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The Kia Telluride is one of the best-reviewed SUVs in the automotive industry. Most owners and critics love it equally, citing luxuriousness, interior space, and affordability. However, not everyone needs a massive three-row SUV that takes up so much space. Fortunately, a slightly smaller, more affordable, and plug-in hybrid alternative to the Telluride exists. Check out the downsized 2022 Kia Sorento.

2022 Kia Sorento: Telluride alternative

A blue 2022 Kia Sorento SX driving on a highway
2022 Kia Sorento SX | Kia

Firstly, the 2022 Kia Sorento is a three-row SUV for people who won’t need the third row often. Let’s face it, most buyers get a three-row SUV and barely use it. Although extra passengers might ride along occasionally, they don’t really need it if an owner’s family doesn’t spread to the back seat. As a result, models like the Sorento are perfect. It’s a three-row SUV like the Telluride, but the third row isn’t very spacious.

Edmunds says, “all three rows of the seats provide better-than-expected comfort for a small SUV.” In addition, the third row provides enough comfort and support for adults, despite being low to the floor and small. However, they’re easily stowed away to transform the small SUV into a spacious two-row model. As one of the only small SUVs to offer three rows of seating, the Sorento’s versatility is unmatched.

All that being said, the Sorento is an excellent Telluride alternative. It provides an optional third row without being as oversized as some three-row SUV models. In addition, there are a few other benefits to buying the Sorento instead of its big brother. For example, it isn’t as expensive.

The Sorento is cheaper than the Telluride

2022 Kia Sorento 2022 Hyundai Santa Fe
2022 Kia Sorento SX seating | Kia

Next, the 2022 Kia Sorento is cheaper than the Telluride but remains well-equipped. It starts at $30,885, much lower than the larger sibling’s $34,725 starting price. Furthermore, the Telluride only comes in four different trim levels. For the most expensive option, the Telluride SX, customers owe $44,625.

Alternatively, the Sorento comes in eight different variations. Not including the plug-in hybrid versions of the Sorento, it ends up similarly priced for the top trim. An SX Prestige model starts at $42,485, but does it come with enough features to be worth the price? Buyers can add the X-Line package to upgrade it even more with all-wheel drive and styling changes.

In addition to EX features like a hands-free tailgate, wireless phone charger, second-row captain’s chairs, and a few driver assists, the SX Prestige gets even better. It adds leather seating, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a 12-speaker Bose sound system, front parking sensors, a 360-degree camera, and a blind-spot camera. Most of this equipment is similar to that of the Telluride. Surprisingly, the Sorento actually gets a little more for the money.

A more expensive Telluride has fewer features

The best three-row SUVs for families in 2022 include the Kia Telluride
The 2022 Kia Telluride SUV | Kia

Similarly, a 2022 Kia Telluride SX is the top trim level. Starting higher than the Sorento SX Prestige, you’d expect it to be better equipped. However, the Telluride only gets a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system and a few other features.

The significant change is the optional SX Prestige package, which is required to get a heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, and premium leather upholstery. Some of those same features come standard in a range-topping Sorento model. However, the $37,225 Telluride S already has heated seats, second-row captain’s chairs, and a wireless phone charger.

Both three-row SUVs provide a lot of value in their own way. Despite being smaller and less popular, the 2022 Kia Sorento almost matches the Telluride in features and value.

The 2022 Kia Sorento comes in hybrid or plug-in hybrid

Lastly, the 2022 Kia Sorento is available with a hybrid or plug-in hybrid powertrain. One downside of the Telluride is that it isn’t as fuel efficient as some rivals. Moreover, the Sorento makes up for that with its hybrid variations. According to Car and Driver, the engine lineup is impressive for Kia’s small SUV. A 2.5-liter inline-four-cylinder is standard, with a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder available for extra.

Next, the hybrid version uses a turbo 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and a 44.0-kW electric motor. This boosts the Sorento to 37 combined mpg, up from 24 city/29 highway while using the standard engine. Buying the plug-in hybrid model changes the electric motor to a 66.9-kW unit, but the engine remains the same. This version is all-wheel drive only and drops fuel economy to 34 combined mpg, but also promised an EPA-estimated 32 miles of electric-only range.

An excellent downsized 2022 Kia Telluride alternative

In conclusion, you don’t have to go far to find a good Telluride alternative. If the popular three-row SUV is too big and expensive for your budget, check out other SUVs in the Kia lineup. The 2022 Kia Sorento small SUV is slightly smaller but provides as much value. For a lower price, owners get similar features, a surprisingly large amount of space, a peppy engine, and a hybrid/PHEV option. Are you interested in the 2022 Kia Sorento as a downsized Telluride alternative?


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