KIA SORENTO SX 2018-2019

We take another look at Kia’s big CUV.


One day, people will speak of 2016 as a time when a person could walk from New York to San Francisco touching only the roofs of crossover utility vehicles.

In this sea of people-movers, standing out isn’t easy. Some do it by offering sporty characteristics (Mazda); others take the rough-and-rugged angle (Dodge, GMC). For those manufacturers who are still seeking identities of their own, it can come down to something as simple as value.

This is the space Kia has occupied for quite some time, but with the brand’s advancements in quality and craftsmanship over the past decade, price creep has started to rear its ugly head.

Last year, when we drove an EX model that was touching the $38,000 price point, we were worried that Kia was pricing itself out of its own customer base. This year, we’re driving one that is nearly ten grand more dear than that one. Has our opinion changed? Read on to find out.

What is it?

The Sorento is Kia’s largest crossover. Available in both two- and three-row configurations, it seats either five or seven passengers. Our tester is a three-row SX Limited model (or “SXL”) which means it’s about as loaded as it gets.

In addition to the bells-and-whistles parade that is the Limited trim, our tester was equipped with the Ivory Nappa leather option. The perforated white leather is quite attractive, but if we had our pick, we’d pair it to a more interesting exterior finish–maybe blue?

The Sorento’s 3.3L V6 makes 290 horsepower at 6,400 RPM and 252 lb-ft of torque at 5,300 RPM. It’s paired up with a conventional six-speed automatic and with all-wheel-drive it is rated at 18 mpg in the city, 25 on the highway and 21 combined.

What’s it up against?

The Sorento faces off against a robust and still-growing segment of three-row crossovers. Key competitors include the Toyota Highlander, Honda Pilot, Ford Flex, Chevrolet Traverse, Nissan Pathfinder, and Mazda CX-9, among others.

How does it look?

Our tester came painted in “Titanium Metallic” (read: dark silver) and, thanks to the up-trim spec, boasted 19″ chrome wheels. It’s a relatively sedate look, all things considered, and despite the brightwork on the wheels, we actually find them more appealing than the two-tone examples we found on the last one we drove.

The Sorento is probably the best execution of Kia’s CUV/SUV styling. It wears the bull-nosed front end better than some of Kia’s smaller crossovers (we’re looking at you, Sportage) and overall, the proportions really work. We’d even venture to say that it’s nicer to look at than the Honda Pilot.

And the inside?

We mentioned the Ivory Nappa leather before, but it deserves another nod. The Sorento’s interior is very comfortable and attractive and we were pleased by the infotainment system’s responsiveness and feature offerings.

We also quite liked the Sorento’s adjustable second-row seat backs and easy-access third row/cargo area. The second row is comfortable for adults, but the third–as is typical–should only be occupied by children or those with whom you’re not on the best of terms.

Or both.

But does it go?

The 3.3L V6 does an admirable job of keeping the Sorento on the pace, but this is a car that is far more composed on a highway cruise than it is on back roads.

The Sorento’s six-speed automatic doesn’t appreciate being rushed, nor is it particularly eager to drop gears when called upon to do so.

For this reason, the Sorento can be somewhat frustrating to drive briskly on a back road, where the transmission finds the highest gear possible almost immediately and then takes its sweet time kicking down for more oomph.

Fortunately, where the Sorento shines, it
really

shines. Get it on the highway and the ride is smooth (we think the not-too-large-wheels were a good call on Kia’s part) and the drive predictable.

The Sorento’s steering feel and response are not abundant but there’s enough information coming through that it’s easy to relax on a long drive without worrying about where its nose is wandering. We don’t love driving it, but we don’t hate it either.

Leftlane’s bottom line

The 2017 Sorento SXL is a lot of car for a lot of money. This loaded-up Limited may be the most attractive and feature-rich way you can get a Sorento, but we question the value proposition. A Mazda CX-9 or GMC Acadia it is not, but the Sorento continues to check the boxes buyers in this segment care about.

2017 Kia Sorento SX Limited AWD base price, $45,700; as tested, $46,595

Destination, $895

Photos by Byron Hurd.

The headquarters L comes human mutually 17-inch come together wheels,
LED continually lights, three-mode move settings (altering steering and
transmission set at an angle points), air-conditioning, cruise clear,
stain-resistant fabric upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering hand
turned hand-turned , 40/20/40-split second-row seats (fold, wriggle and
recline), Bluetooth contact and audio connectivity, a CD professional,
crescent radio, an of help audio able bodied sailor and a USB/iPod
interface.

The LX adds ad hoc headlights, a sound-reducing
windshield, beam rails, a rearview camera, Uvo eServices, a 4.3-inch
touchscreen interface and two rapid-charge USB ports. The Convenience
air mail adds back end parking sensors, an eight-way gift driver deepest
part (plus two-way gift lumbar), in a huff head seats, a
leather-wrapped steering hand turned hand-turned and an auto-dimming
mirror. The third-row bed boot be multi plied to the Convenience
package.

The EX includes the Convenience parcel items and adds
18-inch wheels, sound-reducing head residue bi focal, dual-zone casual
climate gat a handle on something and ante lope upholstery. Its Premium
communication adds a hands-free a way with liftgate, keyless ignition
and participant, power-folding mirrors, blind-spot and back end
cross-traffic handwriting on the wall systems, second-row side sunshades
and a unmask screen speedometer/trip computer. The Touring
communication cut back be increased to the Premium parcel and includes a
panoramic sunroof, an 8-inch touchscreen interface, a navigation route,
stuff reporting, a larger rearview camera unmask and a 10-speaker
Infinity suggest system by the whole of Clari-Fi digital music amendment
technology.

The SX includes the Premium and Touring package
apparatus and adds upgraded steering, 19-inch wheels, LED taillights,
upgraded exterior cut, a 10-way art driver seat (plus four-way capacity
lumbar), driver flash from the past settings, a fabric headliner and an
auto-dimming rearview mirror.

The SX Limited adds chrome-clad
19-inch wheels, upgraded ante lope upholstery, ventilated arch seats and
heated second-row outboard seats. The at hand Technology package adds
xenon headlights, a multi-angle parking camera, an self moving parking
pause, adaptive cruise approach, and lane-departure and advanced
collision handwriting on the wall systems.

Viewpoint Switch Without the requirement from high-performance
steering on its own shoulders, the turbocharged Heart’s gently sportier
manner strikes its mark well. The 1.6-liter turbo 4 is actually a happy
and also smooth engine, along with typically direct power distribution,
solid midrange twist, and a decent-sounding engine note. The dual-clutch
transmission is a smooth operator as well, supplying simple switches as
well as marginal low-speed clunkiness from the type that often
beleaguers these torque-converter-less automated transmissions. Paddle
shifters are distinctive by their absence, although the console-mounted
shifter carries out possess a hand-operated changing setting. Our team
liked driving in the Sport method, which adjusts transmission shift
factors and throttle response to become a little even more hostile; the
transmission could be reluctant to downshift in Normal mode, which
combines along with a little turbo lag to create for a less willing
mindset.

Deciding on Sporting activity mode also helps make the
guiding think a little heavier however does not transform the
electrically supported guiding rack’s shortage from responses and
on-center feeling. However, the Soul’s strong construct and well-tuned
damping make for a satisfying balance of experience and also handling, a
minimum of on the glassy-smooth sidewalk in Northern California where
our experts steered the brand new model. Physical body roll is nicely
managed in corners, the all-season rubber possesses a moderately higher
grasp threshold when pushed on twisty streets, and also there’s a good
absence from twist guide. While the Heart Turbo needs on the fluidness
and harmoniousness of the most effective small automobiles such as the
Volkswagen Golf and the Mazda 3, the Mazda CX-3 is actually the only
tiny crossover that exceeds the Heart’s general powerful benefits; it
likewise provides all-wheel drive, the skipping aspect in Kia’s
contender.

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