2021 Kia Sorento first drive evaluate: One other residence run

Kia builds nice automobiles today, one thing I used to be reminded of by the Telluride I reviewed not way back. That three-row SUV is likely one of the finest in its phase, although it is likely to be extra car than some individuals want. If this sounds such as you, I’ve excellent news: You may drive residence in a three-row utility car that is slightly smaller and a bit extra reasonably priced than the Telluride, all with out ever leaving your native Kia supplier. The 2021 Sorento SUV distills a lot of its massive brother’s goodness down right into a trimmer, and a few would possibly say much more fashionable, package deal.


A good-looking hauler

The fourth-generation Sorento is far more rugged-looking than its rounded predecessor, resembling a cross between the pint-sized Seltos and far bigger Telluride. Commonplace LED headlights punctuate its entrance finish, whereas the coarsely textured grille is extra sculptural than what you will discover on different Kias. This car’s entrance and sides are superbly executed, although its rear is a bit busy, with too many creases and a few Audi-inspired fake exhaust shops within the bumper. At the very least this Sorento’s Sapphire Blue paint is beautiful, even on a colorless Michigan day.

The Sorento is obtainable in 5 totally different trim ranges, with both front- or all-wheel drive accessible throughout the vary. Accentuating this SUV’s flanks, six separate wheel designs can be found, ranging between 17 and 20 inches in diameter. The mannequin seen right here is fitted with the most important rollers supplied, which even have a gloss-black end.

A spacious, thoughtfully designed cabin

Consistent with its enticing physique, the Sorento’s inside is kind of wonderful, at the least in high-end SX Status trim. There’s loads of comfortable plastic, the quilted leather-based seating surfaces look nice, and its textured trim items add some visible curiosity with out being overly busy. A lot of Telluride affect is clear as nicely, from the place of the seat-heater switches to the design of the door pulls to the slick-feeling mechanical shifter. General, this inside is snug, spacious and nicely constructed, but it surely’s not fairly good.

Unusually, Kia determined to go together with each bodily switches and touch-sensitive buttons for the climate-control system. All of those are clearly labeled and simple to make use of, being mounted comparatively excessive on the dashboard, but it surely’s unusual having each sorts of controls proper subsequent to one another. Simply decide one fashion and go together with that (ideally the bodily ones, OK?).

Except for just a few minor quibbles, this inside is extraordinarily good.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

One other unusual factor on this Kia’s cabin is the association of its air vents. The trapezoid-shaped major HVAC shops are giant and simple to regulate for circulation and course, however there is a tiny supplemental vent beneath every of people who’s of questionable usefulness. They swivel barely back and forth, however do not present a lot air and will not be in a very helpful location.

Equally, there’s one thing odd concerning the dashboard format. Like so many automobiles today, the Sorento is obtainable with a digital instrument cluster, one spanning 12.3 inches. Engaging and extremely legible, this panel makes it a cinch to maintain observe of significant stats like pace, mileage and gas consumption. The difficulty, nonetheless, is the housing that surrounds this show. Off to the left, there is a tab-like part that extends past the meter-cluster housing. It seems to be completely misplaced, prefer it’s speculated to have buttons or one thing on it. As a substitute, it is only a vacant extension of shiny black plastic, seemingly with no function.

Talking of shows, two sizes are supplied within the new Sorento. Lesser fashions characteristic an 8-inch touchscreen, however higher-end variants include a brilliant and colourful 10.2-incher. This panel is residence to a wonderful infotainment system that is snappy and intuitive. For added flexibility, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are customary throughout the mannequin lineup.

Not like a few of its rivals, together with the Nissan Murano, Honda Passport and Jeep Cherokee, this new Sorento provides three rows of seats, in each six- and seven-passenger configurations. As for consolation, you is likely to be stunned simply how accommodating this Kia is. Its entrance buckets are wonderful, and so are the second-row chairs, being lots spacious for grownup passengers. This SUV’s rear-most bench is hospitable, too, even when the underside cushion is mainly on the ground, which places your knees at chin-level when seated. Nonetheless, there’s sufficient headroom and legroom for grownup passengers to outlive.

In the event you like torque, you will love this 2.5-liter turbocharged engine.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Powertrain potentialities

The brand new Sorento shall be accessible with a whopping 4 totally different powertrains. This features a base, naturally aspirated engine, a standard hybrid drivetrain, a plug-in hybrid powertrain (which shall be accessible someday subsequent 12 months) and the providing in my tester: a 2.5-liter turbo-four, delivering 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. That twist, which is obtainable all through a broad vary, hits with Blitzkrieg pace, capturing the Sorento ahead while you give it the spurs. Such antics can lead to a little bit of torque steer, sometimes inflicting my front-drive tester’s tiller to squirm. That engine, regardless of pulling like a mule, is impressively easy and quiet, if a contact grumbly when working laborious.

An eight-speed computerized transmission is customary with that 2.5-liter turbocharged engine. Somewhat than having a standard torque converter, it incorporates a twin wet-clutch design. Whereas this configuration delivers blazingly fast gear adjustments, its swiftness comes on the expense of refinement. Sadly, this transmission would not reply naturally at low speeds, feeling disconnected as you apply throttle to begin accelerating from a cease. It additionally judders faintly when taking off. I am unsure why Kia engineers determined to go this route since many standard automatics are lots fast, however the car would have in all probability been higher served by one thing with a torque converter.

The true-world gas economic system this Sorento deliveries is kind of spectacular, particularly when you think about its sturdy efficiency. In my fingers, it averaged 27.2 miles per gallon in accordance with the onboard laptop. That is higher than its marketed mixed rating of 25 mpg. In metropolis driving, this car is rated at 22 mpg, and on the freeway it ought to return 29 mpg.

The Sorento feels dearer than it’s.

Craig Cole/Roadshow

Dynamically first rate

The Sorento’s powertrain is a little bit of a blended bag, however the driving dynamics are strong. Its steering is easy however unremarkable, like nearly some other crossover accessible today. The experience high quality, nonetheless, is superb — supple but nicely managed on the identical time.

After all, a spread of various driving modes is obtainable, with Sport altering the car’s really feel most dramatically. It sharpens the throttle response, nearly to the purpose it turns into jumpy, quickens the shifts, holds onto decrease gears and alters the digital instrument cluster’s look.

Quite a few superior driver aids are customary, together with issues like computerized emergency braking and pedestrian detection. Accessible goodies embrace blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and lane-keeping help, which helps the Sorento observe like a locomotive. This characteristic is critically efficient, by no means sawing on the steering wheel or wigging out when lane markers disappear. In actual fact, the Sorento’s lane-centering system is superior to the one within the Telluride I reviewed not way back. My Sorento tester additionally options adaptive cruise management with stop-and-co functionality and a crisp surround-view digicam system that makes parking in tight areas a breeze.

A wonderful selection

Except for just a few questionable design decisions and a less-than-ideal transmission, the 2021 Kia Sorento SX Status is a wonderful all-around SUV. Sweetening the deal, this car can also be a robust worth. Together with $1,170 in vacation spot costs, a front-wheel-drive LX mannequin begins at $30,560. That is $1,300 greater than its entry-level predecessor, however extra customary tools ought to assist offset that worth hike. After all, in case you want all-wheel drive, plan on budgeting $1,800 extra. Compared, the practically top-of-the-line model examined right here checks out for a still-reasonable $42,205. However actually, the Sorento feels prefer it ought to price at the least just a few grand greater than that due to its snug and spacious inside, nice dynamics and enticing design.

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