It’s not the most spacious SUV on the block, but the 2019 Kia Sorento still packs in lots of value. It also offers a full spectrum of customizability, which means plenty of buyers should find a suitable option.
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2019 Kia Sorento Overview
What's New for 2019
For 2019, Kia added in more standard features in a variety of areas. Seating for seven is now standard across all trims, as is a seven-inch touchscreen with an updated infotainment system. A wireless charging pad is newly available and compatible with Android and Apple. The exterior sees revised front and rear fascia, plus new headlights and taillights.
A few options change as well. The nicer trims see updated cabin materials, lumbar support, and a new sound system. The base engine gets a revised six-speed transmission, while more powerful models get an eight-speed unit from the Kia Cadenza. The 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder engine from last year has been discontinued.
Choosing Your Kia Sorento
Choosing a Sorento starts with the engine, which is one of two extremes. The 2.4-liter four-cylinder base engine produces 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque, which is a little anemic for this class. The other engine is a 3.3-liter V6 with a healthier 290 hp and 252 lb-ft. The smaller engine is the stingier of the two, with front-wheel drive models getting an estimated 22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway, and 25 mpg combined. The larger engine drops to 19/26/22, and all-wheel drive will drop those figures another 1-2 mpg in either case. Where available, all-wheel drive is an $1,800 option.
All Sorentos will seat seven passengers, but rear rows aren’t as spacious as some others. The cargo capacity is slightly low as well, coming in at 11.3 cubic feet behind the third row and only 73 cubic feet with seats down. The second row splits 40/20/40, and the third 50/50.
In terms of features, the Sorento ranges from spartan to opulent. Five trims delineate the options: L, LX, EX, SX, and SXL.
The Sorento EX is the sweet spot of the lineup. The V6 engine is the one to have, and the EX provides luxury features at a good value while still allowing for customization.
2019 Kia Sorento Review
The 2019 Kia Sorento is a midsize crossover that's a solid contender in the space with room for seven, optional all-wheel drive, a wide array of available features, and a five-year, 60,000-mile warranty. The Sorento can suit tastes across a wide array of budgets with the five trim levels that range from basic to luxurious. In all, the Sorento makes for a suitable minivan replacement for those who live in fear of becoming their parents.
The best value across the Sorento's line up easily lies with the mid-range EX trim level. The EX comes standard with the larger 3.3-liter V6, which is a far better powerplant for a vehicle of the Sorento's mass compared to the anemic 2.4-liter inline four cylinder. The EX also comes very well equipped with desirable standard features like leather upholstery, heated front seats, acoustic glass, and a host of active safety features. All this can be had for a starting price of $36,580, which is pretty competitive when compared many other vehicles in the Sorento's segment.
We'd skip the AWD option, and instead go for the EX Touring package to make this into a great family road tripper. The package is expensive, but it adds a bunch of goodies to help achieve this goal, like a panoramic sunroof, an upgraded Harmon/Kardon sound system, a 110V outlet for charging of a wide variety of devices, and second row sunshades.
- Model: 2018 Kia Sorento EX
- Engine: 3.3-liter inline four-cylinder
- Output: 292 hp/ 252 lb-ft
- Transmission: Eight-speed Automatic
- Drivetrain: Front-wheel drive
- Fuel Economy: 19 City / 22 Hwy
- Options: EX Touring Package ($3,400, panoramic sunroof, voice command navigation with 8-inch touchscreen, Harmon/Kardon 10-speaker sound system, second-row sunshades, 110 V outlet, front park distance warning, roof rails, heated steering wheel, LED overhead lighting), Panoramic Roof Cross Bars ($225, required with selection of EX Touring Package)
- Base Price: $36,580 (including a $990 destination charge)
- Best Value Price: $40,205
The Kia Sorento has two engine choices that live on opposite ends of the spectrum. The base engine that equips the lesser trim levels is a 2.4-liter four cylinder that makes a yawn inducing 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. That may be enough in a small sedan or hatchback, but it's woefully inadequate in the large Sorento. The larger 3.3-liter V6 offers 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque, which is plenty of power but it gets much worse gas mileage than the smaller engine. What the Sorento really needs is an motor to bridge the gap between the two, striking a balance between power and efficiency. It had one last year, but Kia has decided to stop offering it for 2019.
The Sorento is able to handle corners surprisingly well, especially in higher trim levels. The steering is direct and feels connected to the road, and the suspension has been updated to allow for both confidence in changing direction as well as comfort on well traveled roads. All-wheel drive is available as an option, providing a little extra traction when the conditions call for it, although it won't get you far off road due to the Sorento's 7.9 inches of ground clearance.
Interior and Exterior
The Sorento is a handsome crossover that manages to avoid today's cardinal sin of overstyling. Some may call it boring, but the Sorento doesn't try to pretend it's something that it's not, which is a noble pursuit in today's wacky world of car design. The roofline is sweeping but not in a way that encroaches on interior space, and there aren't any fake vents or edges that make it look busy. All in all, the Sorento is a good looking crossover.
The interior of the Sorento is filled with high quality looking materials and the layout has been well thought out. The front seats are supportive and higher trimmed models offer surprising amounts of adjustability for the driver. Cloth is standard at the base trims, while the EX gets leather, and the top of the line SXL trim gets soft nappa leather. The second row of seats isn't as comfortable as the front seats and strangely low to the floor, but three adults can fit across the bench. The standard third row fits another two, but it will be a tight squeeze for adults. Cargo space behind the third row is pretty minimal for the class, reminiscent of early minivans, but both rear rows fold flat.
The Best and Worst Things
One of the coolest things about the Kia Sorento is its use of acoustic glass and sound deadening. It helps make the Sorento feel much more expensive than it actually is by minimizing road and wind noise. That noise can get exhausting over longer car trips, and you generally don't see it used on non-luxury vehicles.
The biggest downside to the Sorento is the interior space. It's a bit cramped and there's less cargo space available compared to other mid-sized crossovers owing to the Sorento's shorter-than-average length.
Right For? Wrong For?
The Kia Sorento is a great family hauler, capable of taking over for the minivans that preceded it but in a much more trendy crossover body. The Sorento particularly shines as a road tripper for a family of four, when the back seats can be folded down and the space used for luggage. At the same time, the seating for seven is perfect for carpool duty, making it good for around-the-town usage as well.
The Sorento is not a good vehicle for those without kids however, unless you're an Uber XL driver. Instead, buy a smaller crossover or SUV if that's the style that suits you, or a pick up truck if you need to haul cargo.
The Bottom Line
The Kia Sorento is a competent mid-sized crossover that is great for families that don't want a minivan. It offers good value at all trim levels with a laundry list of both standard and optional features, giving its competitors a run for their money.
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