2017 Kia Sorento vs Honda Pilot

Kia Optima vs Kia Forte

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As buyers continue to move away from midsize sedans, they’re clearly running to popular midsize crossovers. One crossover is not like the other, which gives buyers a lot of options but makes it challenging to compare them. In fact, buyers are likely to be attracted equally to a midsize crossover and a full size. So, let’s see how the popular 2017 Kia Sorento compares to the longstanding favorite Honda Pilot.

2017 Kia Sorento vs Honda Pilot


Last year, the Kia Sorento was completely redesigned. Every bit of sheet metal and every piece of trim was changed, and mostly for the better. The Sorento’s design is not startlingly radical design, by any means, but it’s an attractive crossover all the same.

The Pilot used to be a proper truck-based SUV, and looked like a boxy body-on-frame SUV. It doesn’t any longer, though, as it’s now all crossover and much more car-like than it was previously. More rounded fenders and soft corners are present than squares and rectangles now, but for us the Kia is still the more appealing look.


The ride and refinement of the Sorento is very good, but it’s still short of a luxury model, even at the upper trim levels. For the price, the Kia’s trim levels are entirely appropriate–but so many models are pushing the limit between standard and luxury that buyers may be left wanting more.

ALL versions of the Pilot come with three rows of seating for up to eight people, while the Kia doesn’t offer a third row for models equipped with a turbo-four engine. The Pilot’s third-row is even big enough and comfortable enough for adults to be quite happy in, the other seats are extremely comfortable, and the materials are very nice indeed too. It’s a win here then for the Honda.


Buyers can choose from three engines in the Sorento. The standard engine is a 2.4-liter inline-four developing 185 horsepower, the liveliest engine is the 240 horsepower 2.0-liter turbo, and the most powerful unit for handling the big jobs is a 290 horsepower 3.3-liter V-6. All models come with a six-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive is also available with each.

Honda takes a focused approach to engines in the Pilot, with all models getting the same 3.5-liter V-6 that develops 280 horsepower. That power is sent to the front or all-four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission in lower trim levels, while the top two trims see it upgraded to a much more modern nine-speed auto. A lack of choice has to give this round to the Kia though.

Fuel Economy

You won’t find fancy engine features in the Kia, such a battery collecting harvested energy from braking, stop/start technology, or cylinder deactivation. But the modern, direct-injection engines are reasonably fuel-efficient all the same, with the best EPA ratings being 21 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg combined.

Adding the extra capability of all-wheel drive only takes about 1 mpg off the highway fuel economy of front-drive versions of the Honda Pilot, which are rated at 19 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 22 combined. That’s good, but not good enough.

Learn More about the Kia Sorento

Kia Optima vs Kia Forte

The Honda Pilot is a much more contemporary SUV than it used to be. But everything about the 2017 Kia Sorento feels more “today” than the Honda, from the lineup of impressive engines to the exterior styling. We’d pick the Kia over the Honda every time.