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CR Says Avoid The Kia Sorento, Subaru Ascent Is The Best Under-The-Radar Pick

Should new SUV shoppers buy the 2023 Subaru Ascent or the Kia Sorento? First, check out the latest report before you buy a new 3-Row SUV.

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What are the best 3-Row SUVs for shoppers this summer? An updated Consumer Reports (by subscription) ranking of new midsize 3-Row SUVs says you should avoid buying the 2023 Kia Sorento, and the 2023 Subaru Ascent is the best under-the-radar pick.

Consumer Reports (CR) recommends the Ascent because the newly-updated family hauler performed well in its road tests, has good reliability, has crucial advanced safety equipment, and performs well in crash tests from the IIHS.

2023 Subaru Ascent

Why should you avoid the 2023 Kia Sorento?

Consumer Reports says, "The conventional version of the Kia Sorento performed very well in our road tests, but it has fallen to the bottom of our midsized three-row SUV ratings because of its well-below-average predicted reliability. It comes standard with three rows of seating in either six- or seven-passenger configurations. The 281 horsepower, turbo four-cylinder that comes on EX and higher trims gives strong acceleration and commendable fuel economy and is better than the loud, slow base four-cylinder."

Consumer Reports says the 2023 Chevrolet Traverse is a popular alternative to the Kia Sorento.

What does CR say about the Ascent?

Consumer Reports says the Ascent is the best under-the-radar pick for 3-Row SUV shoppers this summer. "CR says the reasons to buy the Ascent are its ride quality, quietness, interior room, good outward visibility, braking performance, straightforward controls, big third-row seat, standard automatic emergency braking (AEB) with pedestrian detection, and AEB highway. Reasons to skip: Road-handling agility, blind spot warning, and rear cross-traffic warning aren't standard.

2023 Subaru Ascent

Our take on the 2023 Subaru Ascent

The Ascent 3-Row SUV is the best pick for active customers using the vehicle for more than a commuter or grocery hauler. The Ascent comes with all-wheel-drive on all trim levels, and it's not an expensive option.

All Ascent trim levels come standard with 8.7 inches of ground clearance and Subaru's X-Mode for added all-weather capability. And some trims come with the new dual-function X-Mode for more extreme winter conditions. In addition, the 2023 Ascent Onyx Edition, Limited, and Touring trim levels now offer a Deep Snow and Deep Mud function for additional severe weather capability for a winter road trip.

What is the price of the 2023 Ascent?

The 2023 Subaru Ascent base starts at $35,120, and Premium trims begin at $39,180. The Ascent Onyx Edition starts at $42,520, the upper Limited starts at $42,820, the new Ascent Onyx Edition Limited is priced at $47,520, and the top-trim Touring has a starting MSRP of $49,420. Pricing includes destination and delivery fees ($1,225).

What is the Ascent fuel mileage?

The 2023 Subaru Ascent base and Premium trim levels get an EPA-estimated 21/27 city/highway mpg and 23 combined mpg. Because they are slightly heavier, the Ascent Limited and Touring trim levels get an EPA-estimated 20/26 city/highway mpg and 22 combined mpg.

Consumer Reports says to avoid the 2023 Kia Sorento and buy the under-the-radar 2023 Subaru Ascent instead. Ascent is rated one of CR's best 3-Row SUVs because it performed well in CR's road tests, has good reliability, comes with crucial advanced safety equipment, and gets the highest crash scores.

You Might Also Like: Find Out What The New Subaru Ascent 3-Row SUV's True 5-Year Cost To Own Is

Denis Flierl has invested over 30 years in the automotive industry in a consulting role working with every major car brand. He is an accredited member of the Rocky Mountain Automotive Press. Check out Subaru Report, where he covers all of the Japanese automaker's models. More stories can be found on the Torque News Subaru page. Follow Denis on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

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Dan (not verified)    May 26, 2023 - 9:54PM

Would be nice to know where the Sorento falls in reliability. The article sounds like an ad for Subaru, not an unbiased report.

Biraj karki (not verified)    May 31, 2023 - 3:54PM

In reply to by Dan (not verified)

That it did. Doesn't talk anything about all the recalls and problems they have had with transmissions and low quality builds. Never had so many problems in one car until i bought 2020 ascent. Take it to dealer and they can't replicate the problem or won't even look at it but keep the vehicle for months and give it back as it is.

James (not verified)    June 1, 2023 - 9:53PM

I think he understated the reliability issues the Kia Sorento has. Mechanics are telling me that the 2.5 engines are failing right and left. And Kia doesn’t have enough engines to back up the warranties. I have a 2022 sorento. Engine is knocking. Took it to the dealer. They rejected the claim because they claimed the “wrong” oil filter was used. KEEP AWAY FROM THE SORENTOS AND PROBABLY ALL THE 2.5 LITERS FROM KIA!!