[This is actually an older article, but nonetheless here]
As an aside that would otherwise go unheard, I’m putting out blogs of my work versus my own thoughts, as they are two different things.
History can be found in the names of the Nissan Murano and Kia Sorento, both dating back to 2002. The Murano is noted for the future-of-SUV foresight, and the Sorento for creating a more attractive and useable truck-based five seater SUV than Kia’s smaller Sportage of the time, and making a better impression for the brand.
Considered one of the grandparents of the modern SUV (or rather, the Crossover Utility Vehicle), the Nissan Murano nameplates second and current generation has been around since 2009, with a snarling facial refresh and new tail-lights given in 2011. The interior can be an airy tan, or a more sinister black. Using Nissans long used 3.5L V6 from the VQ-family in this five-seater, the current Murano puts down 265hp to the front or all wheels through a CVT transmission. City/Highway EPA ratings are 21/24 for front drive, and 20/23 for AWD.
The current crop of more car-like, unibody Sorentos have a more complicated life span. Out since 2009, but not in America until the 2011 model year, the Kia has been here for only three years. The 2014 Sorento has taken steps to improve on the model: a claimed 80-percent has been updated underneath. The body remains mostly the same, while the front and rear bumpers, and the lights have all been updated. The engine has been improved from the old 3.5L, 264hp V6, as it’s replaced with a 290hp 3.3L direct-injected V6. A four-cylinder model good for 191hp, but the V6 makes more sense with such a large vehicle. Inside, new interior and electronics take some searching to see, but it aligns more with the newer Kia’s with a smoother flowing center stack. The interior colors are a tad austere compared to the Murano (the Nissan offers more tan), but the two-tone of the Kia breaks the monotony of too much of one color. Fuel economy is 21/24 for AWD V6 models, and 23/26 for the FWD four-cylinder.
Because of at least offering a four cylinder for a more entry-level budget and the option of a third row (mostly for quick runs with extra people), the Sorento offers a more modern package that the CUV segment has evolved into since the early 2000’s. The Sorento offers a cheaper base price for the V6 AWD model, undercutting the basic Murano FWD entry by thousands while offering more power, marginally better fuel economy, tighter turning circle, and more space inside. The Sorento may not have all the small luxury touches (will you really miss an illuminated glovebox?), it still wins out for practicality and value.
How many times must I say I’m not big on SUV’s/CUV’s? I will say, however, the Sorrento does hold a certain annoying spot in how the rear quarter windows look big on the outside, but are small (blind spot!) on the inside. Thank thick pillars for that. The Murano would be my pick for luxury, and the Kia for value. Not really a surprise, though.