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2019 Kia Sorento vs. 2019 Kia Sportage: What’s the Difference?

  • The Sportage offers a potent optional turbocharged engine.

Kia offers two SUVs: the Sportage and the Sorento. The Sportage is a compact, while the Sorento competes in the midsize class. Both offer fun styling and good value. Outside of their obvious size differences, Sportage and Sorento buyers may be wondering about the differences between the two, so below we’ll compare these to SUVs in a number of categories to help outline how they are both alike and different.

2019 Kia Sorento vs. 2019 Kia Sportage

Basic Specs

The current-generation Kia Sportage was last fully redesigned for the 2015 model year. The 2019 Kia Sportage is offered with two different engine options. EX and LX models come with a basic 2.4-liter 4-cylinder making 181 horsepower and 175 lb-ft of torque. Standard on the SX Turbo is a potent 2.0-liter turbo four putting out a respectable 240 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Both engines come mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission and are available with optional all-wheel drive. With AWD, the 2.4-liter Sportage returns 23 miles per gallon in combined driving, while turbocharged models earn 21 mpg combined. A base model Sportage starts at $23,750, while a loaded SX Turbo approaches $36,000.

The Sorento was last all new for 2016 and is the recipient of a mild update for 2019, although changes are rather minor. L and LX trims are offered with the same 2.4-liter 4-cylinder found in the Sportage, except in this case putting out 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. LX V6, EX V6, SX and SX Limited models all come with a 3.3-liter V6 making 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque and mated to an 8-speed automatic. Like the Sportage, an AWD 4-cylinder Sorento earns 23 mpg combined, while AWD V6 models earn 21 mpg combined. A base 2019 Kia Sorento starts at just over $26,000, while a fully loaded Sorento SX Limited will exceed $47,000.

2019 Kia Sorento vs. 2019 Kia Sportage dimensions

Dimensions

The Sorento is bigger and nicer than the Sportage. The Sorento measures 187.4 inches long, 74.4 inches wide and about 66 inches tall, while the compact Sportage comes in at 176.4 inches long, 73.0 inches wide and around 65.0 inches tall. The Sorento offers 7.3 inches of ground clearance, while the Sportage offers 6.4.

Inside, while both vehicles offer similar headroom, the Sorento offers more legroom. Front seat Sorento passengers are offered 44.1 inches of legroom, while the Sportage offers 41.5 inches up front. In their second rows, the Sorento offers 39.3 inches of legroom to the Sportage’s 38.2 inches. In its third row, the Sorento offers 31.7 inches of legroom.

In terms of cargo room, the Sportage offers 30.7 cu ft. behind the second row, or 60.1 cu ft. with the second row folded. The Sorento’s cargo area is larger. With the third row folded, the Sorento offers 38.0 cu ft. or 73 cu ft. with both the second and third row folded. With the third row in place, the Sorento has 11.3 cu ft. of cargo space.

2019 Kia Sorento vs. 2019 Kia Sportage exterior

Exterior

While the Sorento’s design leaves no question as to which of these two is the more expensive vehicle, the Sportage wears what is arguably the more modern and sporty design.

The Sportage and the Sorento wear attractive exterior styling. Both feature an interpretation of Kia’s tiger nose grille up front, along with a cluster of individual fog lights on high end models. The Sportage wears a subtler grille and large, insect-like headlights. It features a high beltline and its greenhouse forms a right angle at the C-pillar. Around back, the Sportage has a small rear window and a strip connecting the taillights, which feature a unique U-shaped light pattern.

The Sorento is the more upscale of the two, offering LED light strips and a chrome grille, along with unique light clusters in the fog light surrounds of upper trims. Its greenhouse is tapered at the rear, coming to a point just ahead of the d-pillar. While the Sportage SX Turbo comes with dual exhaust pipes, the Sorento uses a single rear exhaust.

2019 Kia Sorento vs. 2019 Kia Sportage interior design

Interior Design

Inside, the Sportage features a driver-oriented cockpit, with its center stack tilted ever so slightly toward the driver. Overall, the design features a linear aesthetic with taught right angles. Interior color choices consist of black or gray regardless of trim level.

The Sorento is also more upscale than the Sportage on the inside. Much of the Sorento’s design language is shared with that of the Sportage, although the Sorento lacks the Sportage’s driver-angled center stack and features a beefier, 4-spoke steering wheel. SX Limited trims offer Nappa leather in a unique terrracota color, or in simple black for anyone with more conservative tastes.

2019 Kia Sorento vs. 2019 Kia Sportage infotainment

Technology, Features & Infotainment

A 7-in infotainment screen is standard on the Sportage LX and EX, while an 8-in screen is optional on the EX and standard on the SX Turbo. The Sorento follows a similar logic, with a 7-in screen standard on L, LX, LX V6 and EX models and an 8-in screen optional on the EX V6 and standard on SX and SX Limited trims. Nonetheless, the systems both run Kia’s UVO infotainment system, which is generally regarded as being competent. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard across the board except for on the base Sorento LX, where the functionality is optional. Neither vehicle offers internet connectivity. Both vehicles come with four 12-volt outlets. The Sportage offers two USB ports, while the Sorento offers three. The Sorento is also available with a 3-pronged household power outlet located at the back of the center console.

The Sportage comes with a standard tilting-and-telescoping steering column, available heated and cooled front seats, heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel, along with power adjustable front seats. A power liftgate and a panoramic sunroof are also among the available features.

The Sorento offers an available digital gauge cluster, a panoramic moonroof, a power liftgate, a 360-degree camera, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second row seats, a heated steering wheel and power driver and passenger seats. SX models also offer adjustable thigh bolsters, a feature usually reserved for high-end luxury vehicles.

Both the Sorento and the Sportage can be had with a Harmon Kardon stereo and offer an app that allows you to lock and unlock your vehicle from afar, among other things.

2019 Kia Sorento vs. 2019 Kia Sportage 

Reliability

Kia has come a long way since its early days in the U.S. and now offers quality dependable vehicles. Additionally, Kia offers the industry’s best factory warranty, with 5 years/60,000 miles of basic coverage and 10 years/100,000 miles of powertrain protection. Needless to say, Sportage and Sorento buyers have little to worry about when it comes to reliability.

Safety

The Sportage and the Sorento are among the safest crossovers on sale in the U.S. In Insurance Institute for Highway Safety crash testing, the 2019 Kia Sportage is named a Top Safety Pick, while the 2019 Kia Sorento is named a Top Safety Pick+.

Both vehicles also offer a healthy array of active safety features. The Sportage offers automatic high beams, blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic detection, front automated emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, lane-departure warning and parking assist. The Sorento adds to this with available lane-keeping assist, pedestrian detection, forward-collision warning and adaptive cruise control with stop and go.

Overall, both the Sorento and the Sportage are extremely safe by modern standards, but the Sorento offers more in the way of available safety tech.

Autotrader’s Advice

The Sportage and the Sorento compete in different classes. The Sportage is a compact SUV, offering room for five, AWD and the convenience of a hatchback bodystyle, making it great for the individual or for couples without children. The Sportage also stands out from the rest of the compact SUV herd by offering a 240 hp turbocharged engine, a good infotainment system and unique features like ventilated front seats, heated rear seats, and a panoramic sunroof.

The Sorento on the other hand is designed for families, and offers a more luxurious experience in upper trim levels. With room for up to seven and a variety of available active safety features, the Sorento is great for ferrying kids to and from practices, and the high end perforated Nappa leather and stately exterior offered on the SX Limited trim is great for anyone looking for a bit of luxury as well.

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Chris O'Neill
Chris O'Neill is an author specializing in competitive analysis, consumer recommendations, and adventure-driven enthusiast content. A lifelong car enthusiast, he worked in the auto industry for a bit, helping Germans design cars for Americans, and now lives in Salt Lake City, Utah. He runs an Instagram account, @MountainWestCarSpotter, which in his own words is "actually pretty good", and has a YouTube Channel that experts say "has potential". In his free time, he likes to hike, climb, mountain bike, snowboard, and canvas the Mountain West in his Toyota Land Cruiser. Writing bios in the third person makes him uncomfortable, but he thinks this one has turned out well.

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