If you ask what a midsize SUV excels the most at, you will not be getting only one answer. The truth is, midsize SUVs are popular because they are incredibly versatile, usually featuring the most modern amenities combined with respectable power and fuel efficiency. And due to the ever-increasing popularity, there has been a surplus of automotive manufacturers developing and releasing their own lineups. The influx of SUVs makes for a healthy and saturated market; however, this ends up leaving aspiring shoppers with an extensive list of choices, and it certainly isn’t an easy decision. Kia has been a prominent player in the boost to SUV popularity as well as Nissan, and their respective midsize SUV models make for a fascinating comparison when you place the 2020 Kia Sorento vs 2020 Nissan Pathfinder. The Sorento and Pathfinder have always been a prime source of competition for well over a decade now, and this year looks to be no different.
Pricing & Trims
The 2020 Kia Sorento and Nissan Pathfinder share a similar price range, although not identical. Kia offers the Sorento at a starting MSRP of $26,990 for the base L trim and has four more trims you may purchase, these being LX, S V6, EX, and SX, the latter of which starts at $40,090. This price range is made even more appealing when compared against the much higher MSRP of $31,680 for the base S trim on the Pathfinder and a starting price of $42,920 for the highest-tier Platinum trim.
This difference in price grants Kia the opportunity to include more features than its contemporaries to ensure their vehicle is the better choice. The Sorento and Pathfinder both see some notable upgrades as you explore the various trims. And among these various upgrades are enhanced safety features, leather upholstery, and a slew of amenities aimed towards connectivity and entertainment.
Performance & Engines
Both vehicles support a V6 engine choice, but it comes standard on the Pathfinder while the Sorento comes standard with a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine that is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Considering the base price of the Sorento is lower, though, this can’t really be regarded as much of a downgrade. Although this engine produces 185 hp and 178 lb-ft of torque, it still retains ample fuel efficiency even higher than the Pathfinder’s base engine with 22 MPG in the city and 29 MPG on the highway with FWD equipped.
The V6 found standard in the Pathfinder is a 3.5L engine that produces 284 hp and 259 lb-ft of torque paired with a continuously variable transmission (CVT). The Sorento counters this with the available alternative, a 3.2L V6, which comes standard on the S V6 trim onwards. This engine produces 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque but is paired with 8-speed automatic transmission opposed to a CVT. Generally, these two engines are quite comparable to one another.
Interior & Entertainment
Of course, the interior of your vehicle is very important to you, and it is up to the manufacturers to ensure you are the most comfortable you can be. Both the Sorento and the Pathfinder have three-rows of seating, which makes up for a maximum seating capacity of seven passengers. Each has two LATCH connectors situated in the second row of seats, which are perfect for installing childrens’ seats. Critics have made a note on both vehicles that the interior offers an ample amount of space in the first two rows, but the one caveat is the third-row, which does not get the same treatment.
Both the Pathfinder and the Sorento have infotainment centers which have gained an immense amount of popularity in the automotive industry. Thanks to a robust feature set, infotainment centers can revitalize the very meaning of on-road entertainment. Bluetooth is a standard integration on the Pathfinder and Sorento, which allows you to connect your wireless devices to access media playback. And, speaking of media playback, both vehicles come standard with a six-speaker arrangement, although upgrades are available to swap these out for their own respective professional audio systems.
One glaring issue that the Pathfinder has when compared to the Sorento is the complete lack of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Both of these software suites remain unsupported on the Pathfinder’s infotainment center, no matter what trim you purchase, whereas they come standard on every Sorento trim. CarPlay and Auto are immensely popular options since their arrival half a decade ago, and many automotive manufacturers have taken notice and have implemented support.
Both pieces of software are popular because it allows you to connect your existing smartphones, such as an iPhone or compatible Android phone directly to the infotainment center. Once your phone is connected, you can utilize your devices’ navigation, media playback, and make hands-free phone calls and text messages. In addition to containing their own app stores that allow for further customization of your infotainment center, you will have access to your devices’ personal AI assistant software such as Siri, for example.
CarPlay and Auto both display the software on the built-in touch screen on your infotainment center, which comes standard as 7 inches on the Sorento and 8 inches on the Pathfinder. Critics have noticed that the resolution of the screen on the Pathfinder itself seems to be slightly lower than that of the Sorento, ultimately resulting in a blurrier image. Sorento offers an available upgrade to an 8-inch screen should you desire and also has an available wireless charging pad for your smartphone, which also remains absent on the Pathfinder.
Infotainment centers are something that many shoppers look into when purchasing a new vehicle, as it is essentially the brains of all connectivity within the car itself. With that said, the exclusion of Apple CarPlay and Android Auto on the Pathfinder is a glaring omission in an otherwise decent package.
Making Your Next Step
When looking at both the Sorento and Pathfinder side-by-side, a few things become abundantly clear. The fact of the matter is, you’ll be receiving a more fully-fledged feature set and similar or better performance with 2020 Sorento while generally paying less. Kia seems to have done everything they could have to ensure that the Sorento is able to not only stand head-to-head with its competition but even thwart them in some cases. For those looking for respectable performance, great fuel efficiency, and a host of modernized entertainment features which, as we’ve learned, are sometimes not available at this price range.
Asking yourself what your next vehicle should be can be intimidating, there’s no doubt about that. However, taking the time to visit your local Kia dealership will earn you all of the knowledge and assistance you’ll need to get started. Ever since Kia was founded over 75 years ago, they’ve made leaps and bounds in their mission to provide some of the most reliable and technologically advanced vehicles for generations. Today, Kia offers lineups spanning from sedans, SUVs, crossovers, hatchbacks, hybrids, and more. There is simply no better time to invest in a Kia, and with the help of your local Kia dealership, you can find your dream car, and thanks to Kia, soon your dreams will become a reality.