|310||Horsepower (HP)||Up to 290|
|266||Torque (lb-ft)||Up to 252|
|97.9||Max Cargo Space (cu.ft.)||73|
The midsize SUV segment is one of the most popular and for a good reason. It offers a blend of utility that other segments cannot provide. You’ll find good towing capacity, excellent fuel efficiency, and plenty of space and tech for the family. If you need a vehicle that can do just about anything, you are looking in the right segment. But how do you narrow down your search in such a popular segment, with so many good options to choose from? Well, there is no better place to start your search than here: 2020 Buick Enclave vs 2020 Kia Sorento.
Why is this such a good starting point? Because by comparing these two SUVs, you will come to understand precisely what you want from an SUV. Both are very popular choices for buyers and critics alike, but for very different reasons. The 2020 Buick Enclave, for example, occupies a value luxury niche where consumers turn when they do not want to spend too much on luxury amenities, but they still want a true luxury SUV. The 2020 Kia Sorrento, on the other hand, is not geared toward the luxury consumer, but is more aligned with the lower end of the spectrum, as it is one of the more inexpensive SUVs on the market.
Both SUVs offer tremendous value but in entirely different ways. Ultimately, though, the Buick Enclave is hard to beat for the available luxury you will find for much less than its foreign competitors. As a cheaper, domestic alternative to a luxury SUV, the Buick Enclave is loaded with value. The Kia Sorento comes into this competition with an aging generation too, which makes it hard to compete with the available technology and engineering offered by the Enclave. So let’s see how they stack up and see which end of the market makes the most sense for you and your family.
The Buick Enclave has a refined and sophisticated multi-link independent rear suspension that rivals the engineering of foreign luxury SUVs. So this is not an apples-to-apples comparison. The Kia Sorento, for example, features adequate steering, acceleration, handling, and ride quality. Still, it does not stand out from the crowded midsize segment in any category, let alone venture into luxury territory. The Enclave takes corners with ease, features excellent ride quality, and the Active Return Assist feature makes steering a joy, as it requires less effort when bringing the steering wheel out of a turn. But how do the engines compare? The Buick Enclave has only one option available, while the Kia Sorento has two engines to choose between.
The 2020 Buick Enclave offers a 3.6-liter V6 with 310 hp and 266 lb-ft of torque while returning 18/26 MPG. Despite the additional power in this engine, it also features a 9-speed automatic transmission versus the Sorento’s 6- and 8-speed offerings. And, to help fuel efficiency at idling, the engine has a smooth stop/start feature. Overall, this is a reliable and powerful engine which explains why there are no other options.
So let’s take a look at the two engines available for the Sorento. The first is a 2.4-liter inline-4 with 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque. This engine gets 22/29 MPG, which is good fuel efficiency for a midsize SUV, but even for an undersized midsize offering, such as the Sorento, this is not very much power and does not offer much utility. It would have a difficult time on mountain passes, for example, with this engine. The second engine is a 3.3-liter V6 with 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. The EPA rating is 19/26 mpg. You will appreciate the additional power and will even be able to tow with this engine; however, the price brings it close to the cost of the Enclave, when choosing this engine, so let’s see how these V6 engines compare. For perspective, a Sorento with this engine runs anywhere from $34,035–$40,000, while an Enclave starts at $40,000. So the price gap narrows quite a bit with similarly powered engines.
No matter what type of vehicle you are looking to purchase, the comfort, space, and features of the interior are always important. Whether you need seats that don't break your back on long rides, or infotainment features to keep your passengers entertained, there is always an option for you. But let's take a peek at the inside of the Enclave and the Sorrento.
It’s worth mentioning the Buick’s tuning, as this is something you will notice when driving a luxury vehicle. The combination of chassis calibration, active noise cancellation, and sound-canceling materials, make for an incredibly quiet cabin. Other interior features include chrome and wood accents, soft-touch plastics, and an 8-inch infotainment touchscreen. You’ll also find comfortable seats and a large center console with plenty of storage space. The Enclave uses an electronic transmission interface with switches instead of a conventional shift lever, and this frees up a lot more storage and cargo space.
The Kia Sorento is one of the smaller SUVs in its class, so it does not offer the same kind of interior space that you will find in the Buick Enclave, which is exceptionally spacious. Legroom in the Enclave’s second row is 38.9 inches, and cargo space behind the third seating row is 23.6 cubic feet, which is more than the Honda Pilot and Toyota Highlander. The maximum space is 97.6 cubic feet when both rows are folded down. The Kia Sorento offers a third row, though it is cramped and more for small passengers or short trips. Behind the third row, you will not find a lot of cargo space, with only 11.3 cubic feet, and the maximum cargo space is limited as well, at 73 cubic feet.
You’ll also find a lot of standard tech on both the Sorento and Enclave. The Enclave offers an impressive lineup of standard tech: keyless entry/ignition, a programmable power tailgate with gesture control, a universal garage-door opener, tri-zone automatic climate control, and 6 USB ports. The Sorento, on the other hand, comes standard with keyless entry, cruise control, stain-resistant cloth upholstery, a rearview camera, and a 7-inch touchscreen. While both SUVs bring a lot of value at the base trim level, the Enclave is the clear winner here, as you can enjoy the benefits of a real luxury experience.
Safety is an important consideration when buying a vehicle, especially when purchasing a family-oriented vehicle, such as a midsize SUV. Luckily both the Sorento and Enclave offer exceptional safety options designed to keep your family safe from potential hazards on the road.
The Buick Enclave offers rear parking sensors, seven airbags, as well as blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. These are all great features to have as they will undoubtedly bring the peace of mind you need when buying a family vehicle. The presence of forward-collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection is another excellent addition to the optional features and, along with automatic high beams and a safety alert seat, you are sure to have all of the protection you need. The safety alert seat is a great way to alert the driver of potential hazards. If you are moving into another lane, for example, without your turn signal on, it will vibrate your seat on the side of the potential danger. If the potential hazard is ahead, both sides will vibrate.
The Kia Sorento also offers safety features your family will appreciate, such as hill-start assist. This standard feature keeps the vehicle from rolling backward on hills, which is especially handy when parked on a steep hill. The system will hold the car in place as you lift your foot off the brake pedal to touch the accelerator. This keeps you from tapping the bumper of the vehicle directly behind you. Other available features include rear cross-traffic alert, which can detect when a vehicle is about to drive behind you with an alert and warning so that you can avoid backing into vehicles you cannot see when parking or backing out of a parking spot. Another great optional feature is forward-collision avoidance and pedestrian detection, where the system can detect people and cars in your path. This will brake the vehicle for you if you don’t, to avoid a collision. Clearly, both Buick and Kia have made safety a priority in their vehicles. Although, because Buick has some more technology-based features that you do not see a lot of, the Enclave comes out on top.