KIA manufactures crossovers and SUVs in four sizes. The largest, the Sorento, is a mid-size crossover in its 14th year of production and third-generation configuration that has been freshened for 2019. I test drove a 2019 Sorento recently, an SXL (Limited) model painted titanium silver metallic. The SXL represents the top of the line Sorento, with a generous list of standard equipment items included in its base price of $46,490.
Like most of the Hyundai and KIA lineup (Hyundai owns KIA), the Sorento is good looking. It is a sister-in-law of the Hyundai Santa Fe, and the 2019 model seats seven passengers. Luggage space in the far rear of my test vehicle was limited to 11.3 cubic feet, a number that can be increased to 38 with the third row of seating folded flat. With all seats folded down behind the heated and ventilated power bucket seats up front, a total of 73 cubic feet of cargo space is available.
The SXL I drove featured soft Nappa leather upholstery and amenities that included a Harman Kardon surround sound audio setup with ten speakers, navigation/backup camera with 8” screen, panoramic moon roof, blind spot monitor, Android Auto/Apple CarPlay capability, tilt/telescope, push button start, lane keep assist, radar cruise control, keyless entry, front/rear air conditioning, and satellite radio. I chose to override the lane keep assist when driving the Sorento, finding that I didn’t appreciate the system tickling the steering wheel in my hands.
Visibility, ride, acceleration, and handling are good, and guidance is acceptable. Speaking of acceleration, zero to sixty for the KIA is reportedly 7.2 seconds. It is accomplished with a 3.3-liter V-6 with 290 horsepower (6,400 rpm) and 252 lb. ft. of torque (5,200 rpm). The full-time all-wheel drive train utilizes an eight-speed electronically controlled transmission. EPA fuel economy ratings are 19 mpg-city, 24 mg-highway, and 21 mpg-combined. My calculation came out to 21.1 mpg for my week with the Sorento, and the fuel tank holds 18.8 gallons.
The aesthetics of the SXL can be attributed to the recruitment of Peter Schreyer to KIA (from Audi) twelve years ago. His TT model at the prior company was an award-winning design. The KIA that I drove featured chrome door handles, ten-spoke chrome alloy wheels, metal fascia integration front and rear, and a chrome luggage rack up top. The tires were Michelin Premier LTX P235/55R19’s.
Base price of the KIA along with freight of $990 brought the total M.S.R.P. to $48,020. Also, included in that price were luggage rack cross bars and cargo net/tray/cover for $540. This is where the deluxe KIA Sorento SXL garners attention, in its value proposition. Many comparably equipped seven passenger SUVs come in at somewhere north of $50,000, which makes the value priced KIA an attractive option in this category.