2020 Kia Sorento vs 2020 Mazda CX-9 | Pre-Owned SUVs for Sale

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  • 2020 Kia Sorento

    A white 2020 Kia Sorento is angled left.

    Starting at

    $26,690

    2020 Mazda CX-9

    A white 2020 Mazda CX-9 is facing right.

    Starting at

    $33,890

    290Max Horsepower (HP)250
    22/29 MPGFuel Economy (city/hwy)22/28 MPG
    73Max Cargo Space (cu.ft.)71.2

    If you are looking for a vehicle that can accommodate a large family without having to purchase a full-size SUV, then you should be looking at mid-size crossovers with three rows of seating and plenty of space. And out of all the available options on the market, there is no better model than the 2020 Kia Sorento. However, it can be challenging to understand if and why a vehicle is right for you, which is why it is useful to get an idea of just how great a model is by comparing it to its closest competitor. And that is why, today, we are going to compare the 2020 Kia Sorento vs 2020 Mazda CX-9.

    These two vehicles are quite similar in that they can both carry up to seven passengers, and are of a similar general size. However, that is not to say that there is not a champion in this competition; there are some significant differences between the two. Behind the third row of seating in the Kia Sorento is 11.3 cubic feet of cargo room. Starting even at the maximum cargo space, the Sorento has more to offer with 73 cu.ft. of maximum space in comparison to the CX-9's 71.2 cu.ft. While the difference is slight, it is still existent. Plus, there is so much more that is better about the Sorento than the CX-9; however, only the full comparison will paint the entire picture.

  • Performance

    A white 2020 Kia Sorento is driving on a dirt road outside of Freehold, NJ.

    The performance of any vehicle is essential, but when it comes to SUVs, the need for power and efficiency grows. Having engine options that offer strength and savings at the gas tank can be important, especially for a family vehicle like these two SUVs. Luckily, the Sorento has two engines for drivers to choose from, both with excellent numbers. Unfortunately, though, the CX-9 falls a bit short with only one engine and no choices.

    Popping the Sorento's Hood

    Popping the hood of the 2020 Kia Sorento, you will notice a different engine underneath depending on which trim level you buy. The standard engine is a 2.4-liter I-4 that produces 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. Paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and FWD, this mid-size model gets about 25 MPG combined (22 city/29 highway), and it can haul up to 2,000 pounds.

    If that is not enough power for your driving needs, then you should opt for a mid-level trim or higher. These versions of the Sorento are powered by a 3.3-liter V6 engine mated with the same transmission and FWD. Generating 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque, this powertrain gets about 22 MPG combined (19 city/26 highway) and can tow up to 5,000 pounds. With all of that power and efficiency, road trips to the lake with a boat are possible, and there will be few stops at the gas station.

    The CX-9's Engine

    On the other hand, the 2020 Mazda CX-9 doesn’t have any optional powertrain. Every model is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter 4-cylinder motor that is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and FWD. Producing 250 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque, you will get approximately 25 MPG combined (22 city/28 highway) in this ride. Additionally, this vehicle can tow up to 3,500 pounds. While this engine offers more torque than the Sorento, it does not show for it and is seemingly underpowered. Without any available upgrades and with the lower towing capacity, the CX-9 falls short.

  • Trims

    The sunroof in a 2020 Kia Sorento is shown from inside.

    Options on Options For Kia

    The 2020 Kia Sorento L is the entry-level model. However, it is anything but basic. This nifty vehicle offers drivers an innovative infotainment interface that is displayed on a large 7-inch touchscreen. This functions with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto for seamless smartphone integration. The touchscreen display also shows the video feed from the rearview camera any time you put the vehicle into reverse. You will never have to worry about running over a bike or causing a fender bender again. Overall, the offerings are great for this entry trim.

    The second trim level is the LX, and it comes with power-adjustable front seats and the option to add-on the Convenience package. Adding a slew of safety and comfort features, the Convenience package is highly recommended for this trim. It adds rear parking sensors, forward collision mitigation, blindspot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, automatic climate control, heated front seats, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel.

    Moving up to the mid-level S model will get you the more powerful V6 engine as well as features such as back-seat climate controls, keyless ignition/entry, and automatic emergency braking. If you are looking for something a bit more athletic, then you will probably like the EX Sport trim. Featuring subtle leather upholstery, a restyled instrument panel, and a panoramic sunroof, this model is quite luxurious. It even comes with more advanced safety systems such as lane-keeping assist, drowsy driver monitoring, accident avoidance, and adaptive cruise control.

    Finally, the top-tier SX term is the premium model in the Sorento lineup. The numerous upgrades include a larger 8-inch touchscreen, a wireless charging pad, satellite radio, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, and a navigation system. There are also some safety features available, including an auto-dimming rearview mirror, front parking sensors, a reserve parking distance warning system, and a surround-view monitor. All of the added safety features operate in unison with the previously mentioned systems to help prevent accidents everywhere you go.

    The CX9's Levels

    The base model is known as the Sport. This trim is well-equipped with a power-adjustable driver’s seat that features lumbar support. It also comes with heated front seats, keyless entry, a stereo with six speakers, and leather wrappings on the shift known and steering wheel. Displayed on a 7-inch touchscreen is the vehicle’s infotainment interface. It does not come with Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility. Lane-keeping assist, emergency braking, lane-departure warning, pedestrian detection, and radar cruise control are all included as advanced safety features on this base model as well.

    Next, the Touring trim comes with a larger touchscreen for the infotainment system. This system has also been upgraded to be compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. The third trim is the Grand Touring. It features a heated steering wheel, a Bose sound system with 12 speakers, a power moonroof, and ventilated front seats. A navigation system has also been added as well as a surround-view monitor and front/rear parking sensors. Finally, the top-tier Signature model comes with premium leather seating and wood accents on the dashboard.

    In general, this vehicle has a lot to offer on each trim. However, there are quite a few features standard for the Sorento, such as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, that are not on the entry trim for the CX-9. Because of this, the Sorento is the superior vehicle when it comes to trims and options.

  • Exterior

    A red 2020 Kia Sorento is parked off-road in the mud after winning the 2020 Kia Sorento vs 2020 Mazda CX-9 comparison.

    Sometimes the key to making a vehicle decision comes down to the exterior styling. A vehicle could have the coolest interior packages in the world, but if it looks terrible on the outside, some people simply won’t buy it. Let’s explore the exterior styling elements of both mid-size SUVs to see which one looks better.

    The Sorento's Shell

    The 2020 Kia Sorento L rides on 17-inch wheels and features body-colored exterior accents. The LX model adds a noise-reducing front windshield, which serves more of a practical purpose as opposed to a cosmetic purpose. Rolling on larger 19-inch wheels is the S model. This version also gets black exterior accents for a sleeker style.

    The EX Sport reverts back to body-colored accents, and it features noise-reducing windows on the front doors for the ultimate quiet ride. Drivers can enjoy the panoramic sunroof on pleasant weather days, and use the power liftgate to load groceries into the back of the vehicle easily. Finally, the SX comes with power-folding side mirrors for safety while parking on the street. Overall, the exterior stylings of this vehicle are both good-looking and convenient.

    Outside the Mazda CX-9

    Jumping to the Mazda CX-9, the base Sport trim rolls on 18-inch wheels and comes with rain-sensing wipers. The Touring sees no changes to the outside, but the Grand Touring gets LED fog lamps, roof rails, a power moonroof, and 20-inch wheels. Lastly, the Signature trim adds dark silver paint to the 20-inch wheels and LED accent lighting to the grille. Really, this vehicle also has good looks and convenient exterior features. With that said, if the decision comes down to exterior styling, it is all about personal preference.

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