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  • Writer's pictureAlain Kuhn Von Kuhnenfeld

2019 KIA Sorento SXL

This week we are reviewing the 2019 KIA Sorento in SXL trim. Our vehicle was assembled at the West Point plant in Georgia, USA and had an estimated MSRP of $51065.00 CAD.

Fun Factor:5

Can it Family: 8

Fuel-Friendly: 7

HWY-warrior: 8

Karaoke Friendly: 8

Baby friendly: 7

City Cruising: 5

We won't lie to you when picking up the car from Kia, we were expecting a big ol' SUV that trades fun for height and comfort. We could not have been more wrong on every front. The Sorento is enjoyably easy to drive, actually straightforward to operate. The driving dynamics are tuned in a way that the Sorento feels a lot smaller then it is. We were so surprised to the point we had to check several times which badge was our car to make sure we really were driving a KIA. We may all have some prejudice against the old KIA that made cars that would bring you from point A to point B. However, this is not the case with the Sorento. Usually, when we drive along with the family, our three-year-old will tell us that he saw the same car we were driving maybe once or twice. This time around, the Sorento is so popular among consumers that he wouldn't stop pointing out the other Kia Sorento's driving around us. We even had 2 Sorento owners walk up to us and ask us questions about it and tell us how happy they were with their purchase. The Sorento is no slow car either, we attempted our usual 0-100km/h test and achieved a result of 6.95 seconds to 100km/h with winter tires. The Sorento is equipped with a naturally aspirated 3.3L V6 producing 290HP and has 252 LB-FT of torque.

The Sorento has seating for up to 7 people and will offer limited cargo space when all 7 seats are used. The front seats provide cooled & heated seats. The rear seats (second row) also offer heated seats. The seating comfort is very sofa like for the front seats, the places offer lots of adjustments for taller drivers and smaller drivers, there will be an enjoyable position for everyone. One thing we really enjoyed on the Sorento is how quickly the cabin cooled down for a car its size when using the air conditioning. The rear doors have a privacy/sunshade included so no need to purchase them aftermarket. The shades are easy to install, they are not flimsy and will stay in place even if a child pulls on them. When all seats are in use, you can still fit a medium size stroller in the trunk with a couple of groceries bags. The seats can easily be folded, and when all places are folded, you can even fit a mountain bike without removing its wheels. The cargo cover can be easily removed if you're carrying bulky items; unfortunately, there doesn't seem to be a place to hold it when not in use hence taking away precious space in the trunk.

The Sorento is a family hauler so we had to test it extensively on the HWY to see how long distance comfort was and how it would handle on the HWY. As mentioned above, we found the Sorento very easy to drive. One thing that facilitates long rides is that above 70km/h the car will help stay within the lanes and will even assist you with taking corners and that without having to engage adaptive cruise control. Not being limited to cruise control, you can manage your own speed at your will without having to funnel around on your steering wheel and concentrate on what's really important, and that's the road. Without necessarily being a fun car to drive, what we really enjoyed is the fact that we felt safe and always in control and it never felt underpowered in any way. We don't like to say this often regarding SUV's; however, KIA has a fantastic product on their hands and we are not surprised that so many Canadian's buy them to drive them across the country. What makes the proposition even better is that the Sorento is an IIHS Top Safety + for 2019 in the SXL trim.

In our real-life test, we averaged 11.1L per 100km with a travelled distance of more the 650km. Our average obtained on the HWY was 8.9L per 100km while driving an average speed of 100km/h. With speeds between 110-119km/h, you can see the average increase to 9.4L per 100km. As for the city, we averaged 13.4L per 100km. These results we achieved with a passenger count between 4 to 7 passengers to accomplish a gas consumption based on real-world usage of this vehicle, our test vehicle was still equipped with winter tires while outside temperature oscillated between +9 and +22 degrees. Hence the consumption observed could be lowered with all season tires. The manufacturer's claimed figures are 8.2L per 100km on the HWY and 10.7L per 100km.

The audio system in the Sorento is much better then we expected, the whole family can jam in the Sorento, the sound travels very well in the cabin with the optional Harman Kardon sound system. The sound system is well calibrated to the point that some luxury brands should do their homework with KIA to get up to par. As for the infotainment, it offers Apple Car Play and Android Auto, the system is responsive on both Android and for IOS devices. The layout of the controls that you'll be using every day are placed logically, and the center console is lean with oversight on everything. We really like the way KIA has set up the ergonomics, so everything is accessible on the centre console.

How is the Sorento when it comes to the installation of car seats? It's not too hard, we would just wish that the ISOFIX ports were not hidden into the seats, luckily the leather used is flexible. Our main concern was that if you place the car seat behind the passenger seat, it will block the entrance for passengers to the 3rd row, they would have to enter on the driver's side which we found unsafe as that means they are in the street. If your back row passengers are adults or older kids it won't be a problem, our kid's are younger so we weren't thrilled. The other option is to attach the car seat behind the driver, seeing as there are no ISOFIX ports in the middle seat, the later is not an option. There are also no ISOFIX ports on the 3rd row. In our opinion, it would be difficult to use it as a 7 seater with 2 car seats. Otherwise, the 3rd-row seats of the Sorento are actually useable for adults and are well bolstered.

As for driving in the city with your Sorento. KIA has managed to keep it simple by making the steering wheel feel lighter at slower speeds helping you to park your large SUV comfortably. The suspension feels a little wobbly over road imperfections such as potholes at lower speeds. What we would like to see on future models is some sort of hybrid powertrain to lower the fuel consumption in the city. Otherwise, we enjoyed the excellent overview and the unobstructed view from the rear windows without having too many blind spots.

Why would we buy the KIA Sorento and what we liked about it: it's a great family car, it looks good, in its lower trims it's quite affordable and the versatility of having up to 7 passengers or large cargo space with the 5-passenger configuration. Drive your kids' teammates or bring their equipment to the game. Great fuel economy on the HWY.

Why would we not buy the KIA Sorento and what we didn't we like. In our test vehicle's trim, it came fully equipped, the price point comes closer to a luxury car. The driving experience is not the most engaging. In the 7-seater configuration, we cannot attach the car seat to the third row because there are no Isofix points and the limitation about having to fix the car seat behind the driver.

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