Good Luck Deciding Between the New Kia Telluride and the Kia Sorento

Deciding between the Kia Telluride and the Kia Sorento was relatively simple last year. The Telluride was the better choice if you wanted more glamour, while the Sorento was more pragmatic. But deciding between the 2021 Kia Telluride and the 2021 Kia Sorento? Well, good luck.

Driving the 2021 Kia Telluride vs. the 2021 Kia Sorento

A chrome 2021 new Kia Telluride navigating in water.
2021 Kia Telluride | Kia

The Telluride quickly became a standout in the midsize SUV class because of its sharp, contemporary looks. For 2021 Kia decided to model the completely redesigned Sorento’s style after the Telluride’s. So if you’re a fan of modish design, you’ll be happy with either of these Kia SUVs.

When it comes to performance, the Telluride and Sorento are more distinct. Just like the 2020 version, the Telluride only has one powertrain. All Tellurides feature a 291-hp, 3.8-liter V6, and an eight-speed automatic. You have the choice between front- or all-wheel drive. Furthermore, critics appreciate the Telluride for its smoothness and potent power. Though, the Telluride isn’t as impressive as far as agility goes.

The 2021 Sorento X-Line driving on road.
2021 Sorento X-Line | Kia

Conversely, the 2021 Sorento has four performance options for you to consider. Base models have a 191-hp 2.5-liter four-cylinder; a turbocharged version of this engine makes 281-hp. Reviewers at Edmunds especially enjoyed the turbo-four for its quickness and the newly optional eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission. Plus, the Sorento is also available as a hybrid for the first time. 

Comparing car cabins 

2021 Kia Telluride interior
2021 Kia Telluride Interior | Kia

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The Telluride and the Sorento now have the same familial ties on the inside too. Previously, the Sorento got points for its interior comfort, but its cheap finishings made it less desirable. The new Sorento has a more luxe interior, similar to what the Telluride offers. 

Both of these Kia SUVs have three rows. The Telluride can carry seven or eight people depending on the configuration, while the Sorento can seat six or seven. Each option is adult-friendly across each row, and both SUVs provide convenient storage space. You may prefer the Telluride since it comes with synthetic leather, while the Sorento comes with cloth upholstery. Genuine leather is optional for both models. 

The 2021 Kia Sorento is the brand's newest SUV.
2021 Sorento SX | Kia

Additionally, you’ll appreciate these Kias for the technology they provide. The Telluride and the Sorento come with advanced safety features, including automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, and a rear-seat alert. However, the Telluride has more standard features in this department, such as blind-spot monitoring. 

As far as infotainment goes, the Telluride and the Sorento both come with 8-inch touchscreen displays plus Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. You can upgrade either with more gadgets, including wireless device charging. The Sorento offers a dual-screen setup on the higher trims, similar to what you would find in a Mercedes. The Telluride doesn’t have such an option.

Deciding between the new Telluride and the new Sorento 

2021 Kia Nightfall Edition Grille
2021 Kia Nightfall Edition Grille | Kia

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A new 2021 Telluride begins at $31,990, and a 2021 Sorento starts at $29,390. It’s hard to choose between these SUVs because of the trendiness and luxury that they present. Though there are enough distinctions between the two as far as performance and available tech are concerned.