Since its debut in 2002, the Kia Sorento is thriving in the US till date and falls in the midsize SUV car segment. The 2017 model of Kia Sorento embodies within the 3rd generation of the Sorento concept. For a change, the 2017 model offers new optional packages in certain trims along with an upgraded infotainment system.
The Sorento offers three different engine options, the 2.0L turbo, 2.4L I-4, and the 3.3L V6 engine. Despite having a difference in their capacities, all the engines come along with a 6-speed automatic transmission. Additionally, the SUV offers a choice between having either a front-wheel drive or an all-wheel-drive mechanism.
In the present time, the three foremost rivals of the 2017 Kia Sorento are namely the Toyota Highlander, the Ford Explorer and the Chevrolet Traverse. It will be fascinating to find out whether Sorento will prove its worth over its competitors or not.
2017 Kia Sorento Features
The 2017 Kia Sorento is available in 5 different trims namely L, LX, EX, SX, and Limited. Apart from the L trim, all the other trims offer a choice between FWD and AWD drivetrain. The L trim is the basic or low-end variant of the 2017 Kia Sorento while the Limited is the fully-loaded trim.
17-inch alloy wheels,
stain-resistant fabric upholstery,
a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel,
40/20/40 split-second-row seats (fold, slide and recline),
CD player, satellite radio and USB and auxiliary audio inputs.
4.3-inch touchscreen interface and two rapid-charge USB ports.
Sound-reducing front side glass,
Keyless ignition and entry,
Steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles (2.0T engine only) and second-row manual side sunshades
Blind-spot monitor, a 110-volt household-style plug, an adjustable-height hands-free power liftgate,
Power-folding mirrors and the upgraded instrument cluster.
Panoramic sunroof, LED interior lighting and the safety components of the LX's Advanced Technology package.
LED running lights and taillights,
Special exterior trim,
a 10-way power driver seat (plus four-way power lumbar),
Driver memory settings,
8-inch touchscreen interface
Chrome-clad 19-inch wheels,
LED fog lights,
Upgraded leather upholstery,
Leather-and-wood-trimmed steering wheel and heated second-row outboard seats.
The MSRP of the L trim is fixed at $25,600 and some of its standard features include 17-inch alloy wheels, split seats at the 2nd row, 4.3-inch infotainment system with CD support, Bluetooth connectivity and USB port. Above the L trim, the LX trim exists and its price is $26,900 for the FWD variant while the AWD variant costs $28,700. For the extra price, the LX trim offers a sound reducing windshield, roof rails, a rearview camera and two rapid charging USB ports.
Coming to the mid-end EX trim, the FWD model comes at a price of $31,700, whereas the AWD model costs $1800 more. It offers bigger 18-inch alloy wheels as compared to the lower trims. Moreover, keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, 110-volt household style plug are some of its standard features. Additionally, the EX is the only trim to get the 2.0L turbocharged engine as its power source.
Moving on to the higher SX trim, its price fluctuates between $38,800 and $40,600. Its highlighted features comprise of 19-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights and taillights, 10-way power adjustable driver seat, infotainment system with an 8-inch touchscreen display and navigation support.
At last, the Limited is the top-end trim of the 2017 Kia Sorento and for the FWD model, the price is set at $44,100 whereas the AWD has a selling price of $45,900. By owing the Limited trim, one can enjoy features such as LED fog lights, leather and wood trimmed steering wheel, heated seats at the second row and SX’s Advanced Technology Package as a standard benefit.
Since the 2017 Kia Sorento offers 5 trims and 13 configurations, the choice of selecting one among them completely depends upon the customer’s requirements. However, if it comes to selecting the best value for money trim, the LX trim bags our favor. The difference between the price of the LX trim and EX trim is almost $4500, whereas the LX’s FWD is only $1300 more expensive than the L trim.
2017 Kia Sorento Engine
"Offering no fewer than three engines, the Sorento maintains a presence on the value-oriented end of the spectrum with its base 2.4-liter four-cylinder."-Edmunds
Engine and Transmission
There are 3 different engine options offered by the 2017 Kia Sorento. The first one is the 2.0-Liter Turbo engine, which generates a power of 240 hp and torque of 260 lbs.-ft. The next engine on the list is a 2.4-Liter 4-cylinder engine that cranks out a maximum 185 hp of power along with 178 lbs.-ft. of torque. Last but not least is the 3.3 L 6-cylinder engine, which is the most powerful offering on the Kia Sorento pumps out a massive power of 290 hp while the maximum torque is limited to 252 lbs.-ft. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard in the Sorento for smooth and effortless gear shifts.
3.3-liter V-6 engine
3.5 L 6cyl
3.6L 6 cyl
In comparison with the competing SUVs, the power offering of the 2017 Kia Sorento is 2nd best after the Toyota Highlander. However, in terms of torque delivery, the Kia Sorento stands at the last spot.
Observing the acceleration statistics, the Kia Sorento’s 0-60 mph acceleration time is 6.6 seconds, which is equal to the Ford Explorer but better than both the Toyota Highlander and Chevrolet Traverse.
Additionally, with the best quarter-mile time of 14.9 seconds, it is difficult for the rivals to keep up with the pace of the 2017 Sorento. The Traverse matched the Explorer for the 60 mph test but was a second late in the quarter mile to become the slowest in the lot.
Ride and Handling
The Kia Sorento offers a good engine power and torque with all its engine line-up. the SUV with AWD drivetrain is suitable for slippery and snowy roads. However, the off-roading capability of the Kia Sorento is only average. The ground clearance of the SUV is 7.3 inches, which is good in its segment. Additionally, the Sorento’s firm build-quality along with superior suspension system allows it has better control on the road and also gives extra confidence to the driver. The power steering integrated into the Sorento perform very well and its brakes are really soft and efficient.
The curb weight of 2017 Kia Sorento is 3968 lbs., which makes it lightest among the rivals. Additionally, due to its lightweight, the Sorento has a 60-0 mph distance of 120 feet against the 126 ft., 127 ft. and 135 ft. a distance of Toyota Highlander, Ford Explorer, and Chevrolet Traverse respectively.
Brake Front (in.)
Brake Rear (in.)
Curb Weight (lbs.)
60-0 MPH (ft.)
Analyzing the size of the brakes, the largest front brake of 12.9 inches is present in the Highlander while the Chevrolet’s Traverse 13-inches rear brakes are the biggest. Despite employing smaller 12.6-inch front and 12.0-inch rear brakes, the braking power of the Kia Sorento is highest among the competitors.
2017 Kia Sorento Fuel Economy
By burning a single gallon of gasoline, the Sorento can cover a distance of 18 miles in the city condition, whereas this figure goes up to 25 miles on highways. The combined fuel economy of the Sorento is approximately 20 MPG, which is better than the 18 MPG offered by the Chevrolet Traverse. However, the Toyota’s Highlander is the most efficient among all the competitors with its combined fuel economy of 23 MPG.
2017 Kia Sorento Interior
"The front-row and 2nd-row seats are comfortable, but the third row is reserved for the smallest of adults and children."-KBB
Seating and Comfort
The maximum passenger capacity of 2017 Kia Sorento is 7 and is equal to that of the Ford Explorer. However, both the Toyota Highlander and Chevrolet Traverse has a higher passenger capacity of 8. The space available at the front row of Sorento corresponds to 39.5 inches of headroom, 59.1 inches of shoulder room and 44.1 inches of legroom and all of these figures are least as compared to its competitors.
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)
Third (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)
Moving ahead to the second-row space of the Kia Sorento, it is also the tightest amidst its rivals. On the contrary, the Ford Explorer offers the most space to the passengers in the second row. In the third row, the 2017 Kia Sorento comes with 36.3 inches of headroom, which is greater than the Toyota Highlander but less than the other two SUVs. With a shoulder room of 52.8 inches, the Kia Sorento is a rank above the Ford Explorer while its legroom of 31.7 inches is just better than the 27.7 inches legroom of Toyota Highlander.
Coming as a standard infotainment system is the 4.3-inch touchscreen display that supports Bluetooth and voice commands. Additionally, a 6-speaker stereo sound system along with Sirius XM satellite radio is also a part of the infotainment system. The higher trims of the 2017 Kia Sorento offers an 8.0-inch infotainment system as a standard and it supports both the Android Auto and Apple CarPlay feature.
Looking inside the 2017 Kia Sorento, it has various features to offer that are listed as follows:
Steering mounted cruise control buttons
Drive mode selector control
Fuel efficiency indicator
One-touch power windows
Centre console with armrest
Front and rear door bottle holders
Dual illuminated visor vanity mirrors
2nd-row adjustable headrests
Height adjustable front-seat anchors
With a not much-impressing cargo storage, the 2017 Kia Sorento stands at last amid the competition. The Kia Sorento offers 73 cubic feet cargo space at the first seat row, 38.0 cubic feet at the second row and just 11.3 cubic feet at the third row. On the other hand, the Chevrolet Traverse has the most cargo volume measuring about 116.3, 70.3 and 24.4 cubic feet to seat 1, seat 2 and seat 3 respectively.
Cargo Volume to seats 1 (ft.3)
Cargo Volume to seats 2 (ft.3)
Cargo Volume to seats 3 (ft.3)
2017 Kia Sorento Exterior
"Is this Sorento the best-looking SUV in its class? Maybe. We like the blunt nose, and Kia's "tiger nose" grille treatment looks exceptionally good here."-kbb.com
Dimension and Weight
The 2017 Kia Sorento measures 187.4 inches in length, 74.4 inches in width and 66.3 inches in height. After analyzing the dimensions of the rivaling SUVs, the Sorento is found to be the smallest of them all.
Curb weight (lbs.)
Ground clearance (in)
Track width (in) F/R
The ground clearance offered by the Sorento is 7.3 inches, which is surpassed by the 7.8 inches and 8.0 inches ground clearance of Ford Explorer and Toyota Highlander respectively.
Some exciting exterior features of the 2017 Kia Sorento are:
Chrome tip exhaust and door handles
Heated side view mirrors with turn signal indicators
Liftgate rear cargo door
2017 Kia Sorento Safety
Several basic safety features are available as a standard in all the trims of the 2017 Kia Sorento. Dual front airbags, curtain airbags at 1st and 2nd row, side-impact door beams, child door locks at rear, LATCH system, rollover sensor, traction control system, brake assist and hill start assist system are some of those standard safety features.
Hopping to the NHTSA ratings, the Kia Sorento scored an impressive 5 stars, which means that the SUV is an extremely safe ride. Except for a 4-star score in rollover rating, the 2017 Kia Sorento scored 5-stars in all the discrete parameters of the NHTSA safety test.
According to the IIHS, the 2017 Kia Sorento has an acceptable small overlap front passenger side, good roof strength, good head restraints & seats, poor headlights, and superior front crash prevention. Moreover, the LATCH system of the Kia Sorento is assessed as acceptable by IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety).
Overall Frontal Crash Rating
Frontal Crash Rating Driver Side
Frontal Crash Rating Passenger Side
Overall Side Crash Rating
Combined Side Barrier and Pole Rating Front Seat
Combined Side Barrier and Pole Rating Front Seat Rear Seat
Side barrier Driver
Side barrier Rear Passenger
Overall Side Pole Star Rating
Moderate overlap front
Small overlap front driver side
Small overlap front passenger side
Head restraints & seats
Crash Avoidance and Mitigation
Front Crash Prevention
2017 Kia Sorento Competition
Toyota Highlander vs Kia Sorento
For a price of $32,680, the Toyota Highlander comes with a 3.5 Liter 6-cylinder engine under its hood, which is mated to an 8-speed automatic gearbox. On the basis of power, the Highlander is a little ahead of the Kia Sorento. However, for a thumping acceleration and braking experience, the Kia Sorento is preferred. In the overall metrics, the Highlander is a better SUV due to its large cargo capacity, better fuel economy, greater passenger capacity, and lower price tag.
Ford Explorer vs Kia Sorento
Ford Explorer is the American rival offered at a lower price tag. Additionally, the Explorer has an upper hand over the Sorento in certain features such as ground clearance, front and second-row space and cargo volume. Ford Explorer matches very well with the features of the Kia Sorento and thus is a great alternative.
Chevrolet Traverse vs Kia Sorento
Despite having an MSRP, which is almost $4600 less than that of the Kia’s Sorento, the Chevrolet Traverse is definitely a tough competitor. It is true that the braking and fuel economy of the Chevrolet Traverse is not as good as that of the Kia Sorento. Still, it beats the Kia Sorento by a fair margin when it comes to overall vehicle dimensions, comfortable interiors, and cargo volume.
2017 Kia Sorento Final Verdict
The Sorento is not the best SUV out there in the US market but its high safety ratings and fast acceleration capability increase its worthiness. As the Sorento comes in different trims and configurations, it boasts a huge list of options among the buyers. However, from an off-road and interior space perspective, the Sorento is not the perfect SUV.