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 hybrid version (which we also tested) is pleasantly powerful, beyond an initial delay off the line. The Sorento Hybrid gets 28 mpg overall, which is impressive for a three-row SUV but lags the Hyundai Santa Fe Hybrid, let alone the Toyota Highlander Hybrid. The plug-in hybrid has a 32 miles of electric range if using a light foot.