The redesigned Sorento has more technology and active safety features than before, but it’s not as well-rounded as the previous generation. Though quicker and more fuel-efficient, it has regressed in terms of ride comfort and overall refinement compared with the outgoing model. As such, it remains stuck in the middle of the pack of midsized three-row SUVs that have approachable prices.
The Sorento’s standard 191-hp, four-cylinder engine is neither energetic nor quiet. But the nearly $39,000 midlevel EX AWD trim we tested has a 281-hp, turbocharged four-cylinder—which essentially replaces the previous V6—with lots of oomph. With that engine, it returned an impressive 25 mpg overall. The EX comes mated to an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission that transmits vibrations when creeping along in stop-and-go traffic, but shifts smoothly and quickly at speed. The turbo-four enables the Sorento to sprint from 0 to 60 mph in just 6.5 seconds, which is about 1.5 seconds quicker than its predecessor managed with the V6—impressive stuff.
The new Sorento is also available as a front-wheel-drive hybrid. We rented one from Kia and found it enjoyable, aside from an initial acceleration lag when starting from a stop. Non-hybrid Sorentos can be had with front- or all-wheel drive.