2024 Kia Sorento Review: Gas-only updated, hybrids carry over, does it matter?

.tach svg { width: 66px; height: 66px; transform-box: fill-box; } .tach .masking { fill: #FFFFFF; } .tach .color_01 { fill: #FFF2A4; } .tach .color_02 { fill: #FFF274; } .tach .color_03 { fill: #FFE349; } .tach .color_04 { fill: #FFD238; } .tach .color_05 { fill: #FFB925; } .tach .color_06 { fill: #FF9E15; } .tach .color_07 { fill: #FF8308; } .tach .color_08 { fill: #FF6D00; } .tach .color_09 { fill: #F44807; } .tach .color_10 { fill: #E02222; } .tach .gray, .tach.rate0 .color_01, .tach.rate0 .color_02, .tach.rate0 .color_03, .tach.rate0 .color_04, .tach.rate0 .color_05, .tach.rate0 .color_06, .tach.rate0 .color_07, .tach.rate0 .color_08, .tach.rate0 .color_09, .tach.rate0 .color_10 { fill: #E5E5E5; } .tach .border { fill: #DDDDDD; } .tach .needle { fill: rgba(0,0,0,0.5); } .grays { transform-origin: 50% 50%; transition: all ease-in-out 1.25s; height: 512px; width: 512px; } .needle { transform-origin: 50% 50%; transition: all ease-in-out 1.5s; height: 512px; width: 512px; } .tach.rating0 .grays { stroke-dashoffset: -433 ; } .tach.rating0_5 .grays, .tach.rating1 .grays { stroke-dashoffset: -507 ; } .tach.rating1_5 .grays, .tach.rating2 .grays { stroke-dashoffset: -579 ; } .tach.rating2_5 .grays, .tach.rating3 .grays { stroke-dashoffset: -652 ; } .tach.rating3_5 .grays, .tach.rating4 .grays { stroke-dashoffset: -725 ; } .tach.rating4_5 .grays, .tach.rating5 .grays { stroke-dashoffset: -797 ; } .tach.rating5_5 .grays, .tach.rating6 .grays { stroke-dashoffset: -870 ; } .tach.rating6_5 .grays, .tach.rating7 .grays { stroke-dashoffset: -942 ; } .tach.rating7_5 .grays, .tach.rating8 .grays { stroke-dashoffset: -1015; } .tach.rating8_5 .grays, .tach.rating9 .grays { stroke-dashoffset: -1087; } .tach.rating9_5 .grays, .tach.rating10 .grays { stroke-dashoffset: -1162; } .tach.rating0 .needle { transform: rotate( 0.00deg); } .tach.rating0_5 .needle { transform: rotate( 10.25deg); } .tach.rating1 .needle { transform: rotate( 19.00deg); } .tach.rating1_5 .needle { transform: rotate( 31.75deg); } .tach.rating2 .needle { transform: rotate( 41.50deg); } .tach.rating2_5 .needle { transform: rotate( 54.25deg); } .tach.rating3 .needle { transform: rotate( 64.00deg); } .tach.rating3_5 .needle { transform: rotate( 76.75deg); } .tach.rating4 .needle { transform: rotate( 86.50deg); } .tach.rating4_5 .needle { transform: rotate( 99.25deg); } .tach.rating5 .needle { transform: rotate(109.00deg); } .tach.rating5_5 .needle { transform: rotate(121.75deg); } .tach.rating6 .needle { transform: rotate(131.50deg); } .tach.rating6_5 .needle { transform: rotate(144.25deg); } .tach.rating7 .needle { transform: rotate(154.00deg); } .tach.rating7_5 .needle { transform: rotate(166.75deg); } .tach.rating8 .needle { transform: rotate(176.50deg); } .tach.rating8_5 .needle { transform: rotate(189.25deg); } .tach.rating9 .needle { transform: rotate(199.00deg); } .tach.rating9_5 .needle { transform: rotate(211.75deg); } .tach.rating10 .needle { transform: rotate(221.50deg); }

8

The Sorento is a uniquely useful size, providing a compact third row for those who might need one in a pinch. Its turbo, hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains, plus premium interior and excellent safety tech help it stand out from the crowd.

 

Pros: Available hybrids; dimensions may be ‘Goldilocks’ just-right size for many; excellent safety tech

Cons: Slow base engine; hybrids don’t get updated for 2024; cramped third row for a three-row SUV

The Kia Sorento has been updated extensively for 2024. It also carries over mostly unchanged. Huh?

You see, the versions powered only by gasoline get a litany of updates and upgrades, including bolder styling, a new tech interface encased within a slick curved housing, additional features and a new X-Pro rugged trim level. The 2024 Kia Sorento Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid don’t get any of that, and are the same midsize, three-row SUV you could get last model year. They’ll be getting the same updates, minus the X-Pro, for 2025.

So, the question must be asked: Should you wait for them? After spending time in the new Sorento X-Pro as well as seeing other versions in person, we can’t say it’s a substantial leap over what was already pretty great. It’s mostly aesthetic changes, and it’s quite possible that some may find the new interior controls and infotainment system less user-friendly. There al so aren’t any noteworthy mechanical updates, apart from the off-road-oriented X-Pro, so the rest of the 2024 Sorento lineup should theoretically drive the same. The hybrids will drive exactly the same, which is just fine.

Ultimately, we feel safe in saying that the 2024 Kia Sorento remains one of our top-recommended three-row SUVs. We’re positive about the hybrids, especially as electrified family vehicles are so rare. We appreciate every Sorento’s in-betweener size for those who need more space and seating than two-row compacts offer but don’t want to go all the way up to Telluride-sized family haulers. In general, the Sorento is very well-rounded, which the updates shouldn’t change … regardless of when they occur.  

Interior & Technology   |   Passenger & Cargo Space   |   Performance & Fuel Economy

What it’s like to drive   |   Pricing & Trim Levels   |   Crash Ratings & Safety Features

2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro and 2024 Kia Sorento PHEV

What’s new for 2024?

The gas-only Sorento trims get new front styling and mildly refreshed rear styling. We’re not sure it’s an improvement, could actually be a bit ugly now. Inside, there’s a new infotainment system with a next-generation user interface, bigger screens encased in a single curved housing and wireless Apple/Android connectivity across the board. Kia’s dual-mode climate/infotainment control panel previously found in the EV6 and Niro make their way into the Sorento, which may not be to everyone’s liking. A new X-Pro trim level debuts, building upon the existing X-Line with BF Goodrich all-terrain tires wrapping 17-inch wheels. You can read more about these changes in our 2024 Kia Sorento preview, and read our first drive of the 2024 Sorento X-Pro.

The Sorento Hybrid and Plug-In Hybrid effectively carry over unchanged for 2024, but will get the above style and infotainment updates for 2025. You can see the visual changes above.

What are the Sorento interior and in-car technology like?

As noted above, the interior differs based on powertrain. The updated design (above in tan) is sleeker, with slim door-to-door air vents, touch-sensitive menu buttons and a wow-moment curved infotainment panel. The hybrids’ carry-over design (above in white and blue) features eight air vents, physical buttons, a traditional instrument binnacle and dash-top screen. It definitely doesn’t look as

good, but we also thought it looked pretty good before and still do. Those touch-sensitive menu buttons are also a love-‘em-or-hate-‘em feature in other Kias (the hate-‘em group seems to be people who frequently adjust the climate control system), so depending on your point of view, functionality could actually be worse. The Sorento’s high-quality materials and solid build quality are the same with both, though.

Technology is totally different. All hybrid trims get a 10.25-inch infotainment screen that runs a user-friendly, feature-packed interface that’s more modern than a lot of other carmakers’ infotainment systems. The new 12.3-inch touchscreen interface  found in the updated gas-only versions features a different user interface, and in certain ways, we think it might be a step back in terms of functionality. There’s no way to see audio information in the split-screen function when using navigation, and when using the radio, you can no longer see your favorite/preset buttons and the current song playing (as you can see the old/hybrid system could in the photo below). The radio menu shortcut button is also gone altogether, meaning you have to press “Media” a bunch of times to get where you want to go. We do like that both have a customizable star button, which we like to set for quick access to Apple CarPlay or Android Auto.

The Hybrid gets traditional gauges standard on the EX and an all-digital instrument panel on the SX. In the new design, a second 12.3-inch screen is used for the instrument panel, but designs differ by trim level. The SX Prestige pictured in the gallery above offers multiple design choices, which can be tied to drive mode or individually selected. 

How big is the Sorento?

The Sorento has three rows of seats and is considered a midsize crossover, but it’s considerably smaller than other vehicles described as such. It’s 8 inches shorter in length than the Telluride and 4 inches narrower, which is significant. It also has nearly 2 fewer inches of third-row legroom (plus a seat that’s much closer to the floor and therefore less comfortable) and 3.1 fewer inches of middle-row shoulder room. Those are two dimensions most likely to make a difference when loading up with people. All that said, the Telluride is one of the biggest vehicles in the segment, and the Sorento isn’t that

far off the pace. It may not be as spacious or comfortable back there, but the seats are hardly packed tight, and if you’re on the small side, journeys won’t be as tortuous as you might assume. It’s also important to note the Sorento has basically the same exterior dimensions as two-row midsize crossovers – in that way, the third row can basically be thought of as a bonus feature for occasional use.

One other thing to keep in mind: A second-row bench seat is optional on most trims, meaning there is frequently only six seats aboard with the second-row captain’s chairs and two-person third row. Most three-row crossovers these days have seatbelts for seven or eight depending on the middle seating row. Access to that third row could also be better as the second row just doesn’t leave much of a gap when slid forward (pictured below).

Cargo space with the third row lowered (38.4 cubic feet) and all seats lowered (75.5) is better than what you’ll get in most two-row midsize SUVs (and a bit better than what you get in a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4). Where it really suffers relative other three-row crossovers is cargo space behind the raised third row. Its mere 12.6 cubic feet trails all those bigger three-rows considerably, and in terms of actual luggage, could barely fit two carry-on roller suitcases in our testing. As such, using all three rows is something that’s unlikely to be done for lengthy journeys, unless your family packs really light or invests in a roof-top carrier. If that investment seems likely, know that the X-Line has raised roof rails (pictured below) that generally make doing so a lot easier.

What are the Sorento fuel economy and performance specs?

The 2024 Sorento LX and S trim levels come standard with a 2.5-liter inline-four that produces 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque. A traditional eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive are standard, with all-wheel drive an option. Although engine output is similar to what you’d find in a CR-V or RAV4, the Sorento’s greater weight results in slower acceleration – Kia says this engine will get the Sorento from 0-62 mph (100 kph) in 9.5 seconds. Kia estimates fuel economy of 23 mpg city, 31 mpg highway and 26 mpg combined with FWD and 23/28/25 with AWD.

All other trims get a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-four that produces 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque – an output that exceeds that of bigger three-row SUVs. Its 0-62 time is 7.4 seconds, which is more competitive, but hardly eye-popping given the available power and how quick it immediately feels off the line. A lot of credit goes to all that torque. This engine is paired with an eight-speed dual-clutch automated manual transmission that for all intents and purposes behaves like any old automatic. Kia estimates fuel ecinomy figures of 20 mpg city, 29 mpg highway and 23 mpg combined with FWD and 20/27/23 with AWD.

The standard Sorento Hybrid features a combination of a 1.6-liter inline-four and a single electric motor for a combined output of 227 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Unlike most other hybrids, it relies on a traditional six-speed automatic transmission resulting in it feeling a bit more normal behind the wheel. Its 0-62 time falls in between the two above engines at 8.6 seconds. EPA fuel economy estimates for 2024 are 39 mpg city, 35 mpg highway and 37 mpg combined with FWD and 36/33/34 with AWD.

The 2024 Sorento PHEV is a plug-in hybrid (below in white) that uses the same gas engine but gets a more powerful electric motor and a bigger battery that, as the name suggests, can be replenished by plugging in. Output is 261 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. It can travel an EPA-estimated 32 miles on electricity alone, which is good for such a large PHEV. It gets a rating of 79 miles-per-gallon equivalent from the EPA. Its acceleration should be the same as the regular hybrid.

2024 Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrid front three quarter low
2024 Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrid front three quarter low

View 19 Photos

What’s the Sorento like to drive?

Although we have yet to drive the gas-only 2024 Sorento models in anything but the new X-Pro trim, that’s really the only version that should be different from last year’s model. As such, expect to find the Sorento drives like a smaller vehicle when behind the wheel than a Telluride or other three-row crossovers. At the same time, it feels a little more substantial and premium, so to speak, than compact SUVs like the Hyundai Tucson or Toyota RAV4 would. That said, the ride and handling do differ by the version you get, especially the more off-road-oriented ones. The X-Lines have greater ground clearance and therefore a taller suspension you definitely notice, as it feels a little ponderous and more prone to body roll. As for the new X-Pro, you do notice the harder rubber and knobbier tread pattern, resulting in firmer responses to bumps and an occasional nervous ride quality on certain types of seemingly smooth pavement. Road-holding grip and braking distances should also suffer with these tires, so we’d definitely think twice about getting the X-Pro instead of the X-Line. Of course, there’s nothing that says you can’t swap all-seasons onto an X-Pro … or all-terrains onto an X-Line. 

Ultimately, the biggest difference will remain your choice of powertrain. Expect the base engine to be awfully slow (we say “expect” because we’ve never tested one), while the turbo showcases serious guts. Its 281 hp and 311 lb-ft is an awful lot to feed through the front wheels alone, and not surprisingly, the front-wheel-drive Sorento EX we tested demonstrated plenty of torque steer when accelerating hard from a stop or powering out of a corner. You’ll also end up interacting with the stability control system more often, especially on slippery surfaces. The available all-wheel-drive system results in the turbo Sorento feeling less frenetic off the line and significantly more confident in slippery conditions. The Sorento’s dual-clutch automated manual transmission is an atypical choice for a family SUV and generally behaves like a normal automatic, though you may find it rolls back slightly on inclines before quickly engaging as an adept driver of a manual transmission might. Until that happened to us, we had spent a week totally forgetting the Sorento had a DCT.

The hybrid is arguably a better choice – even if you’ll have to live with last year’s design and tech (and we’re honestly not sure that’s a bad thing). It doesn’t have the outright grunt of the non-hybrid turbo engine, but its 227 horsepower and 258 pound-feet are no slouch. And having both an electric motor and turbocharger, it offers much of that torque low in the rev band, making for easy acceleration. It also features a six-speed automatic instead of a DCT. The result is much smoother shifts and fewer of them, though it’s sluggish to make changes. And of course, the hybrid gets considerably better fuel economy than the gas-only Sorentos.

The Plug-In Hybrid effectively offers the exact same experience once its 32 miles of electric range are exhausted. While that’s around, though, it can provide the quiet and punchy acceleration of an electric car. If you can keep it plugged in at night and have a round-trip commute within its range, this should be how you’ll experience the PHEV most of the time. There are two things to keep in mind. First, it still has a six-speed automatic, meaning you’ll experience gear changes when in electric-only mode. That’ll feel totally normal for those coming from a gas-powered car, and totally bizarre should you have experience with a full EV. Second, the gas engine will kick on automatically should you need stronger acceleration.

What other Kia Sorento reviews can I read?

2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro First Drive Review: Updated midsizer gets tougher and techier

This family-friendly three-row SUV gets off-road updates that don’t punish the ride.

2024 Sorento SX Prestige X-Pro
2024 Sorento SX Prestige X-Pro

View 28 Photos

2022 Kia Sorento Plug-In Hybrid Road Test Review

We were very much impressed by the Sorento Plug-In Hybrid but lamented that it was almost impossible to get back in September 2022. Those availability problems have since been alleviated to some extent.

Kia Sorento Luggage Test

Since it’s one of the smallest three-row SUVs, it shouldn’t be surprising that the Sorento has one of the smallest cargo areas behind its raised third row. We test how much you can fit with all seats raised, plus how much is possible if you just put one side of the 50/50-split third-row down.

 

2021 Kia Sorento SX Prestige X-Line Road Test

We review the X-Line version of the range-topping SX Prestige. It looks different, but it should drive the same as the updated 2024 version.

 

2021 Kia Sorento First Drive Review

Read more about this generation of the Sorento, including its engineering and design relative the previous version.

What is the 2024 Sorento price and where is it built?

The Sorento hybrids are built in Hwasung, South Korea, while the gas-only Sorento models are built in West Point, Georgia. This has always been the case; it has nothing to do with the model year changeover.

Full pricing for the 2024 Sorento lineup follows. Prices below include the $1,375 destination charge.

LX FWD: $33,365
S FWD: $35,765
S AWD: $37,765
EX FWD: $39,365
EX X-Line AWD: $43,065
SX FWD: $43,065
SX X-Line AWD: $44,865
SX Prestige X-Line AWD: $47,765
SX Prestige X-Pro AWD: $48,765

Hybrid EX FWD: $38,015
Hybrid EX AWD: $40,315
Hybrid SX Prestige AWD: $43,815

PHEV SX Prestige AWD: $51,315

Besides the powertrain options and the usual ladder-like escalation of equipment with each trim level, there are some fundamental differences to be aware of. As the price and name would imply, the SX Prestige would be the luxury-oriented trim. The X-Line is the outdoorsy adventure choice, boasting an extra inch of ground clearance, more versatile raised roof rails and more rugged styling cues. The new X-Pro goes further by adding BFGoodrich all-terrain tires wrapping 17-inch wheels.

What are the Sorento safety ratings and driver assistance features?

The Sorento not only comes with a lot of driver assistance systems, but they are among the best-executed in the industry. These include forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking and pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, a driver inattention warning system and a rear occupant alert system. All but the LX also get blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning, rear parking sensors and Safe Exit Assist (warns rear seat occupants of traffic approaching from behind). The forward collision warning system in the EX and SX trims can detect cyclists and forward cross traffic. Adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go capability and lane-centering steering assist is included in the S, EX, all hybrids and the PHEVs. The gas-only SX and SX Prestige get a newer, upgraded adaptive cruise control system that adjusts its acceleration tendencies based on observing the driver.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety had only partially tested the gas-only 2024 Sorento at the time of this writing. It got a best-possible “Good” in the three tests it was subjected to. It was previously a Top Safety Pick with equally strong crash ratings in additional tests. Its accident avoidance tech also got top marks. It’s hard to see this changing with the updates. The new front-end redesign could change the headlight scores, though, which were “Good” for the SX and SX Prestige and “Poor” for everything else. In NHTSA crash testing, the Sorento Hybrid received a four-star overall rating out of five with a four-star frontal and five-star side rating.