by Tony West and Daryl Payne
Capable, functional family SUV – now with a slimmer body, refined cabin and upgraded powertrain adds power and fortitude
The Kia Sorento may seem like an underdog, but it’s a powerhouse in the segment. Fan’s love the spacious omni-functional leather cabin replete with customizable tech. For MY2019 designers give the SUV a slimmer frame and a more powerful V6.
The Sorento has been one of Editor Sommer’s top family SUVs under $50k since the 2016 redesign, and this rendering takes things to the next level. We reviewed the same model back then as this past winter, the 2019 Sorento SXL AWD.
The 2019 Kia Sorento is available in the base Sorento L, LX, EX, SXL and the top-of-the-line Limited model. Each trim has optional FWD or AWD.
Slim & Trim adds New Athleticism
A slight makeover helps the Sorento gain a sporty edge. The boxy 7-passenger SUV is slimmer with a 109 inch wheelbase. The front has been updated with a gloss black grille, and rear fascia has a redesigned bumper for a sharper look.
LED headlamps, fog lamps and tail lamps are standard on the Sorento SX and SXL. And the rear has also been enhanced with a revised power liftgate, sportier muffler lip and sleeker tail lamps.
Nineteen-inch chrome alloy wheels are standard on the Sroento SXL while 17 and 18 inch wheels are standard on the lower trims. The Sorento’s new muscular look could attract more professional men looking for a cool dad mobile. While parents chill in the front with heated and ventilated seats and a multifunctional center touch screen, kids can spread out in the rear with 39 inches of 2nd row and 31 inches of 3rd row legroom.
The cabin maintains a premium look thanks to an array of upgrades including a new heated leather wrapped steering wheel, new leather shifter knob and revised instrument cluster. The air vents and center console have also been redesigned. The SUV also has refinements like a power sunroof, smart power liftgate and easy folding lever for added lux comfort. Drivers can adjust ambient lighting brightness and color via the instrument cluster.
The 2019 Sorento cabin seems more macho with subtle luxury. The SXL has soft perforated Nappa leather seats in available Terracotta and Mahogany. With a recessed dash layout, front passengers have 44 inches of legroom, ample head and hip room. With the front seats way back, 2nd row can passengers still stretch out. Drivers have 14-way power seats with memory, thigh extensions and a 4-way headrest. Front passengers have an 8-way power seat. The Sorento also offers a 2-way power lumbar support for the front passengers on the SX and SXL trims.
The 2019 Sorento upgraded their overall volume now with standard 40/20/40 2nd row folding seats and 3rd row 50/50 folding seats. Max cargo behind the 3rd row is just at 11 cu.ft, with 38 cu-ft with the 3rd row folded, and 73 cu-ft. with the 2nd and 3rd rows down.
The 2019 Kia Sorento’s’ technology is top-notch with a digital instrument cluster displaying important driving info like range, average MPGs, the Driver Attention Warning and settings for many of the big-body’s safety features. The layout of the dash is similar to previous models, but the big gauges and easy to customize multi info display keep the driver’s eyes on the road.
New for 2019 is the Driver Attention Warning that monitors the driver’s eye movement and will display a warning if the driver has been driving for an extended period of time and their eyes trail from the road. Other safety tech configurable with the MID controls include the lane departure warning, the lane keeping assist, the blind spot collision warning, rear cross traffic alert, forward collision warning and smart cruise control reaction to slow, normal or fast.
There’s more tech settings in the 8 inch center touch screen that houses navigation, a pristine rear camera and Sirius XM Satellite radio. Bluetooth, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are standard as is the UVO eServices. A standard surround view monitor displays multiple views of the Sorento at the press of a button.
Push button start, Smart Key and dual zone climate control are also standard on the 2019 Sorento SXL. The Sorento SXL boasts a 630-watt 10-speaker Harman Kardon sound system with Clari-Fi and QuantumLogic surround sound.
Seated high in the Sorento’s driver’s seat feels like you’re the king the world with optimal comfort and infotainment at your fingertips. A detailed Heads Up Display can show everything from speed to lane departure status and navigation.
The 2019 Sorento gets a lot right with this stylish uber-comfy cabin. There were just a few drawbacks. Like the panoramic roof only having a fabric sunshade. In the frigid Midwest winter the Sorento is artic after sitting overnight, so there’s no putting the babies in first. A standard remote start and heated 2nd row seats on the Sorento SXL would be ideal since it takes longer to heat up.
Storage is just average in the 2019 Sorento. With such expanded legroom there could be some additional storage, or more with the 3rd row erect.