SUV shoppers might be looking for many different things. Some SUVs make great family road trip cars, and some SUVs can tow a large boat. There are SUVs that can go anywhere off-road and SUVs that perform like sports cars on the pavement.

The 2023 Kia Sorento and Jeep Cherokee have things in common on paper but meet very different needs. Let’s explore why a buyer might be attracted to one or the other.

2023 Kia Sorento

The Kia Sorento occupies a unique space in the market that makes it a great buy for some drivers. It barely takes up more space than a compact SUV but offers three rows of seating and serious cargo space. Kia sells a flexible lineup of Sorento models, including hybrid and plug-in hybrid versions. Pricing starts at $30,090.

Kia Sorento Highlights

Three-row seating: The Sorento fits in the same space as a 2-row midsize SUV but offers a third row of seating. Our test drivers found it “pretty tight,” but if you only need a third row occasionally, it will do the trick. The Cherokee can’t do it.

Lower price: Talk about more for your money — the Sorento’s starting price is more than $7,000 below that of the smaller Cherokee and gives you more seats and more cargo space.

Excellent warranty: Kia’s 5-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty remains among the most impressive features available on any car this year. By comparison, the Jeep Cherokee has a 3-year/36,000-mile basic warranty and a 5-year/60,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Sorento models for sale near you.

2023 Jeep Cherokee

The 2023 Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk seen from a front quarter angle

The 2023 Jeep Cherokee is Jeep’s compact SUV, an aging design but a proven one known for its off-road performance and strong towing capability. It offers standard all-wheel drive (AWD) and a rugged Trailhawk model with more heavy-duty off-road gear than most rivals. Pricing starts at $37,695.

Jeep Cherokee Highlights

Standard AWD: The Sorento has four trims with AWD and four that require buyers to pay an $1,800 option fee to get it. Every Cherokee comes with it at no added cost.

Stronger towing capacity (if you pay for it): Most Sorento models have a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds. The base model Cherokee has the same. Stepping up to a turbocharged engine bumps the Kia up to 3,500. The Cherokee Trailhawk has a 4,000-pound capacity.

Trailhawk model for serious off-roaders: The Sorento has three X-Line trims capable of light off-roading thanks to added ground clearance. But the Cherokee Trailhawk is an altogether different beast. Features like a 2-speed transfer case, skid plates, and a rock crawling mode help it conquer terrain most competitors can’t approach. But it’s costly, with a $41,295 manufacturer’s suggested retail price.

Check this week’s Fair Purchase Price or see the Cherokee models for sale near you.


Both use standard 4-cylinder engines with an optional step up to a turbocharged model. They offer similar fuel economy.


The Kia Sorento is an excellent midsize SUV with three rows of seating and a wide selection of trims. It has a lower starting price, a longer warranty, and an up-to-date cabin with a lovely design. The Jeep Cherokee is more expensive and offers just two rows of seating, but comes with standard AWD and has a truly remarkable off-road model.

Which of these SUVs is right for you depends on your needs.


 2023 Kia Sorento 2023 Jeep Cherokee
Price $30,090 $37,695
Popular Powertrains
Engine 2.5-liter 4-cylinder 2.4-liter 4-cylinder
Horsepower 191 hp @ 6,100 rpm 180 hp @ 6,400 rpm
Torque 181 lb-ft @ 4,000 rpm 171 lb-ft @ 4,600 rpm
Transmission 8-spd automatic 9-spd automatic
Fuel Economy 26 mpg (24 city/29 hwy) 24 mpg (21 city/29 hwy)
Also Available 2.5-liter turbo 4-cylinder; Hybrid; PHEV; AWD 2.0-liter turbo 4-cylinder
Basic warranty 5 years/60,000 miles 3 years/36,000 miles
Powertrain Warranty 10 years/100,000 miles 5 years/60,000 miles
NHTSA Overall Safety Rating 4 stars N/A
Max Seating Capacity 7 5
Wheelbase 110.8 inches 106.6 inches
Overall Length 189.0 inches 183.1 inches
Width 74.8 inches 73.2 inches
Height 66.7 inches 66.2 inches
Turning Diameter 18.96 feet 37.6 feet
Headroom, Front 40.3 inches 39.4 inches
Headroom, Rear 39.1 inches 38.5 inches
Headroom, 3rd Row 36.8 inches N/A
Legroom, Front 41.4 inches 41.1 inches
Legroom, Rear 41.7 inches 40.3 inches
Legroom 3rd Row 29.6 inches N/A
Shoulder Room, Front 59.1 inches 57.6 inches
Shoulder Room, Rear 58.1 inches 55.1 inches
Shoulder Room, 3rd Row 53.0 inches N/A
EPA Passenger Volume 105.3 cubic feet 128.0 cubic feet
EPA Cargo Volume 75.5 cubic feet 54.7 cubic feet


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