2021 Kia Sorento Hybrid EX new car reviews

The new Kia Sorento is a relatively attractive, mid-sized SUV that features three rows of seats. The 1.6-liter, turbocharged, 227-horsepower hybrid drivetrain works seamlessly, while power delivery is very linear and more than adequate for merging into traffic and cruising along at highway speeds.

With seating for six, this SUV is a practical, common-sense mode of transportation for a large cross section of American families.

The EX model, which we tested, adds such nice features as a power sunroof, smart power tailgate, wireless device charging pad, LED fog lamps, adaptive cruise control and an advanced parking warning system.

What's it like to drive? Read our driving impressions below.

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Tim Suddard
Tim Suddard

Inside, the Sorento is nicely appointed, and the interior is well laid out and quite comfortable. Controls are easy to figure out and fall readily to hand. There are plenty of bins and cup holders to store things and the overall feeling is comfortable and competent.

The same cannot be said for the chassis. At highway speeds, the Sorento seems to hunt and wander in a way that inspires little confidence. In the corners, the Sorento reminds you that it is no BMW or Mercedes SUV and was not designed with drivers in mind. Handling leans toward excessive understeer and cornering needs to be done with conservative respect. Driving with any exhilaration and abandonment will soon find you this chassis’ limits.

Base price on this vehicle is $36,590 and the Runway Red paint ($445) and destination charges ($1170) bring the total price to $38,205. While you might argue that this price is a lot for what you get, you do get a practical, six-passenger people and/or gear mover that gets incredible fuel mileage and has hassle-free ownership for 10 years or 100,000 miles.

3 things I liked: 1. Attractive in its Runway Red Paint 2. Fuel mileage is exceptional at an average of 37 mpg 3. The 100,000 warranty is hard to beat

3 things I didn’t like: 1. Can’t fit a bicycle in the back without taking off the front wheel 2. The knob style shifter is annoying at best… and potentially dangerous at worst 3. Not a driver’s chassis. Nervous at almost any speed

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Um, Kia, what’s with the knob for the shifter? For years I have praised your traditional, it-ain’t-broke-so-don’t-fix-it controls.

You want to make the interior warmer? Easy, there's a little toggle.

Turn up the radio? Hey, a knob.

But this shifter knob? I know Kia's not the first but, to be honest, not a fan. What was wrong with the traditional shifter?

The rest of the controls made sense and seemed intuitive. Please, Kia, let’s keep it that way.

And do we need the chrome garnish on the front fender? Your styling doesn’t need that. I know BMW does it but, well, BMW's current styling is a different subject. Kia has been nailing it for years. Stick with what works.

Other than that, yeah, it's a fine six-passenger SUV that doesn’t drive like one. It’s easy to park and feels tidy to drive. The ride is quiet. Seats are comfy. That rear row doesn’t offer much of a side view, but there is room back there.

Add in that warranty, and it’s one to check out.

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