2019 Kia Sorento

By KBB.com

The 2019 Sorento is Kia’s entry in the popular midsize-SUV category, where it competes with roughly a dozen rivals like the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Nissan Pathfinder. The Sorento is slightly smaller than competitors, but it’s also less expensive with a starting price under $27,000. Its value proposition is further heightened when you look at the Sorento’s roster of standard features that includes everything from Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration to a powertrain warranty good for 10 years/100,000 miles. For 2019, all Sorentos come with 3-row/7-passenger seating. Other updates that include additional driver-assist features, a new transmission, and premium harman/kardon audio system help the Sorento keep its status as not just a sensible value, but a smart choice among smaller 3-row SUVs.

You'll Like This Car If...

If you want a 3-row midsize-crossover SUV that’s on the smaller end of the spectrum and costs less than others in its class, put the 2019 Kia Sorento on your shopping list. Those willing to spend a bit more will find an impressive V6 engine, premium interior and loads of creature comforts.

You May Not Like This Car If...

The Sorento only seats seven, and even then, it's pretty cramped in the third row. If you want more space, the Honda Pilot and the Toyota Highlander are better bets. If you need even more room or the ability to tow over 5,000 pounds, you’ll want to step up to a bigger, brawnier SUV like the Chevrolet Tahoe, Ford Expedition or Dodge Durango.

What's New for 2019

For 2019, the Kia Sorento receives updated front and rear fascias, a freshened interior and active-safety options like lane-keep assist and a driver-monitoring system. All Sorento models are now 3-row/7-passenger (the 2-row/5-passenger setup is gone). V6 models get a new 8-speed automatic transmission. The 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder engine has been dropped.

Driving It

Driving Impressions

With the punchy 4-cylinder turbo engine dropped, you’ll want to decide if you can get by with the base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder and its 185 horsepower or the step up to the stronger V6, which will add a few thousand dollars to the bottom line but puts out a hearty 290 ponies. In base form, the Sorento has adequate power and better fuel economy. If your budget allows you to step up to the V6, though, you’ll be treated to a more satisfying driving experience thanks to its 100-plus horsepower advantage. This is especially relevant if you drive at higher elevation, since altitude saps engine power. The new 8-speed transmission tied to the V6 works well and offers smooth transitions. The 2019 Sorento’s steering, suspension, handling and ride are all what we expect from the class; it doesn't lead the pack, but neither does it call attention to itself for the wrong reasons. Models with all-wheel drive have Torque Vectoring Cornering Control, designed to enhance traction and cornering stability by sending power and torque to where they’re most needed, not just in bad weather, but for better cornering on dry roads, too.

Favorite Features

With the modern technology of smartphones leading to more and more distracted driving, the Kia Sorento turns to a different kind of modern technology to prevent disaster. Standard on EX V6 and higher trims, Kia's automatic braking system with pedestrian detection scans the road ahead and hits the brakes if it senses an impending collision.

Your life revolves around your phone, and these days your new car can, too. Among the updates for the 2019 Kia Sorento is that even base models now come standard with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Just connect your phone, and the Sorento’s 7-inch touch screen will mimic major phone apps like messages and music.

Vehicle Details


Among the biggest changes for the 2019 Sorento is that all models come with three rows and seating for seven. In the past, a 2-row/5-passenger version was standard in lower trims, with the 3-row setup costing extra. That’s good news for families seeking a 3-row crossover SUV across a broad range of prices. If your family is at the stage where messes and spills are inevitable, there’s also good news if you don’t opt for the leather interior -- the cloth on the other models has been treated with YES Essentials to resist stains and quell odors. There's plenty of room and comfort in the first and second rows, but the third row is for small passengers and short trips. There's not a lot of cargo space behind the third row either, although the seats fold down to expand that dramatically.


Kia’s Sorento gets a slight facelift for 2019, with modified front and rear fascias and a new headlight configuration. It’s not vastly different, and that’s not a bad thing. The Sorento projects a handsome, strong design that belies its price point. Higher trims emphasize that point with nice features like stainless-steel bumper trim and, dark metallic grille and chrome roof rails. Lesser models, meanwhile, forgo roof rails as standard, while the least expensive Sorento L lacks the acoustic windshield and shark-fin antenna found on the other models. Wheels range in size from 17 to 19 inches.

Notable Standard Equipment

The base 2019 Kia Sorento L remains the bargain play, but it's still decently equipped with keyless entry, cruise control, stain-resistant cloth upholstery, 17-inch alloy wheels, rearview camera and a new 7-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. If you can afford it, we’d suggest stepping up to at least the Sorento LX. In addition to being the entry point for available all-wheel drive and other major options, it includes two rapid-charge USB ports, blind-spot monitoring, and an acoustic windshield. The LX V6 is even more recommendable, as it has the stronger engine and new transmission, power driver’s seat, and dual-zone automatic climate control. All new Sorentos come with Kia’s excellent warranty that covers five years/60,000 miles bumper-to-bumper and 10 years/100,000 miles for the powertrain.

Notable Optional Equipment

Moving up to the Sorento EX V6 adds leather seating, power front-passenger seat, 7-inch digital display in the instrument panel, heated front seats, navigation system, push-button start, auto-dimming rearview mirror with universal garage remote, fog lights and 18-inch alloy wheels. This model also adds significant safety and driver-assistance features like forward-collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane-departure warning, and smart cruise control. At the top of the pack, the SX Limited could nearly pass as a luxury SUV with its premium Nappa leather interior, 10-way driver’s seat with position memory, heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, 8-inch display, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and 2nd-row sunshades. Sorento SX models also boast a 10-speaker harman/kardon surround-sound audio system and wireless phone-charging cradle. Options include a panoramic moonroof and roof rails on lower models.

Under the Hood

By dropping its mid-level 2.0-liter turbo engine, Kia has simplified your powertrain choices for the 2019 Sorento. Lower trims continue to use the 2.4-liter 4-cylinder with a revised 6-speed automatic transmission, while higher trims have the well-regarded 3.3-liter V6, now connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission. All-wheel drive (AWD) can be had in lieu of the standard front-wheel drive (FWD) on all models except the base trim. The Sorento is rated to tow between 2,000 and 5,000 pounds, depending on engine and drive configuration.

2.4-liter inline-4
185 horsepower @ 6,000 rpm
178 lb-ft of torque @ 4,000 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 22/29 mpg (FWD), 21/26 mpg (AWD)

3.3-liter V6
290 horsepower @ 6,400 rpm
252 lb-ft of torque @ 5,300 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 19/26 mpg (FWD), 19/24 mpg (AWD)

Pricing Notes

The 2019 Kia Sorento has a Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $27,000, including the destination charge. That’s a mighty tempting price, but it is for a base model. The LX and LX V6, at roughly $28,500 and $32,000, respectively, are better equipped and still solid values that undercut most rivals including the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander and Nissan Pathfinder. At the top end, an all-wheel-drive Sorento SX Limited runs over $47,000, which is actually the new normal for a top-line 3-row midsize SUV. The Kia Sorento’s resale value is expected to be about average, trailing leaders like the Toyota Highlander and Honda Pilot.


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