An aggressive front coupled with a powerful yet efficient motor can go a long way when competing in the midsize SUVs segment. Add enough space to transport seven people comfortably, sturdy safety features and an advanced infotainment system at an affordable price and you have a solid purchase, especially when targeting young families.
Kia hit the nail on the head with Sorento 2019. The company took connectivity technology, a strong yet frugal motor and elegant design lines to deliver a bold vehicle with soft and well-finished interiors at a solid price. Mexico Automotive Review tested a 2019 Kia Sorento EX on highways and city roads to find out what made Sorento reach sales of 7,923 units in 2017 and 6,428 in the first nine months of 2018 in Mexico, according to Kia.
At first sight, Sorento’s clean chassis design can make it seem like another soccer mom SUV. But, its “tiger-nose” grill, LED rear and headlamps and attractive fog lights hints at the aggressive and sporty capabilities that Sorento can offer. This vehicle is powered by either a 2.4l, four-in-line engine coupled to a six-speed automatic transmission in its entry versions or a 3.3l, V6 engine coupled with an eight-speed automatic transmission in its more elegant versions.
MAR took the more modest EX version of Sorento with the smaller motorization down the streets of Mexico City and on the road to Aguascalientes. We initially thought that this vehicle’s four-in-line, DOHC engine would have a hard time powering a relatively large and heavy SUV. However, we were pleasantly surprised to realize that Sorento’s dimensions are no challenge for its powerful and reliable engine. Moreover, the SUV offers controlled fuel consumption with combined fuel efficiency of 14.6km/l in the entry versions and 12.8km/l in the top-tier ones.
Whether it is about bringing the children to school or going on a weekend getaway with the whole family, Sorento steps up to the challenge. It offers soft, gentle handling with four drive modes that truly improve driving experience. A driver stuck in traffic may choose the Eco mode to save on fuel, while another one can go for Comfort to minimize the steering effort or choose the Sport mode to enhance Sorento’s acceleration when on the highway. Sorento’s Smart drive mode enables the vehicle to anticipate the driver’s steering behavior and automatically changes between Eco, Comfort and Sport modes depending on road conditions.
Millennials will be pleased to find that Kia kept smartphone connectivity a priority when developing Sorento. This SUV’s interior features include support both Android Auto and Apple CarPlay in its touchscreen infotainment system in all versions. Some phones can even be charged wirelessly in Sorento’s central console, although the SUV also has both regular sockets and USB ports for passengers to charge their devices on the go.
Safety is another defining feature of Sorento. Even the most modest version of this SUV equips six airbags, speed-sensitive door locks, ABS brakes, rear parking sensors and camera, a tire pressure monitoring system, emergency braking assistance and an electronic stability control system. These features have earned Sorento a “Top Safety Pick+” qualification by the US Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. This institution awarded the crashworthiness and crash avoidance and mitigation of the 2019 Sorento with a “Good” grade. This SUV also earned a five-star rating from the US Government’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.
While Sorento may not be part of the luxury SUV segment, its leather upholsteries and well-balanced interior design show finesse and attention to detail. The list of comfort amenities available in all versions of Sorento include heated front seats, anti-dazzle rearview mirror and a collapsible third seat row as well as audio, Bluetooth and cruising speed controls in the steering wheel. All versions except for the entry one include LED fog lights, a two-zone A/C system, speed paddle shifters and leather interiors. The top version Sorento SXL AWD comes with premium features such as a Harman/Kardon audio system, air-conditioned front seats, a 360° camera projected in the infotainment display, front parking sensors and an 8-inch touchscreen display with navigation system.
The 2019 Sorento is a solid option for families looking for great connectivity, comfort and safety in an SUV powered by a strong but efficient engine. In terms of price, Sorento ranges between MX$446,900 (US$23,600) and MX$709,900 (US$37,600) depending on version and powertrain, which is a highly competitive offer considering the technology and comfort that it offers compared to other midsize SUVs such as Toyota Highlander or Chevrolet Equinox. Not only is driving it fun because of its sporty features and stylish handling but also its solid fuel efficiency makes it a great go-to choice for people shopping for a midsize SUV.