Summer is the time for adventure, and with a trip to Colorado, Kia met us at the Denver Airport with the keys to a 2022 Sorento X-Line in SX Prestige trim. A great ride for the week, with just a few minor shortcomings.
We had the chance to spend time in the newly redesigned Sorento Hybrid when it came out just a year ago, so this was a great chance to put some miles on this mid-sized three-row SUV. And a chance to give it a real-world test, driving it in the city, on suburban streets, and on the highway. The only thing we did not get a chance to do was to take it off-road, but with the AWD with lockable AWD, I think this would have been just fine.
Kia does not offer its vehicles in trim levels then load on the options; the trim levels themselves are pretty complete with what buyers at that price point are looking for. This is a great way that Kia keeps value pricing in well-made vehicles it sells.
First of all, the interior of the sporty top-of-the-line X-Line was well done. Like many vehicles today, the use of plastic wood-like trim seems to be prevalent. I have to say, I liked it better than the textured aluminum-looking plastic trim in the previous Sorento that I tested back in December of 2020. The X-Line had the $200 optional X-Line Rust Interior package and $210 option carpeted mats. Power heated and cooled front seats with perforated leather trim were comfortable. While the 2nd-row captain’s chair seats were also heated, they were not cooled, and the 3-row seats were neither heated nor cooled but were comfortable though they lacked a lot of leg room.
Instrumentation was well thought out for the driver, and the 12.3-inch driver’s dash display showed analog-style gauges on a display screen. The center 10.25-inch touchscreen display provided all the information you would need about everything from your HVAC to entertainment and basic settings for the vehicle.
While there is Bluetooth for some things, if you want to use your mobile device, either Android Auto or Apple Car play, you must plug a wire into the device and the vehicle. My aging android did drop off, so not sure that was due to the device or the Sorento.
I like a vehicle with an operable glass roof. And this model did have that. While the 2nd-row roof was fixed, the roof over the front seat did slide back. And best of all, it had a great sliding sun shade, which I found quite useful on the long July days out in the high desert.
The only real complaint I found was that the air conditioning had a very hard time keeping up with the 100-degree heat we were experiencing in Colorado this summer.
The Cargo area is limited with the 3rd row up; the good news is that it is a split 3rd row, so if you did need space and only had one person back there, you could drop the seat back for more cargo space. With both 3-row seats dropped, you have plenty of cargo space. Drop one or both of the 2nd-row Captain’s chairs, and there was an enormous amount of space, just that it was not all flat due to how the 2nd row is designed.
While this was a 2.5 turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produced 311 lb-ft of torque mated to an 8-speed automatic dual-clutch transmission with all-wheel drive, this vehicle brought us about an average of 25 miles per gallon in our week of driving. Never did it feel out of power or lacking in any way. I did turn off the auto-start function to keep the A/C compressor operating throughout the journey.
While there is indeed a hybrid option, which would be a great choice if you needed top-fuel economy driven with care, this small turbo engine was pretty fuel efficient.
Sorento has a classic look that will not age with time. The X-Line trim gave it a sportier look, with fewer goo-gahs on the side, that I was not pleased with on the hybrid I first drove in 2020. Blacked-out roof rails and trim around the vehicle gave it a clean and solid look. The 20-inch matte-finished alloy wheels complemented the overall dark look with the $445 optional wolf gray paint. At first, I thought it odd but realized that it was better in a hot and sunny climate than I thought it would be.
Safety and Technology
Kia provides a lot of great safety features on its vehicles. My favorite is the blond spot view monitor that shows on the driver’s dash what is in the immediate rear blind spots when the turn signal is engaged. This is great in suburban and urban settings, so you can see what is right behind you. And the surround view monitor also employs the various cameras on the vehicle to give you a sense of what is nearby. Add to that forward collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic, navigation, smart cruise control, and lane keeping assistance, providing all the basic safety features a modern family needs.
Would I buy this vehicle? Yes, this is a great mid-sized SUV for the price, especially with its built-in safety features. Even at the lowest trim level, this would be a great vehicle for a family that needs solid transportation.
Overall, I was quite pleased with this Sorento as I was with the Hybrid version I drove in 2020. While of course, there could always be improvements, as there could be in any vehicle. This 3-row SUV for under $46K is a great value, especially with its fuel economy and all-wheel drive.
Words, Images, and Video by William West Hopper
Mr. Hopper is President Emeritus of the Washington Automotive Press Association and a member of the International Automotive Press Association. He has written for several automotive publications on various topics. You can find him on Twitter, Instagram, and LinkedIn.