In the market for a midsize three-row SUV? The 2020 Kia Sorento and 2020 Toyota 4Runner both fit that description, but they’re as different as chalk and cheese.
2020 Kia Sorento
Starting price: $28,110
Above average: 4-cylinder or V6 engine, solid value, good fuel economy, an IIHS Top Safety Pick+, superb warranty.
Below average: Tight third-row, smallish cargo hold, meager 4-cylinder engine, hard plastics.
Consensus: The 2020 Kia Sorento is a car-based crossover SUV with freshened styling and modern features like Apple CarPlay, but only the V6 model has automatic emergency braking.
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2020 Toyota 4Runner
2020 Toyota 4Runner starting price: $37,250
Above average: Rugged, capable off-road, powerful V6, excellent resale value.
Below average: It’s an old truck beneath the skin. Dated styling. Only one engine. Poor fuel economy.
Consensus: The 2020 Toyota
4Runner is a truck-based body-on-frame SUV that’s extremely capable on the dirt. Compared with a modern crossover, though, the 4Runner feels a bit clunky and trucklike around town. Although it’s showing its age, the 4Runner does have a standard modern safety suite for 2020.
Sorento vs. 4Runner: Midsize 3-row SUVs
The 2020 Kia Sorento is a 3-row 7-seat crossover SUV powered by a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder engine with 183 horsepower or a 3.3-liter V6 with 290. Front-wheel drive and all-wheel drive are available. The optional V6 (available in the S and above) is the better choice because it feels more relaxed and endows the Sorento with a respectable 5,000-lb. tow rating. Automatic emergency braking is standard only on the V6 Sorento, but handy features like Apple
CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across the lineup. The 2020 Kia Sorento has quite a bit more rear legroom than the 4Runner, but neither of these SUVs has what we’d call a roomy third row. In everyday life the Sorento is a better family wagon, one that just happens to have a fantastic 5-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
The Toyota 4Runner is close in size to the Kia Sorento but the similarities end there. Its third row is an option, and its only engine is a big 4.0-liter V6 with lots of power and torque. As such, fuel economy is not his Toyota SUV’s forte. Where the 4Runner shines is in rugged off-road situations where the Toyota displays an appealing ruggedness we’ve long appreciated. If you get the TRD model, it comes with a locking rear differential and a special Crawl Control feature that aids progress in rocky low-range slogging. Although this is a rugged old-school truck that can tow a 5,000-pound trailer, the 2020 Toyota 4Runner has modern elements like an interior touchscreen and a standard safety suite that has automatic emergency braking with pedestrian protection. The 3-year/36,000-mile warranty may not be all that impressive, but Toyota reliability is.
The Sorento and 4Runner are both midsize SUVs available with three rows of seats.
2020 Kia Sorento advantages
As a car-based crossover SUV, the Kia Sorento is a refined family wagon that’s more fuel-efficient in everyday use. When equipped with the V6, the Kia also can tow 5,000 pounds. The Sorento has an unbeatable warranty, too.
2020 Toyota 4Runner advantages
If you ever venture off-road, the Toyota 4Runner is the better choice. It’s one of the few SUVs still available with rugged body-on-frame construction. While it hasn’t changed much over the years, Toyota knows the 4Runner has a recipe that continues to sell well.
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Simple: If you need a modern version of a station wagon, and like the added security of all-wheel drive in slick conditions, the 2020 Kia Sorento is the better choice, even without its price advantage. On the other hand, if you want a legitimate offroader that also can capably manage as a daily family hauler, the 4Runner is a proven player.
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