Nearly five years ago, we waved goodbye to our last long-term Kia Sorento. Now, we’re welcoming a new 2022 Sorento for an extended stay.
At the conclusion of our 2016 Sorento SX’s 40,000-mile test, we said, “If Kia can inject some personality and more functionality into the next generation of [this] SUV, it’s likely more folks will have the Sorento on their radar.” Our brief time so far with our long-term 2022 Sorento—as well as previous stints driving other variants of the redesigned, fourth-generation model—indicates the latest iteration of Kia’s mid-size SUV is a far sharper machine than its predecessor.
Admittedly, we gave our Sorento the best possible chance for success by choosing the most powerful engine option. We bypassed the standard 191-hp naturally aspirated 2.5-liter four-cylinder, as well as the hybrid and plug-in-hybrid powertrains, and instead picked the 281-hp turbocharged 2.5-liter inline-four.
The 2.5-liter turbo is exclusive to the EX, SX, and SX Prestige trims and can be had with front- or all-wheel drive. Choosing the latter adds a Snow setting to the available drive modes and raises the ground clearance from 6.9 to 8.2 inches. All-wheel-drive EX and SX Prestige models also come with an X-Line styling package that adds off-road-inspired exterior decor. Alas, the X-Line kit eliminates Sapphire Blue from the SUV’s color palette.
We wanted the optional blue hue, so we settled on the all-wheel-drive SX, which starts at $41,165. The special paint ($445), floor mats ($210), and a cargo mat ($115) brought the as-tested price to $41,935.
While the SX does without certain SX Prestige niceties such as a surround-view monitor, a digital instrument cluster, a heated steering wheel, heated second-row seats, and ventilated front seats, the $2900 cheaper trim still comes with its fair share of luxuries. A panoramic sunroof brightens the interior, where one finds a wireless phone charger, dual-zone automatic climate control, a proximity key with push-button start, and a 10.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system with navigation. Gray faux leather covers all three rows of seats, including the heated and power-operated seats up front and the middle row’s captain’s chairs. An analog speedometer and tachometer frame a small but easy-to-read 4.2-inch info display.
Along with a set of black-painted 20-inch wheels, the SX’s exterior features LED projection headlights and LED taillights. These headlights earn the highest “Good” rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), whereas base LED multi-reflector headlights in lesser Sorento trims get the IIHS’s worst rating of “Poor”. The upgraded headlights of the SX accompany additional safety and convenience items including adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, lane centering, blind-spot monitoring, and rear parking sensors.
Even with its abundance of features, our 2022 Sorento SX’s 4135-pound curb weight undercut our old 2016 Sorento SX’s mass by 243 pounds. Kia’s decision to replace the outgoing model’s 3.3-liter V-6 with a smaller turbo four-cylinder likely plays a key role in this weight reduction.
Despite being down nine horses to its six-cylinder forebear, our 2022 Sorento accelerated to 60 mph in just 6.0 seconds, a second quicker than our previous Sorento long-termer. Credit the new model’s aforementioned diet as well as its turbocharged engine’s 311 pound-feet of torque, which peaks at 1700 rpm, and the quick shifts of its eight-speed dual-clutch automatic gearbox. The 2016 Sorento made do with 252 pound-feet—a sum that peaked at 5300 revs—and a comparatively lazy torque-converter automatic with only six forward speeds.
The 2022 Sorento’s 165-foot stop from 70 mph and 0.84 g of lateral grip improved upon the prior Sorento’s performance by nine feet and 0.04 g, too. More importantly, these figures compare favorably to other SUVs in the segment. In fact, our Sorento’s braking distance was eight feet shorter than that of the nearly $20,000 pricier and 112-pounds-lighter Mercedes-AMG GLB35.
Judged by its style and initial performance results, our 2022 Sorento seems poised to bring the sharpness we yearned for from our long-term 2016 Sorento. Whether Kia has managed to notably improve upon that vehicle’s functionality is a different story. As before, the two-person third row offers marginal space for adult-sized passengers, and the cargo area’s volume shrinks considerably when the rearmost row is in use.
Back in 2016, though, the Sorento was the biggest three-row SUV Kia offered in the United States. The addition of the larger three-row Telluride to the model line affords the Sorento the leeway to sacrifice some functionality in order to preserve and improve upon other traits consumers in the mid-size SUV segment seek. We have 40,000 miles to find out if the 2022 Kia Sorento successfully executes this exchange.
Months in Fleet: 2 months Current Mileage: 4109 miles
Average Fuel Economy: 23 mpg
Fuel Tank Size: 18.8 gal Fuel Range: 400 miles
Service: $0 Normal Wear: $0 Repair: $0
This content is created and maintained by a third party, and imported onto this page to help users provide their email addresses. You may be able to find more information about this and similar content at piano.io