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MSRP: $26,290 - 46,490

8.1

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.5
Performance: 7.1
Interior: 7.5
Safety: 9.4
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

2019 Kia Sorento Review

The 2019 Kia Sorento places in the top half of our midsize SUV rankings. While there are plenty of reasons to like this SUV, it has a few drawbacks – like a small cargo hold – that keep it from challenging for the top spot in the class.

Pros & Cons

  • Upscale cabin with user-friendly infotainment system
  • First two rows of seats are comfortable
  • Smooth ride
  • Low starting price
  • Subpar cargo space
  • Less athletic than most competitors

New for 2019

  • Updated styling
  • New driver assistance features
  • Two-row seating configuration no longer available
  • Turbo-four engine no longer available
  • V6 now comes with an eight-speed transmission

Is the Kia Sorento a Good SUV?

Yes, the Kia Sorento is a good SUV. In fact, we named the Sorento our 2019 Best 3-Row SUV for the Money because of its stellar combination of quality and value. It has one of the nicest interiors among rivals, lots of available driver assistance features, a user-friendly infotainment system, and a cushioned ride. The Sorento gets good gas mileage and has comfortable seats, and it boasts an above-average predicted reliability rating. However, the Sorento trails most rivals when it comes to athleticism and driving enjoyment, and it has one of the smallest cargo holds in the segment.

Should I Buy the Kia Sorento?

The Kia Sorento is an excellent choice for family-focused buyers, and it's a good value thanks to its low base price and good predicted reliability rating. However, the Sorento doesn't stand head-and-shoulders above the competition, so it's worth looking around to see if something else better suits your needs. Some worthy options include the Toyota Highlander, Hyundai Santa Fe, and Honda Pilot.

Compare the Sorento, Highlander, and Santa Fe »

Should I Buy a New or Used Kia Sorento?

The 2019 Kia Sorento is part of a generation that began with the 2016 model year. For 2019, Kia discontinued the turbocharged engine and the 2-row version of the SUV (it's now only available as a 3-row SUV). The V6 engine now comes with an eight-speed transmission, and features like Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are now standard. Also, the 2019 model is the first to offer driver assistance features like front parking sensors, lane keep assist, and driver drowsiness monitoring.

It is possible for you to save money by shopping for a used Sorento, but you won't get the benefits of these updates. If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 Sorento review to help you decide if you can live without the 2019 model's new features and updates.

Compare the 2017, 2018, and 2019 Sorento »

We Did the Research for You: 37 Reviews Analyzed

We don’t base our car reviews on our personal opinions. Instead, we combine the findings of professional test drivers with data such as reliability ratings and safety scores to give you a complete overview of every vehicle we rank.

This review uses applicable research and data from all model years of the current Sorento generation, which runs from 2016 to 2019.

Why You Can Trust Us

U.S. News & World Report has been ranking the best cars, trucks, and SUVs since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years’ worth of combined auto industry experience. To keep our reviews unbiased, we don’t accept expensive gifts or trips from car companies, and an outside company manages our advertising.

How Much Does the Kia Sorento Cost?

The Sorento's base price is just under $26,000. Most other midsize SUVs have higher starting prices. There are several higher trims, with the top-of-the-line SX Limited trim starting at about $45,000. That's a little high but still reasonable for the class, as many midsize SUVs' top trims cost in the $40,000s.

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 Toyota Highlander?

There are many reasons to like the Toyota Highlander. It has a choice of either a four-cylinder or a V6 engine, its cabin is well-built, and it rides smoothly. The Toyota provides more cargo space and gets better fuel economy than the Kia, and it comes standard with many driver assistance features that are optional in the Sorento. The Highlander has some advantages over the Sorento, but it also costs more. Give both a test drive to decide whether the Toyota is worth the extra money.

Which Is Better: Kia Sorento or Hyundai Santa Fe?

The Hyundai Santa Fe is available with two or three rows of seats, and it has a similar features list to the Sorento. Like the Kia, the Hyundai offers multiple engine options. The 2019 Santa Fe is completely redesigned, offering new features, more technology, and a new look inside and out. The Sorento is a fine SUV, but we think the Santa Fe’s updates give it an edge.

Which Is Better: Kia Sorento or Honda Pilot?

The Honda Pilot is another well-rounded midsize SUV. Unlike the Sorento, the Pilot comes standard with a V6 engine. It also seats one more person than its Kia rival and provides more cargo space. You'll pay for that extra room, however; the Pilot costs several thousand dollars more than the Sorento. The Sorento has other advantages, such as user-friendly infotainment controls (the Pilot's can be frustrating). At the end of the day, these are both good choices, but the Sorento's lower price tag and higher predicted reliability rating make it a better option for many buyers.

Compare the Sorento, Highlander, and Pilot »

Sorento Interior

How Many People Does the Sorento Seat?

The Sorento seats seven people on three rows. Previous models offered a two-row, five-seat configuration, but that has been discontinued. The first two rows are spacious and supportive, but the cramped third row is not comfortable for adults.

Sorento and Car Seats

There are two full sets of LATCH child-seat connectors in the Sorento. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 2019 Sorento's LATCH system the second-highest rating of Acceptable for ease of use.

Sorento Interior Quality

Climb inside this Kia and enjoy the attractive, well-built cabin. Premium materials line most surfaces, especially in higher trims, creating an upscale feel that few rivals can match.

Sorento Cargo Space

Almost every other midsize SUV has more cargo space than the Sorento. You get about 11 cubic feet of space with all seats in use. That's only enough room for about eight shopping bags, and it may not even be enough space for the family golden retriever. The Sorento's max capacity is 73 cubic feet with both rear rows folded, which gives you enough space to transport large outdoor gear or even some furniture.

Sorento Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Standard features in the Sorento include Bluetooth, a USB port, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a six-speaker audio system, and the UVO infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen. Available features include a panoramic sunroof, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, satellite radio, wireless phone charging, navigation, and an 8-inch touch screen.

For 2019, the incredibly user-friendly UVO infotainment system comes with additional standard features. The touch screen has an intuitive interface and sharp graphics, and there are physical controls for some functions.

Read more about interior »

Sorento Performance

Sorento Engine: You May Want to Upgrade

The Sorento features a 185-horsepower four-cylinder base engine. For drives across town or getting to work, it gets the job done, but it sometimes feels underpowered, especially if you're carrying several passengers. The available 290-horsepower V6 does a better job moving the Sorento and rarely lacks for power.

Sorento Gas Mileage: Tough to Beat

Few rivals can match the gas mileage the Sorento's base engine delivers – 22 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway. The V6 gets about 3 mpg fewer, which still puts it on par with many class rivals.

Compared to a competitor like the Toyota Highlander (which also features a four-cylinder engine), driving the Sorento will save you about $250 per year in gas money.

Sorento Ride and Handling: Placid and Serene

The Sorento can't match the agility you'll get from many rivals, but that's not its aim. This Kia provides poised, if unremarkable, handling and focuses instead on ride comfort. In that arena, it stands out, delivering an extremely cushioned ride even when the pavement gets rough.

Sorento Towing Capacity

When properly equipped, the Sorento can tow up to 5,000 pounds. That's a typical rating for the class, and it's a high enough rating to let you pull a fishing boat or a trailer.

Read more about performance »

Sorento Reliability

Is the Kia Sorento Reliable?

The 2019 Sorento earns an above-average predicted reliability rating of four out of five from J.D. Power. 

Kia Sorento Warranty

Kia covers the Sorento with a five-year/60,000-mile basic warranty and a 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty.

Read more about reliability »

Sorento Safety

Sorento Crash Test Results

The 2019 Sorento earned a perfect five-star overall rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It received the highest rating of Good in every crash test conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The Sorento also received the highest possible scores for the effectiveness of its front crash prevention features and how well the headlights illuminate the road. The IIHS named the Sorento a 2019 Top Safety Pick+, the organization's highest honor.

Sorento Safety Features

The Sorento comes standard with a rearview camera. Available active safety features include front and rear parking sensors, a surround-view camera, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and driver drowsiness monitoring.

Read more about safety »

Which Kia Sorento Model Is Right for Me?

You have six options when picking a Sorento trim. The EX trim is a great choice for many buyers. It comes standard with the V6 engine and many driver assistance features that you can't get in the lower trims. If you don't want those features, the LX is a good pick; if you want more than what the EX offers, consider the SX.

Kia Sorento L

The Sorento L carries a base price of $25,990. It comes with a 185-horsepower four-cylinder engine, a six-speed automatic transmission, and front-wheel drive. Standard features include Bluetooth, a USB port, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a six-speaker audio system, a rearview camera, and the UVO infotainment system with a 7-inch touch screen.

There aren't any option packages for this trim, and this is the only trim not available with all-wheel drive.

Kia Sorento LX

The Sorento LX has a starting price of $27,490. In addition to the L trim's features, the LX comes with two additional USB ports, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert.

You can add all-wheel drive for $1,800. The LX Convenience package ($2,000) adds rear parking sensors, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, satellite radio, a power-adjustable driver's seat, and more.

The LX V6 trim starts at $31,290. In addition to the V6 engine, it comes with dual-zone automatic climate control and a power-adjustable driver's seat. It offers the LX V6 Convenience package ($2,100), which includes rear parking sensors, satellite radio, heated front seats, and more.

Kia Sorento EX

The Sorento EX starts at $35,590. The EX features a 290-horsepower V6 engine and an eight-speed automatic transmission. It comes standard with leather upholstery, heated front seats, push-button start, a hands-free power liftgate, satellite radio, rear parking sensors, adaptive cruise control, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, pedestrian detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, and driver drowsiness monitoring.

AWD costs $1,800. The EX Touring package ($3,400) adds a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, a panoramic sunroof, front parking sensors, a heated steering wheel, and an upgraded UVO system with an 8-inch touch screen and navigation.

Kia Sorento SX

The Sorento SX has a starting price of $39,990. Standard features include a power-adjustable passenger seat, a panoramic sunroof, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system, HD Radio, wireless phone charging, front parking sensors, and an upgraded UVO system with an 8-inch touch screen and navigation.

AWD costs $1,800. The SX Touring package ($2,500) adds ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, a surround-view camera, and more.

Kia Sorento SX Limited

The Sorento SX Limited is the highest trim, and it starts at $44,690. The SX Limited comes with pretty much every feature you can get in a Sorento.

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 2019 Kia Sorento specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2019 Kia Sorento provides a top-notch interior and a comfortable ride at a price point that doesn't break the bank. Just don't expect it to wow you in terms of driving enjoyment. It ranks well in our midsize SUV class and is undeniably a good vehicle.

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

  • "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. … 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." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "Either way, over or under, 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
  • "The Sorento competes in a crowded segment of three-row crossovers. … But as of now, none of the Sorento's competitors can touch it on price, with most starting in the low $30,000 range. That MSRP, plus the tweaked styling and other 2019 model year updates, ought to keep the Sorento pretty competitive in this very important segment." -- CNET

Buying

Expert Advice

Last Updated: August 16, 2019

Falling Sales: So far this year, sales for the Kia Sorento have fallen by 14.6% relative to the same period in 2018. While it ranks in the middle of the midsize SUV class in terms of sales, the Toyota Highlander has outsold the Sorento by more than 2 to 1 this year.

Research more buying advice »
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