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Kia offers two SUVs with three rows of seating. Of the two Kia three-row SUVs, the larger Kia Telluride gets most of the marketing budget and attention, but the Kia Sorento is still popular among its competition. Notably, the 2023 Sorento outpaced the 2023 Subaru Ascent so far this year, although both vehicles saw an increased popularity over last year. 

The 2023 Kia Sorento vs. the 2023 Subaru Ascent

The advantage goes to the 2023 Kia Sorento when comparing base model MSRPs. The 2023 Subaru Ascent 8-passenger carries an MSRP of $33,895, $3,905 more than the $29,990 Sorento LX. The price gap also appears at the upper-end trim levels, with the Subaru Ascent Onyx Edition Limited priced at $46,295 and the Kia Sorento SX Prestige AWD at $43,390.

U.S. News points out that the Subaru Ascent is larger and heavier than the Sorento and provides 5.2 cu-ft of extra cargo space behind the third-row seat. However, the Ascent gains that cargo space at the expense of second-row legroom. 

The front seat legroom comparison has Subaru in the lead with 42.2 inches compared to Kia’s 41.4-inch measurement. However, the Ascent’s second-row legroom figure shrinks to 38.6 inches while the Sorento stretches to 41.7 inches.

When comparing base model drivelines, the Subaru Ascent has the advantage of AWD over the front-wheel drive of the base Sorento. However, adding Kia’s $1,800 AWD option to the base Sorento LX still leaves it $2,105 less expensive than the Subaru. 

The front-wheel drive Sorento also gets better fuel economy than the AWD Ascent. The Sorento gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway compared to the Ascents 20 mpg city and 26 mpg highway rating. Opting for the AWD Sorento LX drops its rating to 23 mpg city and 25 mpg highway, but it still beats the Ascent’s projected numbers.

GoodCarBadCar published new car data for May and year-to-date through May 31 on June 1, 2023. Overall both segments show improvement compared to last year. Sorento and Ascent sales also showed growth.

While both vehicles saw increasing numbers year over year, the Sorento’s figures suggest it is more popular among consumers than the Ascent. For example, Kia sold 6,846 Sorentos in May 2022, 1,444 more than Subaru’s 5,402 Ascents. May 2023 saw a similar trend, with Ascent’s 6,505 sales compared to Sorento’s 7,764. 

During the first five months of 2022, Kia sold 30,912 Sorentos compared to Subaru’s 25,328 Ascent sales. Again, the same period this year saw the Sorento sell 34,915 units to the Ascent’s 27,252 figure.

In support of consumers finding the Sorento more popular, U.S News scored the 2023 Kia Sorento higher in each of its five categories: 

  • Overall
  • Critics’ Rating
  • Performance
  • Interior
  • Reliability

The Sorento’s attractive pricing, stylish interior, long list of standard features, comfortable ride, predictable handling, and class-leading fuel economy play a considerable role in its success.

Still, the Ascent is a competitive choice in the segment. Which would you choose?


The 2023 Kia Sorento Is the Best Cheapest New 3-Row SUV