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The three-row midsize SUV segment is filled with a lot of great competitors that are worthy of your attention. Two well-known entrants are the 2022 Kia Sorento and the 2022 Toyota Highlander. Of course, it’s easy to gravitate toward Toyota as it’s a well-known brand that’s synonymous with reliability and quality. However, Kia has been moving up the ranks over the past few years.

I’ve been able to test out the Kia Sorento Prestige and the Toyota Highlander Hybrid Limited in the past few months and found that I preferred one over the other. Here is my quick comparison between the two SUVs.

1. The Kia Sorento has better driving dynamics than the Toyota Highlander

2022 Kia Sorento front quarter view on the side of a road
2022 Kia Sorento front quarter view on the side of a road. | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

After spending some time behind the wheel of the 2022 Kia Sorento, I was surprised at how well it drove. The steering had good feedback through the wheel and it “drove small” considering its relatively large size. This is a good thing for shorter or smaller drivers that may not be used to handling an SUV. Also, the visibility out of all four corners of the car was exceptional and the 360-degree helped a lot when parking.

That’s not to say that the Toyota Highlander was unwieldy to drive by any means. The Highlander presents well-mannered driving dynamics as well, but it leans more toward the “comfort” end of the spectrum. Its suspension is soft and steering is a little numb, so it doesn’t offer as much of an engaging drive as the Sorento.

If you’re like me and care about driving dynamics, then you might prefer the Kia over the Toyota.

2. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid was great for gas mileage

2022 Toyota highlander Limited on a road
2022 Toyota Highlander Limited driving on a road | Joe Santos, MotorBiscuit

Did I mention that the Toyota Highlander I drove was the hybrid model? As you can guess, that means that it shined when it came to gas mileage. The EPA estimates that the Highlander Hybrid can get up to 35 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. In my real-world testing that included a mix of driving situations, I averaged 35 mpg for the week.

When it comes to the Kia Sorento, you can opt for the hybrid model, which gets around the same mpg ratings, or the plug-in hybrid model that’s good for 79 MPGe. However, I have only tested the Sorento Prestige with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine (23 mpg city/25 highway). During my time with it, I averaged 22 mpg.

3. The Sorento has a more comfortable interior

It’s hard not to feel comfortable in either of these two SUVs. They both offer plenty of room in the first and second rows. That being said, third-row comfort is lacking in both vehicles, but it is easier to get back there in the Sorento. I also like that the Sorento has captain’s chairs, which provides ample room for feuding siblings (or friends) on long trips.

Overall, the Sorento felt more comfortable to drive thanks to its supportive seats. The 14-way power-adjustable driver’s seat helps a lot. It helps even more that the seat has two-way lumbar support and power thigh extension.

2022 Kia Sorento vs 2022 Toyota Highlander

Ultimately, it’s safe to say that I preferred the 2022 Kia Sorento over the Toyota Highlander. In terms of value, the Sorento will give you the most for your money as the Prestige model I drove cost around $45,000. For a comparable Highlander Platinum, you’ll have to pay around $3,000 more.

That’s not to say the Toyota Highlander isn’t worth a look, though. If you’re in the market for a three-row SUV, then it definitely is. But don’t be surprised if the Kia Sorento ends up on your shortlist as well.


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