First Drive: 2019 Kia Sorento

For a long time, Kia’s sales pitch was mainly focused on value, the deal that the customer gets when choosing a Kia. This customer had – and still has – plenty of choice in the segments where the Korean manufacturer is active.

Kia Sorento 2018

Today, Kia is changing its game plan and wants to focus more on the product, and the lifestyle the product in question could be associated with.

Last week, we got a chance to test drive the refreshed 2019 Kia Sorento, a three-row SUV that gained a few attributes, but also lost some in the process.

The model we put our hands on for the drive was a Sorento SXL V6, the top of the line variant that will set you back 48,865$.

However, let it be noted that one can purchase on a four-cylinder front-wheel drive LX base variant for as low as 27,995$. If AWD is a must, the four-cylinder LX is also offered with AWD and the price tag is 30,295$. The base engine in both variants produces 185 horsepower.

Kia wanted to simplify the choices within the Sorento lineup, so the four-cylinder turbocharged engine was dropped for 2019. So if the four-cylinder mentioned above won’t cut it for you, you’ll have to jump to the 290 horsepower 3.3 litre V6 GDI.

Exterior changes to this new edition of the Sorento are very subtle. In fact, they are hard to decipher if you haven’t read about them before taking a gander at the SUV itself. New headlights and new taillights have been installed, and more chrome inserts have been added to the front fascia as well. The grille has been slightly modified, and is now offered in two different textures.

On the road

The V6 engine offers sufficient power, but it is nothing to rave about. However, if you’re planning on towing a boat or other type of trailer, it will serve you well. The eight-speed automatic gearbox does the job in managing the power, providing a timely response to driver input, while contributing to fuel economy management.

But when we chose to go through the driving modes we were able to get a little bit more out of this powertrain.

In Eco mode, the Sorento is stripped of driving dynamics. However, put it in Sport and the revolutions will go higher, the gear changes are quicker – making the ride more enjoyable. One may also choose the Smart mode, which alternates between all driving modes according to driver input.

The Sorento proved itself to be very stable in turns and on windy roads. Ride comfort also scores points; the Sorento’s suspension worked the worst roads of the itinerary without excessively rocking the cabin and the passenger within. Additionally, the “loose” or “numb” feeling of the outgoing model’s steering has been fixed, it is now more direct and more enjoyable.

Inside, the Sorento gets a new steering wheel with modified controls – lever type controls instead of roller type, for instance. An induction charger has been added as well. New driver aid systems include lane keep assist and driver attention warning. The lane keep assist works like a charm in all conditions – on a beautiful summer day. But since we are always very attentive when we test drive vehicles, we weren’t able to test the second system mentioned above…

New for 2019 is the UVO Intelligence system. This system enables drivers to remotely start the Sorento, send out an SOS in the event of an accident as well as permit remote diagnostic of a trouble code (DTC).

All in all, even if Kia unfortunately dropped the turbo four engine – which, in our opinion, performed as well as the V6 in most situations-, the 2019 Kia Sorento keeps many good ingredients of its winning recipe, while keeping the 7-passenger variant at the bottom of the price scale.

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