Son's Automotive Group Compares 2018 Kia Sorento VS 2018 Subaru Forester Near Tucker, GA

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2018 Kia Sorento

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2018 Kia Sorento

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2018 Subaru Forester

Safety Comparison

The Sorento SXL has a standard Surround View Monitor to allow the driver to see objects all around the vehicle on a screen. The Forester only offers a rear monitor.

Compared to metal, the Sorento’s plastic fuel tank can withstand harder, more intrusive impacts without leaking; this decreases the possibility of fire. The Subaru Forester has a metal gas tank.

Both the Sorento and the Forester have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, height adjustable front shoulder belts, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, daytime running lights, available all-wheel drive, crash mitigating brakes, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and rear cross-path warning.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the Kia Sorento is safer than the Subaru Forester:





5 Stars

4 Stars




5 Stars

5 Stars




Neck Stress

209 lbs.

210 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

27/330 lbs.

310/462 lbs.




5 Stars

4 Stars

Chest Compression

.4 inches

.7 inches

Neck Injury Risk



Neck Stress

179 lbs.

215 lbs.

Neck Compression

124 lbs.

134 lbs.

Leg Forces (l/r)

227/253 lbs.

379/133 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the Kia Sorento is safer than the Subaru Forester:





Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Abdominal Force

108 G’s

150 G’s

Hip Force

309 lbs.

314 lbs.


Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars





Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars

Max Damage Depth

12 inches

14 inches

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The Kia Sorento has a better fatality history. The Sorento was involved in fatal accidents at a rate 20% lower per vehicle registered than the Forester, according to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.

Warranty Comparison

The Sorento comes with a full 5 year/60,000 mile basic warranty, which covers the entire truck and includes 24 hour roadside assistance. The Forester’s 3 year/36,000 mile basic warranty expires 2 years and 24,000 miles sooner.

Kia’s powertrain warranty covers the Sorento 5 years and 40,000 miles longer than Subaru covers the Forester. Any repair needed on the engine, transmission, axles, joints or driveshafts is fully covered for 10 years or 100,000 miles. Coverage on the Forester ends after only 5 years or 60,000 miles.

There are over 23 percent more Kia dealers than there are Subaru dealers, which makes it easier should you ever need service under the Sorento’s warranty.

Reliability Comparison

To reliably start during all conditions and help handle large electrical loads, the Sorento has a standard 800-amp battery. The Forester’s 390-amp battery isn’t as powerful.

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sorento first among midsize suvs in their 2017 Initial Quality Study. The Forester isn’t in the top three in its category.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2017 Initial Quality Study of new car owners surveyed provide the statistics that show that Kia vehicles are better in initial quality than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia first in initial quality, above the industry average. With 41 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 25th, below the industry average.

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2016 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. J.D. Power ranks Kia 17th in reliability. With 13 more problems per 100 vehicles, Subaru is ranked 23rd.

From surveys of all its subscribers, Consumer Reports’ April 2017 Auto Issue reports that Kia vehicles are more reliable than Subaru vehicles. Consumer Reports ranks Kia 6 places higher in reliability than Subaru.

Engine Comparison

The Sorento has more powerful engines than the Forester:



Sorento 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

185 HP

Sorento EX 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

240 HP

Sorento 3.3 DOHC V6

290 HP

Forester 2.5i 2.5 SOHC 4 cyl.

170 HP

Forester 2.0XT 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

250 HP

As tested in Motor Trend the Kia Sorento V6 is faster than the Forester 2.5i 2.5 SOHC 4 cyl. (automatics tested):




Zero to 60 MPH

7.2 sec

9 sec

Quarter Mile

15.7 sec

16.9 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

89.6 MPH

83.9 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

To lower fuel costs and make buying fuel easier, the Kia Sorento uses regular unleaded gasoline. The Forester 2.0XT requires premium, which can cost 20 to 55 cents more per gallon.

The Sorento has 2.9 gallons more fuel capacity than the Forester (18.8 vs. 15.9 gallons), for longer range between fill-ups.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the Sorento’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Forester:



Forester 2.5i

Forester 2.0XT

Front Rotors

12.6 inches

11.6 inches

12.4 inches

Rear Rotors

12 inches

10.8 inches

10.9 inches

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the Sorento has larger tires than the Forester (235/65R17 vs. 225/60R17).

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the Sorento SX/SXL has standard 19-inch wheels. The Forester’s largest wheels are only 18-inches.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the Sorento’s wheelbase is 5.5 inches longer than on the Forester (109.4 inches vs. 103.9 inches).

For better handling and stability, the average track (width between the wheels) on the Sorento is 3.3 inches wider in the front and 3.5 inches wider in the rear than the track on the Forester.

The Sorento AWD handles at .79 G’s, while the Forester 2.5i Touring pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The Sorento AWD executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.1 seconds quicker than the Forester 2.5i Touring (27.5 seconds @ .63 average G’s vs. 28.6 seconds @ .55 average G’s).

Passenger Space Comparison

The Sorento offers optional seating for 7 passengers; the Forester can only carry 5.

The Sorento has 45.9 cubic feet more passenger volume than the Forester (154.2 vs. 108.3).

The Sorento has 1.1 inches more front legroom, 2.8 inches more front hip room, 2.1 inches more front shoulder room, 1.4 inches more rear legroom, 3.4 inches more rear hip room and 1.5 inches more rear shoulder room than the Forester.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

The Sorento’s cargo area provides more volume than the Forester.




Third Seat Folded

38 cubic feet


Third Seat Removed

38.8 cubic feet

34.4 cubic feet

The Sorento’s cargo area is larger than the Forester’s in almost every dimension:




Length to seat (3rd/2nd/1st)



Max Width



Min Width






To make loading groceries and cargo easier when your hands are full, the Sorento’s cargo door can be opened just by waiting momentarily behind the back bumper, leaving your hands completely free. The Forester doesn’t offer a hands-free gesture to open its cargo door, forcing you to put cargo down if your hands are full.

Ergonomics Comparison

The Sorento SX/Limited’s standard easy entry system glides the driver’s seat back when the door is unlocked or the ignition is switched off, making it easier for the driver to get in and out. The Forester doesn’t offer an easy entry system.

The power windows standard on both the Sorento and the Forester have locks to prevent small children from operating them. When the lock on the Sorento is engaged the driver can still operate all of the windows, for instance to close one opened by a child. The Forester prevents the driver from operating the other windows just as it does the other passengers.

The Sorento EX/SX/SXL’s front and rear power windows all open or close fully with one touch of the switches, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Forester’s optional rear power window switches have to be held the entire time to open or close them fully.

The Sorento SX/SXL’s standard wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically according to the amount of rainfall on the windshield. The Forester’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are available on the Sorento to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. The Forester doesn’t offer heated windshield washer nozzles.

The Sorento has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The Forester has an automatic headlight on/off feature standard only on the Limited/Touring/2.0XT.

The Sorento’s standard outside mirrors include heating elements to clear off the mirrors for better visibility. Heated mirrors cost extra on the Forester and aren’t offered on the Forester Base.

When the Sorento SX/Limited is put in reverse, both rearview mirrors tilt from their original position. This gives the driver a better view of the curb during parallel parking maneuvers. Shifting out of reverse puts the mirrors into their original positions. The Forester’s mirrors don’t automatically adjust for backing.

Both the Sorento and the Forester offer available heated front seats. The Sorento SXL also has standard heated second row seats to keep those passengers extremely comfortable in the winter. Heated rear seats aren’t available in the Forester.

Optional air-conditioned seats in the Sorento (except L/LX/EX) keep the driver and front passenger comfortable and take the sting out of hot seats in Summer. The Forester doesn’t offer air-conditioned seats.

The Sorento has a standard center folding armrest for the middle row passengers. A center armrest helps make middle row passengers more comfortable. The Forester Base doesn’t offer a rear seat center armrest.

Both the Sorento and the Forester offer rear vents. For greater rear passenger comfort, the Sorento has available rear air conditioning vents to keep rear occupants cool in summer or warm in winter. The Forester doesn’t offer rear air conditioning vents, only heat vents.

Economic Advantages Comparison

According to The Car Book by Jack Gillis, the Sorento is less expensive to operate than the Forester because it costs $90 less to do the manufacturer’s suggested maintenance for 50,000 miles. Typical repairs cost much less on the Sorento than the Forester, including $8 less for front brake pads, $298 less for a starter and $269 less for front struts.

Recommendations Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates rated the Sorento first among midsize suvs in owner reported satisfaction. This includes how well the vehicle performs and satisfies its owner’s expectations. The Forester isn’t in the top three in its category.

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