2021 Kia Sorento first drive review: Another home run

Victoria D. Doty

Kia builds excellent vehicles these days, one thing I was reminded of by the Telluride I reviewed not long in the past. That three-row SUV is a single of the finest in its section, even though it may well be a lot more automobile than some individuals need. If this […]

Kia builds excellent vehicles these days, one thing I was reminded of by the Telluride I reviewed not long in the past. That three-row SUV is a single of the finest in its section, even though it may well be a lot more automobile than some individuals need. If this sounds like you, I have superior news: You can travel home in a three-row utility automobile which is a small smaller sized and a little bit a lot more very affordable than the Telluride, all without at any time leaving your community Kia dealer. The 2021 Sorento SUV distills a lot of its major brother’s goodness down into a trimmer, and some may well say even a lot more attractive, offer.

A handsome hauler

The fourth-technology Sorento is a lot a lot more rugged-looking than its rounded predecessor, resembling a cross between the pint-sized Seltos and a lot much larger Telluride. Typical LED headlights punctuate its entrance stop, although the coarsely textured grille is a lot more sculptural than what you can expect to discover on other Kias. This vehicle’s entrance and sides are beautifully completed, even though its rear is a little bit busy, with much too many creases and some Audi-inspired fake exhaust outlets in the bumper. At the very least this Sorento’s Sapphire Blue paint is stunning, even on a drab Michigan day.

The Sorento is available in five distinct trim levels, with possibly entrance- or all-wheel travel accessible throughout the selection. Accentuating this SUV’s flanks, six individual wheel styles are accessible, ranging between seventeen and twenty inches in diameter. The model observed right here is fitted with the major rollers available, which also have a gloss-black finish.

A spacious, thoughtfully built cabin

In keeping with its interesting system, the Sorento’s inside is very fantastic, at the very least in higher-stop SX Prestige trim. There is certainly a great deal of comfortable plastic, the quilted leather seating surfaces glimpse excellent, and its textured trim pieces add some visual interest without becoming overly busy. Heaps of Telluride influence is evident as effectively, from the placement of the seat-heater switches to the style and design of the doorway pulls to the slick-experience mechanical shifter. Over-all, this inside is at ease, spacious and effectively created, but it is really not very perfect.

Unusually, Kia decided to go with both equally physical switches and touch-sensitive buttons for the local weather-manage program. All of these are clearly labeled and uncomplicated to use, becoming mounted fairly higher on the dashboard, but it is really peculiar owning both equally sorts of controls ideal subsequent to each other. Just choose a single type and go with that (if possible the physical kinds, Okay?).

Aside from a number of slight quibbles, this inside is particularly wonderful.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

A further peculiar component in this Kia’s cabin is the arrangement of its air vents. The trapezoid-shaped primary HVAC outlets are massive and uncomplicated to alter for circulation and direction, but you can find a little supplemental vent under each of all those which is of questionable usefulness. They swivel a bit from aspect to aspect, but do not offer a lot air and are not in a specifically valuable locale.

Similarly, you can find one thing odd about the dashboard structure. Like so many vehicles these days, the Sorento is accessible with a electronic instrument cluster, a single spanning twelve.3 inches. Attractive and very legible, this panel can make it a cinch to preserve monitor of very important stats like pace, mileage and gasoline use. The issue, however, is the housing that surrounds this show. Off to the remaining, you can find a tab-like portion that extends beyond the meter-cluster housing. It appears to be completely out of put, like it is really intended to have buttons or one thing on it. Instead, it is really just a vacant extension of shiny black plastic, seemingly with no reason.

Talking of shows, two measurements are available in the new Sorento. Lesser types function an 8-inch touchscreen, but greater-stop variants occur with a vivid and colorful 10.2-incher. This panel is home to an fantastic infotainment program which is snappy and intuitive. For additional versatility, Apple CarPlay and Android Automobile are standard throughout the model lineup.

As opposed to some of its rivals, which include the Nissan Murano, Honda Passport and Jeep Cherokee, this new Sorento features three rows of seats, in both equally six- and seven-passenger configurations. As for ease and comfort, you may well be astonished just how accommodating this Kia is. Its entrance buckets are fantastic, and so are the 2nd-row chairs, becoming a great deal spacious for adult passengers. This SUV’s rear-most bench is hospitable, much too, even if the bottom cushion is basically on the floor, which puts your knees at chin-level when seated. Continue to, you can find ample headroom and legroom for grownup passengers to survive.

If you like torque, you can expect to adore this 2.5-liter turbocharged motor.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

Powertrain alternatives

The new Sorento will be accessible with a whopping four distinct powertrains. This involves a foundation, obviously aspirated motor, a conventional hybrid drivetrain, a plug-in hybrid powertrain (which will be accessible someday subsequent yr) and the offering in my tester: a 2.5-liter turbo-four, delivering 281 horsepower and 311 pound-toes of torque. That twist, which is accessible during a wide selection, hits with Blitzkrieg pace, taking pictures the Sorento ahead when you give it the spurs. This kind of antics can end result in a little bit of torque steer, often producing my entrance-travel tester’s tiller to squirm. That motor, despite pulling like a mule, is impressively sleek and silent, if a touch grumbly when operating challenging.

An eight-pace computerized transmission is standard with that 2.5-liter turbocharged motor. Relatively than owning a conventional torque converter, it characteristics a dual damp-clutch style and design. Though this configuration delivers blazingly speedy gear modifications, its swiftness comes at the cost of refinement. However, this transmission won’t reply obviously at minimal speeds, experience disconnected as you implement throttle to begin accelerating from a prevent. It also judders faintly when getting off. I’m not absolutely sure why Kia engineers decided to go this route because many conventional automatics are a great deal speedy, but the automobile would have most likely been better served by one thing with a torque converter.

The serious-entire world gasoline financial state this Sorento deliveries is very spectacular, primarily when you take into consideration its robust functionality. In my fingers, it averaged 27.2 miles for each gallon according to the onboard computer system. That’s better than its marketed blended score of twenty five mpg. In metropolis driving, this automobile is rated at 22 mpg, and on the freeway it need to return 29 mpg.

The Sorento feels a lot more costly than it is.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

Dynamically first rate

The Sorento’s powertrain is a little bit of a mixed bag, but the driving dynamics are solid. Its steering is sleek but unremarkable, like just about any other crossover accessible these days. The trip excellent, however, is fantastic — supple yet effectively managed at the same time.

Of system, a selection of distinct driving modes is available, with Activity shifting the vehicle’s come to feel most radically. It sharpens the throttle reaction, virtually to the level it turns into jumpy, quickens the shifts, holds on to decreased gears and alters the electronic instrument cluster’s physical appearance.

A quantity of superior driver aids are standard, which include items like computerized crisis braking and pedestrian detection. Obtainable goodies contain blind-place checking, rear cross-site visitors warn and lane-keeping aid, which will help the Sorento monitor like a locomotive. This function is significantly successful, by no means sawing at the steering wheel or wigging out when lane markers disappear. In simple fact, the Sorento’s lane-centering program is excellent to the a single in the Telluride I reviewed not long in the past. My Sorento tester also characteristics adaptive cruise manage with prevent-and-co capacity and a crisp surround-view digital camera program that can make parking in limited spaces a breeze.

An fantastic alternative

Aside from a number of questionable style and design options and a much less-than-best transmission, the 2021 Kia Sorento SX Prestige is an fantastic all-around SUV. Sweetening the deal, this automobile is also a robust worth. Including $one,one hundred seventy in vacation spot expenses, a entrance-wheel-travel LX model starts at $30,560. That’s $one,300 a lot more than its entry-level predecessor, but extra standard products need to enable offset that price hike. Of system, if you need all-wheel travel, system on budgeting $one,800 a lot more. In comparison, the almost top rated-of-the-line version examined right here checks out for a even now-realistic $42,205. But truthfully, the Sorento feels like it need to cost at the very least a number of grand a lot more than that many thanks to its at ease and spacious inside, nice dynamics and interesting style and design.

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