Certified Benz & Beemer Compares 2016 BMW X3 VS 2016 Kia Sorento Near Scottsdale, AZ

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2016 BMW X3

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2016 Kia Sorento

Safety Comparison

The X3 has standard Active Head Restraints, which use a specially designed headrest to protect the driver and front passenger from whiplash. During a rear-end collision, the Active Head Restraints system moves the headrests forward to prevent neck and spine injuries. The Sorento doesn’t offer a whiplash protection system.

The X3 offers optional City Collision Mitigation, which use forward mounted sensors to warn the driver of a possible collision ahead. If the driver doesn’t react and the system determines a collision is imminent, it automatically applies the brakes at full-force in order to reduce the force of the crash or avoid it altogether. The Sorento offers an available collision warning system without the automated brake feature which would prevent or reduce the collision if the driver fails to react.

The BMW X3 has Daytime Running Lights to help keep it more visible under all conditions. Canadian government studies show that driving with lights during the day reduces accidents by 11% by making vehicles more conspicuous. The Sorento doesn’t offer Daytime Running Lights.

The X3 has standard BMW Assist, which uses a global positioning satellite (GPS) receiver and a cellular system to remotely unlock your doors if you lock your keys in, help track down your vehicle if it’s stolen or send emergency personnel to the scene if any airbags deploy. The Sorento doesn’t offer a GPS response system, only a navigation computer with no live response for emergencies, so if you’re involved in an accident and you’re incapacitated help may not come as quickly.

Both the X3 and the Sorento have standard driver and passenger frontal airbags, front side-impact airbags, side-impact head airbags, front seatbelt pretensioners, plastic fuel tanks, four-wheel antilock brakes, traction control, electronic stability systems to prevent skidding, available all wheel drive, lane departure warning systems, blind spot warning systems and around view monitors.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does 35 MPH front crash tests on new vehicles. In this test, results indicate that the BMW X3 is safer than the Kia Sorento:





5 Stars

5 Stars




Neck Injury Risk



Neck Compression

44 lbs.

81 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration does side impact tests on new vehicles. In this test, which crashes the vehicle into a flat barrier at 38.5 MPH and into a post at 20 MPH, results indicate that the BMW X3 is safer than the Kia Sorento:



Front Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars




Hip Force

222 lbs.

309 lbs.

Rear Seat


5 Stars

5 Stars

Spine Acceleration

42 G’s

58 G’s

Hip Force

709 lbs.

818 lbs.

Into Pole


5 Stars

5 Stars




Spine Acceleration

33 G’s

45 G’s

Hip Force

355 lbs.

689 lbs.

New test not comparable to pre-2011 test results. More stars = Better. Lower test results = Better.

Warranty Comparison

The X3’s corrosion warranty is 7 years and unlimited miles longer than the Sorento’s (12/unlimited vs. 5/100,000).

BMW pays for scheduled maintenance on the X3 for 4 years and 50,000 miles. BMW will pay for oil changes, lubrication and any other required maintenance. Kia doesn’t pay scheduled maintenance for the Sorento.

Reliability Comparison

J.D. Power and Associates’ 2015 survey of the owners of three-year-old vehicles provides the long-term dependability statistics that show that BMW vehicles are more reliable than Kia vehicles. J.D. Power ranks BMW 18th in reliability, above the industry average. With 12 more problems per 100 vehicles, Kia is ranked 20th.

Engine Comparison

The X3 has more powerful engines than the Sorento:



X3 s/xDrive28i 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

240 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

X3 xDrive35i 3.0 turbo 6 cyl.

300 HP

300 lbs.-ft.

Sorento L/LX 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl.

185 HP

178 lbs.-ft.

Sorento EX/SX/Limited 2.0 turbo 4 cyl.

240 HP

260 lbs.-ft.

Sorento 3.3 DOHC V6

290 HP

252 lbs.-ft.

The X3’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 102 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 178) than the Sorento L/LX’s standard 2.4 DOHC 4 cyl. The X3’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 20 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 260) than the Sorento EX/SX/Limited’s standard 2.0 turbo 4 cyl. The X3’s 2.0 turbo diesel produces 28 lbs.-ft. more torque (280 vs. 252) than the Sorento’s optional 3.3 DOHC V6.

As tested in Motor Trend the X3 s/xDrive28i is faster than the Kia Sorento:


Sorento 2.4 4 cyl.

Sorento 2.0T

Sorento V6

Zero to 60 MPH

6 sec

9.1 sec

9 sec

7.2 sec

Quarter Mile

14.7 sec

16.9 sec

16.8 sec

15.7 sec

Speed in 1/4 Mile

91.3 MPH

82.7 MPH

83.4 MPH

89.6 MPH

Fuel Economy and Range Comparison

On the EPA test cycle the X3 xDrive28d gets better fuel mileage than the Sorento 2.4 4 cyl. AWD (27 city/34 hwy vs. 21 city/26 hwy). The X3 xDrive28d gets better fuel mileage than the Sorento 2.4 4 cyl. FWD (27 city/34 hwy vs. 21 city/29 hwy).

On the EPA test cycle the X3 gets better fuel mileage than the Sorento:





21 city/28 hwy

20 city/27 hwy



18 city/26 hwy




21 city/26 hwy

2.4 4 cyl./Auto


21 city/28 hwy

19 city/25 hwy



19 city/27 hwy

18 city/26 hwy



17 city/23 hwy

V6 Ultimate/Auto

Regenerative brakes improve the X3’s fuel efficiency by converting inertia back into energy instead of wasting it. The Sorento doesn’t offer a regenerative braking system.

In heavy traffic or at stoplights the X3’s engine automatically turns off when the vehicle is stopped, saving fuel and reducing pollution. The engine is automatically restarted when the driver gets ready to move again. (Start/Stop isn’t accounted in present EPA fuel mileage tests.) The Sorento doesn’t offer an automatic engine start/stop system.

Brakes and Stopping Comparison

For better stopping power the X3’s brake rotors are larger than those on the Sorento:



Front Rotors

12.9 inches

12.6 inches

Rear Rotors

13 inches

12.1 inches

The X3’s standard front and rear disc brakes are vented to help dissipate heat for shorter stops with less fading. The rear discs on the Sorento are solid, not vented.

The X3 stops much shorter than the Sorento:



60 to 0 MPH

114 feet

130 feet

Motor Trend

Tires and Wheels Comparison

For better traction, the X3 has larger standard tires than the Sorento (245/50R18 vs. 235/65R17). The X3’s optional tires are larger than the largest tires available on the Sorento (F:245/45R19 & R:275/40R19 vs. 235/65R17).

The X3’s standard tires provide better handling because they have a lower 50 series profile (height to width ratio) that provides a stiffer sidewall than the Sorento L/LX’s standard 65 series tires. The X3’s optional 245/40R20 front and 275/35R20 rear tires have a lower 40 series front and 35 series rear profile than the Sorento SX/Limited’s 55 series tires.

For better ride, handling and brake cooling the X3 has standard 18-inch wheels. Smaller 17-inch wheels are standard on the Sorento L/LX. The X3’s optional 20-inch wheels are larger than the 19-inch wheels on the Sorento SX/Limited.

Changing a flat tire near traffic can be dangerous and inconvenient. The run-flat tires standard on the X3 can be driven up to 50 miles without any air pressure, allowing you to drive to a service station for a repair. The Sorento doesn’t offer run-flat tires.

Suspension and Handling Comparison

The X3 offers an optional driver-adjustable suspension system. It allows the driver to choose between an extra-supple ride, reducing fatigue on long trips, or a sport setting, which allows maximum control for tricky roads or off-road. The Sorento’s suspension doesn’t offer adjustable shock absorbers.

For a smoother ride and more stable handling, the X3’s wheelbase is 1.2 inches longer than on the Sorento (110.6 inches vs. 109.4 inches).

The X3 xDrive28i xDrive handles at .82 G’s, while the Sorento LX pulls only .78 G’s of cornering force in a Motor Trend skidpad test.

The X3 xDrive28i xDrive executes Motor Trend’s “Figure Eight” maneuver 1.5 seconds quicker than the Sorento LX (26.9 seconds @ .77 average G’s vs. 28.4 seconds @ .59 average G’s).

Chassis Comparison

The X3 is 4 inches shorter than the Sorento, making the X3 easier to handle, maneuver and park in tight spaces.

Cargo Capacity Comparison

A low lift-over cargo hatch design makes loading and unloading the X3 easier. The X3’s cargo hatch lift-over height is 27.8 inches, while the Sorento’s liftover is 30.9 inches.

Ergonomics Comparison

The X3 offers an optional heads-up display which projects speed and other key instrumentation readouts in front of the driver’s line of sight, allowing drivers to view information without diverting their eyes from the road. The Sorento doesn’t offer a heads-up display.

The X3’s front and rear power windows all open fully with one touch of the switches and its front windows also automatically close, making it more convenient at drive-up windows and toll booths, or when talking with someone outside the car. The Sorento’s standard passenger windows don’t open or close automatically.

If the windows are left down on the X3 the driver can raise them all using the key in the outside lock cylinder. On a hot day the driver can lower the windows from outside the vehicle using the key in the outside lock cylinder or the keyless remote. The driver of the Sorento can only operate the windows from inside the vehicle, with the ignition on.

The X3’s rain-sensitive wipers adjust their speed and turn on and off automatically based on the amount of rainfall on the windshield. This allows the driver to concentrate on driving without constantly adjusting the wipers. The Sorento’s manually variable intermittent wipers have to be constantly adjusted.

Heated windshield washer nozzles are standard on the X3 to prevent washer fluid and nozzles from freezing and help continue to keep the windshield clear in sub-freezing temperatures. Heated windshield washer nozzles cost extra on the Sorento.

In poor weather, headlights can lose their effectiveness as grime builds up on their lenses. This can reduce visibility without the driver realizing. The X3 offers available headlight washers to keep headlight output high. The Sorento doesn’t offer headlight washers.

The X3 has a standard automatic headlight on/off feature. When the ignition is on, the headlights automatically turn on at dusk and off after dawn. The automatic headlight on/off feature is not available on the Sorento L.

While driving with high beams on, sensitive light sensors available for the X3 detect other vehicles which could be blinded and automatically switch to low beams. The Sorento doesn’t offer automatic dimming high beams.

To help drivers see further while navigating curves, the X3 offers optional adaptive headlights to illuminate around corners automatically by reading vehicle speed and steering wheel angle. The Sorento doesn’t offer cornering lights.

The X3’s standard side window demisters help clear frost or condensation from the side windows in the winter. The Sorento doesn’t even offer side window demisters, so the driver may have to wipe the windows from the outside to gain side vision.

The X3 has standard automatic dimming rear and side view mirrors which automatically darken quickly when headlights shine on them, keeping following vehicles from blinding or distracting the driver. The Sorento offers an automatic rear view mirror, but its side mirrors don’t dim.

The X3’s available GPS navigation system has a real-time traffic update feature that plots alternative routes to automatically bypass traffic problems. (Service not available in all areas.) The Sorento’s navigation system doesn’t offer real-time traffic updates.

The X3’s optional Parking Assistant can parallel park or back into a parking spot by itself, with the driver only controlling speed with the brake pedal. The Sorento doesn’t offer an automated parking system.

Economic Advantages Comparison

The X3 will cost the buyer less in the long run because of its superior resale value. Kiplinger’s estimates that the X3 will retain 54% to 58% of its original price after three years, while the Sorento only retains 46% to 55%.

Recommendations Comparison

Consumer Reports® recommends both the BMW X3 and the Kia Sorento, based on reliability, safety and performance.

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