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2014 Kia Sorento vs Subaru Outback: an update

Updating the crossover comparison of two vehicles with sporty performance and low cost of ownership: Kia Sorento vs Subaru Outback.

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When you need the performance of an SUV with the practicality of a mid-size sedan, a crossover vehicle may be an ideal choice. It’s becoming one of the fastest-growing sectors of the car industry and the Kia Sorento and the Subaru Outback are two of its leaders. Both offer stylish and flexible cargo areas, numerous amenities and a deeply developing following of loyal drivers and buyers. As you conduct a Kia Sorento vs. Subaru Outback comparison, let Reply! connect you with local dealers to set up test drives and find the best price estimates in your area.

2014 Kia Sorento overview

2014 kia sorento vs. subaru outback(a)In 2014, Kia barely tinkered with the Sorento, much to the delight of fans and Kia drivers everywhere. Perhaps the biggest change came in added power. In 2014, Kia dropped its lower end 4-cylinder engine. In fact, only the entry level Sorento LX model offers a 4-cylinder (a nice, efficient 2.4-liter that delivers 191-hp.) All other models in the Sorento line (the EX, the SX and the Limited) now come standard with a powered-up 3.3-liter V6 that delivers a cool 290-hp.

To help improve ride quality and the steering feel of its Sorento lines, Kia made some adjustments to the chassis and suspension heading into 2014. Kia also made a few more upgrades available on more models across the Sorento line. With the EX series, you can now opt for leather upholstery and heated seats. In response to ongoing criticism, Kia made noticeable improvements to its Uvo voice-activated controls system, increased the size of its touchscreen monitor and added menu items that tend to make a bit more sense to users.

You can find local Kia dealers, today!

2014 kia sorento vs. subaru outback(b)All four trim options allow you to select a five-passenger version (with more open space for storage in the interior) or choose a third row of seats that will get you 7-passenger capacity (though it may be cramped for some riders in that third row.)

If you're concerned about safety, the Sorento can set your mind at ease. It features dual side-curtain airbags, which run the length of the car on both sides to protect the occupants in case of a collision. For the driver and front passenger, the dual front airbags and side knee airbags offer extra protection. Other safety features include active headrests, and lower anchors and tethers to keep children safe in the back seat. For 2014, a rearview camera and rear parking sensors are now standard on all EX, X and Limited editions and a blind-spot monitoring system is included on all SX and Limited models.

2014 Subaru Outback overview

2014 kia sorento vs. subaru outback(c)The 2014 Subaru Outback features a sleeker, more sophisticated design than past models. It is designed with rounded, aerodynamic lines that create a sporty look.

The 2014 Outback comes in four different models:

  • Outback 2.5i
  • Outback 2.5i Premium
  • Outback 2.5i Limited
  • Outback 3.6R Limited

As you might expect, the base numbers on each model refer to the engine size and with the 2014 Outback, you have two options. Three of the models come with Subaru’s 2.5-liter, horizontally opposed (boxer) four-cylinder engine delivering 173-hp and 174-lb. feet of torque. All three 4-cylinder options offer you the choice of a six-speed standard transmission or a comparable Continuously Variable Transmission (CVT) automatic.

As for upgrades/changes in 2014, the only noticeable change may be that the 2.5i Premium option now comes standard with heated seats. (Subaru also dropped a trim option in 2014, eliminating the previous entry-level six-cylinder 3.6R option.)

The five-passenger Outback has some of the best storage capacity in its class, with 71 cubic feet of storage space available. If you opt for a six-cylinder model, you will also have up to 3,000 pounds of towing capacity.

2014 kia sorento vs. subaru outbackAll four trim models come with standard AWD. Even with the AWD, fuel efficiency is respectable. The four-cylinder automatics deliver 24-mpg in the city and 30-mpg on the highways. Choose the standard transmission and that efficiency dips a little (22-mpg city, 29-mpg highway.) Step up to the six-cylinder engine and you will notice some drop-off in efficiency as you can expect 17-mpg in the city and 25-mpg on the highways.

Standard safety features on all 2014 Subaru’s include four-wheel antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, and front and side air bags and curtains. You can add, as an option, Subaru’s heralded EyeSight system to supplement the safety features that come standard with any 2014 Outback. EyeSight uses two cameras mounted inside the upper edges of the windshield that guide adaptive cruise control, pre-collision braking and lane-sway warning.

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Quick comparisons

Making a thorough comparison in a 2014 Kia Sorento vs. Subaru Outback review will bring you to the conclusion that there is very little difference between these two cars. While you can build a version of either that will outclass and outperform any similarly built version of the other, we’re taking an overview comparison and lining up the two, basic, entry-level versions of each. When you line up a 2014 Kia Sorento LX (with FWD) and compare it to a 2014 Subaru Outback 2.5i with the CVT automatic transmission, here are the few areas where a distinction can be made and which model has the edge:

  • Fuel economy – edge to Subaru
  • Safety – about a wash given the standard features of each and the fact that both have earned the highest, five-star rankings in NHTSA crash testing
  • Warranty – edge to Kia
  • Power – edge to Kia
  • AWD standard – Subaru
  • Interior space – about a wash (though you have that third-row of seats as an option with Kia
  • Price – another push as both are very closely matched in terms of starting MSRP ($24,100 for Kia and $24,495 for Subaru) but it must be noted that to get all of the features that come standard with the Kia on the Subaru, you’re looking at a starting MSRP for the Outback closer to $26,000.

Prices and warranties

2014 kia sorento vs. subaru outback(d)While the actual price you may pay can vary given the region you live in and the dealers you have to choose from, here are the starting MSRPs for each basic trim/model level to compare 2014 Kia Sorento vs. Subaru Outaback:

2014 Kia Sorento

  • Sorento LX (FWD) -- $24,100
  • Sorento LX-V6 (FWD) -- $25,700
  • Sorento LX (AWD) -- $25,900
  • Sorento LX-V6 (AWD) -- $27,500
  • Sorento EX (FWD) -- $30,000
  • Sorento EX (AWD) -- $31,800
  • Sorento SX (FWD) -- $35,000
  • Sorento SX (AWD) -- $36,800
  • Sorento Limited (FWD) -- $38,300
  • Sorento Limited (AWD) -- $40,100

2014 Subaru Outback

  • Outback 2.5i -- $23,495
  • Outback 2.5i Premium -- $25,795
  • Outback 2.5i Limited -- $29,095
  • Outback 3.6R Limited -- $32,095

When it comes to warranties, Kia has truly distinguished itself with the generous warranty that comes with every Kia. Pick any 2014 Kia Sorento and you’ll enjoy:

  • 5-year/60,000 mile limited warranty
  • 10-year/100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty
  • 5-year/100,000 mile limited anti-corrosion warranty

Compare that to the warranty that you can get with any 2014 Subaru Outback, which is:

  • 3-year/36,000 mile limited warranty
  • 5-year/60,000 mile limited powertrain warranty
  • 5-year/unlimited miles rust/perforation protection warranty


In the end, deciding between a 2014 Kia Sorento vs. Subaru Outback may just come down to a difference of style and which one speaks to you. The best way to start that conversation is to find local dealers and go take a test drive. Reply! can serve as a great resource as we can routinely connect you to local car dealers who can help you and your family pick between two great, reliable cars.

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