For 2019, prices on all trim levels of the Kia Sorento are remarkably similar to those in the recent past. Two years ago the entry L model cost $25,600. For 2019, the manufacturer is asking $25,990. As one progresses up the trim levels (L, LX, EX, SXL)the story is the same.
To keep up with competition in the midsize sport utility vehicle market, Sorento offers three rows of seating for seven occupants. The first and second rows offer superb leg room. Short trips are advised if people are sitting in the third row. Second row passengers have access to a USB port, 115- and 12-volt outlets. A pulldown armrest has two cup holders. Cup holders also are molded into the doors.
Second-row seats can recline. The 73-cubic-foot cargo area is carpeted and lighted. There are tiedowns and, for $50, an owner can have an optional cargo net. Behind an upright second row of split seats, and with the third row flat, cargo area measures 38.8 cubic feet.
Another option are puddle lamps. They give lighted entry into the vehicle and they cost $240.
Passengers in the rear split seats have 39.4 inches of leg room. This is above the norm by an inch or two compared to entries in the midsize SUV market. In front, leg room is 44.1 inches, comparable to that of a full-sized sedan.
Large shoulders and a long hood enhance a sleek and strong appearance. With a recent redesign, the wheelbase has been upped 3.1 inches to 109.4 inches. Width has increased slightly to 74.4 inches. It is taller offering more cabin head room. The upshot is simply more head, shoulder and body room for occupants and slightly more cubic feet for storage purposes.
The tested 2019 all-wheel-drive $46,490 SXL, priced almost the same as the 2018 model, has a 3.3-liter, 290-horsepower V6 engine that is quick and powerful. Kia discontinued the 2-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder but still offers a 2.4-liter, 185-horsepower naturally aspirated four-cylinder. Probably best to go with the V6 even though heavier. Fuel economy will suffer slightly. During a test week in the V6 SXL with two adults aboard in combined city and highway driving, the average fuel consumption was 22.4 miles per gallon. The SXL was driven hard, too.
This year the V6 engine is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission which replaces 2018's six-speed automatic.
Inclusions on the SXL, as well as trim levels costing $15,000 less, are power exterior heated mirrors, heated power front seats, leather interior trim, express power windows, power door locks, smart key, pushbutton start, cruise control, navigation system, intermittent wipers, roof rails, lighted vanity mirrors and front fog lamps. The tilt and telescoping steering wheel is manual.
The SXL adds memory for two drivers for the driver's seat, a heated steering wheel as well as power sunroof (panoramic) and liftgate, voice commands for smartphones, chrome instead of aluminum alloy roof rails, and foldable exterior mirrors. Satellite radio is standard on the surround sound system.
Kia's information system called UVO is standard. It has advanced voice recognition technology, utilizes the voice to help make hands-free calls and manages an owner's music library. The system couples with telematics for a free smartphone app and connectivity with a navigation system. UVO also includes diagnostics capabilities and a rear camera display.
The all-wheel-drive system automatically routes power to the wheel with the most traction. When conditions are questionable, engine power is split evenly between the front and rear drive shafts. The system also provides drivers added stability via a torque cornering control, which is activated when yaw and steering sensors detect unwanted understeer.
Vehicle: all-wheel-drive SXL model of 2019 Kia Sorento
Type: three-row, seven-passenger, four-door, midsize sport utility vehicle
Engine: .3.3-liter, 290-horsepower V6
Transmission: eight-speed automatic
Towing: 5,000 pounds
Fuel tank: 18.8 gallons
Weight: 4,343 pounds
Tires (P235), chrome-alloy wheels: 19-inch
Suspension: independent front, rear with stabilizer bar
Wheelbase, length, width, height in inches: 109.4, 189, 74.4, 67
Leg room: 44.1 inches front, 39.4 inches second row,
Cargo: 11.3 cubic feet behind upright third row, 73 cubic feet behind front seat with rows two and three folded flat, 38 cubic feet third row flat and second row upright
Turn circle: 37.2 feet
Warranty: five years or 60,000 miles with roadside assistance, 10 years or 100,000 miles powertrain
Assembly: West Point, GA