2019 Kia Sorento SX Limited Review: Refreshed, Right-Sized Three-Row SUV

Kia's best-seller gets a fresh new look, more tech, and seating for seven


2019 Kia Sorento
[Photo: Kia]


The 2019 Kia Sorento is a mid-size SUV that happens to be Kia’s best-selling U.S. model. For 2019, the company mixed in subtle refinements, displaying new front and rear fascias. New technology features have been added as well. Now, in addition to exclusively sporting three rows, there’s available Driver Attention Warning, Lane Keep Assist, a Harman Kardon surround sound system and wireless charging.


The 2019 Kia Sorento retains its refined and rugged exterior presence. That was established when it underwent a complete redesign for the 2016 model year, which was in many ways inspired by the Cross GT Concept from 2013.

The radiator grille is artfully detailed and flanked by a new headlamp configuration, that offers full-LED lighting for upper trims. The crossover’s familiar ice cube-like foglamps have also been redesigned. Now, they feature projection bulbs on EX and SX trims. The upscale SX Limited, as you would expect, comes with more distinctive LEDs. The Sorento’s front fascia showcases a newly sculpted bumper design that generates a more aggressive overall expression. The rear fascia of the crossover has also been upgraded with a new design, including sleeker taillamps, a revised liftgate and a sportier muffler tip.

The 2019 Kia Sorento projects a tighter, more athletic image that rolls on three newly designed wheels, ranging from 17 to 19 inches.

2019 Kia Sorento
[Photo: Kia]


Moving into the spacious cabin, the Sorento now comes with 7-passenger 3-row seating as standard fare for all trim levels. Now, there’s 40/20/40 second-row folding seats and 50/50 third-row folding seats for added versatility. The seating system is designed to offer optimum comfort and ideal seating positions for every occupant. For added luxury, also available are power-adjustable heated and ventilated front seats as well as heated rear seats. And for 2019, Sorento now offers 2-way powered lumbar support for the front passenger on SX and SX Limited trims. The Sorento range is spread across five trim levels: L, LX, EX, SX and SX Limited.

2019 Kia Sorento
[Photo: Kia]
A new, more tactile steering wheel, shifter knob and a revised instrument cluster debuts with improved graphics. Sorento also now offers a maximum cargo volume of 73 cubic feet, accessed through the new rear liftgate. That provides space for essentials and active-lifestyle equipment without sacrificing rear-passenger room. In addition, an easy-folding lever allows various seating arrangements and flexible luggage space.


The 2019 Kia Sorento comes loaded with technology, including an upgraded navigation system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay offered with higher level trims. The base level L trim comes with a standard 7.0-inch screen. In terms of audio technology, the available premium sound system suits Sorento’s upscale persona. The 630-watt, 10-speaker new Harman Kardon system features Clari-Fi and surround sound. Clari–Fi works to rebuild audio details lost in digitally-compressed music.

Kia’s suite of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems is now standard on Sorento EX trims and higher. In addition to Forward Collision Warning System (FCWS), Smart Cruise Control (SCC), Blind Spot Collision (BCW), Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning and Surround View Monitor (SVM). Kia also offers Lane Keep Assist (LKA) and Driver Attention Warning on higher trim levels.

All 2019 Kia Sorento models continue to offer standard active safety features such as Rollover Mitigation, and Cornering Brake Control on AWD models.

2019 Kia Sorento


The Sorento’s performance report card gets a bump with its newly available 8-speed automatic transmission that mates to the 3.3-liter V6, available on LX, SX and SX Limited trims. Power output remains the same from the V6: 290 horsepower and 252 lb-ft of torque. The carryover 2.4-liter engine mates to a revised six-speed automatic gearbox, delivering delivers 185 horsepower. For those who use their crossovers for towing, the 2019 Kia Sorento SX Limited I tested is capable of towing up to 5,000 pounds in AWD configuration.

Driving the 3.3-liter V6 Sorento provided a pleasant experience. Its engine provided satisfying performance levels in terms of acceleration. The Sorento’s former Drive Mode Select setup has been replaced by the new Smart Shift & Drive feature across all trim levels. It automatically activates the appropriate drive mode – Eco, Sport or Smart, depending on your driving style.

The transmission shifts smoothly – almost imperceptibly in either fully automatic mode or in manual mode. It also proved to be fairly responsive. The ride quality also drew no complaints. It’s not too firm, but not too soft.

Finally, the Sorento’s advanced AWD system worked well as it automatically routed power to the wheel with the most traction. The system also provides Torque Vectoring, which kicks in when sensors detect unwanted understeer.

2019 Kia Sorento
[Photo: Kia]


The 2019 Kia Sorento delivers a solid value in a package that is capable of fulfilling a wide variety of owners’ needs. The base sticker for the SX Limited trim starts at $44,690, and the only option – apart from accessories – is the $1,800 upgrade for all-wheel drive.

SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Kia Sorento SX Limited

On Sale: Now
Base MSRP: $44,690
Price as Tested:
Engine: 3.3-liter DOHC 24-valve V-6
Drivetrain (Layout): Front engine, all-wheel drive
Horsepower: 290 hp @ 6,400 rpm
Torque: 252 lb-ft @ 5,200 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Suspension: Front: Independent, MacPherson struts, coil springs, dual flow damper shock absorbers and stabilizer bar.

Rear: Independent, Multi-link, stabilizer bar, dual flow damper shock absorbers

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs (vented front) with ABS, ESC, VSM, HAVC and TPMS.
Tires: Michelin Premiere LTX 235/55 R19 all-season
Fuel capacity: 18.8 gallons
Fuel economy (EPA): 19 City / 24 Highway / 21 Combined mpg


Wheelbase: 109.4 inches
Length: 189.0 inches
Width: 74.4 inches
Height: 66.5 inches – w/ roof rails
Turning Circle: 37.3 feet
Curb Weight: 4,343 pounds