The 2022 Kia Sorento is a different sort of three-row SUV, and that's actually the main reason to consider one. For starters, it's smaller than the others, making it more manageable to drive for those who'll only need that extra row on rare occasions – which isn't an unusual use case. At the same time, it's still larger than compact SUVs, including the few that have three rows themselves. Then there's what's going on under the hood (and floor). The Sorento offers four powertrain choices, most notably the regular Sorento Hybrid that gets 37 mpg combined and the new 2022 Sorento PHEV plug-in hybrid that'll travel 31 miles on electricity only.
There are plenty of other reasons to like the Sorento, especially inside where you'll find an attractive cabin with high-quality materials and easy-to-use tech. In that way, it's not that different from Kia's bigger and wildly popular Telluride. The fact you'll likely have an easier time finding a Sorento than a Telluride is another point in the smaller three-row Kia's favor. In the end, not every car has to have an apples-to-apples competitor, and although the Toyota Highlander perhaps comes the closest, the unique Sorento proves that being different can be a good thing. It's one of our choices for best midsize SUV.
What's new for 2022?
The Sorento welcomes Kia's new badge, and more important, a plug-in hybrid powertrain to the family for 2022. It also expands the availability of the X-Line package beyond the priciest trim levels to the S and EX. In fact, every all-wheel-drive S and EX are now X-Lines. That means only the base LX and the sporty SX can be had with AWD and not X-Line. Other updates include the 10.25-inch touchscreen now standard on all but the LX. The range-topping SX Prestige gains standard heated second-row captain's chairs and additional adjustments for the driver seat.
What's the Sorento interior and in-car technology like?
The Sorento has a high-quality interior with a distinctive design. Although there's less space than in a Telluride (more on that in the next section), you're not really losing anything in terms of ambiance or feature content. The main difference between Sorento trim levels, besides features, is the strip of dash trim in front of the passenger and the fanciness of upholstery. Besides being either cloth or leather, the latter gets a quilted look in the SX trim and the option of a snazzy blue color (pictured below right) in the PHEV. The hybrid models also get a rotary transmission selector instead of the traditional PRND stick, pictured below left.
Technology is a highlight for the Sorento and gets better for 2022 as all but the base LX get the horizontally oriented 10.25-inch infotainment touchscreen. It's user-friendly, feature-packed and one of our favorite interfaces on the market (though admittedly, some things on the right side of the screen are a bit of a reach). Upper trim levels also get a vibrant 12.3-inch all-digital instrument display. The kids should appreciate that there are eight USB ports in all but the LX, which "only" has six.
How big is the Sorento?
The Sorento has three rows of seats and is considered a midsize crossover, but it's considerably smaller than other vehicles described as such. It's 8 inches shorter in length than the Telluride and 4 inches narrower, which is significant. It also has nearly 2 fewer inches of third-row legroom (plus a seat that's much closer to the floor and therefore less comfortable) and 3.1 fewer inches of middle-row shoulder room. Those are two dimensions most likely to make a difference when loading up with people. All that said, the Telluride is one of the biggest vehicles in the segment, and the Sorento isn't that far off the pace. It even has more third-row space than the Toyota Highlander. It's also important to note the Sorento has basically the same exterior dimensions as two-row midsize crossovers like the Honda Passport and Hyundai Santa Fe -- in that way, the third row can basically be thought of as a bonus feature for occasional use.
One thing to keep in mind: a second-row bench seat is optional on most trims, meaning there is frequently only six seats aboard with the second-row captain's chairs and two-person third row. Most three-row crossovers these days have seatbelts for seven or eight depending on the middle seating row. Access to that third row could also be better as the second-row just doesn't slide leave much of a gap when slid forward.
Cargo space with the third-row lowered (38.4 cubic-feet) and all seats lowered (75.5) is better than what you'll get in most two-row midsize SUVs (and roughly what you get in a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4). Where it really suffers relative other three-row crossovers is cargo space behind the raised third row. Its mere 12.6 cubic feet trails all those bigger three-rows considerably, and in terms of actual luggage, could barely fit two carry-on roller suitcases in our testing. As such, using all three rows is something that's unlikely to be done for lengthy journeys, unless your family pack really light or invest in a roof-top carrier.
What are the Sorento fuel economy and performance specs?
The 2022 Sorento LX and S trim levels come standard with a 2.5-liter inline-four that produces 191 horsepower and 182 pound-feet of torque. A traditional eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard, with all-wheel drive an option. Although engine output is similar to what you'd find in a CR-V or RAV4, the Sorento's greater weight results in slower acceleration – Kia says this engine will get the Sorento from 0-62 mph (100 km/h) in 9.5 seconds. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 24 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined with FWD and 23/25/24 with AWD.
The various EX and SX trim levels get a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four that produces 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque – an output that exceeds that of bigger three-row SUVs. Its 0-62 time is 7.4 seconds, which is more competitive but hardly eye-popping given the available power and how quick it immediately feels off the line. A lot of credit goes to all that torque. This engine is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission that for all intents and purposes behaves like any old automatic. Fuel economy is 22 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 25 mpg combined with FWD and 22/27/24 with AWD.
The fuel economy champs are the hybrids, however. The standard Sorento Hybrid features a combination of 1.6-liter inline-four and and a single motor for a combined output of 227 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Unlike most other hybrids, it relies on a traditional six-speed automatic transmission resulting in it feeling a bit more normal behind the wheel. Its 0-62 time falls in between the two above engines at 8.6 seconds. Fuel economy is 39 mpg city, 35 mpg highway and 37 mpg combined with FWD and 36/33/35 with AWD. This effectively matches the other three-row hybrid, the Toyota Highlander.
The 2022 Sorento PHEV is a plug-in hybrid that uses the same gas engine but gets a more powerful electric motor and a bigger battery that as the name suggests can be replenished by plugging in. It can travel an EPA-estimated 32 miles on electricity alone, which is good for such a large PHEV. It gets a rating of 79 miles-per-gallon equivalent from the EPA. Its acceleration should be the same as the regular hybrid.
What's the Sorento like to drive?
We have yet to drive either of the Sorento hybrids at the time of this writing. We also haven't tried the base 2.5-liter engine, though we can't imagine it being anything other than achingly slow. Therefore, we can only comment on the new 2.5-liter turbocharged engine option. In short, it has serious guts. Its 281 hp and 311 lb-ft is an awful lot to feed through the front wheels alone, and not surprisingly, the front-wheel-drive Sorento EX we tested demonstrated plenty of torque steer when accelerating hard from a stop or powering out of a corner. You'll also end up interacting with the stability control system more often, especially on slippery surfaces. The available all-wheel-drive system results in the turbo Sorento feeling less frenetic off the line and significantly more confident in the snow. We found no issues with the transmissions, despite the dual-clutch automated manual being an atypical choice for family SUVs.
As for the ride and handling, they're average to mediocre. They do depend on which version you get, as the X-Lines have greater ground clearance and therefore a taller suspension more prone to body roll. The ride can feel quite springy and the Sorento tends to rock side-to-side a bit over bumps. Such uninspired handling is hardly a deal break for a three-row family crossover, but it can be corrected by either sticking with front-wheel drive or the sportier SX (available with FWD or AWD) that have a lower suspension that results in a more connected, controlled driving experience. With either, the steering has a decent heft to it, feels reasonably natural and is free from bad habits.
What other Kia Sorento reviews can I read?
Our first review of the Sorento, including driving impressions of the EX and SX Prestige, both with the turbo engine.
We review the X-Line version of the range-topping SX Prestige. Though we liked it, we lamented that X-Line was exclusive to the priciest trim levels. That's no longer the case.
How much is the 2022 Sorento price and what features are available?
Pricing for the 2022 Kia Sorento starts at $30,665, including the $1,175 destination charge. The Sorento hybrid starts at $35,165 and the PHEV at $46,165 with the same destination charge. All start at different trim levels, though, and the PHEV is also eligible for as much as a $6,587 federal tax rebate.
Standard equipment on the LX includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic LED headlights, rear privacy glass, a manual height-adjustable driver seat, cloth upholstery, third-row seats, a second-row bench, six USB ports, an 8-inch touchscreen, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and a six-speaker sound system. The S and EX seem like the more appealing choices. They add 18-inch wheels, gloss-black exterior trim, roof rails, proximity entry, dual-zone climate control, an eight-way power driver seat, simulated leather upholstery, heated front seats, a leather upholstery, in-car Wi-Fi, satellite radio, eight USB ports and, for 2022, the 10.25-inch touchscreen that looks good and increases functionality. The EX really only differs by adding the turbo engine and second-row captain's chairs that reduce their seating capacity to six. The SX trims have those, too, but slather on additional luxury niceties.
One key difference for 2022 is that nearly all all-wheel-drive Sorentos are X-Line models. This not only looks different thanks to its gloss black trim, raised roof rails and some other rugged design differences, it offers more capability due to having an extra inch of ground clearance (8.3 inches).
The Hybrid is only available in S and EX trims and there's no way to add the SX's many luxuries. Well, you could step up to the plug-in hybrid that is only available as the SX or SX Prestige. Neither can be done up as X-Lines.
LX FWD: $30,665
LX AWD: $32,465
S FWD: $33,465
S X-Line: $35,465
EX FWD: $36,565
EX X-Line: $40,265
SX FWD: $39,365
SX Prestige FWD: $42,265
SX AWD: $41,165
SX Prestige X-Line: $44,265
Hybrid S FWD: $35,165
Hybrid S AWD: $36,965
Hybrid EX FWD: $37,165
Hybrid EX AWD: $39,465
PHEV SX AWD: $46,165
PHEV SX Prestige AWD: $49,065
What are the Sorento safety ratings and driver assistance features?
In NHTSA crash testing, last year's Sorento received a four-star overall rating out of five with a four-star frontal and five-star side rating. NHTSA did indicate these were for "early release" 2021 cars, so this could change at some point for 2022. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety named it a Top Safety pick for its best-possible performance in all crashworthiness and crash prevention tests. Its standard LED headlights got a "Poor" rating, but those of the SX trims got a "Good."
The 2022 Sorento not only comes with a lot of driver assistance systems, they are among the best-executed in the industry. These include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, a driver inattention warning system and a rear occupant alert system. All but the LX also gets blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, rear parking sensors and Safe Exit Assist (warns rear seat occupants of incoming traffic from behind). The forward collision warning system in the EX and SX trims can detect cyclists and forward cross traffic. Those trims also get adaptive cruise control.
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