- What’s Best: More premium look and feel at a non-premium price.
- What’s Worst: Top-trim models getting pricey.
- What’s interesting: Enhanced UVO connectivity service free for the first five years and fully transferable during that time if sold.
MUSKOKA, ON: Don’t mess with success sums up the refreshed 2019 Kia Sorento mid-size crossover, now heading to Canadian showrooms with a starting price of $27,995.
Sorento is Kia Canada’s top selling vehicle. For that reason, changes made for 2019 were given extra scrutiny.
First up is the dropping of the tried-and-true 2.0-litre direct injection four-cylinder on the lower trim level primarily, as Kia is planning to add a diesel later in the production run to replace it.
Thus for 2019 the Sorento comes with a choice of two engines/transmissions, front-/all-wheel-drive and four trim levels.
The engine lineup starts with a 2.4-litre, direct injection inline four-cylinder with 185 hp and 178 lb/ft of torque with a six-speed automatic transmission.
There is no manual transmission offered on the Sorento.
Next is the direct injection 3.3-litre V6 with 290 hp and 252 lb/ft of torque with all V6s fitted with Kia’s new eight-speed automatic.
The 2.4-litre is available with a choice of front- or all-wheel-drive on the LX and EX. Or you can have AWD on the LX/EX/SX and top-trim SXL.
At the Canadian media launch of the new Sorento in Ontario’s Muskoka cottage country, Kia stressed the message that Sorento buyers tend to be people with active, outdoorsy lifestyles, instead of using it as an urban shopping mall conveyance.
To that end, when properly equipped, the 2.4-litre can tow up to 2,000 lb and the 3.3-litre up to 5,000 lb.
On two-row models, cargo volume is 2,082 litres behind the first row seats and 1,099 litres behind the second row. On the three row versions it’s 2,006 litres of cargo space behind the first row, 1,077 litres behind the second row and 320 litres behind the third row.
Which leads us to in interesting conundrum.
With that kind of cargo volume and being just 20 cm shy of five metres in length, you’d figure this is an intermediate CUV. Yet Kia insists is a compact.
Compact or not, I know having driven it that it just about filled my garage.
Exterior visual cues are subtle, such as a crisper grille design with chrome inserts along with s restyled front fascia, LED fog lamps and LED taillights and changed rear bumper. Triple LED headlights are offered depending on trim.
There are a host of driver/safety aids such as Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Brake Assist, and Electronic Brake Force Distribution.
There is s 360-degree camera monitoring system available with Cross Traffic Alert, a feature I’ve become dependent upon.
But the big Kia news is the latest UVO Intelligence connectivity system that uses your cellphone to lock/unlock the Sorento, start/stop, set climate control, send out an emergency alert in the event of a crash, monitor the Sorento’s mechanical systems for any potential maintenance problems and voice-activated destination search for any address and things of interest along the way.
In Canada, Kia will make UVO free for five years and it is fully transferable.
My co-driver and I drove a nicely equipped SX V6 AWD three-row model over two days and on some wonderfully scenic and challenging roads we had never driven before, even though we’ve each lived in Ontario for more than a half-century.
One was called Southwood Rd. near Minett, ON, and I’m urging you now to make it a point to head up there in the fall when the leaves turn.
Both of us were most impressed at the suspension and how it soaked up ruts, asphalt patches and potholes.
With Kia AWD, the transmission has three drive modes – Eco, Normal and Sport.
On the twists and turns, I switched to Sport and immediately noticed how the steering became more taut, but the best part was the way it didn’t feel as though the Sorento was plowing into the corners,
We also noticed how the Sorento in front of us showed little body lean in tight corners, proving the engineers back in Korea got this one right.
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Sight lines were good, but being basically the shape of a five-metre long brick, the blind spot alert came in mighty handy. Again, I don’t know how I got along without this feature in the past.
Our SX V6 had the premium Harmon/Kardon audio system and eight-inch upper centre stack infotainment interface, which was easy to see even in direct sunlight.
If you want luxury, the Sorento can deliver with trim dependent heated and air cooled seats in premium Nappa leather, heated steering wheel, panoramic sunroof and dynamic headlights that swivel depending on steering input to illuminate a curve ahead.
Kia seems to have all its crossover bases covered with the new Sorento and all that remains is for you to take one for a test drive and find out at Kia’s motto, “The Power to Surprise” is quite true.
2019 Kia Sorento
BODY STYLE: Mid-size, five-seven-seat crossover
DRIVE METHOD: FWD or AWD with six-speed or eight-speed automatic transmission depending on engine
ENGINE: 2.4-litre direct injection four-cylinder (185 hp and 178 lb/ft of torque); 3.3-litre V6 (290 hp, 252 lb/ft)
FUEL ECONOMY: (Regular) 2.4-litre, FWD, 10.7/8.2L/100 km city/highway; 3.3-litre AWD, 12.5/9.7L/100 km
CARGO: Five-passenger, 2,082 litres behind the first row seats, 1,099 litres behind the second row; Seven-passenger, 2,006 litres behind the first row, 1,077 litres behind the second row, 320 litres behind the third row.
TOWING: (With tow package) 2.4-litre, 2,000 lb; 3.3-litre, 5,000 lb
PRICING: LX FWD/AWD, $27,995/$30,295; EX AWD, $38,365-$40,865; SX AWD, $44,865; SXL AWD, $48,865
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