- Upmakret interior
- Good infotainment system
- New 8-speed automatic
- Turbo-4 dropped
- Third-row seat has slim space
- Very mild update
The 2019 Kia Sorento's mild update brings with it a new transmission on 8-speed models.
The 2019 Kia Sorento is a three-row crossover SUV with a subtly revised look and an updated drivetrain for the 2019 model year.
You'll have to squint to see the differences between the 2019 Sorento and the 2018 model—or perhaps you're better of parking them next to one another. The Sorento will be available in L, LX, EX, SX, and SXL trim levels.
Outside, the updated Sorento has tweaked front and rear bumpers. The cube-style fog lights that debuted on the Kia Sportage a few years ago have made their way up to the larger Sorento. A trio of new wheel designs available in 17- to 19-inch diameters also set the updated Sorento apart from last year's model.
The Sorento adheres strongly to the two-box shape that has long defined three-row crossovers, albeit with detailing that's more upmarket than its reasonable price point. Kia hasn't yet announced figures for the 2019 Sorento, but it's unlikely the base price will stray far from 2018's roughly $27,000 price of entry.
Full-LED headlights will be available on Sorento SX and SXL trims, while EX and higher trim levels gain LED taillights.
The upgrades continue inside with a revised steering wheel design, modified air vents, and upgraded instrument cluster graphics. Perhaps more importantly, the Sorento's interior can be trimmed in upscale nappa leather dyed in new mahogany and terracotta shades for 2018 with revised upholstery patterns. Power front seats are included on most trim levels, while SX and SXL variants gain power lumbar for the passenger's seat for 2019.
The three-row crossover offers about 74 cubic feet of cargo space when the second and third rows are folded. We've found previous Sorentos to offer good comfort up front, decent space but limited padding in the second row, and room best suited to children in row three. It's unlikely that the 2019 will change dramatically.
Optional interior upgrades include a power panoramic moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, and a 630-watt Harman Kardon-branded audio system. Newly standard is a 7.0-inch touchscreen for infotainment that includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. A wireless charging pad is a new option for the Sorento.
EX and higher trim levels now come standard with forward-collision warnings, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot monitors, rear cross-traffic alerts, and a surround-view monitor.
The 2019 Kia Sorento comes standard with a 2.4-liter inline-4 and offers a 3.3-liter V-6 as an option. Last year's turbo-4 has been dropped, but Kia says that it is working on a turbodiesel engine that will eventually show up in this three-row crossover.
The base turbo-4 is rated at 185 horsepower and shuttles power to either the front or all four wheels via a 6-speed automatic transmission. Sorento's V-6 provides more thrust: 290 hp, sent again to either the front or all four wheels through a new 8-speed automatic transmission that has two more gears than last year's model.
Prior Sorentos have shown off a well-controlled ride and accurate, if light steering. We've not yet driven the 2019 Sorento but will update this space when with impressions once we get behind the wheel.
Sorentos with all-wheel drive and the V-6 are rated to tow up to 5,000 pounds. Although not intended for off-road use, the Sorento's all-wheel drive system includes a center differential lock that can transfer power between the front and rear axles more quickly for improved inclement weather traction.