For 2019, all five trim levels of the Kia Sorento midsize SUV come standard with three-row seating that can accommodate up to seven passengers. (Manufacturer photo)

For 2019, all five trim levels of the Kia Sorento midsize SUV come standard with three-row seating that can accommodate up to seven passengers. (Manufacturer photo)

Kia Sorento near-luxury midsize SUV is freshened for 2019

The SXL AWD model is heartily equipped with deluxe features and driver assistance systems.

Kia’s midsize Sorento SUV sees some changes for 2019, including interior and exterior styling modifications, a new eight-speed automatic transmission for V6-equipped models, and an updated version of the six-speed transmission used on the four-cylinder engine.

Three rows of seats with room for up to seven passengers is now a standard setup on all five Sorento trims, and the roundup of available technology is enhanced by the addition of new driver assistance features, wireless charging, and a surround-sound Harman Kardon premium audio system.

There are five trim levels: L, LX, EX, SX and SXL. Sorento is on the fancy side in the midsize SUV market, so even the base model is thoughtfully equipped. Pricing is attractive, too. The L model falls just shy of $27,000 including destination charge.

My tester was an SXL trim with AWD, the top-of-the-line model. Heartily equipped with deluxe features, it also comes with Sorento’s 290-horsepower V6 engine together with the new eight-speed automatic transmission. L, LX and EX trims come standard with the carryover 185-horsepower four-cylinder engine; the previous turbo-four has been discontinued for 2019.

The Sorento SXL powertrain provides a fuel economy rating of 19 mpg city, 24 mpg highway, and 21 mpg combined. Had I needed to tow anything, which thank God I didn’t, this V6 AWD Sorento could have handled it with ease, up to 5,000 pounds.

Interior trappings are well within the definition of luxury. Comfort, convenience and high-grade materials abound. Ride smoothness and quietness are hallmarks, and the Harman Kardon premium sound system is golden. In a nod to good sense, Kia has graced Sorento with an infotainment system that is easily operable.

My tester was dressed in elegant Platinum Graphite paint with a black interior. Not to sound too prima-donna, but the Sorento SXL has a new Terracotta earthtone interior color for 2019, which I’d have preferred.

Driver assistance features on the 2019 Sorento SXL are inclusive. Lane-keeping, collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, blind spot monitoring, surround view monitor and on and on. Anyone needing more than what comes standard on the SXL might want to avoid driving altogether.

Though midsize, Sorento sits high and comes across as big and sturdy. Nevertheless, it handles swiftly and securely on twisty roads.

As for the V6 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission, if they were Hollywood celebrities they’d be considered a power couple.

2019 KIA SORENTO SXL AWD

Base price, including destination charge: $47,480

Price as driven: $48,370

Mary Lowry is an independent automotive writer who lives in Snohomish County. She is a member of the Motor Press Guild, and a member and past president of the Northwest Automotive Press Association. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturers as a one-week loan for review purposes only. In no way do the manufacturers control the content of the reviews.

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