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This SUV is no longer a steal, but it's still a deal

Executive Wheels: The 2019 Kia Sorento SXL is loaded and lovely


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2019 KIA SORENTO SXL AWD

I have almost no reservations whatsoever stating that the Kia Sorento might just be the finest SUV on the market, and I felt exactly the same the last time I drove one in August 2014. But I do have one reservation this time around: price.

When I drove the top-of-the-line Sorento five years ago – essentially the same vehicle I drove this time around – the base price was $38,300, and it included a ton of wonderful safety and comfort accessories as standard. Trust me, compared with the same-class Toyota/Lexus, Honda/Acura, the American makes and many European makes, that price was a steal for what you got.

This 2019 version – which has the same engine and horsepower, and essentially the same wonderful lineup of appointments as standard – is now $47,490 base, and $48,020 all in. The KIA Sorento remains a great SUV, and maybe the best around, but it’s no bargain.

The good news, I guess, is that this 2019 Kia Sorento, even with the more competitive price hike, remains a great SUV. The Sorento is very handsome, and feels beefy and heavy without being a performance drag. The only negative here is that while the doors are heavy, the front doors at least lack that satisfying “thump” when you shut them. I often felt as though as I hadn’t quite closed the doors, and I felt the same way when I last reviewed it.

But here’s my long list of wonderful things, all included in the base price of the SXL trim:

  • There’s is a panoramic sunroof that throws a great deal of light. It is very cool.
  • Perhaps my favorite feature: almost every car has some kind of noise to indicate that the key fob worked to either lock the car or unlock it, and many of them are annoying. Here instead the mirrors fold in on lock and out on unlock, which is not annoying, and the folded in mirrors double as protecting the mirrors while parked.
  • The interior is a beautiful, comfortable black-and tan-leather upholstery array, suitable for long road trips.
  • One of the best consoles in the business, with a wireless phone charger up front (with plenty of room for even a large Galaxy phone) and a slew of power outlets, AUX and USB ports. There’s a console shifter for the automatic tranny, two ample cup holders and a driving mode button. Also a big armrest cubby with plenty of storage and a USB port. A place for everything and everything in its place, without jamming or clutter. Smart design.
  • The second-row seating for three is quite roomy with plenty of legroom, but the third row, holding two people, is better suited for small people (children) as the leg room is compromised. Not for a long road trip, but quite adequate for around town with seven-passenger capacity. Also, the rear seat folds flat and creates a very nice storage area.

 

In the end, though, the best thing about this elegant Sorento is the power and handling. While the base models of the Sorento – the L and the LX – have a 185 horsepower, 2.4 liter 4-cylinder engine, this SXL goes big with a 3.3 liter turbocharged V-6 engine. You won’t want for power, and with a gas mileage rating of 19 mpg city/24 mpg highway/21 mpg combined, you’ll be able to afford all gas you want. This vehicle hauls.

The engine is coupled with an extra smooth eight-speed automatic transmission. Plus, the Sorento handles like a dream in both city and highway driving – a real driver’s feel – and is very quiet in all conditions. If I put you in this car with no badging, you’d swear it was a top-of-the-line luxury SUV. Technically it is not that, but trust me – it is.   

You can get the base model of the Sorento, with the smaller engine, for as low as $26,290, but you’d probably have to add stuff. This SXL carries a base price of $46,490, and that includes most everything – the only “options” are cross bars on the panoramic roof ($225), a cargo net ($50), a cargo cover ($150), and a cargo tray ($115). Add in $990 for destination charges, and the bottom line is $48,020. Oh, and for you Made in the USA fans, the Sorento has its final assembly done in West Point, Georgia.

In the grand scheme of things, that’s a great price.

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Jeff Rundles

Jeff Rundles is a former editor of ColoradoBiz and a regular columnist. Email him at jrundles@cobizmag.com.

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