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2020 Kia Sorento vs. 2020 Kia Telluride: Compare Crossover SUVs

March 30, 2020
2020 Kia Telluride - Best Car To Buy 2020

2020 Kia Telluride - Best Car To Buy 2020

The 2020 Kia Sorento and 2020 Kia Telluride are both three-row crossover SUVs that share similar missions to get the family to soccer practice on time. The biggest question for shoppers: How many players do you need to haul and how many shin guards and cleats do you need to carry in the back?

Both the Sorento and Telluride offer three rows of seats, value, style, and easy-to-use tech. The larger, sharper-looking Telluride wins both on paper and in our hearts with a TCC Rating of 7.3 versus the Sorento’s 6.5. We even named the Telluride our Best Car To Buy 2020. Which of these crossover SUVs fits your needs best?

MORE: Read our 2020 Kia Sorento and 2020 Kia Telluride full review

2020 Kia Sorento

2020 Kia Sorento

2020 Kia Sorento

2020 Kia Sorento

2020 Kia Telluride - Best Car To Buy 2020

2020 Kia Telluride - Best Car To Buy 2020

2020 Kia Telluride - Best Car To Buy 2020

2020 Kia Telluride - Best Car To Buy 2020

The Sorento has seats for up to seven while the Telluride can fit seven or eight, depending on whether second-row captain’s chairs are installed.

The third row in the Sorento can fit two people and is more of a token row, suited best for two kids for short drives. The third row in the Telluride has space for two adults or three kids, though it’s not as spacious as competitors such as the Volkswagen Atlas.

Both the Sorento and Telluride have comfortable front seats, though the Sorento’s seats have more bolstering with excellent support. The Telluride’s second and third rows are more comfortable than the Sorento’s. When it comes to people-hauling, comfort and space are essential and the Telluride is tops for now.

The story is similar with cargo, as the Sorento has a mere 11.3 cubic feet of space behind the third row compared to 21.0 cubic feet in the Telluride. Fold the third row down and the Sorento can haul 38.0 cubic feet of stuff compared to the Telluride’s 46.0 cubes, and the Sorento taps out at 73.0 cubes with both the second and third row folded down while the Telluride can haul 87.0 cubes. Another point for the Telluride in the hauling department.

2020 Kia Sorento

2020 Kia Sorento

2020 Kia Sorento

2020 Kia Sorento

2020 Kia Telluride - Best Car To Buy 2020

2020 Kia Telluride - Best Car To Buy 2020

2020 Kia Telluride - Best Car To Buy 2020

2020 Kia Telluride - Best Car To Buy 2020

Both the Sorento and Telluride feature stylish exteriors, but the smaller Sorento can’t match the Range Rover-like swagger that the Telluride exudes. When fully loaded, the $45,000 Telluride could compete with $80,000 SUVs from Europe. The Telluride’s exterior is more brick-like with a blunt front end and chrome detailing that runs partially up the center roof pillar. The Sorento looks continental as well, but it’s more voluptuous and soft with a swept-back front end.

Inside, both crossovers feature well-organized dashboards that are carlike. There are a bevy of hard buttons and knobs and both feature touchscreens, though the Sorento’s is integrated into the dashboard while the Telluride’s looks like a tablet Gorilla-glued to the dashboard.

Sorentos are more fuel-efficient and can nearly hit 30 mpg on the highway when equipped with a modest 2.4-liter inline-4 that drives the front wheels only, according to the EPA. We recommend the punchier 3.3-liter V-6 with 290 hp. Every Telluride is powered by a larger, 3.8-liter V-6 with 291 hp, and the EPA rates it up to 26 mpg on the highway. Every V-6-powered Sorento and Telluride gets an 8-speed automatic transmission while 4-cylinder Sorentos make do with only six gears.

When properly equipped, both the Sorento and Telluride are rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds.

2020 Kia Telluride - Best Car To Buy 2020

2020 Kia Telluride - Best Car To Buy 2020

Every Telluride comes standard with automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, active lane control, and blind-spot monitors. All are available, but not standard, on the Sorento.

The Sorento starts from less than $28,000 while the Telluride costs nearly $33,000. Both come with three rows of seats, power features, and touchscreen infotainment systems with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility. The Telluride costs about $5,000 more, but it gets an 8.0-inch touchscreen, synthetic leather upholstery, and active safety tech while the Sorento makes do with cloth seats and a 7.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

Our pick of the Sorento lineup is the S V6 for $33,935 that nets the V-6 engine and blind-spot monitors, automatic emergency braking, keyless ignition, and heated front seats. It’s the value play with the active safety tech and a more powerful engine.

For our money, we’d opt for the $38,100 Telluride EX with seating for eight, 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system, leather upholstery, cooled front seats, and wireless charging pad.

A loaded Sorento SX costs just over $41,000 but we’d move over to the larger Telluride SX for about $1,000 more. It offers more space and a nicer interior.

The Telluride’s our pick unless you only need seats five, don’t mind a smaller cargo area, and would prefer a few extra thousand dollars in your pocket.

Summary

7.5
Expert Rating
There’s substance to the 2020 Kia Telluride’s style.
6.5
Expert Rating
The 2020 Kia Sorento skimps on third-row seating, but in all other respects it’s a more than respectable crossover SUV.

Styling

8.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Kia Telluride has a boxy, modern look.
Read More
7.0
Expert Rating
With the Sorento, Kia shows its SUV style is no fluke.
Read More

Performance

6.0
Expert Rating
The supple 2020 Kia Telluride takes bumps better than many competitors.
Read More
7.0
Expert Rating
Ride comfort rules the 2020 Sorento’s performance portfolio.
Read More

Comfort & Quality

9.0
Expert Rating
The spacious 2020 Kia Telluride has room for everyone and their gear.
Read More
7.0
Expert Rating
The Sorento suits five best, and its well-fitted cabin seems richer than its price.
Read More

Safety

9.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Kia Telluride earns good crash-test scores.
Read More
6.0
Expert Rating
The Sorento makes its crash-test mark, but skips standard safety tech.
Read More

Features

9.0
Expert Rating
Even with every option selected, the 2020 Kia Telluride is a good value.
Read More
8.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Sorento drops its former top model, and still doesn’t come with the latest safety tech on all models.
Read More

Fuel Economy

4.0
Expert Rating
The 2020 Kia Telluride could use a hybrid option.
Read More
4.0
Expert Rating
The Sorento’s gas mileage mildly disappoints.
Read More

MSRP

from $31,890
from $26,990

Invoice

from $30,773
from $25,952

Fuel Economy - Combined City and Highway

23
25

Engine

Regular Unleaded V-6, 3.8 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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