Subaru Forester vs. Kia Sorento: Which Is Better?

The Subaru Forester is more affordable than the Kia Sorento, but which of these small SUVs is better for you and your family?
Written by Zachary Morgan
Reviewed by Jessica Barrett
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The competition is fierce between the 2022 Subaru Forester and the 2022 Kia Sorento. Both are comfortable, come equipped with great tech features, and offer a lot of value for the money, but the Forester is a bit more affordable.
Both the Forester and the Sorento are great examples of what you want from a crossover SUV. They’re spacious, practical, and fairly fuel-efficient, meaning they’re great for everything from road trips to getting the kids to soccer practice. But which is the better choice for the 2022 model year?
Here to help with this conundrum is
Jerry
, the trusted broker app that helps drivers save on
car insurance
. We’ve whipped up an extensive comparison of the 2022 Forester and Sorento to help determine which one is the clear winner. Plus, Jerry can help you save money on both
Subaru insurance
and
Kia insurance
.

Forester vs. Sorento: Which is more expensive?

Model
Starting MSRP
Model
Starting MSRP
Forester Base
$27,070
$30,855
$29,320
$33,685
$30,890
Sorento X-Line S
$35,685
$33,000
$36,785
Forester Wilderness
$33,945
$39,585
[Forester Touring(https://getjerry.com/car-insurance/subaru-forester-touring-insurance-cost)
$36,420
Sorento X-Line EX
$40,485
Sorento SX Prestige
$42,485
Sorento X-Line SX Prestige
$44,485
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The bottom line: a Kia Sorento is roughly $3,000 to $5,000 more expensive than a Subaru Forester. 

Ownership costs

There’s more to a vehicle’s true cost than just the sticker price. To really understand which of these vehicles is more expensive to live with, you’ll have to look at long-term factors like fuel consumption, maintenance, repairs, and insurance, to name a few.
According to Edmunds, the estimated true cost to own a 2022 Forester is around $34,425 over five years. With a total cash price of $29,663, that means that there’s an additional $4,762 you’ll need to budget for. Conversely, the 2022 Sorento has a true ownership cost of $41,164, which is $7,468 over the cash price. 
So what makes the Sorento more expensive to own than the Forester? 
Well, for one thing, the Sorento is bigger than the Forester. The Sorento is a bit more reliable than the Forester as well, with a 4/5 reliability rating from RepairPal as opposed to 3.5/5 for the latter. Kia maintenance costs are also cheaper for the Sorento at around $533 a year compared to $632 for the Forester. 

Insurance costs

Forester insurance starts around $1,891 a year for a base model, compared to $2,388 a year for the standard Sorento. Naturally, you can save money on either vehicle’s insurance with
Jerry
—but rates for the Forester will tend to be a bit lower than a Sorento’s thanks to its lower value.

Winner: Subaru Forester

If affordability is the name of your game, then it has to be the Subaru Forester, thanks to the economical starting price, reasonable level of expenses, and cheaper insurance.
If you’re more interested in factors other than the MSRP, then keep reading for a more comprehensive comparison of the pros, cons, strengths, and weaknesses between the 2022 Forester and Sorento.

Subaru Forester vs. Kia Sorento: In-depth comparison

Body style and size

You can tell one of the major differences between these two SUVs just by looking at them, because the Sorento is bigger and sleeker than the smaller, more traditional-looking Forester.
In terms of size, the two-row Forester is categorized as a compact crossover SUV, as opposed to the Sorento which is a midsize with standard third- row seating. When you take a closer look at the specs, though, they’re actually not that far apart from each other. The Sorento is heavier and longer than the Forester, but the Forester surprisingly appears more spacious on the inside.
Dimensions
2022 Subaru Forester
2022 Kia Sorento
Wheelbase
105.1 inches
110.8 inches
Passenger volume
111.6 cubic feet
105.3 cubic feet
Headroom (front/rear/third)
41.2/39.6 inches/NA
40.3/39.1/36.8 inches
Legroom (front/rear/third)
43.3/39.4 inches/NA
41.4/41.7/29.6 inches
Cargo volume w/seats up
28.9 cubic feet
12.6 cubic feet
Cargo volume w/seats down
74.2 cubic feet
75.5 cubic feet
Ground clearance
8.7 to 9.2 inches
6.9 inches
Base curb weight
3454 lbs
3794 lbs

Engine and performance

The similarities don’t stop with size alone, either, because these two SUVs are powered by very similar engines. Under the hood, the Forester is packing a 2.5-liter four-cylinder (182 horsepower, 176 lb-ft of torque), while the Sorento is similarly equipped with a 2.5-liter four-cylinder (191 horsepower, 181 lb-ft)
The Forester engine is paired to a continuously variable transmission (CVT) with Subaru's symmetrical all-wheel drive (AWD), while the Forester’s engine is wedded to an eight-speed automatic transmission that is front-wheel drive (FWD). 
As you can see, the Sorento’s engine is slightly more powerful than the Forester’s, but the reality is that neither of these engines is particularly noteworthy.
However, both vehicles have their own way of making up for the lackluster engine. The Forester offers sturdy, dependable handling as well as Subaru’s signature off-road performance capabilities. The Sorento is nimble and athletic to drive and also offers an upgraded, turbocharged engine.
When it’s all said and done, this one’s a bit of a toss-up.

Fuel economy

In the fuel economy category, a clear winner emerges, although it was a close contest yet again. According to the EPA, the 2022 Forester has a fuel efficiency of 29 combined mpg, which slightly beats the 26 combined mpg offered by the Sorento.
Although they are marketed separately from standard Sorento models, there are hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions of the Sorento available, with a fuel economy of 37 combined mpg and 79 MPGe, respectively.

Safety

The Forester and the Sorento are both very safe vehicles, but the Forester wins in a head-to-head comparison. The Forester earned a perfect five-star rating from the NHTSA and was also selected as a 2022 Top Safety Pick+ from the IIHS.
The Sorento, meanwhile, was given excellent safety scores, just not as good as the Forester’s. The NHTSA awarded it with four out of five stars and the IIHS gave it a majority of “Good” ratings across all of their testing categories.
Bottom line: The Forester is safer and more fuel efficient than the Sorento.

Tech

Both the Forester and the Sorento make a point of including or offering plenty of nifty tech features, but the actual utility of these features is what sets them apart.
The Forester comes equipped with an easy to use 6.5-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility with navigation capability, and USB ports for both the front and rear seats. It also has Subaru’s EyeSight suite of driver’s aid features, which include forward collision mitigation, lane-keeping assist, and adaptive cruise control. Lastly, all models other than the standard trim onboard WiFi, which is pretty cool. 
The Sorento, meanwhile, boasts a slightly larger 8-inch touchscreen, a Bose audio system, and eight USB charging ports throughout the cabin. There’s also a voice recognition system, but it doesn't always work very well and can often have a hard time recognizing vocal inputs or commands. Like the Forester, the Sorento is also equipped with driver’s aid features like driver attention warning and forward collision mitigation.
Both vehicles have some interesting things going for them, but overall the tech in the Forester is more user-friendly and has more practical value.

Interior and comfort

One of the main standouts for the interior of both vehicles is the spaciousness, but as you saw in the table earlier the Forester has more room to stretch out and get comfortable. 
The basic Sorento trim does have more interior features than the Forester, though, with a height-adjustable driver’s seat and folding seats in the second and third rows. Going up a trim or two will get you more adjustable seats, simulated leather upholstery, and optional second-row captain’s chairs (reduces seating capacity to six).
The Forester, however, has an impressive amount of storage space no matter what trim you’re buying. In fact, only the
Honda CR-V
has more cargo space in the compact SUV class. 

Winner: Subaru Forester

It was a close one, but the Subaru Forester emerges victorious from our competitive comparison. It was an extremely close call, but the Forester is simply roomier, has more useful tech, and is several thousand dollars cheaper than the Sorento.
We’re not putting down the Sorento, though, because it’s still a great vehicle. For all the city-dwellers, road-trippers, and commuters out there, the Sorento could easily be a better choice thanks to its superior fuel economy and standard third-row seating.

How to save on Subaru insurance costs

No matter which of these fine SUVs you choose, you’ll still want to protect your vehicle with a great auto insurance policy. After making such a tough decision, though, finding better insurance might seem overwhelming. Fortunately, Jerry can make the process a breeze.
Jerry
is the world’s first super app for car owners and the easiest way to compare quotes online. Our process is simple, just download the app, answer some basic questions, and let our
licensed insurance broker super app
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In less than a minute, you’ll get a list of quotes from some of the nation’s top-rated insurance companies. If you see something you like, our team of experts will walk you through finalizing your new policy and can even help you cancel your old one.
We saved the best for last, though, because the average Jerry user saves over $800 a year on their car insurance!
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