The Crossover SUV has taken over the throne of the famous mom vans or minivans from the 90s and early 2000s as the go-to vehicle when it comes to packing the whole family in one ride. It offers the same space as the old minivans but packs more power, luxury and a sportier look so it is still an awesome ride to drive even when it isn’t packed with your family. In 2020 two crossovers stand out from the rest, the 2020 Buick Enclave and the 2020 Kia Sorento. Both are roughly the same size as a standard run off the mill mid-size SUV with the standard two rows of seats but these two have one additional row. Both crossovers can also go toe to toe with their more luxurious upper-class rivals with their sporty outer shell and nicely equipped interiors. Both SUVs pack hefty V6 engines to haul your whole family and the baggage. The Kia Sorento does offer a smaller inline-four engine, but for the sake of this comparison, we will not discuss that engine as it will not be up to par with the Buick Enclave’s V6 engine. If you are in the market for an SUV but can’t really decide which one is the best for you and your family, then this article will walk you through. We will compare both crossover SUVs with the following aspects to help you decide which one is best for you: Power and Performance, Interior and Tech Features, Storage Space, Fuel Economy, Safety, and Trims and Pricing.
Power and Performance
Every 2020 Buick Enclave packs a 310 horsepower 3.6 L V6 coupled to a nine-speed automatic transmission that turns either the front wheel or all four. It may not be as quick as the other models in the Crossover market like the Q7 of Audi, but you will barely notice the engine as it gives you the power you need when driving around the city or even when merging onto the high-speed traffic of the highways. If you need more towing capacity, opt for the Trailering package offered by Buick to give your Enclave up 5000 pounds of tugging power.
Again compared to its competitors, the Enclave will not give you a sporty feeling ride, but thanks to its well-damped suspension, you will barely feel its weight and instead gives you a smooth, comfortable and luxurious ride, you’d barely feel anything on a pockmarked asphalt or uneven terrain. With higher trim Avenir, you get adaptive dampers giving you an even smoother ride than the lower trims. The Enclaves steering is also impressive for a crossover SUV, with crisp response and an ample amount of feedback. As standard the Enclave comes with front-wheel drive, while the mid-range trims give you an option for all-wheel drive. Higher trims like the Premium and Avenir, though, are equipped with a more advanced all-wheel-drive system that is more appropriate for colder climates, the system includes a clutch for the rear differential can shut the power between the rear wheels instead of using the brakes.
The Kia Sorento also packs a V6 engine albeit a bit smaller at 3.3 L thus having slightly less power, 290 hp. But don’t be fooled by the smaller engine as it can match the 2020 Mazda CX-9’s 0 to 100 run, coming up with a 7.2-second result and still give you a 5000-pound pulling power similar to that of the Enclave. As mentioned above, the Sorento has a smaller 2.4 L Inline four engine that can produce 185 hp, but to be able to better compare it to the V6 only Enclave of Buick, we will not talk much about that variant in this article.
The 2020 Sorento tends to lean more when turning at speed and has a less connected feel when it comes to steering compared to the Buick, but that’s mostly ever felt on rough roads. Overall, though, the Sorento has a relaxed driving feel, rather than feeling like a truck as you’d expect on heavy crossovers, especially when cruising and driving around the city.
Interior and Tech Features
To some, the Enclave’s luxurious interior may seem a bit dull and boring, but it makes up for its ease of use and abundance of room. The second-row captain’s chairs can slide to give your passengers more room if you’re not carrying too much cargo, this feature also makes the third-row seats more accessible.
Although the side view mirrors of the Enclave give you enough visibility it could benefit more from bigger ones, plus with the optional comprehensive camera system will give you enough visibility to maneuver around objects in any direction.
Like most modern cars, the Enclave is equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as standard. Strewn throughout the cabin are six USB ports. The infotainment system also comes with a GPS satellite nav system and if you decided to sign up for a data plan, you get a 4G LTE hotspot, perfect for those who need to keep connected while on the go and also for the app-controlled telematic functions like the remote lock and engine start features. It also comes standard with advanced driving aids like blind-spot monitoring and forward collision monitoring. If you want cruise control, you’d have to cough up a few extra bucks, though.
The Sorento’s cabin has been elegantly and impressively designed for comfort and space, that’s until you get to the third-row seats, most likely the result of it being roughly the same size as a mid-size SUV rather than a crossover. The third-row seats would fit kids perfectly but adults will have a harder time accepting it, unlike the first and second rows.
The 8-inch touchscreen infotainment system might not be the most advanced in the market but it sure is one of the easiest to use with its quick responses. It is also equipped with Apple CarPlay and Android auto so connecting your smartphone won't be a problem. It also has pre-installed apps like SoundHound and iHeartRadio to provide your music needs.Together with the upgraded Harman Kardon premium audio system with 10 speakers, the Sorento gives you a decent sound system. Charging ports are strewn across the cabin pretty much like the Enclave. Unfortunately, advanced driving aide systems like adaptive cruise control and lane monitoring systems only come standard on higher trim levels. It comes with a modem that gives you access to remote features like engine start, door locks, and cabin temperature. The rearview also suffers a little because of the third-row seats but in general visibility in the Sorento is pretty decent.
With its 23.6 cubic feet of cargo space, the Enclave is class-leading, you even get more space, a whopping 98 cubic feet to be exact, when you fold all the rows, an easy and convenient feat considering the electronically folding third-row seats.
Within the cabin you won’t be short on storage space for small items like your phone or wallets. Most notably the space provided by the two-tier central armrest bid, and thanks to Buick’s fully electronic shifter, you get a bonus space under the shifter.
With less than half of the cargo space in the Enclave, the Sorento doesn't offer much with this aspect, though its 11.3 cubic feet is pretty standard for a compact crossover SUV. The second and third-row seats can be folded from the back with straps and levers giving you a total of 38 cubic feet of cargo space. A key feature though is the smart unlocking power tailgate that quickly opens without the need of any hands or swiping of your feet.
Inside the cabin you will find a number storage space for your small personal items and even a dedicated space for wireless charging. It has an impressive 5,000-pound towing capacity that is more than enough to be on par with other outfitted mid-size SUVs.
At 18 miles per gallon on the city streets and 26 on the highway, the Enclave rates at 21 miles per gallon combined. Not something unexpected from a huge three-row crossover SUV, though it is still outshined by rivals like the Volvo CX90 and the Acura MDX. It still does a pretty good job at its own rate.
With the V6 engine the Sorento pretty much rated the same as the Enclave when it came to fuel economy. At 19 miles per gallon within the city and 24 miles per gallon on the highway, it rated at 21.6 miles per gallon combined. This is impressive considering power difference with the inline-four variants which rated at 22 miles per gallon in the city, 29 miles per gallon on the highway, and combined miles per gallon rating of 25.
The Enclave rated a five star on the crash test from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. That sounds good and all but most of the safety features and driver assistance features come as an option which will cause you to cough up a bit more cash, which is a bit of a letdown. Stock units usually come with only the basic features and everything else is an add-on or upgrade. If you don’t mind the cash, then these are worth it for your safety.
Enclaves safety features include lane monitoring system with lane departure warning adaptive cruise control, emergency braking with pedestrian detection and automatic high breed headlights.
With a good crash test result from the NHTSA and most of the driver assistance features like the emergency braking system coming standard on most models, the Sorento is a solidly safe vehicle. Key safety features include lane monitoring system, blind-spot monitoring system, automatic emergency braking system, and adaptive cruise control.
Trims and Pricing
The Buick Enclave is offered in four trims, the base trims, the Preferred which is priced at $41,195, the Essence at $43,195, and the two top tier trim, the Premium at $49,595 and the Avenir with a whopping price tag of $54, 995.
Even if you have the cash to spare, it’s still more advisable to get the midrange Essence instead of the top tier Avenir, which at $54,995 doesn’t really give you the luxury that you're paying for. At $43,195 the Essence will have enough features to satisfy your needs like a WiFi hotspot.
Kia gives you five options for the Sorento, with its base trims, the L, starting at $27, 735, the LX at $29,035, the S, at 34,035, the EX at $36,335 and the top-spec trim SX for $41,035.
With the EX you will get everything you need to be packed in a 2020 Kia Sorento, but with just a little extra 5 grand (or less), with the SX you get a surround-view camera, front parking sensors, a 14 way powered driver seat, a powered passenger seat that is not available on other trims. On the SX you also get the amazing factory av system of Kia. It is also advisable to opt for the all drive option on whichever trim you’re getting.
So Which Is the Best Crossover SUV?
Based on the aspects discussed above, it is pretty clear that the Sorento is the better choice of the two, hands down. The Enclave may be a tad more luxurious than the Sorento but it is still not luxurious enough for the amount of money that you are shelling out. Kia’s crossover SUV is definitely on the cheaper side but it packs the same features as that of the Buick’s SUV, if not better. With the latter’s base trim being more expensive (though only slightly, but still) than the top-spec trim of the Kia, the choice is clear. Plus on the top trim of the Sorento, the SX, you get pretty much all the driving assistance features without the need to pay extra. Unless you are after the impressively large cargo space the Enclave offers, we suggest you go for the Sorento SX and use the money you save to get some optional features to beef up your Crossover SUV. As an added bonus, if you’re really into saving and fuel efficiency you can further up your savings by going for the inline-four engine variant of the Sorento, though that is highly unrecommended as it is not comparable to the V6 engine variant. In the end, it still depends on your preference. If not for the extremely large cargo, and if you don’t need it that much, Sorento’s your sure choice.