2021 Volvo XC90 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 2020/10/26

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 have pretensioners to tighten the seatbelts and eliminate dangerous slack in the event of a collision and force limiters to limit the pressure the belts will exert on the passengers. The Kia Sorento doesn’t offer pretensioners for the middle seat belts.

The XC90’s 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.

For enhanced safety, the front and middle seat shoulder belts of the Volvo XC90 are height-adjustable to accommodate a wide variety of driver and passenger heights. A better fit can prevent injuries and the increased comfort also encourages passengers to buckle up. The Kia Sorento doesn’t offer height-adjustable middle seat belts.

Both the XC90 and Sorento have child safety locks to prevent children from opening the rear doors. The XC90 has power child safety locks, allowing the driver to activate and deactivate them from the driver's seat and to know when they're engaged. The Sorento’s child locks have to be individually engaged at each rear door with a manual switch. The driver can’t know the status of the locks without opening the doors and checking them.

The Volvo XC90 offers an optional built in child booster seat. It’s more crash worthy than an added child seat because of its direct attachment to the seat. Kia doesn’t offer the convenience and security of a built-in child booster seat in the Sorento. Their owners must carry a heavy booster seat in and out of the vehicle; XC90 owners can just fold their built-in child seat up or down.

Using vehicle speed sensors and seat sensors, smart airbags in the XC90 deploy with different levels of force or don’t deploy at all to help better protect passengers of all sizes in different collisions. The XC90’s side airbags will shut off if a child is leaning against the door. The Sorento’s airbags don’t have smart features and will always deploy full force.

The XC90 has a standard Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS), which use a specially designed seat to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the WHIPS allows the backrest to travel backwards to cushion the occupants and the headrests move forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. At the same time the pretensioning seatbelts fire, removing slack from the belts. The Sorento doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The XC90 has standard Automatic Braking After Collision, which automatically apply 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.

When descending a steep, off-road slope, the XC90’s standard Hill Descent Control allows you to creep down safely. The Sorento doesn’t offer Hill Descent Control.

The XC90 has standard Volvo On Call, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to 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 XC90 and the Sorento have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, 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 and available around view monitors.

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 Volvo XC90 is safer than the Kia Sorento:

XC90

Sorento

Front Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

51

71

Chest Movement

.7 inches

.7 inches

Hip Force

255 lbs.

309 lbs.

Rear Seat

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

HIC

94

115

Spine Acceleration

40 G’s

58 G’s

Hip Force

608 lbs.

818 lbs.

Into Pole

STARS

5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

12 inches

HIC

209

261

Spine Acceleration

29 G’s

45 G’s

Hip Force

383 lbs.

689 lbs.

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

Warranty

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The XC90’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Sorento’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

Volvo pays for scheduled maintenance on the XC90 for 3 years and 36,000 miles. Volvo will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Sorento.

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 2020/10/26

The battery on the XC90 is in the trunk, which protects it from hot underhood temperatures that can degrade battery life. By keeping the XC90’s battery 20 to 30 degrees cooler, its life is increased by years. The Sorento’s battery is in the hot engine compartment.

Engine

© 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 2020/10/26

The XC90 has more powerful engines than the Sorento:

Horsepower

Torque

XC90 T5 2.0 turbo 4-cylinder

250 HP

258 lbs.-ft.

XC90 T6 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder

316 HP

295 lbs.-ft.

XC90 Recharge 2.0 turbo/supercharged 4-cylinder hybrid

400 HP

472 lbs.-ft.

Sorento 2.4 DOHC 4-cylinder

185 HP

178 lbs.-ft.

Sorento 3.3 DOHC V6

290 HP

252 lbs.-ft.

As tested in Motor Trend the XC90 T6 is faster than the Kia Sorento V6:

XC90

Sorento

Zero to 60 MPH

6.7 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter Mile

15.1 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

90.4 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 2020/10/26

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 Recharge running on electricity gets better fuel mileage than the Sorento:

MPGe

XC90

AWD

Electric Motor

58 city/53 hwy

Sorento

MPG

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

18 city/24 hwy

On the EPA test cycle the XC90 running its gasoline engine gets better fuel mileage than the Sorento:

MPG

XC90

FWD

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

21 city/30 hwy

AWD

T8 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl. Hybrid

26 city/28 hwy

T5 2.0 turbo 4-cyl.

20 city/28 hwy

T6 2.0 turbo/SC 4-cyl.

19 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

18 city/24 hwy

The XC90 Recharge can drive on battery power alone for up to 18 miles. The Sorento must run its internal combustion engine to move.

Regenerative brakes improve the XC90 T8’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 XC90’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 XC90 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.

Brakes and Stopping

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For better stopping power the XC90’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Sorento:

XC90 T5/T6

XC90 Recharge

Sorento

Front Rotors

13.6 inches

14.4 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

12.6 inches

13.4 inches

12 inches

The XC90’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Sorento are solid, not vented.

The XC90 stops much shorter than the Sorento:

XC90

Sorento

60 to 0 MPH

113 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

60 to 0 MPH (Wet)

137 feet

143 feet

Consumer Reports

Tires and Wheels

© 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 2020/10/26

For better traction, the XC90’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sorento (275/45R20 vs. 235/65R17).

The XC90’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 55 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sorento L/LX’s standard 65 series tires. The XC90’s optional tires have a lower 35 series profile than the Sorento S/EX/SX’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the XC90 has standard 19-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Sorento L/LX. The XC90’s optional 22-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Sorento S/EX/SX.

Suspension and Handling

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The XC90 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.

The XC90 R-Design/Inscription has a standard automatic front and rear load leveling suspension to keep ride height level with a heavy load or when towing. The XC90’s height leveling suspension allows the driver to raise ride height for better off-road clearance and then lower it again for easier entering and exiting and better on-road handling. The Sorento doesn’t offer a load leveling suspension.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the XC90’s wheelbase is 8.1 inches longer than on the Sorento (117.5 inches vs. 109.4 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the XC90 is 1.6 inches wider in the front and 1.3 inches wider in the rear than the average track on the Sorento.

The XC90 T6 AWD handles at .85 G’s, while the Sorento LX pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The XC90 T6 AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.6 seconds quicker than the Sorento LX (26.8 seconds @ .65 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

For greater off-road capability the XC90 has a greater minimum ground clearance than the Sorento (8.3 vs. 7.3 inches), allowing the XC90 to travel over rougher terrain without being stopped or damaged. The XC90 w/Air Suspension’s minimum ground clearance is 2.6 inches higher than on the Sorento (9.9 vs. 7.3 inches).

Passenger Space

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The XC90 has .1 inches more rear hip room, .2 inches more third row legroom and 3.5 inches more third row hip room than the Sorento.

The front step up height for the XC90 is 2.1 inches lower than the Sorento (15.8” vs. 17.9”). The XC90’s rear step up height is 1.6 inches lower than the Sorento’s (16” vs. 17.6”).

Cargo Capacity

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The XC90’s cargo area provides more volume than the Sorento.

XC90

Sorento

Behind Third Seat

12.6 cubic feet

11.3 cubic feet

The XC90’s cargo area is larger than the Sorento’s in every dimension:

XC90

Sorento

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

21.8”/49.6”/80.3”

14.7”/44.7”/78”

Max Width

54.7”

53.5”

Min Width

44.5”

41.2”

Height

35”

33.1”

The XC90 has a standard third row seat which folds flat into the floor. This completely clears a very large cargo area quickly. The Sorento doesn’t offer seats that fold into the floor.

Towing

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The XC90’s minimum standard towing capacity is much higher than the Sorento’s (4000 vs. 2000 pounds).

Ergonomics

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The XC90 offers an optional heads-up display that projects speed and other key instrumentation 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 XC90’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 XC90’s front power windows 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 XC90 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 XC90’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Sorento’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The XC90 has standard headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Sorento doesn’t offer headlight washers.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors standard on the XC90 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 avoid possible obstacles, the XC90 has standard cornering lights to illuminate around corners when the turn signals are activated. The Sorento doesn’t offer cornering lights. The XC90 also has standard adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle.

The XC90’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.

A manual rear sunshade and rear side window sunshades are optional in the XC90 to help block heat and glare for the rear passengers. The Sorento doesn’t offer a rear or rear side window sunshades.

The XC90’s standard rear and 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.

Both the XC90 and the Sorento offer available heated front seats. The XC90 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 XC90’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 XC90 Inscription offers optional massaging front seats in order to maximize comfort and eliminate fatigue on long trips. Massaging seats aren’t available in the Sorento.

The XC90 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 XC90’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 XC90’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 XC90 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.

The XC90 R-Design/Inscription’s optional Park Assist Pilot can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Sorento doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages

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According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the XC90 is less expensive to operate than the Sorento because typical repairs cost less on the XC90 than the Sorento, including $17 less for a timing belt/chain.

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 2020/10/26

The Car Book by Jack Gillis recommends the Volvo XC90, based on economy, maintenance, safety and complaint levels. The Kia Sorento isn't recommended.

Motor Trend performed a comparison test in its January 2016 issue and they ranked the Volvo XC90 T6 AWD first. They ranked the Kia Sorento LX third.

Motor Trend selected the XC90 as their 2016 Sport Utility of the Year. The Sorento has never been chosen.

The XC90 was chosen as one of Automobile Magazine’s “All Stars” in 2016. The Sorento has never been an “All Star.”

A group of representative automotive journalists from North America selected the XC90 as the 2016 North American Truck of the Year. The Sorento has never been chosen.

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