South Trail Kia
Posted on July 6, 2021
The mid-size SUV segment has drastically increased in size over the past several years as drivers seek to find an SUV with three rows capable of hauling the entire family. As minivans, once lauded for their space, go out of style in favour of the SUV's bolder looks, the mid-size SUV has charged forward to take its place. The 2021 Kia Sorento and 2021 Toyota Highlander are two popular options for drivers in Calgary.
Kia redesigned the Sorento for the 2021 model year to match its larger mid-size sibling, the Kia Telluride, in terms of attractiveness, affordability, and capability. The Sorento's chiseled lines are handsomely modern and draw attention to the more prominent styling details, such as LED taillights and the grille's hexagonal pattern.
Toyota provided a refresh to the Highlander in 2020, but its exterior design, while more sculpted, was not a radical departure from the previous generation. Drivers looking for more aggressive exterior styling will have to look to the new XSE trim level that joined the Highlander for 2021.
The 2021 Kia Sorento features a standard 2.5-litre four-cylinder GDI engine that delivers 191 horsepower on the lowest two trim levels, but it quickly increases the power with a 281-hp 2.5-litre turbo four-cylinder GDI engine on every other model. Drivers will also see hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions in the future.
The 2021 Toyota Highlander is offered with a gasoline or hybrid powertrain. The gas engine is a 3.5-litre V6 that delivers 295 horsepower in either front- or all-wheel drive. A 2.5-litre four-cylinder teams up with two electric motors to deliver 243 horsepower in the Highlander Hybrid.
Starting at $33,995, the 2021 Kia Sorento comes in six model configurations: LX+, LX Premium, X-Line, EX, EX+, and SX. Every model features heated front seats, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system, and driver-assist technology such as lane following assist, and advanced forward collision avoidance assist.
Starting at $40,450, the Highlander is available in 10 model options (five gasoline engine and five hybrid engine): L, LE, XLE, XSE, and Limited. All models feature an 8-inch touchscreen and smartphone connectivity, smart key with push button start, heated front seats, Toyota Safety Sense 2.5+, and blind spot monitor with rear cross traffic alert.
In the end, the 2021 Kia Sorento offers a better value to drivers in Calgary than the 2021 Toyota Highlander. Even with a lower starting price, the Kia offers more luxury at the base level compared to the Highlander plus better fuel economy. And if drivers upgrade the Sorento to match the Highlander's cheapest price, they get a fully decked-out vehicle.