Once again our testing shows the Kia Sorento to be a refined three-row SUV and a strong competitor in its class.

The six-cylinder Sorento gets a new eight-speed automatic transmission as part of its update for 2019. That 3.3-liter V6 is punchy and polished, and delivers effortless power. The pairing of the slick transmission and quiet engine returned 22 mpg overall, 1 mpg better than when we last tested this SUV. And it can still tow 5,000 pounds.

We found the Sorento to be just right, with a level of comfort and a range of features and functionality in a tasteful, modestly sized SUV.

2019 Kia Sorento

This Kia is smaller than some of its competitors, making it easier to maneuver. But that tight size means there’s less cargo and interior space than in the Honda Pilot or Toyota Highlander.

Adults should find the well-padded second-row seats to their liking. There’s a standard child-friendly third-row seat, although it’s a challenge to climb into the wayback.

We appreciated the Kia’s ride, particularly how the suspension absorbed road flaws. In routine driving, the Sorento has responsive handling.

The Kia’s quiet, nicely appointed interior has soft surfaces and supportive seats. Its controls are among the easiest to use in the industry, including its intuitive infotainment system with the 8-inch touch screen.

Forward-collision warning and automatic emergency braking are standard on the midlevel EX trim and above.

Read the complete Kia Sorento road test.

HIGHS: Smooth V6, intuitive controls, ride, quiet cabin, standard third-row seat
LOWS: Third-row seat access
POWERTRAIN: 290-hp, 3.3-liter V6 engine; 8-speed automatic transmission; all-wheel drive
FUEL: 22 mpg on regular fuel

Editor's Note: This article also appeared in the October 2018 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.