Kia needs its all-new 2019 Sorento to be a hit with consumers, it’s that simple. A few minutes behind the wheel is enough to know that the Korean automaker certainly put its best foot forward with this new generation.
The problem, however, is that the Sorento’s main competitors like Mazda, Subaru and Hyundai also have some pretty darn good and brand-new models in this segment.
With new generations of the CX-9 (Mazda) and Santa Fe (Hyundai) along with a new Ascent (Subaru) joining established players like the Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder and Toyota Highlander, not to mention a host of other competitors from Chevrolet, GMC, Volkswagen and Ford, there’s a lot for the Sorento to worry about.
On the other hand, it managed to outsell basically every competitor last year with the exception of the Santa Fe. Kia is therefore doing something right with its Sorento which would explain why the 2019 model is very similar to previous models with a few improvements here and there.
What the 2019 Kia Sorento does well
There’s a great V-6 available in the Sorento family. The 3.3-liter engine gives you 290 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque paired with an 8-speed automatic that connects the engine to all four wheels. This engine is smooth, quiet and packs plenty of power. With the V-6, the Sorento feels like the fastest SUV in its segment.
The infotainment system is easy to use and nice to look at. You’ll quickly find everything you need with the main and most sought-after functions right there where you want them to be.
With all-wheel drive versions starting at $32,395 you get quite a bit of bang for your buck. Yes, the top-of-the-line SXL will run you more than $50,000, but at the lower-end of the model lineup you can get some good value.
You get a more generous warranty that any other mid-size SUV with Kia’s 5-year, 100,000-kilometer that covers basically everything other automakers protect for 3 or 4 years only.
What the 2019 Kia Sorento doesn’t do so well
The base 2,4-liter, four-cylinder engine has 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. It’s not at all enough to power the Sorento with any kind of confidence. The fuel economy gains over the V-6 aren’t enough to justify it either nor is the price difference.
That said, at over $36,000 the six-cylinder Sorento loses a bit of its price competitiveness. That’s how much you’ll have to pay to get 7 seats as well.
With all 7 seats in place, you get 320 liters of cargo space, less than many 7-seat options in this segment. The end result is the classic case of a mid-size SUV that can accommodate 7 passengers, but not everyone’s luggage.
What we tell our friends
The Kia Sorento is probably the most fun-to-drive mid-size SUV you can buy. We would definitely recommend going with the V-6 and you’ll want to check if there’s enough space for all your needs. That’s not a given with the Sorento, but that’s about all there is negative to say about it.
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