2019 Kia Sorento Review
2019 Kia Sorento Review
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Edmunds' Expert Review
byCarlos LagoCarlos Lago has worked in the automotive industry since 2008. Along with an extensive background in performance testing and evaluation, he has produced hundreds of car-related articles and videos.
- Convenient size should fit many families
- Ample feature content for the money
- Stylish and quiet interior
- Extra-long warranty coverage
- Less cargo space than other three-row models
- Third-row seat is strictly for kids
- Lackluster acceleration, even from the V6 engine
- New eight-speed automatic transmission for the V6
- More standard features, including the third-row seat
- Turbocharged 2.0-liter engine has been discontinued
- Revised exterior styling
- Part of the third Sorento generation introduced for 2015
Finding the right-size SUV for your family can be difficult. You want something with space and enough seats, but not something so large you can't fit it in the garage. Consider the 2019 Kia Sorento, which seeks to satisfy both needs.
Cost to DriveCost to drive estimates for the 2019 Kia Sorento LX 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A) and comparison vehicles are based on 15,000 miles per year (with a mix of 55% city and 45% highway driving) and energy estimates of $4.64 per gallon for regular unleaded in Virginia.
Monthly estimates based on costs in Virginia
Avg. Midsize SUV
Sized between the brand's smaller Sportage and larger Telluride, the Sorento comes standard with a third row and seating for seven. Its medium size means navigating tight roads isn't too difficult, but it also limits space in the back. That third row is suited best for transporting the little ones.
The Sorento is available with all-wheel drive and in a wide array of trim levels that range from budget-conscious to luxury-adjacent. You'll save some money by opting for the base four-cylinder engine, but be warned: Its pokey acceleration will leave you wishing for the available V6. That engine now comes with an eight-speed automatic that should improve responsiveness and fuel economy.
With so many potential variations, there's a configuration of the Sorento for most families. Figure in standard Android Auto and Apple CarPlay support and one of the longest warranties you'll find among competitors, and you have a strong SUV for the money.
Edmunds' Expert Rating7.5 / 10
Finding the right-size SUV for your family can be difficult. You want something with space and enough seats, but not something so large you can't fit it in the garage. Consider the 2019 Kia Sorento, which aims to satisfy both needs.
Each vehicle typically comes in multiple versions that are fundamentally similar. The ratings in this review are based on our full test of the Kia Sorento SX Limited (3.3L V6 | 8-speed automatic | AWD).
|Overall||7.5 / 10|
The V6 engine is unchanged, but a more fuel-efficient eight-speed supplants the old six-speed transmission. The new gearbox shifts smoothly but lacks kickdown response in certain modes and could be the reason the Sorento's pace has slowed a bit. Steering, handling and braking all remain agreeable.
The Sorento V6 lost a bit of pep in its step, hitting 60 mph in 8.3 seconds instead of the previously tested 7.6 seconds. Kia's 3.3-liter V6 feels soft at the low end, with less yank when you punch it. It wakes up noticeably at 5,000 rpm and pulls well and smoothly to redline.
The brakes are easy and smooth to modulate in casual driving, without any undue slop and stable under heavy panic situations. Our best-recorded brake stop was 125 feet, which is a good result for a vehicle of this size and weight with all-season tires.
The steering is agreeably light effort at parking-lot speeds, a little short on feedback, but fairly accurate when carving through corners. It inspires confidence at speed and within the Sorento's modest handling parameters and doesn't draw attention to itself. It's nicely executed.
For not having any real sporting intentions, the Sorento handles better than expected. Body movements are pretty well controlled in sweeping turns, though body roll and pitch are a bit more noticeable in quick transitions. It's not intended to be a sporting SUV, but it does not feel floppy either.
Outside of Sport mode, the eight-speed transmission feels lazy at times, likely to maximize fuel economy. Downshifts, when flooring the accelerator, take a moment too long. In Sport mode, this isn't an issue. Otherwise, shifts are executed smoothly and are responsive to manual paddle-shift commands.
The Sorento's AWD system includes an electronically lockable 50-50 front-rear torque split, which could come in handy in low-traction scenarios. With ground clearance at a modest 7.3 inches, this is a winter-ready SUV but clearly not designed to be an off-roader.
The Sorento is one comfortable crossover all around, featuring an impressively quiet cabin, seats with almost all the fixings, and a smooth yet well-controlled ride that's among the segment's best. The standard third-row seat is intended for kids but could fit adults in a pinch.
Our tester came with heated and ventilated front seats and heated rear seats. Padding is a good mix of firm and plush and now features an extendable lower bottom cushion. Nicely shaped second-row seats slide and recline, while the third-row bottom cushions sit low to the floor, with limited comfort.
The Sorento may have one of the most refined rides of any non-luxury-brand crossover. Impacts are well-cushioned, yet ride motions remain disciplined. While it won't silence every bump, this Kia glides serenely over patchy pavement, giving it a distinctly premium feel.
Noise & vibration8.5
The SX Limited's acoustic windshield and front window glass block out sound and help deliver luxury-grade quietness, even nosing out some upscale SUVs. Only mild amounts of road and wind noise penetrate the cabin, and the V6 engine, though not exactly mellifluous, sounds happy to rev out to redline.
The dual-zone climate controls are straightforward, and there's a button to toggle the rear A/C. The system does a good job of adjusting to accommodate the desired cabin temperature. The seat ventilation is effective, and the heaters warm up adequately quick. The third row has vents and fan speed controls.
The cabin is thoughtfully designed for the most part, faltering mainly in third-row access — inevitable, perhaps, given the Sorento's tweener class size. The touchscreen infotainment system is highly functional even if it isn't fancy, and there are a ton of great parking aids at this trim level.
Ease of use8.0
The upgraded 8-inch touchscreen is intuitive, easy to navigate, and quick to respond. Even the gauge cluster menus and controls are simple to use. There are fancier systems out there, but few are easier to use and master. Other controls are logically arrayed with no snafus.
Getting in/getting out7.5
The step-in height is low, and the wide-opening doors ease access to the first and second rows. Third-row access is more challenging. Even though the passenger-side second-row seat slides forward, the passage to the back is tight. There are overhead grab handles at all doors should you need them.
The 14-way adjustable driver's seat provides a good range of movement, so most will be able to find a comfortable position. One foreseeable issue may be that the steering wheel doesn't telescope out far enough for tall drivers.
The Sorento cheats a little since it's in between segments. It's large for a compact. The third row is best for kids but could fit adults in a pinch. The front seats are plenty spacious, as are the sliding and reclining second-row seats. Note to the tall: The panoramic sunroof does eat into headroom a bit.
Visibility is pretty decent with large windows all around and a rear view that's only slightly obstructed with the third row up. The SXL trim comes with all the necessary aids to ensure you keep your fenders clean, such as 360-degree cameras, parking sensors and blind-spot monitoring.
The materials are class-competitive with abundant soft-touch surfaces, and the updated details on the shifter and steering wheel further improve this. Still, a number of things are shared with other Kia models costing half as much, which some may perceive as lower-quality.
Among other compact three-row SUVs, the Sorento is pretty comparable in terms of cargo capacity but trails the midsize three-rows at the upper end of its price range. In the cabin, storage meets expectations, but the touchless power tailgate and easy-folding seats are big pluses.
The Sorento offers plenty of cabin nooks for personal items, with a dedicated space for wireless charging smartphones. The door pockets and armrest bin are what you'd expect in this class. Nothing is especially clever.
There's just 11.3 cubic feet of cargo space behind the third row, which is typical for compact three-row SUVs. That grows to 38 cubic feet with the third row folded, which is right on par with the spacious Honda CR-V. Straps and levers allow you to fold both second and third rows from the back. And the power tailgate opens quickly without the need for any hands or swinging legs.
Child safety seat accommodation7.5
There's a decent amount of space for front- or rear-facing car seats in the second row, but the car seat anchors are buried a bit in the seat cushions and not the most easily accessible.
Depending on where you place the Sorento, its 5,000-pound max tow capacity is either very good for a compact SUV or on par with capacities of similarly outfitted midsizers. Our top-level tester is priced like a midsize, so that's what we're comparing it to.
The Sorento provides plenty of charging options for anything you or your passengers bring along. And the top SX Limited trim comes packed with nearly every modern driving aid available. The sound and nav systems may not be fancy, but Apple CarPlay and Android Auto provide seamless smartphone integration.
Audio & navigation7.5
The upgraded Harman Kardon sound system works well but is nothing to write home about. The navigation system is typical Kia fare. It's easy to use but not especially advanced or more attractive than other systems on the market.
Front power outlets include two 12-volt sockets plus two USB jacks and a wireless charge pad. The second row has a USB charger, a 115-volt outlet and a 12-volt plug. An extra 12-volt plug in the cargo area can provide power to third-row passengers. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard across all trims.
A full suite of driving aids is available on SX trims, replete with surround-view cameras, adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring and various collision avoidance features. The systems operate pretty well. Adaptive cruise can be a little jerky but operates down to a complete stop, and lane keeping assist promptly prevents you from drifting out of your lane. We didn't find any of the collision systems to be overly sensitive either.
If your smartphone is plugged in, the voice controls summon Siri or Google. Native voice controls serve fairly basic functions but work well. Starting a navigation route and tuning to radio stations on different radio bands were done without issue.
Which Sorento does Edmunds recommend?
Starting off, we recommend avoiding the L and the LX because their base four-cylinder engine is underpowered. Next up is the EX, which happens to be the Sorento's sweet spot. It comes standard with some appealing features such as heated front seats and an array of active safety and driver assistance technology. And if you want more, the EX gives you some flexibility to opt for the luxury and tech add-ons from the higher trim levels.
2019 Kia Sorento models
The 2019 Kia Sorento is a seven-seat SUV that is available in seven trim levels: L, LX, S, EX, EX Sport, SX and SX Limited. The L and the LX are reasonably well-equipped, while the S and the EX add more convenience features. The SX trims top the range with more luxury-oriented features.
The L and the LX come standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine (185 horsepower, 178 lb-ft of torque) and a six-speed automatic. A 3.3-liter V6 (290 hp, 252 lb-ft) with an eight-speed automatic is optional on the LX and standard on the S, EX, EX Sport, SX and SX Limited. All but the L can be equipped with all-wheel drive.
Standard feature highlights for the base L include 17-inch alloy wheels, a rearview camera, cloth upholstery, manually adjustable front seats, automatic headlights, Bluetooth, a 7-inch touchscreen, Android Auto and Apple CarPlay smartphone integration, a USB port, and a six-speaker sound system with satellite radio and a CD player.
The LX adds a noise-reducing windshield, roof rails, front seatback pockets, two additional USB ports, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert. When equipped with the V6, the LX gains automatic dual-zone climate control and a power-adjustable driver's seat.
The LX's optional Convenience package pads on rear parking sensors, the power-adjustable driver's seat and dual-zone automatic climate control, heated front seats, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and an upgraded version of the 7-inch infotainment interface that also has navigation.
Going with the Sorento S gets you the V6 and the contents of the Convenience package. It also comes with black-painted wheels and exterior trim.
Compared to the LX, the EX gets the contents of the Convenience package as standard and further adds 18-inch wheels, foglights, leather upholstery, a power-adjustable front passenger seat, rear air-conditioning controls, an upgraded driver information display, keyless ignition and proximity entry, rear parking sensors, a power liftgate, and noise-reducing front door windows.
This trim also comes standard with a suite of advanced driver safety and assistance features that include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane keeping assist, lane departure warning, traffic adaptive cruise control and driver attention warning.
For the EX Sport, Kia fits 19-inch wheels but takes away a few minor features such as the power-adjustable front passenger seat.
The EX's Touring package includes a panoramic sunroof, LED interior lighting, a heated steering wheel, forward parking distance sensors, a 10-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, a 110-volt household-style outlet, an 8-inch infotainment display with navigation, and retractable sunshades for the rear doors.
The SX comes standard with all of the above plus 19-inch wheels, LED running lights, red brake calipers, driver-seat memory settings and a wireless phone charger. The SX also offers its own Touring package that includes LED headlights, ventilated front seats, a heated steering wheel, automatic wipers, automatic high-beam headlights, a surround-view parking camera system, and power-folding side mirrors.
The SX Limited starts where the SX Touring package leaves off, adding to it chrome-clad wheels, LED foglights, black brake calipers, higher-grade leather upholstery, and heated outboard second-row seats.
3.9 out of 5 stars
Most helpful consumer reviews
2 out of 5 stars
Nice car but engine/transmission issues
EX 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 8A)
Great car and ride but around 3500 miles developed what many reviews and discussion forum posts have noted-a "missing" or jerking feeling on acceleration as well as running, hard to tell if it is the engine or the transmission. Two visits to dealer, they say they don't notice it, I've been driving long enough to know when an engine is running rough. Some say it is a software issue, it … seems Kia itself does not know how to solve it. To some it might not be noticeable or annoying. Update: 8,000 miles. Still love the car. It still jerks on acceleration but you learn to live with it. That's just the way it is. Brakes are VERY touchy, even other drivers notice it, especially at low speeds, you have to be very careful on the brake pedal. The radio controls are maddening. Scrolling through the touch screen it's easy to "select" a station instead of scrolling past it.
5 out of 5 stars
Our Kia Sorento saved our lives
LX 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A)
My mom recently bought a 2019 Kia Sorento LX and immediately fell in love. Sadly, the Sorento came to a very sudden, sad death, when a truck pulled out in front of us causing us to t bone it. Totaling both vehicles. I’m giving this Sorento 5 stars on safety because if it wasn’t for its AMAZING safety features we possibly wouldn’t have been alive today. Thank you Kia.
5 out of 5 stars
2019 Kia Sorento much better than in the past
Mrs. Eileen Dover,08/27/2018
SX Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 8A)
We buy a new car every 10 years & wanted all the new safety features which this has. The computer screens were very user friendly unlike the Honda and Toyota, which made a difference. The Nappa leather seats are softer than the standard leather. The driver's seat also has a seat extender if needed (may not be in all trims?) The pick up is fine and all the safety features are easy to … set, understand and get accustomed to. The size is nice, it's smaller than the Highlander & Pilot (so it is easier to park) and bigger than the CRV & Rav 4. No CD player on the SXL trim so I ripped 75 of mine onto a 8 GB flash drive and use it all the time. The 10 year warranty gives piece of mind. Until the self driving cars come out, this will be one of our main modes of transportation.
5 out of 5 stars
Who would have guessed that KIA is now this Great?
SX Limited 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 8A)
Kia might not be the top of mind brand just yet, but do not overlook the Sorento. It's a 'just right' size, gets very competitive fuel economy. The SX-L is very luxurious inside with the nappa leather and attractive trim. The 'electronics' are easy to learn and actually seem way more intuitive than that of the 'other brands'. Very quiet and comfortable ride (the top of line Michelin … tires on the SX-L help this a lot). I've had this for 15,000 miles now (first review was at 10k), including all day 12 hour trips, and comfort is excellent....matching my other near luxury Avalon. The 10yr. warranty seals the deal for me....I keep cars a long time. Just one caution....the 3rd row is a joke in just about ALL SUV's in this size range. For occasional use for childen only. I'm old now, so the 3rd row will be folded permanently in my Sorento. Most liked features: the adaptive cruise control, the stereo, and the LED headlights which are very bright and 'aim' around turns. Nav system is just so-so, and considering that they want $150 for a map update, this should be excellent...but it is NOT. POI finds are unreliable, and routing on local streets sometimes puzzling. Bluetooth phone system works great. An update from my first review....sometimes the transmission is a little slower to downshift than I'd like. Apparently this is a common complaint when you have so many gears (8 on this model). Second update....coming up to 2 years and 20,000 miles....still love the vehicle. Nothing has gone wrong...ie NO repairs needed. No regrets on the choice. Regarding the smart cruise control...Love it, can't imagine ever buying a car without it now. Makes driving so much easier AND Safer at the same time. 3rd Update....still loving it. Have not driven much due to covid restrictions keeping us home. One item of discontent was the NAV system. Guess what..Kia just revamped it...now offering FREE updates to map and the software....just do a 30 gig download to an SD card, mine took 6 hours on my slow internet. Then UPDATE in the car...that took about 30 minutes...and now I am MUCH happier with the nav system operation, and of course I have 3 years newer maps too. Nice job Kia. Update March 2021...coming close to 3 years of ownership. Covid caused very little driving in the past year, so I'm only up to 22,500 miles. Did have one failure...the left 'dynamic bending light' feature failed. Left light got stuck aimed far left of center. Despite initial hesitation from the dealer, they did replace at no cost to me. Good thing....you'll discover that parts cost a LOT. The entire headlight assembly, being LED and containing several 'aiming' servos....costs $1100!!! Plus labor. SO...technology is great, as long as it is working. Otherwise, it's still a great vehicle. This 2019 seems to be the 'sweet spot'....since they deleted some high end features on the 2020. Older models did not have all the safety technology that this one does. If you find a good used one...buy it. Has all the modern technology. Update 2021 October: now have 27,000 miles, and all is good...actually Better than ever. I had been complaining to the dealer about the transmission...slow downshifts, delays in response. Well...they now have a 'transmission logic update'...kind of a recall. They update the computer system, for free, during my last oil change, and Wow..it's like a different vehicle...all for the better. Snappy downshifts and it GOES. Now feels like the peppy V6 that is was supposed to be. I also sense it goes into a higher gear sooner, so I think the fuel economy has improved a bit too. So if yours is slow in shifting...ask about the recall....it think the number is SA387 (just going by memory). Overall...a very fine vehicle. Update April 2022.....still loving this vehicle. The previously mentioned Transmission code update made this a whole new and Better vehicle. With the improved shift points, I think I'm getting at least one, maybe 2 MPG better now. On casual country drives, the computer regularly reports 27 mpg for the outing (60 miles or so of sightseeing in the country). I think that's pretty good for this now powerful V6. If you want a Sorento...the 2019 model year is the one to look for.
Features & Specs
Our experts like the Sorento models:
- Forward Collision Avoidance
- Warns the driver when an imminent front collision is detected. Can automatically brake if needed. Standard on the EX and above.
- Lane Departure Warning
- Alerts you when the system detects that you're drifting out of your lane. Standard on the EX and above.
- Uvo eServices
- Includes automatic 911 calling when an airbag deploys, plus speed and location alerts for secondary drivers.
NHTSA Overall Rating5 out of 5 stars
The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
- Frontal Barrier Crash RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Side Crash RatingOverall5 / 5
- Side Barrier RatingOverall5 / 5Driver5 / 5Passenger5 / 5
- Combined Side Barrier & Pole RatingsFront Seat5 / 5Back Seat5 / 5
- RolloverRollover4 / 5Dynamic Test ResultNo TipRisk Of Rollover15%
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
- Side Impact TestGood
- Roof Strength TestGood
- Rear Crash Protection / Head RestraintGood
- IIHS Small Overlap Front TestNot Tested
- Moderate Overlap Front TestGood
More about the 2019 Kia Sorento
Used 2019 Kia Sorento Overview
The Used 2019 Kia Sorento is offered in the following submodels: Sorento SUV. Available styles include LX 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), LX 4dr SUV AWD (2.4L 4cyl 6A), L 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6A), EX 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 8A), EX 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 8A), LX 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 8A), SX Limited 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 8A), SX Limited 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 8A), LX 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 8A), S 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 8A), S 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 8A), SX 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 8A), SX 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 8A), EX Sport 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 8A), and EX Sport 4dr SUV AWD (3.3L 6cyl 8A). Pre-owned Kia Sorento models are available with a 2.4 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 185 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2019 Kia Sorento comes with front wheel drive, and all wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 6-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2019 Kia Sorento comes with a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 10 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.
What's a good price on a Used 2019 Kia Sorento?
Price comparisons for Used 2019 Kia Sorento trim styles:
- The Used 2019 Kia Sorento LX is priced between $19,998 and$29,998 with odometer readings between 9599 and118861 miles.
- The Used 2019 Kia Sorento L is priced between $20,998 and$26,999 with odometer readings between 21950 and95117 miles.
- The Used 2019 Kia Sorento EX is priced between $25,496 and$34,986 with odometer readings between 14684 and91923 miles.
- The Used 2019 Kia Sorento S is priced between $22,995 and$32,995 with odometer readings between 28071 and74632 miles.
- The Used 2019 Kia Sorento SX is priced between $32,795 and$36,000 with odometer readings between 28058 and54103 miles.
- The Used 2019 Kia Sorento EX Sport is priced between $29,998 and$33,998 with odometer readings between 18821 and52792 miles.
- The Used 2019 Kia Sorento SX Limited is priced between $32,499 and$32,590 with odometer readings between 37156 and65156 miles.
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Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2019 Kia Sorento for sale near. There are currently 158 used and CPO 2019 Sorentos listed for sale in your area, with list prices as low as $19,998 and mileage as low as 9599 miles. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2019 Kia Sorento.
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Should I lease or buy a 2019 Kia Sorento?
Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.