When Kia rolled out the now wildly famous Telluride in 2020, this automaker did not stop producing the Sorento. Both models are three-row crossover utility vehicles, therefore it seemed reasonable that the Sorento would go.
But Kia would have none of it and that is a good thing. Instead of discontinuing the Sorento, Kia overhauled it in 2021. That decision has proven wise because there are simply more customers for the Telluride than Kia can build. So, instead of losing shoppers, the Sorento serves as a decent consolation for some and a great choice for others.
There are some differences between the two models, however. For instance, the Telluride is about 3.5 inches longer between the wheels and five inches longer overall. That difference is apparent in the rear storage area where the Sorento’s space is just 12.6 cubic feet to 21 cubic feet for the Kia Telluride. With the second-and third-row seats folded, the Telluride’s storage area maxes out at 87 cubic feet to 75.5 cubic feet for the Sorento.
In the all-important towing department, the Telluride tows up to 5,000 pounds, while the Sorento is limited to 3,500 pounds. These differences should be kept in mind, but none diminish the role the Sorento plays in a competitive segment.
2022 Kia Sorento Overview
Kia offers the 2022 Sorento in five trims: LX, S, X, SX, and SX Prestige. All five trims come with standard front-wheel drive; most include available all-wheel drive. Prices range from $29,590 to $43,190. Add $1,225 for the destination charge. The Sorento is available in standard (HEV; $34,090 to $43,190) and plug-in (PHEV; $45,190 to $48,090) hybrid electric vehicle variants. These models are marketed and sold separately.
Two engine choices are available. The LX and S trims offer a 2.5-liter naturally aspirated four-cylinder engine with 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. The EX, SX, and SX Prestige models come with a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. The first engine comes with an 8-speed automatic transmission. The second engine works with an 8-speed wet dual-clutch automatic transmission.
Kia Sorento, by the Trims
The trim choices make all the difference for shoppers. The LX and S trims offer more customization with the other trims essentially equipped as is.
Kia Sorento LX ($29,590/$31,390)
Typically, we do not recommend the base trim of any model. This holds true for the Sorento, but S trim does come fairly well equipped. It is doubtful that you will find many base trim models on Kia lots, however.
The list of standard features includes alloy wheels, cloth upholstery, and manually controlled front seats. The display panel measures 8 inches across. A 6-speaker audio system with HD radio is standard. Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and Bluetooth are included. Kia supplies this model with an impressive six USB ports.
On the safety front, the Sorento comes with standard forward collision warning, forward automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection, and lane control. Automatic high beams, a rearview camera, and a rear seat minder are included. Upgrading to all-wheel drive adds $1,800. For that cost the Sorento features a slightly higher ride height and a center-locking differential.
There are a few options available here as well, including a $1,500 rear entertainment system.
Kia Sorento S ($32,390/$34,390)
The Sorento S adds features we think make this a solid starting place for shopping for this model. Those changes include mostly interior and safety upgrades. This model comes with a 10.25-inch touchscreen display with navigation, satellite radio, one more USB port for the second row, remote start, push-button start, and two-zone automatic climate control.
Kia also swaps out the cloth seats for imitation leather, adds a 10-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, heated front seats, leather touches on the steering wheel and shift knob, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and rear parking sensors. A worthwhile upgrade for $1,300 is the panoramic sunroof. Choosing all-wheel drive adds $2,000 to the cost.
Kia Sorento EX ($35,490/$39,190)
Choosing the mid-level EX trim brings with it a solid list of upgrades. These include fog lamps, a hands-free power liftgate, adaptive cruise control, highway driving assist, and an electronic parking brake. At this trim level, Kia swaps out the middle-row bench seat for captain’s chairs, effectively reducing overall passenger capacity from seven to six individuals.
Choosing an all-wheel-drive model adds $3,700 to the cost here. For the extra money, the Sorento gains X-Line trim, 20-inch alloy wheels, and a panoramic roof.
Kia Sorento SX ($38,290/$40,090)
Choosing the SX trim brings with it a few upgrades including LED headlights. An 8-way power driver’s seat and Bluetooth audio streaming complete the differences versus the EX.
Kia Sorento SX Prestige ($41,190/$43,190)
The range-topping SX Prestige puts everything out there that the Sorento offers. Power-folding side mirrors are included. Inside, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster and an equally large 12.3-inch touchscreen display combine for an upscale presence. This trim also includes leather-wrapped seats, a 14-way power-adjustable driver’s seat, ventilated front seats, and heated second-row seats.
Other features include a heated steering wheel, paddle shifters, and a 12-speaker Bose audio system. Front parking sensors, reverse automatic braking, a blind-spot camera, and a 360-degree camera system are included.
On the Road
As is almost always the case, Kia supplied us with a top-trim model. This means we enjoy the turbocharged four-cylinder engine.
That engine is a capable beast, appearing in select Kia, Hyundai, and Genesis models. It is a recent addition to the product line and a welcome one at that. Where a V6 engine once supplied decent power, the turbo simply does it better and it is slightly more efficient as well.
We praised this model for several attributes, including strong step-off acceleration, quick spooling turbos, and a comfortable ride. The powerful turbos ensure that this SUV moves down the highway at a strong clip.
We appreciate the dual-clutch automatic transmission as it delivers rapid cog shifts and seamless changes at that. Under hard acceleration the shifts come rapidly, although almost unnoticeable. It simply adds to the driving experience and makes the Sorento a strong player in a very competitive segment. Decent steering, capable feedback, and firm brakes are other attributes of note.
The Kia Sorento operates in the competitive mid-size, three-row crossover utility vehicle segment. Along with the slightly larger Telluride, Kia gives customers two choices in this segment.
Competing models include the Hyundai Palisade, Chevrolet Traverse, Buick Enclave, GMC Acadia, and Ford Explorer. The Dodge Durango, Mazda CX-9, Subaru Ascent, Volkswagen Atlas, Toyota Highlander, Nissan Pathfinder, and Honda Passport are others to consider. Most competitors seat seven or eight passengers with six possible wherever a middle-row bench seat is swapped out for captain’s chairs.
It was a stroke of genius for Kia to maintain the Sorento even as the Telluride appeared. With the 2021 update, the new look is more refined with its chiseled exterior and handsome interior. It does not match the Telluride in size, space, and towing capacity, but its affordability cannot be overlooked. We think it works best as a two-row model with the rear seat folded, otherwise, the third row is very tight except for small passengers, such as preteen children.
All in all, the Sorento remains a strong choice amongst competing models. Consider either hybrid option if fuel efficiency is a priority for you. Indeed, with its approximate 35 miles per gallon efficiency, the hybrids make a difference.
See Also — The Surprisingly Upscale Kia Sorento
Exterior photos copyright Stumpwater Media Group, LLC. All rights reserved. Interior photos courtesy of Kia.