When it comes to SUVs that fill the gap between compact and midsize yet still offer ample passenger and cargo space, the 2021 Kia Sorento and 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan offer both. Here’s how they compare.
2021 Kia Sorento
Above Average: Four different powertrains including a hybrid available; bold SUV styling; available center row captain’s chairs; space for six to seven passengers.
Below Average: V6 engine dropped.
Consensus: The 2021 Kia Sorento is all-new for this year and offers plenty of terrific amenities, including wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, as well as Kia’s fantastic 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.
2021 Volkswagen Tiguan
Above Average: Optional third-row configuration; ride and handling; excellent seats; quality interior.
Below Average: Single engine/transmission choice; conservative styling; mediocre resale value; third row good only for little ones.
Consensus: Offering a quality interior, good handling, and a smooth ride, the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan, like Sorento, is a rare 7-seater in the compact SUV category. Conservative styling, good safety scores, and comfortable seats make the Tiguan a pleasant place to be.
Sorento vs. Tiguan: How Many People Do You Carry?
The Sorento is a steady, solid seller that Kia hopes will become as popular as their larger Telluride. When you add in the hybrid and plug-in hybrid (PHEV), Sorento offers four different powertrains. The base model gets a 191-horsepower 2.5-liter 4-cylinder engine that makes enough power and torque to make merging comfortable. There’s also an optional turbocharged version that puts out 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque.
The new Sorento gets a little over an inch longer than the previous generation and comes with optional captain’s chairs in the second row. The third row is tiny and more usable for children, but it’s there should you need to carry a few more people for short distances.
You get a swath of safety features, including blind-spot view monitor and pre-collision warning. In addition, a 360-degree-view monitor helps avoid parking lot scrapes, torque vectoring corner control helps manage large loads, and Kia’s Safe Exit Assist system keeps the side exit doors from opening if traffic is approaching.
The 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan is that very rare compact crossover SUV that offers three rows of seating for seven passengers in front-drive models. However, with VW’s 4Motion all-wheel drive, the Tiguan comes with two rows, with a third-row available as an option. What one first notices about the Tiguan is its excellent ride and handling, with good steering response and a turbocharged 4-cylinder engine making 184 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque. Be aware, however, that there is only one engine available, with no upgrade on offer.
Inside, the Tiguan has firm seats, quality materials, and ample storage space, with an impressive 65.7 cubic feet with all seats folded. In terms of technology, the Tiguan comes with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto standard, as well as a 6.5-inch touchscreen infotainment system, Bluetooth, and a rearview camera. It also has a respectable array of standard safety equipment. Upper-level trims include an upgraded audio system, more driver aids, and leather seating.
Passenger space; standard driver assistance; NTHSA 5-star safety ratings: third-row option.
2021 Kia Sorento Advantages
Stellar warranty; multiple engine choices; standard wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.
2021 Volkswagen Tiguan Advantages
Fun to drive; interior comfort.
Which One is Right for Me?
The 2021 Kia Sorento features fresh styling and optional third-row seating. In addition to a turbo engine upgrade, Sorento also features the availability of fuel-efficient hybrid options.
While the 2021 Volkswagen Tiguan only comes in one combustion engine variant, it does offer spirited handling and a nicely finished interior.
Ready to buy a Kia Sorento or Volkswagen Tiguan? Shop now for one on sale near you.
|2021 Kia Sorento||2021 Volkswagen Tiguan|
|Engine||2.5-liter I4||2.0-liter turbo I4|
|Horsepower||191 hp @ 6,100 rpm||184 hp @ 4,400 rpm|
|Torque||181 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm||221 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm|
|Transmission||8-spd automatic||8-spd automatic|
|Fuel Economy||26 mpg (24 city/29 hwy)||25 mpg (22 city/29 hwy)|
|Also Available||2.5-liter turbo I4; Hybrid; PHEV; AWD||AWD|
|Basic warranty||5 years/60,000 miles||4 years/50,000 miles|
|Powertrain Warranty||10 years/100,000 miles||4 years/50,000 miles|
|NHTSA Overall Safety||5 stars||5 stars|
|Max Seating Capacity||7||7|
|Wheelbase||110.8 inches||109.8 inches|
|Overall Length||189.0 inches||185.1 inches|
|Width||74.8 inches||72.4 inches|
|Height||66.7 inches||66.3 inches|
|Turning Diameter||37.9 feet||37.7 feet|
|Headroom, Front||40.3 inches||39.6 inches|
|Headroom, Rear||39.1 inches||39.1 inches|
|Legroom, Front||41.4 inches||40.2 inches|
|Legroom, Rear||29.6 inches||36.6 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Front||59.1 inches||57.0 inches|
|Shoulder Room, Rear||58.1 inches||55.9 inches|
|EPA Passenger Volume||105.3 cubic feet||123.9 cubic feet|
|EPA Cargo Volume||75.5 cubic feet||65.7 cubic feet|