The 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid vs. the Toyota Highlander Hybrid

The brand new Kia Sorento Hybrid is here, providing the Toyota Highlander Hybrid with some new competition. Aside from the Ford Explorer Hybrid, there aren’t many 3-row hybrid SUVs to choose from. So, let’s see how the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid stacks up to the competition.

Is the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid a good SUV? 

While it’s a little early to tell, the 2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid should be an excellent SUV. The hybrid version is available on the S and EX trims. For the 2021 Kia Sorento HEV S, the price begins around $34,760, and the HEV SX starts at about $36,160. 

2021 Kia Sorento driving on road
2021 Kia Sorento | Kia

It’s about $1,600 extra to spring for the hybrid version instead of the gas-powered one. That feels like a good deal. The Toyota Highlander Hybrid is a little pricier with an MSRP of $38,410, and the Ford Explorer Hybrid begins around $45,005. 

2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid vs. 2021 Toyota Highlander Hybrid 

The Kia Sorento Hybrid is powered by a 1.6-liter four-cylinder engine and electric motor for about 227 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It provides an EPA estimated 37 miles of combined range. Plus, it should get up to 39 mpg in the city and 35 mpg on the highway. 

With the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, you get a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that pumps out 243 hp and 263 lb-ft of torque, so that’s more powerful than the Sorento. The Highlander also gets an EPA estimated 36 mpg. Both the Sorento and Highlander can tow up to 3,500 lb. 

A photo of the 2020 Toyota Highlander outdoors.
Toyota Highlander Hybrid | Toyota

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We’re waiting for the Sorrento to be track tested, but in the meantime, we know that the Highlander can accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 7.2 seconds, providing a fast and sporty ride. The new Sorrento is supposedly lighter and stronger, so it could be faster. 

If you need to tackle snow or other slippery conditions, be sure to equip your Highlander or Sorento with all-wheel drive. The Kia Sorrento promotes off-roading, but the 2021 model hasn’t been tested on the trails yet. 

Kia Sorento Hybrid and Toyota Highlander Hybrid features 

The number 1 complaint about the Toyota Highlander Hybrid is the fact that it has a cramped third row. Hopefully, the Kia Sorento offers a bit more space. In the Sorento, there are 12.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row with up to 75.5 cubic feet of cargo space total. 

In the Toyota Highlander Hybrid, you can access 16 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row and up to 94.3 cubic feet of cargo space total. It’s possible that the Highlander sacrificed third-row space for more cargo room. 

Both SUVs come with some pretty cool tech, The Sorento has an 8-inch infotainment center, but you can upgrade to a 10.3-inch screen. Also, there is an optional 12-inch digital cluster display and 360-degree camera view. 

a Kia Sorento X-line parked by a lake in the mountains
2021 Sorento X-Line

The Highlander also has a standard 8-inch touchscreen with an optional 12.3-inch touchscreen. Both SUVs can connect to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto too. Also, the Sorento has more USB ports. 

While the Toyota Highlander offers a little more power, the Sorento has a lower starting price and more updated tech features available. It could also provide more passenger space, but choosing between them may come down to a test drive.