Kia is known for producing quality vehicles that come well equipped and don’t cost an arm and a leg. The Sorento is the midsize crossover from the South Korean automaker, fitting in the lineup between the smaller Sportage and larger Telluride. The Sorento is one of only a few in the class that comes standard with three rows of seating. It’s available with a traditional gas-powered engine, an also as a hybrid and plug-in hybrid.
Base Price: $43,090
As Tested: $45,120
Mileage: 22 mpg city/27 mpg highway/24 mpg combined
The Sorento is one of Kia’s longest standing nameplates, first introduced in 2002. The Sorento got a makeover for the 2021 model year. For 2022, a Sorento plug-in hybrid joins the gas-powered and hybrid models, a 10.25 touchscreen is now standard on all models except the base LX trim, and the X-Line package is added to the EX and S trims. The exterior also gets some tweaks, making the Sorento look more like its popular larger sibling, the Telluride.
The 2022 Sorento comes in five trim levels: LX, S, EX, SX, and SX Prestige. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive is available on all trims. Starting prices range from $29,590 to $43,190. There’s room for six or seven passengers, depending on whether you get the optional captain’s chairs in the second row.
Starting prices of the 2022 Sorento Hybrid range from $34,090 to $38,390 while the Sorento PHEV (plug-in hybrid) comes in two trims, starting at $45,190 and $48,090.
The LX and S trims are powered by a 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The higher trims get a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder that produces 281 horses and 311 pound-feet, paired with an eight-speed dual clutch automatic.
The turbo makes this midsize crossover downright quick, whether you’re accelerating from a stop or increasing speed to merge or pass on the freeway. The dual-clutch transmission shifts quickly and smoothly, always seeming to find the right gear. Handling is mostly poised, although you may notice bigger bumps. Steering and brakes are responsive. All in all, I found the Sorento to be more fun to drive than most midsize crossovers.
When properly equipped, the Sorento can tow up to 2,000 pounds with the smaller engine and up to 3,500 pounds with the turbo.
Fuel economy is good for the class. EPA ratings for my AWD tester are 22 mpg city and 27 mpg highway with a combined rating of 24. I got 24 mpg during my week with a mix of city and highway driving. Front-wheel drive models get slightly better mileage.
The cabin is handsome and well designed. Fit and finish are high quality, including a nice array of textures and accents. There’s ample room in the first two rows for adults with comfortable, supportive seating. The third row isn’t as spacious as what you’ll find in larger SUVs, including the Telluride, but it’s roomy enough for average-size adults. However, the third-row seats aren’t very comfortable. The base LX trim gets an eight-inch touchscreen; all other models get a large 10.25-inch touchscreen which dominates the center stack.
Standard features include a rearview camera, cloth upholstery, six-way manually adjustable driver’s seat, four-way manually adjustable passenger seat, infotainment system with eight-inch touchscreen, six-speaker audio system, Bluetooth, HD Radio, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, six USB ports and automatic high-beam headlights.
Available features include proximity keyless entry, push-button start, remote start, surround-view camera system, dual-zone automatic climate control, synthetic leather upholstery, real leather upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob, heated steering wheel, heated and ventilated front seats, heated second-row seats, 10- or 14-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, eight-way power-adjustable passenger seat, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, infotainment system with 10.25-inch touchscreen, navigation, 12-speaker Bose premium audio system, satellite radio, voice recognition, wireless device charging, additional second-row USB ports, rear-seat entertainment system, panoramic sunroof, auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a universal garage door opener.
Standard driver assistance technologies include forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, lane tracing assist, automatic speed limit assist, pedestrian detection, driver attention monitoring, and rear seat reminder (so you check the rear seats before you leave the vehicle).
Available driver assistance technologies include adaptive cruise control, highway driving assist, blind spot monitoring, blind-spot camera, rear cross traffic alert, reverse automatic emergency braking, front and rear parking sensors, cyclist detection, and safe exit assist (uses radar to detect any approaching cars from behind so passengers can exit the vehicle safely).
The infotainment system is user-friendly and easy for the driver to reach and see. Graphics look good and menus are logically arranged. The system responds quickly to touch and voice commands. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard on all trims. Controls for climate are below the touchscreen – it’s handy not to have to wade through menus on the infotainment system to change the cabin temperature.
Cargo space is below average for a midsize SUV. There are only 12.6 cubic feet of space with all three rows of seating in place. So you’ll probably need a rooftop cargo carrier if you’re taking a trip with passengers in all three rows. Otherwise, fold down the third row to get 45 cubes. With both rows folded, there are 75.5 cubes. A hands-free power liftgate is available.
Lively handling with the turbo
Good gas mileage for the class
Attractive, upscale cabin
Lots of standard and available features and tech
Standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay
Limited cargo space with all three rows in place
Third row not very comfortable
My tester starts at $43,090. This includes the X-Line package which includes many features and amenities including roof rails, Bose premium audio system, 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, perforated leather seat trim, ventilated front seats, heated second row seats, heated steering wheel, blind spot view monitor, and surround view monitor. The Wolf Gray paint is $445. X-Line rust interior package is $200. Carpeted floor mats are $210. Delivery fee is $1,175 bringing the grand total to $45,120.
The 2022 Kia Sorento has a lot going for it – peppy handling, especially with the turbo, a classy and comfortable interior, and lots of standard and available features and tech, all at a very competitive price. While it’s not as roomy nor does it have as much cargo space as some midsize SUVs, the Sorento is definitely worth a look especially if you want a midsize crossover with three rows of seating.