At its 2016 introduction, the current generation Kia Sorento was a big surprise, packing refinement and quality that belied this vehicle's attractive pricing. The South Korean automaker has upped that value quotient for 2019 with a refresh for its largest crossover model that brings updated styling, a new transmission and the loss of one of the Sorento's available engines.
The new transmission is an eight-speed that comes matched with the 3.3L V6 engine (290 hp/252 lb-ft), which is now standard in all but the LX FWD trim. Gone is a 2.0L turbocharged four-cylinder that used to be available in certain trims. A 2.4L four-cylinder (185 hp/178 lb-ft) remains for that LX FWD model, which also sticks with a six-speed automatic transmission.
Aside from that entry-level variant, all Sorentos come with standard AWD.
The LX is also now the only Sorento with a five-seat interior; all other versions get standard three-row, seven-person accommodations. There's also a new gauge cluster, updated centre console and steering wheel, an upgraded navigation system with Android Auto and Apple CarPlay connectivity and wireless smartphone charging.
New-for-2019 safety features include a driver attention warning and lane keeping assist.
The 2.4L engine doesn't seem potent enough for a vehicle of this size, but it actually hauls the big Sorento around with surprising ease, at least when the vehicle is unloaded. The V6 is a smooth and strong performer, but is also thirstier.
This is one of the few vehicles in this class whose interior feels like it belongs in a vehicle that carries the nearly $50,000 price tag attached to top-trim versions.
LX trim gets air conditioning, six-speaker stereo, cruise control, 17-inch alloy wheels, heated front seats, manual driver's seat adjustment and backup sensors.
Moving up to the EX brings a raft of extras, including 18-inch wheels, dual-zone climate control, seven-inch display audio 110-volt power outlet, passive keyless entry, rear door sunshades, heated steering wheel, auto-dimming rearview mirror and a 14-way power driver's seat.
SX models get 19-inch wheels, premium stereo, navigation with an eight-inch touchscreen, leather seating and ventilated front seats.
Fuel consumption estimates range from 11.2/8.3 L/100 km (city/highway) in the LX FWD to 14.0/10.1 for its V6/AWD linemates.