Replaced a much loved 2004 Saab 9-5 wagon with the Sorento after driving virtually every brand/model available with AWD and a V6 that could be had for less than $40K+.
Final two candidates were a Subaru Outback and the Sorento. Though the former is a fine vehicle, the Sorento won out on features, fit and finish, and overall comfort combined with power and handling.
Frankly, we didn't need 7 seats. But the combination of other options we did want forced the inclusion of the third row.
() Excellent (but firm) ride and handling for the class.
() Best combo of cargo capacity in a relatively compact size. (CX9 too big; Murano too small inside)
() Strong V6 with relatively good mpg.
() Extremely good 6 spd transmission.
() Soft-roading capabilities, e.g. locking differential, hill assist, descent control.
() Near luxury interior. VERY comfortable.
() Open, airy feel. (Better than Outback)
() Rear A/C (not avail in RAV4)
() Pleasant surround sound audio
() Automatic folding mirrors when parking.
() Better option "packages." Difficult to configure exact combination of desired features.
() Power tailgate. (Odd that it isn't included.)
() 110 volt outlet option in rear cargo area.
() Easy removal of 3rd row seats for extra cargo space.
() Brighter nav screen. Washes out in bright sun.
() More frequent nav map updates.
() Sliding second row of seats.