$17,472 - $28,466

2017 Kia Sorento Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2017 Kia Sorento was new.


Performance: 7.4

According to auto journalists, the 2017 Kia Sorento delivers decent overall performance. The standard engine may not put out enough power, but an available V6 certainly does. Steering is direct and confident, and available all-wheel drive makes driving easier in the winter or in precarious conditions. 

  • “The standard 6-speed automatic transmission is smooth and unobtrusive, and the Sorento's suspension is neither too harsh nor too soft." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The brakes were easily modulated, even on questionable surfaces, and the whole machine exuded fundamental competence." -- Car and Driver (2016)
  • "The 2016 Sorento drives considerably more capably than the old model." -- Automobile Magazine (2016)

Acceleration and Power

The 2017 Sorento features an automatic transmission and a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 185 horsepower. Other available engines include a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that produces 240 horsepower and is only found in the EX trim. A 3.3-liter V6 that puts out 290 horsepower is optional in LX and EX trims and standard with the SX and Limited trims. The base engine’s power is among the weakest in the class, while the V6 is more powerful than most other rivals. A base Sorento gets an estimated 21 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway, which are good numbers for the class. The turbocharged engine is a little less efficient, at 20 mpg in the city and 27 on the highway, while the V6 only gets 18/25 mpg city/highway.

The base engine offers adequate to underpowered performance, while the V6 provides enough strength to move the Sorento around with ease. Reviewers have differing opinions on the turbocharged engine: some think it offers great low-end power, while others find it lacking.

  • "The base four-cylinder engine sometimes struggles with the Sorento's not-inconsiderable size and weight. Opting for the V6 engine is recommended, as its 290 hp is certainly better suited to a vehicle of this size. If you can live without seven seats, the EX's turbocharged four-cylinder may appeal as an in-between option, but it lacks the low-end punch we've come to expect from modern turbo engines." -- Edmunds
  • “… power is adequate to strong, depending which engine you choose. The V6 offers strong pull, while the 2.0-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder -- available on 2-row EX and Limited models -- is a good alternative with excellent low-end power. The base 2.4-liter 4-cylinder has acceptable performance and the best fuel economy." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • “… a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder, is all-new to the Sorento. Rated at 240 hp and 260 lb-ft, it's available in either EX or SXL trim with front- or all-wheel drive. We found it satisfying in the mile-high environs of Lake Tahoe, as the turbo proved impervious to the power-sapping thin mountain air." -- AutoTrader (2016)

Handling and Braking

The 2017 Sorento comes standard with front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive is optional. Test drivers report that steering is controlled and provides good response, but the SX trim offers a more engaging experience via an improved steering mechanism. Testers also appreciate the good ride quality, noting that the Sorento handles rough roads well and stays quiet inside.

  • “The new all-wheel-drive (AWD) system's Torque Vectoring Cornering Control enhances traction and cornering stability by actively apportioning power and torque to where it's most needed, helpful for traction in bad weather, and for better grip in the dry, too." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "There is a marked sense of sophistication in the 2017 Kia Sorento's ride. Even top-of-the-line models with their big 19-inch wheels manage to soak up bumps without harshness. Kia's midsize crossover is also impressively quiet, especially in the EX trim and above, so count the Sorento as a good candidate for a comfortable family road trip." -- Edmunds  
  • "On the road, the Sorento drives like a heavier—it is a larger vehicle, after all—more muted Volkswagen Tiguan. The Koreans have finally decided steering is worth their attention, and if the new ute's tiller isn't as feelsome as the best German jobs, it's a definite improvement over the disconnected numbness historically associated with Hyundai-Kia products." -- Car and Driver (2016)

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