2022 Kia Sorento

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2022
The Car Connection
2022
The Car Connection

The Car Connection Expert Review

Martin Padgett Martin Padgett Editorial Director
November 4, 2021

Buying tip

Hybrids have great value and economy; still, we’re ready for plug-in action.

features & specs

EX FWD
LX AWD
LX FWD
MPG
Coming Soon
MPG
23 city / 25 hwy
MPG
24 city / 29 hwy
MSRP
$35,490
MSRP
$31,390
MSRP
$29,590

The 2022 Kia Sorento throws wild styling pitches, but swings for the efficiency fences with a plug-in hybrid version.

What kind of car is the 2022 Kia Sorento? What does it compare to?

With the Sorento, Kia gambles that a small third-row seat will set it apart from its platform-mate, the Hyundai Santa Fe, as well as some of today’s best-selling family wagons—including the Ford Explorer and Lexus RX.

Is the 2022 Kia Sorento a good car?

Review continues below

The extra seats may stand out on a spec sheet, but the otherwise fine Sorento does better in five-seat mode, with the frugal hybrid powertrain in less expensive models. We give it a TCC Rating of 7.0 out of 10, but we have concerns about its crash-test scores. (Read more about how we rate cars.)

What’s new for the 2022 Kia Sorento?

Sold in LX, S, EX, SX, and SX-Prestige trims, the 2022 Sorento adds a plug-in hybrid powertrain this year. More models can be trimmed with rugged-ish X-Line add-ons, and most versions now have a 10.3-inch touchscreen.

We’re more baffled than intrigued by the latest Sorento’s style. In the past it wore generically handsome SUV cues; now it dons metallic fillips and a razor-mesh grille in a ploy to get noticed. We see you—we’re just not sure what to make of some of the road-to-nowhere details and the busy, gaming-influenced look of the dash and controls. 

The Sorento steers with more interest and stays in firm control of its ride quality, but its base 191-hp 4-cylinder won’t generate much buzz. Its 281-hp turbo-4 does, but it matches strong acceleration with more powertrain noise. So does the 227-hp hybrid system that gets our nod; it’s efficient and just fast enough. We’re ready to drive the upcoming plug-in hybrid, which uses less fuel and promises stronger performance to go with its stiffer price tag.

The Sorento seats four adults with ease. It has seven seats, but the middle passenger in the middle row±and anyone in the way back—will know why those seats are best used on rare occasions. The second-row seats slide fore and aft on tracks and have nearly as much support as the comfortable buckets in front; all Sorentos have lots of cargo room and all kinds of small-item storage, not to mention nice frills like USB ports molded into the front seatbacks on some versions.

The IIHS calls the Sorento a Top Safety Pick, but only the most expensive models have the good LED headlights that earn that designation. The NHTSA rates it at four stars overall, a disappointing score for a new family vehicle. Automatic emergency braking comes standard, as do automatic high beams; blind-spot monitors, adaptive cruise control, and a surround-view camera system are available on most models where they’re not standard.

How much does the 2022 Kia Sorento cost?

The $30,665 Sorento LX brings a lot to the plate: cloth upholstery, three rows of seat, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. We like the $36,465 Sorento EX in hybrid spec, with wireless smartphone charging, a panoramic sunroof, and all-wheel drive. It’s possible to spend more than $55,000—but don’t.

Where is the 2022 Kia Sorento made?

In West Point, Georgia.

6

2022 Kia Sorento

Styling

It’s...a lot.

Is the Kia Sorento a good-looking car?

What used to be a mini-M-Class has gone on a styling journey: The latest Sorento swims in styling details, which work better on the exterior than on the interior. It’s a 6 for us, with a point above average for its body.

With a creased hood, a sharp nose, thin LED headlights and an electric-razor grille, the latest Sorento has put aside its calmer and more upscale styling cues. It doesn’t want to be a Mercedes anymore, which is fine; we’re just not sure what it wants to be. The jutting chin gives it a conventionally handsome look, but down its body sides and to the tail, the Sorento loses its own train of thought. The matte plastic trim pieces on its fenders look stuck-on like Band-Aids, and the tabs that jut up into the roofline near the rear glass don’t appear to have any purpose. At the back, twin LED bands peel off the Sorento in a gimmicky way. De-cluttered, the Sorento would be quite attractive. 

The cockpit’s new styling direction could use an alternate route, one with fewer coffee stops. It’s beyond overboard, with batwing-style air vents that frame the center console like a game controller. The touchscreen’s skin resembles an MP3 player from the turn of the century; the dash wears too many competing textures of plastic trim; and depending on the Sorento, it might sport a shift lever or a rotary shift control. It’s a little bewildering and a bit of a face plant compared to the utterly balanced Telluride sitting in the same showroom.

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6

2022 Kia Sorento

Performance

Plug-ins may be the power move, but all Sorentos have a controlled ride.

The speedy Sorento’s the turbo-4 version, but slower Hybrids may be more satisfying for crossover drivers with families; the plug-in may be best of all, and we’ll drive one soon to find out. For now the Sorento’s a 6 for performance, with an extra point above average for its admirably controlled ride.

Is the Kia Sorento 4WD?

Some versions have all-wheel drive with a locking center differential. Otherwise, the Sorento’s front-wheel drive.

How fast is the Kia Sorento?

It’s fast enough in hybrid and turbo-4 trim, but we haven’t been able to sample the base 191-hp inline-4 that accounts for much of its sales volume. Based on that powertrain’s performance in similar products, we’d steer you to any of the three other choices.

With the 281-hp 2.5-liter turbo-4 on board, the Sorento can shove off from a stop with authority, so long as its drive-mode selector has Sport engaged. In Normal mode, the turbo-4’s connection with its dual-clutch transmission gets lost in low-speed confusion. It shifts slowly and doesn’t respond to calls for passing power quickly enough. Sport mode erases the powertrain’s doubts, and lets it hold low gears longer, too. The turbo-4 can’t blot out all of the Sorento’s heft; it’s 3,979 lb base, and up to 4,065 lb before it opts for the torque-vectoring all-wheel-drive system and calorie-rich luxury options like 20-inch wheels. 

The Sorento Hybrid fits better with the efficient-family vibe. With 227 hp net from its 1.6-liter turbo-4, electric motors, battery pack, and 8-speed dual-clutch automatic, it’s both smoother and slower than the spicier Sorento, not to mention noisier. It does deliver city fuel economy ratings in the low 40s, which we’ve matched in test drives. That’s why we’re eager to get into the plug-in hybrid; with its 66.9-kw electric motor and 13.8-kwh battery it should accelerate more quickly than the hybrid alone can muster, while it also promises 32 miles of electric driving. Stay tuned.

The Sorento Hybrid and SX X-Line SUVs we’ve driven have rolled on big 20-inch wheels and skinnier 17-inch all-season tires; no matter which, the Sorento deserves praise for its well-controlled ride. With its compliant suspension design, struts in front and multiple links in back, it does transmit significant suspension and road noise into the cabin—and frankly it does better at high-speed ride motion control than it does in keeping things in check over low-speed obstacles like potholes. We wouldn’t mind better steering feel, but in all, the ride and handling tune out much of the outside world.

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8

2022 Kia Sorento

Comfort & Quality

Seating for seven in the Sorento really means four-plus.

With more room than ever, the Kia Sorento says it can seat seven people. Make four of them full-size if you like; the rest should be mediums or smaller. It’s an 8 for comfort and utility, thanks to good seats and good cargo space.

At 189.4 inches long, on a 110.8-inch wheelbase, the Sorento comes stocked in base configuration with three rows of cloth-covered seats. Above the Sorento LX, all come with a power driver seat and synthetic or real leather, and most can be fitted with a power front passenger seat. 

The Sorentos we’ve driven have supportive front seats with a good balance of firm bolsters and long-distance comfort, with a fine driving position and good lumbar padding. With 41.1 inches of leg room in front and lots of head room, most people will fit in front, surrounded by deep storage bins in the console and doors.

Row two sports 40.7 inches of leg room and offers either a sliding bench seat or a pair of captain’s chairs, good for 6-foot-tall people to sit behind equally tall people, with net pouches and USB ports nearby to carry their carry-ons. 

The pushbutton that grants access to the third row reveals a space with just 29.6 inches of leg room and a low-mounted seat bottom. It’s suitable for small people and short trips, and nothing more. Better yet—fold it down to boost the crossover’s 12.6 cubic feet of storage capacity up to as much as 45.0 cubic feet behind the rear seats—or up to 75.5 cubic feet behind the front row. 

Kia hasn’t elevated the Sorento’s fit and finish this time around. Hard plastic shows up even on the pricey versions and the powertrains make more noise. Past versions have felt richer and more substantial.

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6

2022 Kia Sorento

Safety

The Sorento slips in some crash tests.

How safe is the Kia Sorento?

Crash-test scores are mixed, so it’s a 6 here.

The NHTSA gives the Sorento four stars overall, with a four-star rating for front-impact protection. But the IIHS calls it a Top Safety Pick when configured with optional headlights; the standard headlights are deemed “Poor.”

Every Sorento has automatic emergency braking, active lane control, and adaptive cruise control. Most versions can also get parking sensors, blind-spot monitors with braking support, and a surround-view camera system. We’d take them, since the third-row seat and roof pillars block some of the view to the rear.

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9

2022 Kia Sorento

Features

The Sorento lacks for little—and prices have risen accordingly.

The Sorento used to be a bargain crossover with a few well-selected features. Now it runs the gamut from nappa leather to plug-in technology, and the sticker’s gone up in lockstep. We give it points for infotainment, standard features, warranty, and value, for a 9 here.

Kia sells the Sorento in at least five different ways—and that’s before it’s configured as a hybrid or plug-in, with front- or all-wheel drive, and with or without the X-Line cosmetic treatment. Hybrids come in S and EX editions, and plug-ins in SX and SX Prestige trim. All carry a 5-year/60,000-mile warranty, without the free maintenance included with its crossover kin, the Hyundai Santa Fe.

The $30,665 Sorento LX has enough, with its LED headlights, 17-inch wheels, cloth upholstery, third-row seating, and an 8.0-inch touchscreen with wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. All-wheel drive costs $1,800. The $33,465 Sorento S adds on synthetic leather upholstery, 18-inch wheels, a 10-way power driver seat, heated front seats, blind-spot monitors, rear parking sensors, and a 10.3-inch touchscreen. The $35,165 Hybrid S downsizes to 17-inch wheels and captain’s chairs in the middle row. 

Which Kia Sorento should I buy?

We like the $36,465 Sorento EX, which has the stronger engine, second-row captain’s chairs, wireless smartphone charging, 18-inch wheels, and adaptive cruise control. As the $39,465 EX Hybrid it also gets a panoramic sunroof, parking sensors, and all-wheel drive. 

How much is a fully loaded Kia Sorento?

The $44,265 X-Line SX Prestige AWD sports perforated leather upholstery, a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster, cooled front seats with 14-way power adjustment, 12-speaker Bose audio, and a surround-view camera system. All in, the $49,065 Sorento SX Prestige plug-in hybrid can be optioned up to cost more than $55,000. 

Review continues below
5

2022 Kia Sorento

Fuel Economy

The Sorento’s new hybrid edition earns an efficiency gold star.

Is the Kia Sorento good on gas?

The hybrid checks in with EPA ratings of 39 mpg city, 35 highway, 37 combined. We saw very close to that in lots of high-speed interstate driving. With all-wheel drive, it’s rated at 36/33/35 mpg. Plug-ins score 79 MPGe or 34 mpg combined, and 32 miles of all-electric driving.

But it’s more likely the Sorento you see on the road has a naturally aspirated 4-cylinder, and we base the score of 5 on that. The EPA rates the Sorento at 24/29/26 mpg when it’s configured with the inline-4 and front-wheel drive; 23/25/24 mpg with the same engine and all-wheel drive. With the turbo-4 it’s 22/29/25 mpg with front-wheel drive or 22/27/24 mpg with all-wheel drive.

Review continues below
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The Car Connection Consumer Review

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$29,590
MSRP based on LX FWD
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6.7
Overall
Expert Rating
Rating breakdown on a scale of 1 to 10?
Styling 6
Performance 6
Comfort & Quality 8
Safety 6
Features 9
Fuel Economy 5
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2022 Kia Sorento Pricing Insights

  • 2022 Kia Sorento available; 2021s sold out
  • Lease: From $279 per month for 36 months
  • Rebate: No cash incentives
  • Finance: From 1.9% APR for 60 months
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