2020 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 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 2020/01/25

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 Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid has standard Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats, which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Whiplash Injury Lessening Seats system allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Sorento doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The Highlander Hybrid has a standard Secondary Collision Brake, which automatically applies the brakes in the event of a crash to help prevent secondary collisions and prevent further injuries. The Sorento doesn’t offer a post collision braking system: in the event of a collision that triggers the airbags, more collisions are possible without the protection of airbags that may have already deployed.

Over 200 people are killed each year when backed over by motor vehicles. The Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum has standard Automated Braking that uses rear sensors to monitor and automatically apply the brakes to prevent a rear collision. The Sorento doesn’t offer backup collision prevention brakes.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the Highlander Hybrid AWD’s standard Downhill Assist Control allows you to creep down safely. The Sorento doesn’t offer Downhill Assist Control.

The Highlander Hybrid has standard Safety Connect™, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to 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 Highlander Hybrid 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, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, rearview cameras, available all wheel drive, daytime running lights and around view monitors.

Warranty

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

Toyota pays for scheduled maintenance on the Highlander Hybrid for 2 years and 25000 miles. Toyota will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Sorento.

There are over 59 percent more Toyota dealers than there are Kia dealers, which makes it much easier should you ever need service under the Highlander Hybrid’s warranty.

Reliability

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J.D. Power and Associates’ 2019 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Toyota second in reliability, above the industry average. With 18 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 10th.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ December 2019 Auto Issue reports that Toyota vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Toyota third in reliability. Kia is ranked 9th.

Engine

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The Highlander Hybrid’s 2.5 DOHC 4-cylinder hybrid produces 58 more horsepower (243 vs. 185) than the Sorento’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder.

Fuel Economy and Range

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

Highlander Hybrid

Sorento

FWD

Auto

36 city/35 hwy

22 city/29 hwy

4 cyl.

AWD

Auto

35 city/35 hwy

21 city/26 hwy

4 cyl.

Regenerative brakes improve the Highlander 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 Highlander Hybrid’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.

Transmission

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The Highlander Hybrid has a standard continuously variable transmission (CVT). With no “steps” between gears, it can keep the engine at the most efficient speed for fuel economy, or keep it at its peak horsepower indefinitely for maximum acceleration. The Sorento doesn’t offer a CVT.

Brakes and Stopping

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

Highlander Hybrid

Sorento

Front Rotors

13.3 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13.3 inches

12 inches

Tires and Wheels

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For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Highlander Hybrid LE/XLE has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Sorento L/LX. The Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum’s 20-inch wheels are larger than the

19-inch wheels on the Sorento S/EX/SX.

Suspension and Handling

© 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 2020/01/25

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Highlander Hybrid’s wheelbase is 2.8 inches longer than on the Sorento (112.2 inches vs. 109.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the track (width between the wheels) on the Highlander Hybrid is 1.1 inches wider in the front and .8 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Sorento.

For greater off-road capability the Highlander Hybrid has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Sorento (8 vs.

7.3 inches), allowing the Highlander Hybrid to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged.

Chassis

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The front grille of the Highlander Hybrid 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.

Passenger Space

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The Highlander Hybrid has standard seating for 8 passengers; the Sorento can only carry 7.

The Highlander Hybrid has 1.7 inches more front headroom, .5 inches more front hip room, .1 inches more rear headroom, 1.6 inches more rear legroom, .6 inches more rear hip room, .7 inches more rear shoulder room, 4.2 inches more third row hip room and 2.2 inches more third row shoulder room than the Sorento.

For enhanced passenger comfort on long trips the Highlander Hybrid’s middle and third row seats recline. The Sorento’s third row seats don’t recline.

Cargo Capacity

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

Highlander Hybrid

Sorento

Behind Third Seat

16 cubic feet

11.3 cubic feet

Third Seat Folded

48.4 cubic feet

38 cubic feet

Second Seat Folded

84.3 cubic feet

73 cubic feet

Payload and Towing

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

The Highlander Hybrid has a higher standard payload capacity than the Sorento (1495 vs. 1319 lbs.).

Ergonomics

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The Highlander Hybrid’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 Highlander Hybrid’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 Highlander Hybrid 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. (This window function must be activated by your Toyota service department.) The driver of the Sorento can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The Highlander Hybrid Platinum’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Sorento’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

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

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the Highlander Hybrid Platinum has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Sorento doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The Highlander Hybrid’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 Highlander Hybrid to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Sorento doesn’t offer rear side window sunshades.

Both the Highlander Hybrid and the Sorento offer available heated front seats. The Highlander Hybrid Platinum also has standard 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 Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum’s standard 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 Highlander Hybrid 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 Highlander Hybrid’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 Highlander Hybrid (except LE)’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 Highlander Hybrid Limited/Platinum has a 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.

Recommendations

© 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 2020/01/25

The Toyota Highlander outsold the Kia Sorento by almost three to one during the 2019 model year.

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

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