2022 Ford Explorer vs 2022 Kia Sorento

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  • 2022 Ford Explorer

    A blue 2022 Ford Explorer Platinum is shown angled left.

    Starting at


    2022 Kia Sorento

    A black 2022 Kia Sorento is shown angled right.

    Starting at


    300-400Horsepower (hp) 191-281
    5,600Towing (lbs)3,500
    87.8Cargo Space (cu.ft.)75.5

    Have you ever heard the adage that you get what you pay for? Comparing the 2022 Ford Explorer vs 2022 Kia Sorento is a prime example of this, proving that initial savings can cost you over time. What do we mean?

    The 2022 Kia Sorento might have caught your attention with its affordable starting price of $29,590, but is it genuinely a great deal? From appearances, the Sorento seems like a family-friendly SUV with three rows of seating and plenty of safety features, but it leaves a lot to be desired. Its modest 2.5L engine delivers enough power to get it to speed but struggles to keep it there unless you spend extra on the available turbocharged four-cylinder.

    Spending a little more on the 2022 Ford Explorer (MSRP: $34,010) mitigates these problems, especially with Ford's multi-engine lineup that makes the Explorer fun to drive and plenty capable.[a]
    You're looking at a significant difference in power, from the 191-horsepower Sorento to the 300-horsepower Explorer. This difference is more apparent in the SUVs' towing capabilities, with the Sorento able to pull up to 3,500 lbs and the Explorer up to 5,600 lbs. This rating makes a huge difference when pulling a boat or the family camper to the lake for the weekend.

    So, how else do the models differ, and what makes the 2022 Explorer the better option? That's the million-dollar question we're here to answer. Here's a deep dive into the key differences between the 2022 Explorer and 2022 Sorento, proving that you really do get what you pay for when you invest in the Ford brand.

  • Power and Capability

    A silver 2022 Ford Explorer is shown driving on a mountain side road during a 2022 Ford Explorer vs 2022 Kia Sorento comparison.

    Standard Powertrains

    The 2022 Sorento might have piqued your interest, but the 2022 Explorer will certainly steal it when you discover just how powerful Ford's three-row SUV is. Considering Ford's revolutionary engine design over the last century, it's not a difficult stretch. So, what difference does it make between these two rivals? Plenty.

    The 2022 Sorento comes standard with Kia's 2.5L four-cylinder engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. The direct-injection engine churns out 191 hp and 181-lb-ft of torque, which is enough power to tow 2,000 lbs. However, don't expect this power to impress at highway speeds, with the Sorento feeling sluggish and unresponsive compared to more capable options like the 2022 Explorer with its 2.3L EcoBoost four-cylinder and 10-speed automatic transmission churning out 300 hp and 310 lb-ft of torque. This power pushes the Explorer's towing capability to 5,300 lbs, a notable increase over the Sorento.

    Available Engine Options

    Kia gives you the option to upgrade the Sorento's standard powerplant to a 2.5L turbocharged four-cylinder engine, but this comes at a premium. When you upgrade, the Sorento still doesn't reach the Explorer's baseline and delivers only 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. However, this boost in power does improve the Sorento's handling and pushes its towing maximum to 3,500 lbs.

    The Explorer continues to outshine the Sorento with two additional powertrains. The 3.0L EcoBoost turbocharged V6 engine steals the show, generating 400 hp and 415 lb-ft of torque for incredible handling and responsiveness. It also boosts the Explorer's towing capability to 5,600 lbs. For those looking for plenty of power and efficiency, Ford answers the need with the 318-horsepower 3.3L V6 Hybrid that delivers 322 lb-ft of near-instant torque that ensures you have the power you need whenever you need it. The Sorento's hybrid powertrain, which puts the SUV at a starting MSRP of $33,990, underperforms with 227 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque.

  • Design Features

    A close up of the dashboard of a 2022 Ford Explorer Timberline is shown.

    The Cabin Experience

    Kia's recent update to its branding might make the Sorento seem more modern, but its interior tells another tale. A three-row SUV is supposed to be spacious and offer ample room for passengers and cargo. However, the Sorento falls short of this even with available upgrades like the second-row captain's chairs. So, how much space does the Sorento offer?

    Offering seating for up to seven across its three rows, the Sorento's interior is well-equipped with upholstery and a host of available upgrades. Adding the captain's chairs to the second row reduces the Sorento's passenger capacity but makes accessing the third row easier and gives your passengers in the second row more room. However, it does little to add to the Sorento's cargo volume, and that's where the Kia falls dramatically short of the Explorer.

    More Space, More Comfort

    With every row in use, the Sorento's rear cargo space measures just 12.6 cu.ft. That's enough room for a few bags of groceries and little else. Folding the third row gives you 45 cu.ft., with a maximum capacity of 75.5 cu.ft. with both rows folded. Even then, you're looking at a difference of 10 cu.ft. when you compare the Sorento with the Explorer, which offers 18.2 cu.ft., 47.9 cu.ft., and 87.8 cu.ft., respectively. This added room makes a lot of difference when hauling luggage, groceries, and other gear without sacrificing passenger comfort.

    Another significant advantage the Explorer has over the Sorento is its unique seat design. Ford's multi-contour seats enhance your comfort by molding to your body. In addition, the front seats include an Active Motion seat cushion with a built-in massage feature that prevents fatigue and enhances your focus on long drives. To enjoy heated front seats and a power driver's seat on the Sorento requires upgrading to a top-tier trim, and even then, you can't enjoy an in-seat massage.

  • Technology

    A silver 2022 Ford Explorer XLT is shown parked in an open dirt area.

    Keeping You Connected

    Advancements in automotive technology guarantee you'll enjoy the latest features when you're behind the wheel of any SUV, but this is especially true with models like the 2022 Explorer and 2022 Sorento. Kia outfits the Sorento with an available 10.25-inch touchscreen display with navigation and smartphone integration. Optional wireless phone charging makes keeping your smartphone charged easy, but it seems pointless since wireless smartphone mirroring isn't available via the center display.

    The Explorer makes up for Kia's significant oversight, equipping the SUV with a 10.1-inch touchscreen display that works like your smartphone or tablet. The display features Ford's legendary SYNC 3 infotainment system and includes navigation, smartphone integration, and Ford+Alexa, allowing you to use simple voice commands to make calls, send messages, and more. When you're not in the driver's seat, you can even access the Explorer remotely through the FordPass Connect app, a comparable feature known as Kia Connect on the Sorento.

    Prioritizing Safety

    Beyond keeping you connected, the Explorer and Sorento also prioritize your safety. These SUVs offer comparable safety suites that add active and passive safety features that constantly optimize your safety and minimize the risk of collision. The Sorento's primary features include automatic emergency braking, a rear occupant alert, and lane-keeping technology. As you progress through the Sorento's eight-trim lineup, the suite expands to include Kia's Blind-Spot View Monitor, Surround View Monitor, Parking Distance Warning-Forward & Reverse, and Enhanced Auto Emergency Braking Technology with Cyclist and Junction Turning Detection.

    Unlike the Sorento, Ford doesn't require you to spend extra on safety features and equips the Explorer with its standard Ford Co-Pilot360 Technology. The suite includes automatic high-beam headlamps and a rearview camera to optimize your visibility in any condition. You'll also find tools like the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross-Traffic Alert, Pre-Collision Assist with Automatic Emergency Braking, a Lane-Keeping System, and Intelligent Adaptive Cruise Control. These tools transform your time in the driver's seat, engineering confidence and peace of mind wherever the road takes you.

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