2020 Acura MDX vs. 2020 Kia Sorento

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/02

The MDX’s optional pre-crash front seatbelts will tighten automatically in the event the vehicle detects an impending crash, improving protection against injury significantly. The Sorento doesn’t offer pre-crash pretensioners.

The MDX offers optional AcuraLink, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to get turn-by-turn driving directions, remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Sorento doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the MDX and the Sorento have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, height adjustable front shoulder belts, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, blind spot warning systems, around view monitors and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Acura MDX is safer than the Kia Sorento:

MDX

Sorento

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

22%

25%

Neck Compression

34 lbs.

81 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.4 inches

Neck Injury Risk

29%

43%

Neck Stress

177 lbs.

179 lbs.

Neck Compression

113 lbs.

124 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Acura MDX is safer than the Kia Sorento:

MDX

Sorento

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Chest Movement

.6 inches

.7 inches

Hip Force

244 lbs.

309 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

52 G’s

58 G’s

Hip Force

757 lbs.

818 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

37 G’s

45 G’s

Hip Force

481 lbs.

689 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/02

The MDX’s 5 year corrosion warranty has no mileage limitations, but the corrosion warranty on the Sorento runs out after 100,000 miles.

Reliability

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/02

The engines in the MDX have a single overhead cam for simplicity. The engines in the Sorento have dual overhead cams, which add to the number of moving parts and the complexity of the cylinder heads.

Engine

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The MDX’s standard 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 105 more horsepower (290 vs. 185) and 89 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 178) than the Sorento’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder. The MDX’s 3.5 SOHC V6 produces 15 lbs.-ft. more torque (267 vs. 252) than the Sorento’s optional 3.3 DOHC V6. The MDX Sport Hybrid’s standard 3.0 SOHC V6 hybrid produces 31 more horsepower (321 vs. 290) and 37 lbs.-ft. more torque (289 vs. 252) than the Sorento’s optional 3.3 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Acura MDX V6 is faster than the Kia Sorento:

MDX

Sorento 4 cyl.

Sorento V6

Zero to 60 MPH

6.2 sec

9.1 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

16.9 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

94.6 MPH

82.7 MPH

89.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/02

On the EPA test cycle the MDX gets better fuel mileage than the Sorento:

MPG

MDX

2WD

3.5 DOHC 6 cyl.

20 city/27 hwy

4WD

3.5 DOHC 6 cyl.

19 city/26 hwy

A-Spec 3.5 DOHC 6 cyl.

19 city/25 hwy

Hybrid 3.0 DOHC 6 cyl.

26 city/27 hwy

Sorento

2WD

3.3 DOHC 6 cyl.

19 city/26 hwy

4WD

3.3 DOHC 6 cyl.

18 city/24 hwy

An engine control system that can shut down some of the engine’s cylinders helps improve the MDX’s fuel efficiency. The Sorento doesn’t offer a system that can shut down part of the engine.

Regenerative brakes improve the MDX Sport Hybrid’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Sorento doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the MDX’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Sorento doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

The MDX has a standard cap-less fueling system. The fuel filler is automatically opened when the fuel nozzle is inserted and automatically closed when it’s removed. This eliminates the need to unscrew and replace the cap and it reduces fuel evaporation, which causes pollution. The Sorento doesn’t offer a cap-less fueling system.

Transmission

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A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Acura MDX, for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Sorento.

The MDX offers an available sequential manual gearbox (SMG). With no clutch pedal to worry about and a fully automatic mode, an SMG is much more efficient than a conventional automatic but just as easy to drive. The Sorento doesn’t offer an SMG or a conventional manual transmission.

Brakes and Stopping

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/02

For better stopping power the MDX Sport Hybrid’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Sorento:

MDX Sport Hybrid

Sorento

Front Rotors

13 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12 inches

The MDX stops shorter than the Sorento:

MDX

Sorento

60 to 0 MPH

121 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

140 feet

143 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

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For better traction, the MDX has larger standard tires than the Sorento (245/60R18 vs. 235/65R17). The MDX A-Spec’s tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sorento (265/45R20 vs. 235/65R17).

The MDX’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 60 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sorento L/LX’s standard 65 series tires. The MDX A-Spec’s tires have a lower 45 series profile than the Sorento S/EX/SX’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the MDX has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Sorento L/LX. The MDX’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Sorento S/EX/SX.

The MDX has a standard easy tire fill system. When inflating the tires, the vehicle’s integrated tire pressure sensors keep track of the pressure as the tires fill and tell the driver when the tires are inflated to the proper pressure. The Sorento doesn’t offer vehicle monitored tire inflation.

Suspension and Handling

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The MDX has standard front and rear gas-charged shocks for better control over choppy roads. The Sorento’s suspension doesn’t offer gas-charged shocks.

The MDX offers an available driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Sorento’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the MDX’s wheelbase is 1.6 inches longer than on the Sorento (111 inches vs. 109.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the MDX is 2.1 inches wider in the front and 1.7 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Sorento.

The MDX SH-AWD handles at .83 G’s, while the Sorento LX pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The MDX SH-AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.4 seconds quicker than the Sorento LX (27 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis

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The MDX uses computer-generated active noise cancellation to help remove annoying noise and vibration from the passenger compartment, especially at low frequencies. The Sorento doesn’t offer active noise cancellation.

Passenger Space

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The MDX has .8 inches more front hip room, 2 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear hip room, 1.1 inches more rear shoulder room and 1.9 inches more third row shoulder room than the Sorento.

Cargo Capacity

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

MDX

Sorento

Behind Third Seat

15.8 cubic feet

11.3 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

43.4 cubic feet

38 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

90.9 cubic feet

73 cubic feet

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

MDX

Sorento

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

21.05”/47.3”/81.7”

14.7”/44.7”/78”

Max Width

55”

53.5”

Min Width

45.3”

41.2”

Height

29.5”

33.1”

Towing

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/02

The MDX’s standard towing capacity is much higher than the Sorento’s (3500 vs. 2000 pounds).

Servicing Ease

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J.D. Power and Associates surveys of service recipients show that Acura service is better than Kia. J.D. Power ranks Acura 6th in service department satisfaction (above the industry average). With a 41% lower rating, Kia is ranked 20th.

Ergonomics

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The MDX offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Sorento doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The MDX’s power parking brake sets with one touch and releases with one touch or automatically. The Sorento’s parking brake has to released manually.

The MDX’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Sorento’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left open on the MDX the driver can close them all at the outside door handle. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows at the outside door handle or from a distance using the keyless remote. The driver of the Sorento can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The MDX’s standard speed-sensitive wipers speed up when the vehicle does, so that the driver doesn’t have to continually adjust the speed of the wipers. The Sorento’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted. The MDX’s optional wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the MDX detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Sorento doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

The MDX’s standard side window demisters help clear frost or condensation from the side windows in the winter. The Sorento doesn’t even offer side window demisters, so the driver may have to wipe the windows from the outside to gain side vision.

Manual rear side window sunshades are available in the MDX to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Sorento doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

The MDX’s standard rear view mirror and optional side view mirrors have an automatic dimming feature. These mirrors can be set to automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Sorento offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The MDX has standard heated front seats. Heated front seats cost extra on the Sorento, and aren’t available on the Sorento L. The MDX also offers optional heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated second row seats aren’t available in the Sorento.

On extremely cold winter days, the MDX’s optional heated steering wheel provides comfort, allowing the driver to steer safely and comfortably before the vehicle heater warms up. The Sorento doesn’t offer a heated steering wheel.

The MDX has a standard dual zone air conditioning allows the driver and front passenger to choose two completely different temperatures so people with different temperature preferences won’t have to compromise. This makes both the driver and front passenger as comfortable as possible. Dual zone air conditioning costs extra on the Sorento and isn’t available on the Sorento L.

The MDX’s standard automatic temperature control maintains the temperature you set, automatically controlling fan speed, vents and temperature to maintain a consistent, comfortable environment. The Sorento L doesn’t offer automatic air conditioning.

The MDX’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Sorento’s navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

The MDX SH-AWD offers an optional 115-volt a/c outlet on the center console, allowing you to recharge a laptop or run small household appliances without special adapters that can break or get misplaced. The Sorento doesn’t offer a house-current electrical outlet.

Economic Advantages

© 1999 - 2020 Advanta-STAR Automotive Research. All rights reserved. This vehicle comparison and all of the content in it are provided only by license from Advanta-STAR Automotive Research Corporation of America. If you are not a legally licensed user of this vehicle comparison, it is against federal law to access it, copy it, forward it or use it in any manner whatsoever. Any unauthorized use of this vehicle comparison is a violation of U.S. and international law and is punishable criminally and civilly. 6IUEX-0KENZ 45.55.47.189 2020/06/02

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the MDX is less expensive to operate than the Sorento because typical repairs cost less on the MDX than the Sorento, including $179 less for a timing belt/chain.

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

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