2021 Kia Sorento first drive review: Another home run

Maria J. Danford

Kia builds fantastic automobiles these days, some thing I was reminded of by the Telluride I reviewed not long in the past. That 3-row SUV is just one of the most effective in its section, even though it may possibly be extra motor vehicle than some people today have to have. If this sounds like you, I have excellent news: You can generate home in a 3-row utility motor vehicle which is a minimal more compact and a little bit extra reasonably priced than the Telluride, all with no ever leaving your local Kia supplier. The 2021 Sorento SUV distills considerably of its large brother’s goodness down into a trimmer, and some may possibly say even extra trendy, deal.

A handsome hauler

The fourth-technology Sorento is considerably extra rugged-wanting than its rounded predecessor, resembling a cross amongst the pint-sized Seltos and considerably much larger Telluride. Regular LED headlights punctuate its entrance conclusion, when the coarsely textured grille is extra sculptural than what you may come across on other Kias. This vehicle’s entrance and sides are beautifully finished, even though its rear is a little bit busy, with too a lot of creases and some Audi-influenced fake exhaust retailers in the bumper. At least this Sorento’s Sapphire Blue paint is gorgeous, even on a drab Michigan day.

The Sorento is made available in 5 unique trim concentrations, with possibly entrance- or all-wheel generate obtainable throughout the variety. Accentuating this SUV’s flanks, 6 independent wheel types are obtainable, ranging amongst seventeen and twenty inches in diameter. The product observed listed here is equipped with the greatest rollers made available, which also have a gloss-black finish.

A spacious, thoughtfully made cabin

In preserving with its interesting human body, the Sorento’s inside is quite superb, at least in high-conclusion SX Status trim. You will find a lot of smooth plastic, the quilted leather-based seating surfaces seem fantastic, and its textured trim items increase some visible fascination with no getting extremely busy. A lot of Telluride impact is evident as well, from the placement of the seat-heater switches to the style of the doorway pulls to the slick-sensation mechanical shifter. In general, this inside is relaxed, spacious and well designed, but it is not quite great.

Unusually, Kia resolved to go with each physical switches and contact-delicate buttons for the climate-manage method. All of these are evidently labeled and quick to use, getting mounted rather high on the dashboard, but it is bizarre acquiring each kinds of controls suitable upcoming to every single other. Just choose just one design and style and go with that (ideally the physical ones, Alright?).

Apart from a several insignificant quibbles, this inside is incredibly nice.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

Yet another bizarre component in this Kia’s cabin is the arrangement of its air vents. The trapezoid-formed primary HVAC retailers are large and quick to alter for circulation and route, but there’s a small supplemental vent below every single of all those which is of questionable usefulness. They swivel a little bit from facet to facet, but never present considerably air and are not in a notably handy spot.

Equally, there’s some thing odd about the dashboard layout. Like so a lot of automobiles these days, the Sorento is obtainable with a electronic instrument cluster, just one spanning 12.three inches. Desirable and remarkably legible, this panel makes it a cinch to retain observe of essential stats like velocity, mileage and gas consumption. The issue, on the other hand, is the housing that surrounds this show. Off to the left, there’s a tab-like segment that extends over and above the meter-cluster housing. It appears thoroughly out of spot, like it is supposed to have buttons or some thing on it. Rather, it is just a vacant extension of glossy black plastic, seemingly with no purpose.

Talking of shows, two dimensions are made available in the new Sorento. Lesser types aspect an eight-inch touchscreen, but larger-conclusion variants come with a brilliant and colorful 10.2-incher. This panel is home to an superb infotainment method which is snappy and intuitive. For included adaptability, Apple CarPlay and Android Vehicle are conventional throughout the product lineup.

Contrary to some of its rivals, like the Nissan Murano, Honda Passport and Jeep Cherokee, this new Sorento presents 3 rows of seats, in each 6- and seven-passenger configurations. As for ease and comfort, you may possibly be astonished just how accommodating this Kia is. Its entrance buckets are superb, and so are the second-row chairs, getting a lot spacious for adult passengers. This SUV’s rear-most bench is hospitable, too, even if the bottom cushion is generally on the ground, which places your knees at chin-degree when seated. Continue to, there’s more than enough headroom and legroom for grownup passengers to endure.

If you like torque, you may adore this 2.five-liter turbocharged engine.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

Powertrain opportunities

The new Sorento will be obtainable with a whopping four unique powertrains. This involves a base, by natural means aspirated engine, a conventional hybrid drivetrain, a plug-in hybrid powertrain (which will be obtainable sometime upcoming 12 months) and the featuring in my tester: a 2.five-liter turbo-four, providing 281 horsepower and 311 pound-toes of torque. That twist, which is obtainable all over a wide variety, hits with Blitzkrieg velocity, capturing the Sorento ahead when you give it the spurs. These kinds of antics can consequence in a little bit of torque steer, occasionally causing my entrance-generate tester’s tiller to squirm. That engine, in spite of pulling like a mule, is impressively clean and quiet, if a contact grumbly when operating hard.

An eight-velocity computerized transmission is conventional with that 2.five-liter turbocharged engine. Relatively than acquiring a conventional torque converter, it functions a twin moist-clutch style. Although this configuration delivers blazingly fast equipment adjustments, its swiftness comes at the expense of refinement. Sad to say, this transmission does not respond by natural means at minimal speeds, sensation disconnected as you use throttle to get started accelerating from a halt. It also judders faintly when using off. I’m not positive why Kia engineers resolved to go this route considering the fact that a lot of conventional automatics are a lot fast, but the motor vehicle would have most likely been far better served by some thing with a torque converter.

The real-globe gas economic system this Sorento deliveries is quite spectacular, primarily when you consider its solid effectiveness. In my hands, it averaged 27.2 miles per gallon in accordance to the onboard personal computer. That’s far better than its advertised mixed score of twenty five mpg. In metropolis driving, this motor vehicle is rated at 22 mpg, and on the freeway it really should return 29 mpg.

The Sorento feels extra pricey than it is.


Craig Cole/Roadshow

Dynamically first rate

The Sorento’s powertrain is a little bit of a combined bag, but the driving dynamics are solid. Its steering is clean but unremarkable, like just about any other crossover obtainable these days. The journey top quality, on the other hand, is superb — supple nonetheless well controlled at the similar time.

Of study course, a variety of unique driving modes is made available, with Sport changing the vehicle’s sense most dramatically. It sharpens the throttle response, nearly to the position it gets jumpy, quickens the shifts, holds on to lower gears and alters the electronic instrument cluster’s physical appearance.

A variety of highly developed driver aids are conventional, like points like computerized unexpected emergency braking and pedestrian detection. Accessible goodies consist of blind-place monitoring, rear cross-website traffic warn and lane-preserving help, which allows the Sorento observe like a locomotive. This aspect is significantly successful, under no circumstances sawing at the steering wheel or wigging out when lane markers disappear. In reality, the Sorento’s lane-centering method is outstanding to the just one in the Telluride I reviewed not long in the past. My Sorento tester also functions adaptive cruise manage with halt-and-co functionality and a crisp surround-perspective digicam method that makes parking in restricted spaces a breeze.

An superb selection

Apart from a several questionable style selections and a significantly less-than-excellent transmission, the 2021 Kia Sorento SX Status is an superb all-all over SUV. Sweetening the deal, this motor vehicle is also a solid price. Like $1,a hundred and seventy in destination rates, a entrance-wheel-generate LX product starts at $thirty,560. That’s $1,300 extra than its entry-degree predecessor, but additional conventional devices really should enable offset that value hike. Of study course, if you have to have all-wheel generate, approach on budgeting $1,800 extra. In comparison, the almost leading-of-the-line variation analyzed listed here checks out for a nonetheless-fair $42,205. But truthfully, the Sorento feels like it really should value at least a several grand extra than that thanks to its relaxed and spacious inside, pleasurable dynamics and interesting style.

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