2021 Kia Sorento vs. Its Competition

2021 Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrid
Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director

The 2021 Kia Sorento nibbles out a distinct niche with its three-row seating and available hybrid.

Its main rival might be the Ford Explorer, which comes in gas-electric and gas models and has available three-row seating—but the Sorento shares a platform with the five-seat Hyundai Santa Fe, which also gets a new look and a hybrid version in 2021.

The VW Tiguan has a third-row seat on some models and a Spartan appeal, while the Nissan Murano’s comely look is well overdue for a refresh.

We think of the Sorento as we do of the Lexus RX: There’s intrigue in its looks, and hybrid models on tap, but a good round of styling clean-up and work on refinement would do wonders for both.

2021 Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrid2021 Kia Sorento
2021 Ford Explorer Timberline2021 Ford Explorer
2021 Hyundai Santa Fe2021 Hyundai Santa Fe
2021 Lexus RX2021 Lexus RX
2021 Nissan Murano2021 Nissan Murano
2021 Volkswagen Tiguan2021 Volkswagen Tiguan
Quick Specs
The 2021 Kia Sorento crossover SUV strikes out in a new styling direction, and brings hybrid and plug-in models along for the adventure.
The 2021 Ford Explorer is recognizable, but new. It should be on every family SUV shopper’s list.
The 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe makes premium gains with hybrid and turbo-4 power and a Palisade-like interior.
The 2021 Lexus RX stays strong in an increasingly crowded class with styling that stands out and powertrains that don’t.
The 2021 Nissan Murano’s windswept shape still looks good and safety is strong, but it’s showing its age.
The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan compact crossover is spacious and comfortable, and also the league-leader in modesty,
MSRP From     
Gas Mileage     
21 MPG City / 35 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy21 MPG City / 31 MPG Hwy18 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy20 MPG City / 28 MPG Hwy21 MPG City / 29 MPG Hwy
Regular Unleaded I-4Intercooled Turbo Premium Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded I-4Regular Unleaded V-6Regular Unleaded V-6Intercooled Turbo Regular Unleaded I-4
EPA Class     
Small SUV 4WDStandard SUV 2WDSmall SUV 4WDSmall SUV 2WDMidsize Station WagonsSmall SUV 2WD
Style Name     
All Wheel DriveRear Wheel DriveAll Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel DriveFront Wheel Drive
Passenger Capacity     
Passenger Doors     
Body Style     
Sport UtilitySport UtilitySport UtilitySport UtilitySport UtilitySport Utility
Automatic w/ODAutomatic w/ODAutomatic w/ODAutomatic w/ODCVT w/ODAutomatic w/OD
Detailed Spec Comparison
 2021 Kia Sorento vs. 2021 Ford Explorer2021 Kia Sorento vs. 2021 Hyundai Santa Fe2021 Kia Sorento vs. 2021 Lexus RX2021 Kia Sorento vs. 2021 Nissan Murano2021 Kia Sorento vs. 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan