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2020 Kia Sorento Review

The 2020 Kia Sorento lands in the top half of our competitive midsize SUV rankings. It has a relaxed ride, spacious seating in its first two rows, and a long warranty, but it provides less cargo space than most rivals.

Pros & Cons

  • Adult-friendly seating in the first two rows
  • Premium cabin with straightforward infotainment tech
  • Below-average base price for the class
  • Comfortable ride
  • Not as engaging to drive as some rivals
  • Small cargo area compared to classmates

New for 2020

  • S trim added
  • SX limited trim discontinued
  • EX Sport trim renamed as the EX

8.1

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.3
Performance: 6.9
Interior: 7.0
Safety: 9.4
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Kia Sorento?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Kia Sorento a Good SUV?

Yes, the Kia Sorento is a good midsize SUV. It has a spacious interior with room for seven, lots of user-friendly tech features, and high-end cabin materials that belie its low starting price. The Sorento also returns good fuel economy with its standard four-cylinder engine, and it rates well for safety and predicted reliability. For its mix of quality and value, we named the Sorento our 2020 Best 3-Row SUV for the Money.

Should I Buy the Kia Sorento?

You should definitely consider the 2020 Sorento if you want a comfortable and well-equipped three-row SUV but can’t rationalize spending $30,000 to $40,000 for one. The Sorento starts at just $26,690, making it one of the least expensive ways to transport up to seven people. That said, if you can afford to spend a bit more, there are a few vehicles that may better suit your needs, including the higher-ranking Hyundai Palisade and Kia Telluride.

Compare the Sorento, Palisade, and Telluride »

Should I Buy a New or Used Kia Sorento?

We recommend the 2019 Sorento. It's fairly similar to the 2020 model and likely less expensive. The 2020 Sorento is part of a generation that debuted for 2016, and several changes have been made since then.

Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, adaptive headlights, and automatic emergency braking were added as optional features for 2017. The 2019 Sorento gained updated styling, standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, and available driver drowsiness monitoring, lane keep assist, and front parking sensors. Additionally, Kia paired an eight-speed automatic transmission with the V6 engine and discontinued the two-row model and the turbocharged engine. For 2020, Kia added the S trim and discontinued the SX Limited trim.

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2017 Sorento, 2018 Sorento, and 2019 Sorento reviews to help make your decision. Also check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts you can find on used vehicles.

Compare the 2018, 2019, and 2020 Sorento »

We Did the Research for You: 40 Reviews Analyzed

To give you a complete overview of the 2020 Sorento – and make your car-shopping experience easier – we analyzed 40 Kia Sorento reviews alongside performance specs, interior dimensions, and more.

This 2020 Sorento review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2016.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our crew has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we do not accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an external company manages the ads on our site.

How Much Does the Kia Sorento Cost?

The Sorento has a starting MSRP of $26,690, making it one of the most affordable SUVs in the class. The top-of-the-line SX trim starts at $39,990. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available for $1,800 in all but the base trim.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Kia dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Kia deals page.

Kia Sorento Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Kia Sorento or Hyundai Palisade?

The Hyundai Palisade is a new three-row midsize SUV that effectively replaces the Santa Fe XL in Hyundai's lineup. Like the Sorento, the Palisade provides quality cabin materials and a comfortable ride. It will cost you more money than the Sorento, but it comes standard with a V6 engine (optional in the Kia) and many more standard features, including forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, and pedestrian detection. The Hyundai also has an additional 13.4 cubic feet of cargo space, and it can seat up to eight people, while the Kia maxes out at seven. The Palisade is the superior vehicle, but the Sorento is the better value.

Which Is Better: Kia Sorento or Kia Telluride?

The Kia Telluride is another brand-new vehicle in the midsize SUV class, and it’s more well-rounded than the Sorento. The Telluride has a higher starting price, but with that comes many more standard safety features, including rear parking sensors, a driver attention monitor, and a safe exit assist system that alerts you to approaching cars or bicycles. Plus, it has seating for up to eight people and a larger cargo hold than the Sorento's. The Telluride also comes standard with a fuel-efficient V6 engine that provides better acceleration than you'll get from the Sorento’s base four-cylinder. Stick with the Sorento if you’re on a tight budget. Otherwise, the Telluride is a better SUV.

Compare the Sorento, Palisade, and Telluride »

Sorento Interior

How Many People Does the Sorento Seat?

The Sorento can seat up to seven people. This three-row crossover has plenty of space for adults in the first two rows, but the third row is best left for small children.

Sorento and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the second-row outboard seats, as well as an upper tether for the second-row middle seat. The lower anchors are easy to use, but the upper tethers could be confused for other hardware.

Sorento Interior Quality

The Sorento’s cabin has good build quality with plenty of soft-touch surfaces. Some reviewers even claim that its interior rivals that of luxury brands. This Kia comes standard with stain-resistant cloth upholstery that's perfect for families, and leather upholstery is available.

Sorento Cargo Space

There's 11.3 cubic feet of space behind the third-row seats, 38 cubic feet when the third row is folded down, and 73 cubic feet with both the second and third rows folded. That's probably enough space for most midsize-SUV shoppers, but those figures are low for the class. For example, the new-for-2020 Kia Telluride has a fantastic 87 cubic feet of overall cargo space.

Sorento Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The Sorento's UVO infotainment system is fantastic. The standard 7-inch touch screen features sharp graphics and quick menu responses, and logically arranged physical controls are integrated into the control panel.

Standard features include Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, six speakers, Bluetooth, and a USB port. Satellite radio, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, wireless device charging, navigation, and an 8-inch touch screen are available.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

Sorento Performance

Sorento Engine: Spring for the V6

The base 185-horsepower four-cylinder engine is paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. It offers a decent amount of power, but we recommend upgrading to the 290-horsepower V6. It's stronger than the base engine, and its fuel economy ratings are similar. The V6 is mated to a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission.

Sorento Gas Mileage: Really Good

The base Sorento delivers 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. That's excellent for the class. Models with the V6 aren't too far behind, losing only 3 mpg in the city and on the highway.

Sorento Ride and Handling: Smooth Rider

The Sorento focuses on comfort and provides a serene ride over both smooth and bumpy roads. This SUV is fairly large, but it's easy to maneuver. Still, if you're looking for a high level of athleticism, you'll want to shop around. Front-wheel drive is standard, and all-wheel drive is available.

Sorento Towing Capacity

The Sorento can tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped. That's in line with class rivals.

Read more about performance »

Sorento Reliability

Is the Kia Sorento Reliable?

The 2020 Kia Sorento has a terrific predicted reliability rating of 4.5 out of five from J.D. Power.

Kia Sorento Warranty

The Sorento is covered with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. That's one of the longest warranties in the class.

Read more about reliability »

Sorento Safety

Sorento Crash Test Results

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration gave the 2020 Kia Sorento an overall rating of five out of five stars, with five stars in frontal and side crash tests and four stars in the rollover test.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2020 Sorento the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests. Models equipped with the optional forward collision warning system earned the highest rating of Superior for front crash prevention. The Sorento’s headlights received mixed reviews for their ability to illuminate the road ahead: the lowest rating of Poor for the standard halogen headlights and the top rating of Good for available LED headlights.

Sorento Safety Features

A rearview camera is the only advanced safety feature that comes standard in the Sorento, but several others are available. These include pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, front and rear parking sensors, a surround-view parking camera system, blind spot monitoring, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, and driver drowsiness monitoring.

Read more about safety »

Sorento Dimensions and Weight

The Sorento is nearly 15.8 feet long. Its curb weight ranges from 3,810 to 5,622 pounds.

Where Is the 2020 Kia Sorento Built?

Kia builds the 2020 Sorento in Georgia.

Which Kia Sorento Model Is Right for Me?

The 2020 Kia Sorento comes in five trims: L, LX, S, EX, and SX. Though generally well-equipped, the base L trim is lacking when it comes to standard safety features, and it comes with an underwhelming four-cylinder engine. For those reasons, we recommend the new-for-2020 S trim. It adds safety tech like blind spot monitoring and forward collision warning, and a V6 engine replaces the four-cylinder.

All-wheel drive is available in all but the base trim for $1,800.

Kia Sorento L

The base L trim starts at $26,690 and comes standard with a four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, cloth upholstery, remote keyless entry, a rearview camera, and Kia's UVO infotainment system, which includes a 7-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, Bluetooth, a USB port, and six speakers.

Kia Sorento LX

The LX (MSRP: $27,990) adds blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and two extra USB ports.

For $2,000, you can add the LX Convenience package, which adds a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, rear parking sensors, and forward collision warning.

 Kia Sorento S

The S trim (MSRP: $32,990) is new for 2020. It comes with a V6 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission, along with most of the LX's features. It adds forward collision warning, rear parking sensors, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, push-button start, heated outside mirrors, and third-row air-conditioning controls.

Kia Sorento EX

The EX (MSRP: $35,290) adds driver drowsiness monitoring, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, adaptive cruise control, a power liftgate, a panoramic sunroof, leather upholstery, and fog lights.

 Kia Sorento SX

The range-topping SX trim goes for $39,990 and includes a 14-way power-adjustable driver's seat with memory settings, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, an 8-inch touch screen, navigation, satellite radio, HD Radio, a wireless device charger, a surround-view monitor, and front parking sensors.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Kia dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Kia deals page.

See 2020 Kia Sorento specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2020 Kia Sorento is a good midsize SUV, especially for families. It offers ample passenger space in the first two rows, a generous list of standard and available features, and a comfortable ride. It boasts a terrific predicted reliability rating as well. Still, more well-rounded alternatives, such as the Kia Telluride, provide roomier third-row seating and more cargo space.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "Well-contented, the affordable and comfortable Sorento is a crossover for families looking for a lot of bang for the buck. And there is that terrific warranty, too." -- Autotrader
  • "The Sorento offers loads of upscale features, a fair price, good power from its V6 engine, good safety scores and carries an impressively long 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty. It also has a good record when it comes to reliability and cost of ownership." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "… the midsize 2019 Kia Sorento is more appealing than ever, especially given the high level of pampering for what is a relatively low price." -- New York Daily News (2019)

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: July 16, 2020

Falling Sales: So far in 2020, sales of the Kia Sorento have fallen by 19.6 percent relative to the same span in 2019. It ranks in the middle of the midsize SUV class in terms of sales, while the class sales leading Ford Explorer is outselling the Sorento by more than 2 to 1.

Research more buying advice »
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