2018 Kia Sorento vs Ford Explorer

October 24th, 2017 by

  • New 2018 Kia Sorento LX

    New 2018 Kia Sorento LX

    Lease for $149/mo. for 24 months*

    J.D. Power: 2017 “Highest Ranked Midsize SUV in Initial Quality, 2 out of 3 Years in a Row”

    View Disclaimer

    *Offer ends 5/31/2018. $3,889 due at signing. Stock #K180258. MSRP $28,185. See dealer for details. On approved credit. Security deposit waived. Payment plus TTL due at signing. 10k-mile year leases. All payments are with qualified credit through KMF. Includes all available rebates and incentives, and do not include tax, tag, doc, title fees, $595 bank fee, dealer fees and acquisition fees. ALL PAYMENTS ARE WITH QUALIFIED CREDIT THROUGH KMF, INCLUDES ALL AVAILABLE REBATES AND INCENTIVES, AND DO NOT INCLUDE TAX, TAG, DOC, TITLE FEES AND ACQUISITION FEE (LEASES ONLY).

    The Kia Sorento received the lowest number of problems per 100 vehicles reflecting higher quality among midsize SUVs in the J.D. Power 2015 and 2017 U.S. Initial Quality Studies. 2017 study based on 77,419 total responses, evaluating 189 models, and measures the opinions of new 2017 vehicle owners after 90 days of ownership, surveyed in February-May 2017. Your experiences may vary. Visit jdpower.com/cars.

The crossover SUV market covers such a wide variety of sizes, shapes, and capabilities for buyers–all with an eye toward giving a buyer what they need. Two of the most popular right now are the 2017 Ford Explorer and the 2017 Kia Sorento. Let’s see which one is the better buy.

2018 Kia Sorento vs Ford Explorer

Styling

The Sorento underwent a full redesign last year that brought in a new exterior, a new platform, a new engine, and new interior packaging. To be honest, even despite all that, it doesn’t look all that different than its predecessor. When you have a winning design and performance in the previous model, it makes sense to stay true to it–and the 2017 continues to offer a straightforward, mass-appeal approach to the SUV that will be pleasing on the eye to most.

Derivative and a little tired are descriptions that some might use to describe the Ford Explorer. An available sport appearance package does a decent job of making this aging design appear more exciting and attractive than it is otherwise. But without that Hail Mary option, the Sorento offers more class and contemporary style.

Engines and Performance

The exterior changes may have been evolutionary, but the way this new Sorento drives, handles, and performs really has been transformed. The 2.4-liter inline-four and the 3.3-liter V-6 carry over, but the addition of a thoroughly modern 2.0-liter inline-four is a big boost. The new unit has a little less horsepower than the longstanding V-6, but with more torque the 2.0T is probably the pick for those who like to enjoy driving.

The Explorer offers a 3.5-liter V-6 as its base engine, with two turbocharged units in the form of a 2.3-liter inline-four and a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V-6 with a maximum power rating of 356 horsepower. At more than 700 pounds heavier than the Kia, the Ford needs that extra power but it doesn’t handle anything like as well as the Sorento.

Interiors

The Sorento isn’t a luxury model, but the recent upgrades have taken it a lot closer to being one without a significant price hike. The interior packaging makes fantastic use of overall dimensions that haven’t grown, so inside you’d think the Kia was now a bigger vehicle than it was before. Base models are five-seat affairs, but higher trims get seven seats with a third row that is particularly good for the segment. The quality and fit of the materials is as good as we’ve come to expect these days from Kia.

All the family friendly credentials of seven seats, lots of storage space and cubbies, and some flexible seating options are in evidence inside the Explorer. The quality of trim and materials is good, if not class-leading, and the seats are supportive and comfortable. There’s only a tiny fraction more room for passengers inside the Ford than the Kia, which is a bit of a disappointment for a much larger vehicle.

Fuel Economy

There are no fancy fuel-saving features such as stop/start in the Sorento, but its modern, efficient engines still manage to deliver pretty good ratings. The EPA says the most fuel-efficient models are front-drive, four-cylinder versions of the 2017 Kia Sorento, which are rated at 21 mpg in the city, 28 mpg on the highway and 24 mpg combined.

With the 2.3-liter inline-four and front-wheel drive, the Ford Explorer is rated at 19 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg combined. That’s not terrible for a vehicle of this size, but it’s still not good enough to put it ahead of the Kia.

Learn More about the Kia Sorento

You’d probably expect the more expensive Ford Explorer to be bigger and better than the 2017 Kia Sorento. The simple truth is that the Ford is hardly any bigger where it matters on the inside, and it’s hard to find much about it that’s better than the Kia either. If you’re shopping these two against each other, go for the better of the two (and save money in the process) by choosing the Kia Sorento.

Posted in Comparison