2018 Kia Sorento vs. 2017 Mercedes GLC

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety tests front crash prevention systems. With a score of 6 points, IIHS rates the Autonomous Emergency Braking optional in the Sorento as “Superior.” The GLC scores zero, and is rated by the IIHS as having no effective frontal crash prevention.

To help make backing safer, the Sorento (except L)’s optional cross-path warning system uses wide-angle radar in the rear bumper to alert the driver to vehicles approaching from the side, helping the driver avoid collisions. The GLC doesn’t offer a cross-path warning system.

Both the Sorento and the GLC have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available all-wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

For its top level performance in all IIHS frontal, side, rear impact and roof-crush tests, and with its optional front crash prevention system, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety grants the Sorento the rating of “Top Pick” for 2017, a rating granted to only 117 vehicles tested by the IIHS. The GLC was not even a “Top Pick” for 2016.


The Sorento comes with a full 5 year/60,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The GLC’s 4 year/50,000 mile basic warranty expires 1 year and 10,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Sorento 6 years and 50,000 miles longer than Mercedes covers the GLC. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the GLC ends after only 4 years or 50,000 miles.

There are over 2 times as many Kia dealers as there are Mercedes dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Sorento’s warranty.


J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sorento first among midsize suvs in their 2017 Initial Quality Study. The GLC isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Mercedes vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia first in initial quality, above the industry average. With 30 more problems per 100 vehicles, Mercedes is ranked 17th, below the industry average.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Mercedes vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 12 places higher in reliability than Mercedes.

Fuel Economy and Range

On the EPA test cycle the Sorento LX/EX AWD V6 gets better fuel mileage than the AMG GLC43 4MATIC V6 (18 city/25 hwy vs. 18 city/24 hwy).

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Sorento uses regular unleaded gasoline. The GLC requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Sorento has 1.4 gallons more fuel capacity than the GLC (18.8 vs. 17.4 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Suspension and Handling

For better maneuverability, the Sorento’s turning circle is 1.6 feet tighter than the GLC’s (37.2 feet vs. 38.8 feet). The Sorento AWD’s turning circle is 2.4 feet tighter than the AMG GLC43’s (37.3 feet vs. 39.7 feet).

For greater off-road capability the Sorento has a greater minimum ground clearance than the GLC (7.3 vs. 6.7 inches), allowing the Sorento to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Passenger Space

The Sorento offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the GLC can only carry 5.

The Sorento has 1.7 inches more front headroom, 3.3 inches more front legroom, 1.8 inches more front shoulder room, .8 inches more rear headroom, 2.1 inches more rear legroom and 1.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the GLC.

Cargo Capacity

The Sorento’s cargo area provides more volume than the GLC.




Third Seat Folded

38 cubic feet


Third Seat Removed

38.8 cubic feet

19.4 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

73 cubic feet

56.5 cubic feet

The Sorento’s cargo area is larger than the GLC’s in almost every dimension:




Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)



Max Width



Min Width







Maximum trailer towing in the Mercedes GLC is limited to 3500 pounds. The Sorento AWD offers up to a 5000 lbs. towing capacity.


To improve rear visibility by keeping the rear window clear, the Sorento has a standard rear fixed intermittent wiper with a full on position. The rear wiper standard on the GLC only has an intermittent setting, so in a hard rain visibility isn’t as good.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Sorento owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Sorento will cost $1350 to $6670 less than the GLC over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sorento is less expensive to operate than the GLC because it costs $26 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Sorento than the GLC, including $374 less for a water pump, $156 less for an alternator, $185 less for front brake pads, $500 less for a starter, $264 less for fuel injection, $73 less for a fuel pump, $322 less for front struts and $468 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Kia Sorento will be $17987 to $19514 less than for the Mercedes GLC.


Consumer Reports® recommends both the Kia Sorento and the Mercedes GLC, based on reliability, safety and performance.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sorento first among midsize suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The GLC was rated third in its category.

The Kia Sorento outsold the Mercedes GLK/GLC by almost three to one during the 2016 model year.

© 1991-2018 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved.

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