2017 Kia Sorento vs. 2017 Ford Edge: Compare Cars

November 2, 2016
2017 Kia Sorento

2017 Kia Sorento

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Two very popular crossover SUVs on the road today have roots as more rugged off-road machines. Today they're among the most popular vehicles in the family-utility niche—but which one's better for you?

The 2017 Kia Sorento and the 2017 Ford Edge are both five-seat, mid-size crossover SUVs. The Sorento has an optional third row with two more seats; if you're in a Ford showroom, the company offers the larger Explorer to fill that role.

Each is relatively new, with the Edge redesigned last year and the Sorento new for 2016—although its styling was updated so conservatively that you might have to look twice to tell for sure. The pair competes with the Chevrolet Traverse, Honda Pilot, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Nissan Pathfinder, and Toyota Highlander, among others.

By our ratings, the Sorento narrowly beats out the Edge, with a score of 7.2 to the Ford's 7.0. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

MORE: Read our latest reviews of the 2017 Kia Sorento and 2017 Ford Edge

From the outside, the redesigned Sorento is so evolutionary that it’s easy to let your mind fill in the lines, if you knew the previous model. The Sorento’s proportions look familiar, with a more prominent version of the Kia grille, some cleaned-up and more mature, upscale details in front and in back, and more softly rounded lines for most of what's in between.

The update is far more obvious inside. The 2016 Sorento's cabin has been dramatically tidied-up and made more sophisticated, with soft-touch trims all around—wherever front occupants might happen to touch—and climate and navigation/audio controls that are cordoned off into neat, intuitive control pods.

Ford calls the latest Edge more athletic, and for both styling and performance, it’s no exaggeration. The SUV silhouette has been upgraded, pushing the design closer to a premium look without cutting into its appeal. The Edge has some great surfacing and details that wouldn't be out of place in a BMW; the blacked-out details of the Edge Sport underscore the new athleticism, with sport-wagon undertones.

Inside, the Edge now has some of the best trims and materials in its class, and a dash shape that builds on familiar Ford models like the Focus and Escape.

2016 Kia Sorento

2016 Kia Sorento

Enlarge Photo
2016 Kia Sorento

2016 Kia Sorento

Enlarge Photo
2016 Kia Sorento

2016 Kia Sorento

Enlarge Photo
2016 Kia Sorento

2016 Kia Sorento

Enlarge Photo

The Kia Sorento carries over two engines from the previous model. The 185-horsepower 2.4-liter 4-cylinder base powertrain, and a 290-hp 3.3-liter V-6 at the top of the line. But for 2016, Kia added a new turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that makes 240 hp. All three are paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission and can be ordered with front- or all-wheel drive. We preferred the 2.0T model for its perky feel in most types of driving, even if its off-the-line acceleration wasn't the fastest of the three.

From the driver's seat, the latest Sorento responds and performs much better than its predecessor. The steering tracks better on center, the suspension provides a firm, composed ride, and the stiffer body structure gives a heftier, more confident feel and a vault-like German ride. Fuel economy is about par for the class, with the highest at 24 mpg combined for the 2.4-liter with front-wheel drive, down to 19 mpg for a fully loaded AWD with the V-6.

The Ford Edge offers plenty of powertrain combinations to fit both tech-savvy and traditionalist buyers. The base engine is a 245-hp 2.0-liter EcoBoost 4-cylinder, paired to a 6-speed automatic transmission that's the only choice regardless of engine. This base engine has great responsiveness, can be fitted with all-wheel drive, can tow 3,500 pounds, and should be perfectly adequate for most needs. A 280-hp 3.5-liter V-6 is optional for buyers who must have a V-6. But it's the Edge Sport, with a direct-injected and twin-turbocharged 315-hp 2.7-liter V-6, that's the most intriguing. Its understated performance is strong and confident.

2016 Ford Edge

2016 Ford Edge

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2016 Ford Edge 4-door SEL FWD Dashboard

2016 Ford Edge 4-door SEL FWD Dashboard

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2016 Ford Edge 4-door SEL FWD Trunk

2016 Ford Edge 4-door SEL FWD Trunk

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2016 Ford Edge 4-door SEL FWD Angular Rear Exterior View

2016 Ford Edge 4-door SEL FWD Angular Rear Exterior View

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On the road, the Edge isn’t edgy, but precise and responsive. The steering has a precise, reassuring feel, tracking well in a straight line and taking corners without fuss. The Sport model gets its own damper and spring rates, and standard 21-inch wheels, with 20s as an option. Active noise cancellation actually leaves the Edge Sport the quietest model. Fuel economy ratings are good, but not class-leading, ranging from a high of 24 mpg combined for the base front-wheel-drive model to 20 mpg combined for the Edge Sport with AWD.

The Sorento's driver’s seat now has extendable thigh bolsters—definitely of use to taller drivers. Second-row space is essentially the same for two- and three-row versions, although two-row models include an underseat storage system. Adults will find the third row too short and hard to be comfortable over a long day—although it's just fine for a quick dinner outing with those under 5-feet-10.

With slightly less cargo storage, the Edge is a vehicle designed more for people than gear. The front seats are high, but afford enough head room and offer a good view out over the hood. Even with those front seats all the way back, there’s enough rear leg and knee room for long-legged adults. Still, the seats are too short and flat—both in front and in back. 

Both the 2017 Sorento and the 2016 Edge earn five stars overall from the NHTSA, with five stars on every test except for rollover, which has been rated at four stars. The IIHS rates the Sorento "Good" on every test, and awards it a Top Safety Pick+ designation. The Ford, however, doesn't do quite as well with the IIHS, achieving only an "Acceptable" score on the small-frontal overlap crash test (and "good" in all other ratings).

In back-to-back drives, we found the Edge more rewarding to drive, and more pleasing to our eyes. But the Sorento has more interior space, better safety scores, and offers that third row, which the Edge doesn't.

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Summary

8.2
Expert Rating
The 2016 Ford Edge has everything you might want in a tech-focused, stylish crossover—as long as you don't require third-row seating or a luxury badge.
7.3
Expert Rating
The 2017 Kia Sorento stays true to its high-value roots, but it's grown up in refinement and comfort.

Styling

9.0
Expert Rating
The 2016 Ford Edge carries its edge from the inside, in its combination of nicely coordinated soft-touch materials and fine details.
Read More
7.0
Expert Rating
The 2017 Sorento embraces the sporty yet softer new look of Kia—especially inside.
Read More

Performance

8.0
Expert Rating
No matter which engine you choose for the 2016 Edge, you'll get precise steering and great handling on par with premium-brand German crossovers.
Read More
7.0
Expert Rating
The entire driving experience is now better coordinated, with excellent turbo-4 models, a stiffer structure, and more responsive steering.
Read More

Comfort & Quality

8.0
Expert Rating
The cabin is quiet and refined, with lots of versatility, yet seating comfort could use more attention.
Read More
8.0
Expert Rating
Ride and refinement is now excellent in the Sorento.
Read More

Safety

8.0
Expert Rating
The 2016 Ford Edge offers a lot of active-safety wizardry, and some reassuring crash-test results.
Read More
8.0
Expert Rating
Parents should be at ease knowing that the Sorento gets high ratings for safety and has a robust set of active safety tools.
Read More

Features

8.0
Expert Rating
The arrival of improved Sync 3 infotainment should add appeal—but Edge models with the top features come at a significant price premium.
Read More
8.0
Expert Rating
With a wide range of trim levels, there's everything to satisfy cost-conscious families or those who want to pile the features on.
Read More

Fuel Economy

6.0
Expert Rating
Ford's EcoBoost engine technology is easier to get in this new-generation Edge; although don't think that means much higher mileage.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
There's still no hybrid model here, although with last year's redesign mpg numbers got a modest boost.
Read More

MSRP

from $28,700
from $25,600

Invoice

from $27,696
from $24,705

Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway

24
24

Engine

Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4, 2.0 L
Regular Unleaded I-4, 2.4 L

Drivetrain

Front Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
Front Wheel Drive Read Full Specs
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