared to the standard Traverse 3.6L V6 engine that provides 251 horsepower. The Sorento is also available with a more fuel efficient 4-cylinder 2.4L engine that still provides an impressive 175 horsepower. Both engines in the Sorento (4 & 6 cylinder) exceed Traverse in power while also maintaining better fuel economy.

2.1. Engine Power

Summiting engine specifications is an AWD Traverse LTZ, the one and only readily available version with dual exhaust and 288HP. In a few different measures, the Traverse consumes less fuel with this engine but isn't going to give you additional power. The only reason it doesn't make sense to do direct head-to-head fuel consumption comparisons is there's no such thing as a money-no-object alternative in the real world. A few extra grand on a higher spec Sorento can get you to the 290HP engine that's standard in the US, and it's all-wheel-drive all the way for Aussies picking a V6 Sorento. Other Chevy forums indicate the 288HP engine will be canned, and all Traverses will get the smaller V6 as a means of jumping a few corporate average fuel economy points.

Given the Traverse's additional weight and generally larger dimensions, one might reckon it has the gutsier powertrain of this duo, but on paper, the Sorento is up on horsepower with 290 v 288 and has a decent torque advantage too. The Kia also utilizes the gutsier transmission, hitching up every V6 with a smooth shifting 6-speed automatic, whereas the Chevy makes do with an archaic 6-speed slushbox for the 281HP LS and LT variants, and an automatic transmission of unspecified number of gears for the top 288HP LTZ.

V6 engines power both of these vehicles, units that the big majority of buyers will pick. However, top-line families for each brand will note the Chevy is the sole vehicle in this comparison to also offer a 4-cylinder engine. It's not so often these days we get to see one vehicle available with both 4 and 6-cylinder engine choices, but in this comparison, the Sorento's base 4-cylinder is just for rental car and taxi fleets.

2.2. Acceleration

- Kia Sorento offers pleasant acceleration with smooth transitions between gears. Based on its testing in the field, it has a 0-60 mph run in merely 9.1 seconds. This is marginally slower compared to the Chevrolet Traverse, which has better acceleration at 8.6 seconds for 0-60 mph. Kia Sorento should depend on the driver to use its automanual mode capability to shift at the desired engine power since the normal driving act is quite sluggish. But overall, for smoothness of transition between the gears, it is a good idea to run it in normal drive all the time. Kia Sorento is equipped with a 6-speed automatic transmission, which helps in timing and fuel efficiency compared to the previous 5-speed automatic transmissions. - Chevrolet Traverse has smooth acceleration for an SUV of its size, even though the engine power is relatively low compared to other SUVs in the same range. This is due to the presence of Variable Valve Timing in its engine, where it changes the air intake and valve lift event timing in accordance with the engine RPM. It has better timing compared to the Kia Sorento, with a 0-60 mph run in 8.6 seconds, despite the higher torque at 6300 RPM for the Kia Sorento. This can be attributed to the 6-speed automatic transmission and also the better power-to-weight ratio of the Chevrolet Traverse at 6256. This means that its heavy weight against the Kia Sorento is compensated by its better engine power and automatic transmissions. (Zhuang et al., 2020)(Sweigard, 2020)(Stanley, 2020)(Perley, 2021)(Riexinger, 2021)

2.3. Fuel Efficiency

This means that despite the Traverse having a larger fuel tank, both vehicles will travel a similar distance on a full tank. It should be noted that the Traverse has a slightly better fuel consumption rate, although fuel costs may vary and the price difference between the two vehicles is substantial. Based on the current average price of petrol in Australia being around $1.50/L, driving 15,000km per year, the annual fuel costs for the Sorento and the Traverse would be about $2400 and $2184 respectively at these fuel consumption rates. Based on these figures, over 5 years of ownership, the Sorento will cost approximately $12,000 in fuel, whereas the Traverse will cost $10,920. Although this is only an estimate, the substantial price difference between the two vehicles provides food for thought.

The fuel efficiency of a vehicle is extremely important in deciding if you will purchase that vehicle in the long run. We are all aware of the increasing gas prices and how owning a gas guzzler is definitely not a wise decision for your financial stability. The Kia Sorento has a fuel tank capacity of 68.7L and consumes on average 11.5L/100km on the combined cycle. In comparison, the Chevrolet Traverse consumes less fuel with an average of 10.4L/100km on the combined cycle and has a fuel tank capacity of 83L.

3. Features

Kia Sorento vs. Chevy Traverse Let's put these two vehicles' features to the test within the heart of the 3rd row. The Chevy offers a lack of driver-passenger armrest and cupholder - and the Chevy guy must now buy a boat to tow. All joking aside, the youngest seat passengers are an increasing market factor in today's SUV, and it is an arena where both vehicles have already succeeded in providing safe and comfortable seating with a clear view; and the Chevy with a tad more room for a portable DVD player. The choice must then come down to style, status, and price as both vehicles excel in other various areas meant for adults.

As mentioned, the base L and LS Traverse models come with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, but the LT and LTZ models come with the powerful 3.6-liter V-6. This is a bold move for Chevrolet, and the V-6 provides the Traverse with more than adequate horsepower and handling for this segment. This is evidenced by the fact that the V-6 LT and LTZ with tow package can handle 5200 lbs. The Sorento offers 3 different engines – a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder, a 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder, and a 3.3-liter V-6. Unfortunately, the 2.4-liter is not impressively fuel-efficient or lacking in power, and the 2.0 turbo is only available on the SX, which is an omission that brings most potential Kia V-6 buyers to the Chevy table. But the Traverse uses a 6-speed automatic versus the Sorento V-6 with the option of a 6-speed auto or manual. Both vehicles perfectly execute a balance between highway fuel economy and all-wheel drive capability for those residing in cold climates or who might frequently tow a boat or trailer. These are proven models of reliability and fuel economy between different engine and drivetrain choices.

Interior comfort for the Sorento is no letdown and actually fares well when compared to the Traverse. The Sorento's front dash and center stack is a bit busier in appearance, but everything is easy to understand and is very user-friendly. The dash/door switchgear and knobs are not as high in quality as the Traverse, but the functionality is there. Kia does well in design execution and material choice but doesn't attempt to compete head-on with Chevy when it comes to interior bling. All Sorentos come with a tilt and telescopic wheel with integrated audio and cruise. Dual-zone climate, rear AC, 2nd row sunshades, and a cooling glove box door are standard on all EX models and up. The location and convenience of the Sorento's cup holders and storage space do not let the driver down. Kia configures the 2nd+3rd seat arrangement combinations and max cargo capacity. The Sorento's 2nd row seats suffer in comparison to the Traverse with its 40/20/40 split/fold/recline seatbacks. The 3rd row is still comfortable and offers an available 50/50 split seat and rear climate controls.

Chevrolet was recently awarded an award for having the best automotive interiors in the industry, and the Traverse exemplifies that. The dash, center stack, and steering wheel look attractive and elegant with just enough bright and satin-finish accents to keep things interesting without looking gaudy. The knobs, buttons, and door switches are all tactically sound and easy to use. There is plenty of usable storage and cup holders, with dual front covered armrests and a large glove box, console, and door storage. The driver seat is 8-way adjustable with 4-way lumbar support, and the passenger seat is 4-way adjustable. The 2nd row seats are captain's chairs, and the 60/40 split 3rd row bench seats comfortably fit adults.

Interior The base L and LS models come with a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine, but the LT and LTZ models come with a robust 3.6-liter V-6 engine good for 281 hp and 266 hp, respectively. All models are available in FWD or AWD. Our 2LT AWD V-6 test model was up to the task and proved to be more than adequate when it came to highway merging, towing, or light off-road duties.

3.1. Interior Comfort

Comfort is extremely important to all of us who commute daily, and roominess is almost always a decisive point as well when it comes to making a purchase. Both the Sorento and the Traverse have seating for seven or eight passengers. The Traverse is rated for eight passengers, but only if you choose the second-row 60/40 split bench. In that configuration, you get a center pass-through to the back row, and that bench is lacking somewhat in terms of comfort. The Sorento employs a small trick in its design to maximize space and access to the third row by using a fold/tumble second-row seat that could be pushed forward with a child seat still attached. Although the Sorento's third-row seating is a bit confining for adults, overall we value the second-row arrangement and easy access more. Both vehicles are about the same width and height, but the Chevy, on its longer wheelbase, is significantly longer. This pays off inside, where the Traverse feels wide open and spacious. The downside is that the Chevy can feel slightly more cumbersome in parking lots and tight spaces. The Sorento's length is well utilized, and it makes the most of its more than ample 108.5 cubic feet of passenger space, with a spacious feel and good front seat space. Middle-row accommodations in the Sorento are quite good as well, but the third-row seat is simply a bit too tight for adults, with very little legroom. On the other hand, we like the plush, comfortable front seats and the driving position in the Sorento, which feel just right to us for this vehicle. The fact that some versions with the V-6 and five-speed automatic also have a power tilt/telescopic steering wheel helps seal the deal for comfort. Both vehicles have an available panoramic dual-panel sunroof, adding a dramatic effect and more natural light for those inside. But because it's a feature associated with some serious number of leaks and squeaks in the past, you should probably see if GM and Kia have these systems nailed down before checking them off on your list for a Traverse or Sorento. (Klinich, 2023)(Beam, 2024)(Bloomquist, 2023)

3.2. Technology

Where the Sorento really shows its true colors is with the UVO3 Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration that comes available on the LX 2.0T model and standard on the LX V6 and above. This feature will enable you to connect your smartphone to the central display and access many features such as music, navigation, and calls via voice commands. Offering five USB ports, a Wi-Fi hotspot, and a wireless device charging pad, the Traverse is a great device for staying connected. All but the base L model come with the Chevrolet MyLink infotainment interface, which includes an 8-inch touchscreen, and the system generally provides quick responses to inputs. This same system is also available with the upgraded navigation feature and includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration. The Traverse is rich with features, but the UVO system in the Sorento is a more modern version of this style of system and is slightly easier to navigate.

The Kia Sorento also offers a high-end look and feel without the price tag that adds value. Available with a 7-inch display (LX and EX models) as well as an 8-inch navigation system (Limited and SX models), the Sorento offers a stylish and functional look. When the upgraded navigation system is added, the UVO eServices Infotainment System is included, which will allow you to utilize voice commands to control the central display as well as integrating many phone features such as sending a preset text when a call is missed. The Chevy Traverse falls short compared to the Sorento with a fixed rear camera display as well as not offering a voice-operated control for the system. The Sorento also offers dual-zone automatic control on the LX V6 model and above. The Traverse only offers a single-zone climate control on any trim level. Today's technology requires USB jacks as well as 12V power sockets. With 4 of each located throughout the cabin, the Sorento meets all of today's technology needs.

3.3. Safety

In the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) safety testing, the Sorento outscored the Traverse in all but one category, roof strength, which was still an "acceptable" score. The Sorento scored "good" in Frontal Offset Crash Test, while the Traverse only scored "acceptable". In Side Impact Test and Rear Crash Protection/Head Restraint, the Sorento scored "good", while the Traverse still scored "acceptable". The Sorento was also rated "good" in Roll Over Rating, while the Traverse was only "marginal". In the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) crash test ratings, the Sorento also scored better than the Traverse. The Sorento was rated 4 out of 5 stars, while the Traverse received only 3 stars. Both vehicles received 4 stars in the overall Frontal Crash Test. In the Front Driver Side Test, the Sorento received 5 stars while the Traverse only received 4 stars. In the overall Side Crash Test, the Sorento received 5 stars and the Traverse only 3 stars. There are several other safety features that the Sorento has, but the Traverse does not. These include Smart Pedal and Electronic Stability Control. The Sorento won this comparison with flying colors and the 2011 model is expected to be better yet.

4. Price and Value

The question asked by most car buyers is whether or not the warranty is worth it for a vehicle that's supposedly the best quality available. Now, compare that to Kia's astonishing 10 year/100,000 mile warranty. This is definitely a step back for many people examining Chevrolet's standard warranty. Kia takes the cake on this one purely based on the fact that the majority of consumers owning an SUV are not planning to drive moderately. More driving means more wear, more tear, and more potential problems. With the Sorento's warranty, you won't have to worry about these problems in the long run as you continue to pile on the miles.

New to the market is the all-new Kia Sorento SUV. More stylish and more comfortable compared to the Chevrolet Traverse, the Kia Sorento is a win for consumers wanting off-road capabilities coupled with a smooth car-like ride. Both of these SUVs are 7 to 8 seaters, but that's where the similarities seem to end.

4.1. Base Price

The 2017 Kia Sorento starts with a manufacturer’s suggested retail price (MSRP) just under $26,000 and can run up to around $45,000 for a fully loaded SX Limited model. The 2017 Chevrolet Traverse has a base price of about $29,000 for a base L model and can run up to around $44,000 for a fully loaded Premier model, so it’s important to keep that price gap in mind as we compare trim levels between the two models. High volume sellers in the mid-level trim range like the EX 2.0T Sorento and the 1LT Traverse start at a similar base price, but the Sorento is more expensive when equipped with a V6 or a 3-row seating configuration. Step up to the V6 Sorento with 3-row seating and you’re looking at spending an extra $2,000 compared to a Traverse 1LT, which is also available with all-wheel drive. Kia is known for offering strong value on their vehicles, and the Sorento is no exception when considering equipment for the price. Compared to similarly priced 5-passenger Sorento models, a Traverse LS comes with 8-passenger seating and more basic standard features like a 6.5” touch radio with reverse camera and privacy glass. However, the trade-off is that a Sorento will definitely be more expensive if opting for a 7-8 passenger configuration in the higher trim levels with the V6. Furthermore, Chevy runs regional bonus cash and package discounts on the Traverse, which can save buyers a significant amount of money if they happen to qualify for specific incentives. Make sure to check for offers before deciding which vehicle is the better deal.

4.2. Warranty

Kia edges out Chevrolet in warranties for the Sorento and Traverse. Both vehicles have a 5-year/100,000-mile warranty, however, Kia offers a more comprehensive warranty package. The most notable difference is that Chevrolet does not offer transferable warranties on their vehicles; the warranty stops when the vehicle is sold to a new owner. This significantly decreases resale value because a product with a warranty usually retains value better than a product without a warranty. This factor is somewhat mitigated by the fact that the Traverse is a rental fleet vehicle intended for sale as a used vehicle when the warranty is expired. Kia's warranty is transferable, meaning that if the vehicle is sold before the warranty is expired, the new owner will retain the warranty. Kia also boasts a warranty that covers the powertrain and the entire vehicle for 5 years or 60,000 miles. Chevrolet warrants the powertrain and entire vehicle for the same duration; however, Kia's powertrain warranty is notably longer than most manufacturers, which is something that can be attractive to consumers who are considering buying a used vehicle.

4.3. Resale Value

For the 4.3 category of resale value, the fact that nearly forty percent of these mid-size SUVs change hands within five years caught our attention. It's a rational assumption that consumer interest in a particular SUV has a direct effect on its resale value. This being the primary reason that we associate SUVs such as the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot with high resale value. Normally, strong consumer interest is driven by a combination of word of mouth and external visuals. While in the years since we finished our model cycles the Sorento and Traverse have shown good reliability, we feel they are average in the word of mouth department. This means resale value will be more influenced by the external visuals and consumer perception of the brand, specifically that last point being a strong suit for the Traverse and its Chevrolet badge. The Sorento redesigned for 2014 though, and it's reasonable to assume that it has higher quality visuals and a more modern look than its predecessor. This combined with Kia's growing reputation for quality vehicles may explain why the Sorento has about ten percent higher resale value than the Traverse. After all, when it comes to vehicle resale value, perception is reality. Experts may claim that a certain vehicle is high quality and worth the investment, but if the majority disagrees, then the experts are wrong. It's pretty cut and dry. In any case, we advise that buyers considering either vehicle should invest in some sort of protection plan, be it the extended warranty on a Chevrolet or the additional gap insurance offered by Kia. This is due to the fact that these plans offer security against a vehicle depreciating in value.


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