Kia Sorento X-Line SX Prestige AWD Review: A Comfy and Upscale Family Hauler
For 2024, the Kia Sorento has received a modest facelift, most notably slim new headlights, a streamlined center stack, and available X-Pro off-road trim. The vehicle I reviewed here is a 2023 Sorento X-Line SX Prestige, which remains otherwise unchanged for 2024. This top-of-the-line Sorento is a comfortable and stylish three-row SUV with upscale appointments, all-wheel drive, and a respectable turbocharged powertrain.
The X-Line variant has the most sporty look of the bunch, with wider lower body trim in black, along with 20-inch alloy wheels in matte grey, roof rails, and front and rear silver accent pieces. The overall look of the Sorento is athletic and modern. It’s got a dynamic presence from the front and sides and is most distinctive from its rear, with its chiseled angles and large KIA logo badging.
The entry-level Sorento LX and S models have a naturally aspirated 2.5-liter, 4-cylinder engine that makes 191 horsepower and 182 lb-ft. of torque. Kia bestowed the higher-priced EX and SX grades of the Sorento with a turbocharged version of that engine that produces significantly more power – 281 horses and 311 torque. Working in concert with an 8-speed, dual-clutch automatic transmission, it offers good on-ramp acceleration and highway passing power. It’ll do 0 to 60 mph in 6.3 seconds – not sports car territory, but good for a three-row family hauler. EPA fuel economy is rated at 22 MPG in the city, 27 MPG on the highway, and 24 MPG combined. One annoyance is the engine eco stop-start feature, which is more noticeable and jarring in the Sorento than in some other vehicles, so I got in the habit of deactivating this every time I started the vehicle.
The combination of a MacPherson struts up front and a multi-link rear suspension results in a smooth, car-like ride. I didn’t encounter any severe weather or rough terrain during my time with the Sorento. Still, its torque-vectoring, all-wheel drive system is designed to provide added confidence in those environments. The steering feel is on the light side, but it is still reasonably connected to the road.
The SX interior is quite luxurious for a Kia-badged vehicle, with quilted leather seats, leather pads on the doors, and open-pore wood on the dash and door panels. You’ll also find aluminum sport pedals and chrome door handles. There’s still a bit of plastic on the bottom of the dash and center console. The front seats offer heat and cooling, and the driver’s seat has 14-way power adjustable settings, including lumbar support and thigh extension for extra leg support. The front passenger seat gets 10-way power settings. Front seat comfort and support are good, and I didn’t experience any fatigue or discomfort while driving.
Tech features include a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a 10.25-inch touchscreen multimedia display, and a punchy 12-speaker Bose audio system. Kia loads up the Sorento SX Prestige with safety and convenience tech like cameras that display what’s in your blind spot while signaling to turn, full-speed adaptive cruise control that automatically decreases speed when cornering, and highway drive assist, which helps keep the vehicle centered in the lane while maintaining speed and driving interval. The lane centering is very well executed here, and there’s none of that annoying ping-ponging that some of these systems have. There’s also a surround-view monitor that provides a top-down view of the SUV while parking. Ultrasonic sensors alert you if you leave a passenger in the rear seat when exiting, and the Sorento will also alert you if you attempt to open a door into traffic when a vehicle is approaching from behind.
Every Sorento trim other than the LX and S gets second-row captain’s chairs. This decreases seating capacity from seven to six but increases comfort for those seated in the middle row. These seats are also heated and have flip-up center armrests. Legroom and headroom are plentiful, and cupholders are built into the doors, keeping the floor clear between the seats. You’ll find air vents on the back of the center console, a 12-volt accessory outlet, a 115-volt AC outlet, and a single USB port. USB ports are also built into the front seatbacks, so you can charge up to three devices in this row if needed.
At six feet tall, I didn’t know if I’d be able to get into the third row, but I was able to, thanks to the sliding and folding feature on the captain’s chairs. It’s a little tight in the back for taller passengers, but better than I expected. I wouldn’t want to be back there for a road trip, but there’s plenty of space for a couple of kids. Each seat gets its own cupholder, storage bin, and USB charging port. There’s also another 12-volt accessory port back here.
Cargo space behind the third row of seats is quite limited at just 12.6 cubic feet. However, with the third row folded, that increases to 45 cubic feet, and 75.5 cubic feet with the second row folded too. The wide wheel wells limit cargo width, so measure before attempting to carry your new 80-inch TV back here.
There are lots of three-row SUVs on the market, and the Kia Sorento is a solid entry into this competitive space. It’s not a bold or daring vehicle in any way. Still, it’s worth a test drive if you’re considering a family-friendly vehicle with a comfortable cabin and safety features. The 2023 Sorento X-Line SX-Prestige AWD has a base price of $43,690, while the vehicle tested here had a final sticker of $46,190, including freight and handling. Pricing has yet to be announced for the 2024 models.