What’s the Difference between the Kia Telluride & Kia Sorento SUVs?

Two Korean mid-sizers from the same brand go head-to-head

The Sorento was Kia’s largest crossover SUV offering for nearly twenty-years. Now, the Korean finally sells a 7-passenger, full-size hauler with the stylish 2020 Telluride — and it’s about time. Both offer larger dimensions for families on the go, so shoppers will no doubt do the Telluride versus Sorento comparison — and so they should.

Sportage is Kia’s compact crossover, the all-new Soul is an even small crossover, while the Sedona plays in the minivan world — that’s where the Telluride and Sorento come in, for those looking for more sportier, bolder looks with the added benefit of space and cargo. 

Main differences

Both are technically mid-size crossovers but the Telluride leans more towards the full-size category with its 7 or 8-seat setup. The Sorento was actually a compact SUV until 2009, until it entered the slightly bigger mid-size SUV category as a new, second-generation Sorento in 2010.

Luxury vs utility

Kia is promoting the Telluride as an 8-passenger luxury SUV loaded with advanced technology and tight fit and finish throughout the cabin. Particularly with the Telluride SX range-topper, it’s hard to disagree, putting other premium SUVs on notice with its high-end interior.

Even the Sorento at its highest trim is luxury, but this mid-size is more for the utility crowd who may not need all the niceties and tech of a larger sport utility. 

Telluride is longer, taller, wider

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The Telluride is 200mm longer with nearly 200m longer wheelbase (which isn’t a surprise at it boasts the longest wheelbase compared to key competitors like the Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, and Toyota Hylander) sites almost 200mm higher, and offers 100mm extra width compared to its smaller Sorento sibling. In other words, it’s a larger vehicle. 

Telluride vs Sorento key dimensions compared:

(mm) Kia Telluride Kia Sorento
length 5,000 4,800
width 1,990 1,890
height 1,750 1,685
wheelbase 2,900 2,780
ground clearance 203 185

Telluride interior space compared to Sorento

Inside, the Telluride is will provide families a larger, roomier 1st, 2nd, and 3rd rows versus the Sorento. As far as dimensions go, Telluride figures are over and above the Sorento. 

Power and Towing capacity

If power is important, the Telluride’s 3.8L V6 making 291-hp won’t compare to the Sorento’s smaller 2.4L 4-cylinder making 185-hp. 

Telluride offers a respectable 5,000 lb. towing capacity to tow those big tows to the weekend cabin. The Sorento will tow 2,000 lb. with this 2.4L engine but can increase to 5,000 lb. towing capacity when properly equipped with the larger 3.3L V6 GDI powerplant. 

Price: 2020 Telluride vs 2019 Sorento

US pricing

Across the United States, the entry-level 2019 Sorento L starts at $26,290, topping out at $44,690 for the Sorento SX Limited. 2020 Telluride LX starts at $31,690, topping out at $41,490 for the Telluride SX.

Canada pricing

In Canada, the entry-level Sorento LX FWD starts at $28,295, topping out at $49,165 for the Sorento SXL. The entry-level 2020 Telluride EX goes for $44,995, topping out at $53,995 for the Telluride SX Limited with Nappa. 

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Telluride is a more premium product, with a higher entry price point. The Sorento at under $30,000 is the most economical choice, giving families an opportunity to get into a medium crossover without spending an arm and a leg for the extra dimensions.

Takeaway: Who is the Telluride or Sorento for?

If space, tech, power, and luxury are important, the 8-passenger Telluride is the right fit.  For a more adaptable, utility-focused mid-size crossover with slightly smaller dimensions but capable of hauling 7 passengers comfortably, the Sorento fits the bill of the two choices. 

Price-wise, the Sorento is not significantly more than the Telluride at the higher trim levels, but every $5,000 does matter to growing families. And the Telluride will consume more fuel, take up more garage space (perhaps not fitting in many indoor garages), and rides higher than the more nimble, lower Sorento which may be more comfortable for some drivers. 

Reviews: 2020 Telluride and 2019 Sorento

Check out our full 2020 Telluride SX review here, and our 2019 Sorento review here.

For more SUV and Crossover news & reviews, visit our Buyer’s Guide here.

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