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The Kia Sorento and Subaru Ascent technically compete in the same class as midsize 3-row SUVs. But, there are a few significant differences between these SUVs that you should know about.

Let’s compare the Kia Sorento and the Subaru Ascent and find the right SUV for you.

2022 Kia Sorento

2022 Kia Sorento SX near trees in blue

The Kia Sorento is one of the smaller and more affordable options in midsize 3-row SUVs. It doesn’t have as much interior space as bigger rivals, but it has a lot going for it, like an exciting optional turbocharged engine and multiple hybrid options. Pricing starts at $29,590.

Kia Sorento Highlights

Better fuel economy: No matter which powertrain option you choose, the Kia Sorento is more fuel-efficient than the Subaru Ascent. The Sorento also has two hybrid options (a conventional hybrid and a plug-in hybrid), but you can’t get a hybrid Ascent. If efficiency is a priority for you, you’ll like the frugal Sorento.

Fun turbocharged engine option: The Subaru Ascent comes standard with a turbocharged engine, but the optional 281-horsepower turbo engine in the Sorento is more performance-oriented. It’s more powerful and more fuel-efficient than the Ascent engine, and since the Sorento is smaller, that extra horsepower goes a long way. The Ascent isn’t exactly a blast to drive, but a turbocharged Sorento is both fun and practical.

Outstanding warranty: The Kia Sorento has a better warranty than the Subaru Ascent. The Kia boasts a 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/10,000-mile powertrain warranty. By comparison, the Subaru is covered by a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

2022 Subaru Ascent

2022 Subaru Ascent Limited near trees in red

The Subaru Ascent is an outstanding value in midsize 3-row SUVs because of its practical interior, excellent safety ratings, and low starting price with standard all-wheel drive (AWD). Pricing starts at $32,795.

Subaru Ascent Highlights

More space: The Subaru Ascent is a bigger SUV than the Kia Sorento, which means it has quite a bit more interior space. If you’re looking for a family SUV, the roomy Ascent is more minivan-like than the Sorento. If you’ll use the third row of seats with any regularity, your passengers will appreciate the extra room in the Subaru.

Standard turbo engine and AWD: Although it has a higher starting price, the Subaru Ascent is arguably a better value than the Kia Sorento. That’s because the starting price of the Sorento is higher than the Ascent’s when you add AWD, plus the Subaru has a standard turbo engine. The Subaru also has significantly more interior space, making it a more practical family hauler.

Towing muscle: A 5,000-pound maximum tow rating from the dutiful standard turbo engine under the hood adds to the versatility of the Subaru Ascent. The Kia Sorento can only tow up to 2,000 pounds with the base engine, or 3,500 pounds with the turbo engine.

Similarities

Three-row seating, similar safety and infotainment tech features, available second-row captain’s chairs

Conclusion

The Subaru Ascent boasts a roomier interior, an IIHS Top Safety Pick+ designation, and a higher towing capacity. However, the smaller Kia Sorento is an appealing SUV if you don’t need the extra space and like the idea of an exciting turbocharged engine or a frugal hybrid powertrain in a practical SUV.

2022 Kia Sorento 2022 Subaru Ascent
Starting Price $29,590 $32,795
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.5-liter I4 2.4-liter turbo flat-4
Horsepower 191 hp @ 6,100 rpm 260 hp @ 5,600 rpm
Torque 181 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 277 lb-ft @ 2,000-4,800 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic CVT
Fuel Economy 24 city/29 highway/26 combined mpg 21 city/27 highway/23 combined mpg
Also Available 2.5-liter turbo I4; hybrid; plug-in hybrid; AWD N/A
Specs
Basic Warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 10 years/100,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 4 stars 5 stars
Max Seating Capacity 7 8
Wheelbase 110.8 inches 113.8 inches
Overall Length 189.0 inches 196.8 inches
Width 74.8 inches 76.0 inches
Height 66.7 inches 71.6 inches
Turning Diameter 37.9 feet 38.0 feet
Headroom, 1st Row 40.3 inches 41.3 inches
Headroom, 2nd Row 39.1 inches 40.0 inches
Headroom, 3rd Row 36.8 inches 36.2 inches
Legroom, 1st Row 41.4 inches 42.2 inches
Legroom, 2nd Row 41.7 inches 38.6 inches
Legroom, 3rd Row 29.6 inches 31.7 inches
Shoulder Room, 1st Row 59.1 inches 61.1 inches
Shoulder Room, 2nd Row 58.1 inches 60.3 inches
Shoulder Room, 3rd Row 53.0 inches 57.0 inches
Cargo Volume 12.6/45.0/75.5 cubic feet 17.8/47.5/86.5 cubic feet

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