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2024 Kia Sorento First Drive: X-Pro Upgrades Don't Move the Needle

The three-row Sorento gets a nice update for 2024, but we wish the changes were a little more extensive

2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro in the snow
  • The Kia Sorento gets updated for 2024 with new styling, improved in-car tech and a new trim.
  • X-Pro trim adds all-terrain tires and improved towing capacity.
  • The new Sorento starts at $33,395 with destination.

The Kia Sorento was refreshed for 2024, with a face-lifted exterior, updated in-car tech, enhanced driver aids and a handsome-looking new variant, the X-Pro. That moniker debuted a few years back on the compact Kia Sportage. A few visual tweaks and all-terrain tires proved to be an immediate sales success, leading to the introduction of the Telluride X-Pro for 2023 and now the Sorento X-Pro for 2024.

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2024 Kia Sorento group shot

What's in a name?

The X-Pro treatment is generally the same for the Sorento as it was for the Sportage and Telluride. It starts with the Sorento X-Line, which has more of a visual upgrade than one that enhances the Sorento's capability, and is available on the EX trim and above. It's been around since this generation Sorento was introduced. In fact, we had one in our long-term fleet. While the entire Sorento lineup gets revised styling, the X-Line goes further with an improved roof rack, front and rear bumpers with molded-in (but notably not functional) skid plates, a gloss-black grille, and gloss-black 20-inch wheels with all-season tires.

2024 Kia Sorento X-Line rear

All-wheel drive is standard. In fact, from 2024 onward the only way to spec a Sorento with all-wheel drive is with either the X-Line or X-Pro package. The Sorento's all-wheel-drive system has a center locking differential, but it's otherwise a fairly conventional setup for a crossover SUV. Also standard is a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four that makes 281 horsepower and 311 lb-ft of torque, a significant upgrade over the non-turbocharged base engine. The Sorento's engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic in both cases, though turbocharged models are mated to a dual-clutch gearbox. The turbocharged engine is the same one that was in our former long-term 2021 Sorento. It makes great power, but we found the fuel economy to be disappointing over 22,000 or so miles.

2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro wheel

The new X-Pro trim swaps the X-Line's 20s for 17-inch wheels with BFGoodrich all-terrain tires. Additionally the X-Pro ups the Sorento's towing capacity a bit to 4,500 pounds, a solid figure for a crossover in this class. But that's kind of it. The X-Pro SX Prestige is only a $1,000 premium over the X-Line SX Prestige, but it's disappointing to not see anything to improve its off-road capability outside of wheels and tires. There are no changes to the suspension or additional drive modes. And remember, those skid plates are just molded plastic.

Driving the new Sorento

Colorado gets a lot of snow, but it also gets a lot of sunshine. During our time behind the wheel of the X-Pro (the only model available at this event), the roads remained clear and plowed and therefore didn't pose any real challenge to the Sorento. The off-road section consisted of well-maintained dirt paths winding along the mountainside. There was a white Dodge Avenger parked along the road helping someone in a Chevrolet Silverado change a flat, but the terrain itself was in good enough shape at the moment to have been able to tackle the drive in a Corvette if you kept a good eye out for sharp rocks.

2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro driving

It was a little disappointing then that we didn't get to try out the X-Pro's all-terrain tires as they're truly the one thing that sets it apart from the rest of the Sorento lineup. It also didn't give us an opportunity to test the locking differential or really get a feel for the various drive modes. There is a snow mode that softens throttle response and adjusts when the transmission shifts, but it didn't get any use during our drive. That said, the Sorento proved comfortable and easy to handle over dozens of miles of winding dirt roads.

The steering is light, but it made mountain passes much easier to maneuver with all the back-and-forth movements. The brakes felt firm and strong, too, though given all of the steep grades, we were using the transmission as much as the brakes to slow the Sorento. The transmission itself was smooth, but it wasn't eager to downshift when you wanted more power to climb back uphill. The engine provided good power when the turbo was spinning, but it felt anemic off-boost. That said, on flatter roads in town the transmission's desire to hold higher gears was far less noticeable.

2024 Kia Sorento X-Line interior

The tech is an improvement, though it feels more like a fine polish than a full overhaul. The driver aids now include automatic lane changing with the tap of the signal when conditions are clear. The adaptive cruise holds gears well, and the controls are still simple to use. The infotainment system has been redesigned, too, and benefits from features like over-the-air updates and wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Look for a few more USB-C ports in there, too. The interface is clean and responsive, and the new dual-mode control panel borrowed from the Sportage is pretty slick. One touch to change from climate to media and navigation controls. The volume knob changes to a temperature knob, and the whole panel switches from one set of controls to another. It's decluttering in the best sort of way.

2024 Kia Sorento third row seat

The interior is spacious in the first two rows, but the third would be tight for a teenager. With the third row up, cargo space is pretty limited, too. That makes it better for shorter trips around town than it does for family road trips. At least the Sorento looks nice inside, with a somewhat more premium feel than most other crossovers in this class. The wood is fake, but the plastic it's made out of is nice enough that someone had to ask Kia if it was real. It's a nice place to spend time, as long as you're not in the very rear.

2024 Kia Sorento cargo area

Edmunds says

The 2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro is a handsome, comfortable and well-appointed three-row SUV, and you get a lot for the money. But if you want something with some real off-road capabilities, even light ones, this isn't it. The updated Sorento is certainly an improvement with new tech and driver aids, but the X-Pro trim doesn't move the needle in terms of performance or capability.