2021 Kia Sorento X-Line AWD new car reviews

Photography Courtesy Kia

The Kia Sorento has been completely redesigned for 2021, with new engines, trims and features available.

We sampled the off-road inspired X-Line that adds an extra inch to ground clearance, and is equipped with the 2.5-liter, turbocharged inline-four (the same engine from the Sonata N-Line and available in the Hyundai Santa Fe) rated for 281 horsepower and 311 lb.-ft. of torque backed by an eight-speed, dual-clutch transmission.

How, then, does this slightly more rugged Sorento handle daily driving? Read our impressions below.

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David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Let’s, for a minute, pretend that you’re a normal person. You’re just seeking a comfortable, modern convenance for the fam, and you’d prefer an SUV. Why an SUV? Because that's what the masses desire.

Why would you not at least visit your local Kia dealer?

The latest Sorento pretty much does it all.

First, looks–because that will represent your first encounter. It looks good. Modern with good proportions. Not gimmicky. Doesn’t have a face that looks like something that wants to kill Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Those good looks continue inside. Are those quilted buckets? Real wood on the dash? Big, legible gauges? Are all of the controls intuitive and easy to use? Do I count eight USB ports? (Really, seven would have been plenty.)

But how does it drive? Like a Kia: just fine. Good power, good manners, good at doing all sorts of car/SUV stuff.

Kia chassis and steering have improved greatly in past years. Transmission shifts crisply and properly–no CVT here, thank you very much.

For a three-row SUV, it doesn’t drive huge. Parks just fine. Easy to get an out of. Like I said, it's good at car/SUV stuff.

The pillars make the third row feel a bit claustrophobic, but if you regularly seat that many people, I'm thinking then maybe it's time to look at a minivan.

I know that we’re a sports car magazine, but if a friend asked about buying a new car, my TL;DR would be simple: Why not check out your local Kia dealer?

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