Who’s Got the Looks?

It’s such a subjective category, but it’s one that matters to so many buyers. So let’s weigh in on the looks.

Kia Sorento

Like the Ford Edge, the 2017 Kia Sorento is in its third model year of its current design, but it’s the Sorento’s third generation. It looks a touch dated. When I look at the Kia Sorento, I can’t help but be reminded of cheaply made Korean cars from 15 years ago.


It looks toy-like and plasticky, with hints of “let’s just slap it together and see if it sells.” Obviously, that’s not the case but it tells you the Sorento is underwhelming in appearance.

Ford Edge

Something about the Ford Edge screams pretentious to me. Maybe it’s all the straight lines, the chrome flair, the very stock-looking wheels. Sure, it looks all right, but I wouldn’t really want to be seen driving the Edge if I want to make an entrance.

The 2017 Ford Edge is the third year in the second generation, so it looks a tiny bit tired and dated. A redesign could help freshen up its desirability.

Mazda CX-5

For 2017, the Mazda CX-5 is all-new. And I’ll be damned if Mazda didn’t hit a home run with the CX-5’s looks. The grille and front bumper are extremely attractive, the stance and body lines are captivating, and the wheels are outrageously fitting a vehicle with such attitude. Simply put, I love it.

Sexy lines and a fresh new look give the Mazda CX-5 this categorical win.

Race to the Finish

It could be a photo finish, folks, because powertrains are where it gets really interesting.

Ford Edge

The Ford Edge offers three engines, depending on what trim level you choose. There’s a 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-banger with 245 horsepower, a 3.5-liter V6 with 280 horsepower, and the 2.7-liter EcoBoost V6 with 315 screaming ponies.

Each of the Ford Edge trims can be equipped as either a front-wheel-drive or an all-wheel-drive variant. The Ford powertrains clearly have it going on.

Fuel efficiency is decent. The 2.0-liter achieves 20 mpg city/29 mpg hwy, the 3.5-liter manages 17 mpg city/26 mpg highway, and the EcoBoost 2.7-liter gets 17 mpg city/24 mpg highway. Great power with decent fuel economy…let’s see how this goes for Ford.

Mazda CX-5

The 2017 redesign for Mazda cuts engine options down to one. Across all three trim levels, only the 2.5-liter SKYACTIV-G engine is available. It produces just 187 horsepower and 185 lb-ft of torque.

It’s available in either a FWD or Predictive I-ACTIV AWD system for optimal traction no matter where you drive. And fuel mileage is quite acceptable, coming in at 31 mpg highway/24 mpg city for the FWD option and 29 mpg highway/23 mpg city in the AWD versions.

Power is lacking in the Mazda CX-5 if you have a hankering for performance. Anyone who gets a thrill from acceleration might want to get a lobotomy before buying the CX-5.

Kia Sorento

The 2017 Kia Sorento comes with three engine choices, targeting three different demographics. The base engine is a 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with 185 horsepower for the tame drivers. Next is a 3.3-liter V6 with 240 horsepower for middle-of-the road customers. Those with a desire for more power and performance have the option of a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine with 290 horsepower, which is almost too much for the Sorento.

FWD and AWD are available on all the trim levels, from the Sorento L all the way to the SXL V6. The 185-horsepower option gets 21 mpg city/28 mpg highway, the 240-horsepower engine achieves 20 mpg city/27 mpg highway, and the 290-horsepower turbo power plant gets 18 mpg city/25 mpg highway. Respectable numbers, to be sure.

It’s a close race between the Ford Edge and Kia Sorento for powertrains. Mazda is easily back of the pack, playing catch-up. Because of the wide range of engine options, the 2017 Kia Sorento squeaks out the win by the tiniest of margins, although you could easily argue for the Ford Edge to win.

Overall, in these real-world categories, the 2017 Kia Sorento holds its own but can’t stack up with the Ford or Mazda. It gets third place.

The Ford Edge is an extremely worthy competitor, especially in the technology category. But overall, it has to be the 2017 Mazda CX-5 that takes the title as the best buy.

Unless high-performance SUV driving is a must-have, the price disparity between the Ford Edge and the Mazda CX-5 isn’t made up in the other categories.

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