2023 Kia Sorento

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2023 Kia Sorento Review: One Of The Best

The Kia Sorento mid-size SUV is a favorite among buyers who want an occasional seven-seater with plenty of luxury features, but don't want to pay a premium for a lumbering full-size SUV. The fourth-generation Sorento was launched in the USA for the 2021 model year and is built on the Hyundai-Kia N3 platform in West Point, Georgia. For the 2023 model year, the Sorento recipe remains the same as before, but improved standard equipment makes it even more appealing.

Competitors for the new Kia Sorento SUV include such capable models like the Volkswagen Tiguan, but the Sorento still has everything it needs to come out on top in such distinguished company. While Kia offers hybrid versions of the Sorento, the gas-powered models still make up the bulk of sales, likely due to the wide array of trim levels with which they are offered.

The non-hybrid Sorento range is available with a choice between two engines, both of which can be had with either front- or all-wheel drive. The more powerful turbocharged model has a useful 281 horsepower at its disposal, whereas the base mill is much less potent. Although not as practical as the Telluride, the Sorento's lower price makes it an appealing proposition within Kia's extensive SUV lineup.

Read in this review:

  • Exterior Design 9 /10
  • Performance 8 /10
  • Fuel Economy 8 /10
  • Interior & Cargo 10 /10
  • Infotainment & Features 10 /10
  • Reliability 9 /10
  • Safety 10 /10
  • Value For Money 10 /10
9.2
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2023 Kia Sorento Changes: What’s The Difference vs The 2022 Sorento?

Kia has improved the standard equipment across the range for 2023, even though the Sorento's appearance remains largely unchanged. The improvements are most obvious in the entry-level LX trim, which receives a bunch of safety features that were previously reserved for higher-trim models, including blind-spot collision avoidance, rear cross-traffic collision avoidance, and safe exit assist.

Other trim levels also receive some previously-optional features as standard. The S trim gets a wireless charger, the EX receives an eight-way power-adjustable front passenger seat and a frameless interior rearview mirror, and the SX trim gets a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, power-folding exterior mirrors, and rain-sensing wipers.

The range-topping SX Prestige now receives AWD as standard, with no FWD alternative anymore. With this change, the SX Prestige also gets gloss black exterior accents and unique bumper designs. Finally, this top-spec model also enjoys a 115-volt power inverter to charge small household items, Homelink, and retractable rear door shades.

If you're interested in the Sorento Hybrid that we review separately, you can also look forward to more standard features and a new high-spec SX-P trim. The Sorento plug-in hybrid only comes in this high-end trim level and will cost you nearly $50,000.

Pros and Cons

  • Well-priced for a three-row SUV
  • High-quality materials in the cabin
  • Very well-equipped for the price
  • Good performance from turbocharged engine
  • Spacious seating in the first two rows
  • Third seating row is only suitable for children
  • Turbocharged FWD models struggle with traction and torque steer
  • Dual-clutch transmission can shift roughly at low speeds

What's the Price of the 2022 Kia Sorento?

Being smaller than your traditional three-row SUV, the Sorento boasts a more appealing price tag. The LX in FWD guise comes in below the $30k mark at $29,990. The S adds a lot while only increasing the price to $32,490. If you like the unique styling of the X-Line, you can have it on the S trim at $34,490. The EX and its X-Line variant are $35,890 and $39,590, respectively. The SX goes on sale for $38,790. At the top of the range is the SX Prestige, asking for $43,390, while the X-Line SX-P tops out at $43,590. The LX and SX can be upgraded with AWD for an extra $1,800.

There are two Sorento Hybrid models - the $36,590 EX and the $42,390 SX Prestige. If you can afford it, the plug-in hybrid will save you some money in fuel over the years, but this powertrain is restricted to the most expensive SX Prestige trim at $49,890. The Kia Sorento's price tags mentioned here exclude destination fees of $1,295.

On a positive note, the PHEVs qualified for a federal tax credit of $6,587 at the time of writing. However, this could change under the conditions of the new Inflation Reduction Act.

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2023 Kia Sorento Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
LX
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$30,090
S
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$32,590
X-Line S
2.5L Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$34,590
EX
2.5L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$35,990
Hybrid EX
1.6L Turbo Inline-4 Hybrid
6-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
All-Wheel Drive
$36,690
See All 2023 Kia Sorento Trims and Specs

2023 Kia Sorento Handling And Driving Impressions

When discussing the handling of an SUV, it's always important to remember that vehicles of this type are always dynamically compromised. To make them go around corners quickly, they need stiff suspension, and to make them ride comfortably, they will become wallowing beasts around the bends.

The Kia Sorento strikes an agreeable balance between these contradictory requirements, with suspension that's slightly on the firm side of comfortable, which makes it decent around corners without introducing jarring road shocks into the cabin. Body roll and understeer will inevitably appear near the grip limits, but its behavior is progressive and easy to control. The steering doesn't give much road feedback, but it does respond sharply to driver inputs, and helps the Sorento feel sportier than it actually is.

Performance-wise, the two gas-only powertrains are very different. The base 2.5-liter four-cylinder delivers 191 horsepower and 181 lb-ft of torque, and with a base curb weight of 3,715 pounds, it's bound to be on the slow side, especially when loaded with passengers and cargo.

Those in search of stronger performance should instead consider the 2.5-liter turbocharged engine in one of the higher trims, because its 281 hp and 311 lb-ft shunts the Sorento around with some real authority. Expect the 0-60 mph sprint to drop from "eventually" in the non-turbo models to the low-six-second bracket. Drivers will also enjoy the much-improved overtaking acceleration that comes with the extra helping of torque.

For more efficient motoring, consider the 227-hp Sorento hybrid or the 261-hp Sorento plug-in hybrid. The latter does come at a much higher price, however.

Verdict: Is The 2023 Kia Sorento A Good SUV?

As noted in our initial Kia Sorento review, this mid-size SUV tries to be very good at many things and succeeds at most of them. With highlights such as a stylish, high-quality interior, good standard equipment levels, potent available engines, and a high level of dynamic polish, the 2023 Kia Sorento is a compelling choice in its market segment. Family users will love its practicality, especially in five-seater mode, and the comprehensive standard safety features list makes it even more appealing as a family hauler. On the downside, the base engine can feel underpowered when the Sorento is fully loaded and the third row isn't great for adults.

The Sorento shines not because it does one thing brilliantly, but it shines because it's very good in a wide range of criteria, and while its competitors may beat it in some cases, none of them matches the overall spread of qualities on offer in the Sorento. It is more than just a good mid-size SUV, it's one of the best out there at the moment.

What Kia Sorento Model Should I Buy?

One of the most appealing things about the one-size-fits-all Sorento is its lower starting price compared to the larger Telluride. For this reason, we'd try to stick to one of the lower trim levels, otherwise, you may as well just get the bigger Kia. The S is a great place to start, since it adds a stack of features over the base LX. However, it doesn't get access to the turbocharged engine, which is something we just can't live without. For that reason, we pick the EX as the sweet spot in the range. The fact that it is also available with the more frugal HEV powertrain gives buyers even more choice, and it gets all the most desirable goodies. The PHEV only makes sense if you intend on making lots of short trips, as the huge price tag and middling gasoline fuel economy don't justify it otherwise.

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