2019 Kia Sorento vs 2019 Toyota Highlander

2019 Kia Sorento vs 2019 Toyota Highlander

Three-row crossover SUVs offer an excellent combination of comfort, value, and dependably rugged handling. The segment is a competitive one, but two models are at the head of the pack if you're looking for a new compact SUV in 2019.

How does the 2019 Kia Sorento compare with its close competitor, the Toyota Highlander?

Engine and Transmission

As standard, both cars offer a 185hp, 4 cylinder engine, with the Sorento coming in at 2.4L and the Highlander a thirstier 2.7L. Both offer a more powerful V6 engine on the higher-end models, with capacities of 3.3L and 3.5L.

Added to that, the Toyota also offers a hybrid version of the V6, a feature not available with the Kia.

Both cars offer similar amounts of raw power suitable for an SUV of this size. However, as the Kia has a base curb weight around 10% lighter than the Toyota, it feels a little more responsive to drive in everyday situations.

Both cars offer front-wheel drive and 6-speed automatic transmission as standard, with options for all-wheel drive and an upgraded 8-speed automatic gearbox for the more powerful engine types.

Fuel Economy

The Kia Sorento is a clear winner when it comes to fuel economy, mainly thanks to its lighter weight and less thirsty engine. The Kia achieves 8.2L/100km on the highway and 10.7L/100km in the city, compared to figures of 8.9 and 12 for the Toyota.

Seating Space

Officially, the 2019 Kia Sorento seats seven adults and the Highlander claims eight. However, as you'd expect for SUVs in this smaller crossover class, it could be a slightly tight fit in both cases.

In daily use, both models seat five adults in total comfort, but can carry extra passengers when needed.

Safety Features

Both cars offer a wide array of safety features and are rated 5-star by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). However, while the Toyota has the same set of features across the range, the Kia adds more as you rise up the trim levels.

At the basic level, a safe drive is provided by:

  • 4-wheel ABS braking.
  • Traction control.
  • Dual front and side airbags.
  • Overhead second and third row airbags.
  • Airbag occupancy sensors.

Interior Comforts

Both cars offer a well-equipped interior. However, the Kia Sorento has a more consistently upmarket feel. For example, all Sorento models offer Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone connection as standard, while these benefits are absent completely from the Highlander range.

Among many other features, the 2019 Kia Sorento also includes as standard:

  • Dual first-row LCD monitors.
  • Bluetooth connectivity
  • Radio data system.
  • Remote keyless illuminated entry.


In the warranty comparison, the Kia is the undisputed winner, offering a basic warranty of 5 years or 100,000km compared to Toyota's 3 years or 60,000km.

If you're in the market for a compact three-row SUV, both models are an attractive choice. However, the 2019 Kia Sorento has the edge on fuel economy, value and interior comforts. Combine these features with great driving quality and an all-round upmarket feel, and maybe it's time to contact us and book a test drive for the 2019 Kia Sorento in Calgary.