2017 Kia Sorento vs Ford Escape

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If any market could be called absolute gold for buyers, it’s the crossover SUV market–especially for smaller SUVs with adaptable options. Two of the heavy hitters continue to be the impressive 2017 Kia Sorento and the ever-popular Ford Escape–but which of these options actually gives you more for your money. Let’s put them side-by-side and see.

2017 Kia Sorento vs Ford Escape

Exterior Style

The exterior of the 2017 Kia Sorento might actual trick you into thinking that it’s a luxury brand if you’re not careful. The Sorento combines athletic aggression with aerodynamic modern lines, which you can see especially in the tiger-nose grille and the angled side doors. To be sure, the Sorento is impressive to look at.

The Ford Escape is a stockier, squared off approach to the crossover SUV, with a small and sporty stance. Its nose sits lower, which gives it an aggressive appearance, but the 2017 Escape also feels very familiar–and not necessarily in a good way. Looking at the Escape, the design seems older than you might want–almost like you’re staring at your mom’s SUV. That aging design approach gives the nod here to the modern, stylish Sorento.

Interior Comfort

The 2017 Kia Sorento is not playing around when it comes to interior passenger space and comfort. The passenger volume is a commanding 154.2 cubic feet, whether you’re seating 5 or 7. That’s right–the Sorento has a base model that offers seating for 5 and four other trims that seat 7, while keeping more leg room in the second row than the Escape. On all but the base trim, heated leather seats come standard, which makes the interior even more comfortable. On the 7 passenger Sorento, however, you’re giving up a significant amount of cargo space–about 20 cubic feet–but the Kia has an easy-to-fold-down third row that makes recreating a large cargo area easy.

Maybe it seems unfair to compare the interior of a seven-passenger SUV to a 5-seater. Okay, let’s only compare the interiors of the base model Sorento (which can only seat five) to the comparable trim of the Escape. The Sorento, with five passenger capacity, still gives buyers 150+ cubic feet of room while the escape only provides 98. The Escape has a consistently large 34.3 cubic feet in the cargo area–but the five passenger Sorento beats that by 4 cubic feet. You’ll have to go to the top trim Titanium to get standard leather seats, as well. There’s just no contest here–the Sorento beats the Escape by a mile.

Fuel Economy

The Ford Escape has the Kia Sorento beat in fuel economy from top to bottom trims. The closest contest comes on the base models, where their comparable 4-cylinder models get almost identical MPGs. The Ford Escape consistently averages around 24 miles per gallon, which is an impressive number for any crossover.

The Sorento keeps pace with the Escape with its 4-cylinder model, but the V6 (which also has nearly 100 more horsepower than the 4-cylinder engine in the Escape) gets about 21 mpg, which is on par with most crossovers on the market.

Safety and Reliability

The Kia Sorento got two five-star ratings in the NHTSA’s front driver and passenger driver crash tests, and offers active headrests standard on all of their vehicles. Kia also was voted #1 in initial quality by JD Power in its 2017 survey, beating out even Porsche to win the title.

Ford is certainly no slouch in either the safety or reliability department. The Escape also earned five stars in the front crash test by the NHTSA, but only four stars for the passenger crash test. Ford also ranked fairly high on the JD Power 2017 survey, earning the fourth spot behind Kia, Genesis, and Porsche.

Learn More about the Kia Sorento

While the 2017 Ford Escape offers a solid crossover SUV, the 2017 Kia Sorento clearly takes the prize here for the best option for your money. Though the Sorento is a bit more expensive than the Escape, it nearly doubles the passenger volume and available horsepower while providing more standard features than the Escape. The Sorento is our clear winner.