2020 Chevrolet Equinox vs. 2019 Kia Sorento

Detailed Review, Specifications & Comparison

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Safety

For enhanced safety, the Chevrolet Equinox’s rear seat shoulder belts have child comfort guides to move the belt to properly fit children. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages children to buckle up. The Kia Sorento doesn’t offer comfort guides on its rear seat belts.

In the past twenty years hundreds of infants and young children have died after being left in vehicles, usually by accident. When turning the vehicle off, drivers of the Equinox are reminded to check the back seat if they opened the rear door before starting out. The Sorento doesn’t offer a back seat reminder.

The Equinox has standard OnStar®, 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 Equinox and the Sorento have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, front wheel drive, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, 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 Chevrolet Equinox is safer than the Kia Sorento:

Equinox

Sorento

Driver

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

159

235

Neck Injury Risk

17%

25%

Neck Stress

190 lbs.

209 lbs.

Neck Compression

10 lbs.

81 lbs.

Passenger

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Neck Injury Risk

26%

43%

Neck Stress

153 lbs.

179 lbs.

Neck Compression

51 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 Chevrolet Equinox is safer than the Kia Sorento:

Equinox

Sorento

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

55 G’s

58 G’s

Hip Force

630 lbs.

818 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

40 G’s

45 G’s

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

Warranty

The Equinox’s corrosion warranty is 1 year longer than the Sorento’s (6/100,000 vs. 5/100,000).

There are almost 4 times as many Chevrolet dealers as there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Equinox’s warranty.

Reliability

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Equinox first among compact SUVs in their 2019 Initial Quality Study. The Sorento was rated third in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Chevrolet vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Chevrolet fourth in reliability, above the industry average. With 11 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

Engine

The Equinox’s standard 1.5 turbo 4-cyl. produces 25 lbs.-ft. more torque (203 vs. 178) than the Sorento’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4-cyl. The Equinox’s optional 2.0 turbo 4-cyl. produces 8 lbs.-ft. more torque (260 vs. 252) than the Sorento’s optional 3.3 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the Chevrolet Equinox 1.5 turbo is faster than the Kia Sorento 4-cyl.:

Equinox

Sorento

Zero to 60 MPH

8.7 sec

9.1 sec

Quarter Mile

16.7 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

83.1 MPH

82.7 MPH

As tested in Motor Trend the Chevrolet Equinox 2.0 turbo is faster than the Kia Sorento V6:

Equinox

Sorento

Zero to 60 MPH

6.6 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.2 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

92.1 MPH

89.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range

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

MPG

Equinox

FWD

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

26 city/31 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

AWD

1.5 turbo 4-cyl.

25 city/30 hwy

2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

22 city/28 hwy

Sorento

FWD

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

22 city/29 hwy

3.3 DOHC V6

19 city/26 hwy

AWD

2.4 DOHC 4-cyl.

21 city/26 hwy

3.3 DOHC V6

19 city/24 hwy

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the Equinox’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 Equinox 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

A nine-speed automatic is standard on the Chevrolet Equinox 2.0 turbo 4-cyl., for better acceleration and lower engine speed on the highway. Only an eight-speed automatic is available for the Sorento.

Brakes and Stopping

The Equinox stops much shorter than the Sorento:

Equinox

Sorento

60 to 0 MPH

119 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

141 feet

143 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

The Equinox Premier’s optional tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sorento SX/SXL’s 55 series tires.

The Equinox 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

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

The Equinox Premier executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver quicker than the Sorento LX (27.7 seconds @ .61 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the Equinox has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Sorento (7.9 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the Equinox to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

The Chevrolet Equinox may be more efficient, handle and accelerate better because it weighs about 550 to 700 pounds less than the Kia Sorento.

The Equinox is 5.9 inches shorter than the Sorento, making the Equinox easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

The front grille of the Equinox uses electronically controlled shutters to close off airflow and reduce drag when less engine cooling is needed. This helps improve highway fuel economy. The Sorento doesn’t offer active grille shutters.

The Equinox 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

The Equinox has .5 inches more front headroom and .5 inches more rear legroom than the Sorento.

Cargo Capacity

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the Equinox easier. The Equinox’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 28.6 inches, while the Sorento’s liftover is 29.9 inches.

Ergonomics

The Equinox’s instruments include an oil pressure gauge and a temperature gauge - which could save your engine! Often ‘idiot lights’ don’t warn you until damage has been done. The Sorento does not have an oil pressure gauge.

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

On a hot day the Equinox’s driver can lower all the windows 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.

In case you lock your keys in your vehicle, or don’t have them with you, you can let yourself in using the Equinox LS/LT/Premier’s available exterior keypad. The Sorento doesn’t offer an exterior keypad entry system.

The Equinox’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.

The Equinox offers optional automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which 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 Equinox LT/Premier’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.

Economic Advantages

Insurance will cost less for the Equinox owner. The Complete Car Cost Guide estimates that insurance for the Equinox will cost $610 less than the Sorento over a five-year period.

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Equinox is less expensive to operate than the Sorento because typical repairs cost much less on the Equinox than the Sorento, including $54 less for front struts and $210 less for a power steering pump.

IntelliChoice estimates that five-year ownership costs (depreciation, financing, insurance, fuel, fees, repairs and maintenance) for the Chevrolet Equinox will be $2626 to $5145 less than for the Kia Sorento.

Recommendations

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Equinox first among compact SUVs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Sorento isn’t in the top three in its category.

The Chevrolet Equinox outsold the Kia Sorento by over three to one during 2018.

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

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