Pitting the 2016 Kia Sorento Against the 2016 GMC Terrain

Published September 17, 2016 by SUVS Editor

The ease of accessing information digitally has made it convenient to do all your vehicle research from the comfort of your home. However, with so much information available, it’s important to develop good researching skills to save time. One of the most effective techniques employed is to take two comparable models and see how they stack up to each other, giving you the opportunity to see which one is the best fit for you given your vehicle priorities. In this regard, if you plan to buy a new midsize SUV soon, two of the top models available include the 2016 Kia Sorento L and the 2016 GMC Terrain SL. Let’s take a closer look at each and see how they compare to each other pertaining to price, fuel efficiency/cost effectiveness, power performance, interior space and safety performance/awards.  


One of the draws of both SUVs is how affordable they are when compared to other models in their class. The 2016 Kia Sorento L has the low starting price of $25,995, making it $10,290 less expensive than the average cost of 2016 midsize SUVs. However, when compared to the 2016 GMC Terrain SL, the Sorento L is a bit more expensive. The GMC Terrain SL has a starting price of $24,900—a difference of $1,125. If you’re looking to maximize savings and have a tighter budget, the GMC Terrain SL will be the better option in this regard. 2016 GMC Terrain

Fuel Economy

For their sizes, both of these SUVs deliver excellent efficiency. In the case of the Kia Sorento L, it earns 29 miles per gallon on the highway and 21 mpg in the city, resulting in a combined fuel efficiency of 25 mpg. This is three more mpg than you would find with the average output of 2016 midsize SUVs. On the other hand, the GMC Terrain SL receives up to 32 miles per gallon on the highway, which is exceptional, and it delivers 22 city mpg, averaging out to a combined 27 mpg. Not only does it best the Kia Sorento L in efficiency, it will save you long term in fuel costs too. Car research site AxleGeeks calculated the fuel costs for both models, determining the GMC Terrain SL will save you $156 annually compared to driving the Kia Sorento L. Not surprisingly, the GMC Terrain SL also possesses better range per fill-up. On one tank, you can drive up to 612 highway miles whereas the Kia Sorento L’s highway range is 545 miles—a difference of 67 miles per tank. If you plan to take frequent road trips or the brunt of your commutes are on the highway, you can see how much more efficient the GMC Terrain SL is.


The momentum shifts back to the Kia Sorento’s favor when examining power performance capabilities. While both models come equipped with a 2.4L Inline-4 engine, the Sorento performs better. It generates 185 horsepower and a torque output of 178 ft-lbs. Meanwhile, the GMC Terrain delivers 182-horsepower and 172 ft-lbs or torque. While the differences in both are negligible, the Kia Sorento L starts to break away from the GMC Terrain SL when examining its capabilities further. To illustrate, The Sorento L has a towing capacity of 2,000 pounds while the GMC Terrain SL can only tow up to 1,500 pounds. Again these numbers mean different things to different buyers. If power isn’t a big concern to you, then this won’t matter as much. However, if you want to squeeze the most capability out of your midsize SUV then the Kia Sorento L is going to be a better option. kia sorento 2016

Cargo Space

One area many SUV buyers can agree on is the roomier the interior of an SUV is, the better. After all, you might be hauling kids to soccer practice or loading the SUV for a family caravan, so the more space you have the easier it’s going to be to store items and keep passengers comfortable. With this in mind, the Kia Sorento L again bests the GMC Terrain SL. The Sorento possesses 38.8 cubic feet of trunk space while the Terrain only has 31.6 cubic feet available in its trunk. Both SUVs have the capability to fold rear seats down to add more cargo room. In this instance, the Kia Sorento L has 73.5 cubic feet of cargo room whereas the GMC Terrain SL’s cargo room of 63.9 cubic feet while generous is off the mark.

Crash Test Ratings

Along with storage capabilities, how an SUV performs during crash tests conducted by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration serves as a good framework on how safe an SUV is. With this in mind, the Kia Sorento L earned an overall five-star rating from the NHTSA. This is the highest rating the NHTSA can bestow on an SUV. While the Sorento earned top marks the GMC Terrain SL received a four-star overall rating, which is great. At the same time, if you have the choice between the two most buyers will opt for the SUV with the best crash test ratings.

Our Take

After comparing each SUV the overall winner is the 2016 Kia Sorento L. While it is a bit more expensive than the 2016 GMC Terrain SL, it generates better horsepower, possesses more towing capacity, delivers more interior space and earns higher crash test ratings. However, this doesn’t mean the 2016 GMC Terrain SL isn’t a great buy. Not only is it among the most affordable models in its class, it’s also one of the most efficient. Furthermore, it earned the Top Safety Pick honor from the IIHS. Therefore, if you are watching your costs and want an SUV that translates into future savings—pertaining to fuel costs—the 2016 GMC Terrain SL isn’t a bad option to consider either.

Useful SUV Links

Recommended SUV News & Reviews

∗ Monthly payments are only an example shown for convenience. Estimated monthly payments based on 3.9% APR, 60 month financing, and 20% down payment. Taxes and other fees are not included in price or payment. Subject to approved buyer credit. Actual purchase terms may vary. Payment calculations may not reflect actual financing terms. Down payments subject to availability, approved buyer credit and lender requirements.