Car Reviews

Battle of Hybrids: KIA Sorento Hybrid vs Toyota Highlander Hybrid Which is Better?

By Daisy Emah-Emah Posted: 03/31/2022

We all know that hybrids are huge savers on gas and emit fewer emissions which is good for the environment. But how do you choose the best hybrid for you?


It all depends on what you want.


Whether body style, features, performance, or pricing – everyone has a vehicle that suits their taste.


For the purpose of this article, we will explore two popular car brands with a significant impact on the Hybrid market; KIA and TOYOTA




KIA vehicles are known to be super stylish, very fuel-efficient, pocket friendly, and cheaper to maintain than your usual luxury cars and or muscle cars. SO naturally, a lot of people with low budgets tend to move towards KIA. 


You can say the same thing about Toyota. But anyone will argue that a Toyota has a better resale value than KIA and well, is a better-known household name for reliability and DIY enthusiasts.


Now for KIA and Toyota lovers – what’s it going to be? KIA Sorento and the Toyota Highlander are one of the…if not the most common Hybrid vehicles out there (no disrespect to the Civic) are and are giving keeping the competition on their toes…. asides from having car enthusiasts all fired up…, especially with rising gas/fuel prices 


Comparing both hybrids based on styling, performance, safety features, and pricing… which of these brands offers you more?


Game on!


Sorento vs Highlander

1. Exterior/Interior

KIA Sorento has a spacious cabin with captain chairs in the second row which is preferred for families. Most of its surface is covered in leather. It has a cargo space of 12.6 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row and 75.5 cubic feet in total. Sorento has an 8.0-inch infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Sorento’s exterior has an edgy look, combining a traditional and modern SUV into one, and has an appealing and muscular front end. 


Toyota Highlander cabin has a much richer feel with spacious cargo space of 16 cubics feet behind the third row, with a total of 84.3 cubic feet. Highlander has an 8.0-inch touchscreen infotainment system as a standard feature. It also comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.

Highlander has a more rounded look. The front fascia has an angular and striking look. 


2. Performance

KIA Sorento has a turbocharged four-cylinder 1.6-liter engine with a 44-kilowatt electric motor and a 1.5-kWh battery. The battery produces a max power of 227 hp and a torque of 258 lb-ft. Sorento has a towing capacity of up to 2000 lbs of weight and has an EPA of 39/35 mpg city/highway. It has more sporty handling but doesn’t come in AWD. 


Toyota Highlander Hybrid has a 2.5-liter DOHC four-cylinder engine which is combined with two electric motors to produce 243 hp and 186 lb-ft of torque. Highlander has a towing capacity of up to 3,500 lbs and an EPA of 36/35 mpg city/highway. It comes with an AWD which makes it heavier with off-road capability and slightly lower in fuel economy. 


3. Vehicle Safety

KIA Sorento has a score of 4 out of 5 stars in frontal crash and rollover. It has a perfect score of 5 stars in all side-impact protection, allowing the SUV’s total safety score according to NHTSA to be 4 out of 5 stars in total. For IIHS, KIA Sorento is also a Top Safety Pick for them.  


KIA Sorento comes with standard driver assistance safety features that include lane following, lane-assist, emergency braking system, and high beams. From second to base trim and onwards, Sorento has other features like cyclist detection which alerts the driver if there is a cyclist around. For the top trims features like Highway Driving assist, 360-degree camera, blind-spot collision avoidance, etc. are available, 


Toyota Highlander has a score perfect score of 5 stars on the NHTSA crash test. With a score of 5 stars on all side-impact tests and 4 stars in front impact and rollover risk. Highlander is also a Top Safety Pick for IIHS.  Highlander comes with a few driver assistance features as standard which are optional in Sorento. This plays a big role in boosting Highlander’s safety ratings. 


Toyota Highlander comes with a safety sense 2.5+ and blind-spot detection, road sign assist as a standard feature. Highlander also has features like a pre-collision system, emergency steering, dynamic cruise control. Other features include lane departure, lane-keeping assist, pedestrian and cyclist detection. 


4. Pricing

The prices for a brand new  2021 KIA Sorento HEV S begin at $34,760 and HEV SX at $36,160 while the Toyota Highlander Hybrid has an MSRP of $38,410. 



Further Reading

  1. Buying the Best Used Honda Car for Sale 
  2. How to Choose the Right Used Hyundai for Sale 
  3. Used Ford Car for Sale: How to Choose the Right One 
  4. Best Used Cars You Can Buy This Year Under $10,000


Final Note

You might be expecting us to give a verdict and we would say our opinion tilts more towards the Toyota than the KIA simply because of resale value and availability of service parts. 


However, at the end of the day – everything boils down to what you want and how it fits your budget. Both the Sorento and Highlander are great vehicles with unique features. And although the Highlander surmounts Sorento in terms of performance and handling, Sorento can still pull its own weight.  


If getting a brand new vehicle overshoots your budget – we suggest trying a used car wholesale auction like Auto Auction Mall.


All you have to do is sign up for free on our website and have access to over 200k plus vehicles. You do not need a license to start biding. 


We have our representatives waiting to assist you throughout the entire process. 


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