The 2017 Kia Sorento looks to double down on last year’s full redesign, adding deeper smartphone integration and more advanced safety features to its dossier. But the story remains the upward mobility that Kia’s midsize crossover has lately shown. Previously known as a midsize crossover at a relatively compact price, the Sorento has graduated to full-fledged midsize status, competing on luxury and performance (and, yes, price) with the segment’s best.
Offering no fewer than three engines, the Sorento maintains a presence on the value-oriented end of the spectrum with its base 2.4-liter four-cylinder. Step up to the 3.3-liter V6, however, and you’re looking at acceleration and refinement that easily justify the higher cost, although we’re lukewarm on the available turbocharged 2.0-liter four. You can go with a two-row layout or a three-row setup — the latter offers adequate space in the way-back for kids. A number of three-row rivals boast more interior volume overall, but with its easily manageable size, the Sorento provides a nice combination of maneuverability and versatility.
If you’re looking for alternatives, it depends on which Sorento you’re considering. If it’s the two-row version, we’d suggest checking out the well-rounded Ford Edge or the Sorento’s corporate cousin, the Hyundai Santa Fe Sport, with the luxurious Jeep Grand Cherokee entering the conversation at the Kia’s higher trim levels. Three-row competitors include the Hyundai Santa Fe and the Toyota Highlander. Overall, we like how the 2017 Kia Sorento brings a little something for everyone, and as such it merits consideration from a wide range of crossover SUV shoppers.
The 2017 Kia Sorento is a midsize SUV available in five- and seven-passenger configurations. There are five trim levels: L, LX, EX, SX and SX Limited. Note that the L model, the SX Limited and the EX with the turbocharged engine (EX 2.0T) are five-passenger only, while the EX V6 and the SX are seven-passenger only. The four-cylinder LX comes standard with five-passenger seating and can be optioned with the third row; the LX V6 is seven-passenger only.
The base L comes standard with 17-inch alloy wheels, stain-resistant fabric upholstery, a tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, 40/20/40 split-second-row seats (fold, slide and recline), Bluetooth connectivity, a CD player, satellite radio and USB and auxiliary audio inputs.
The Sorento LX adds a sound-reducing windshield, roof rails, a rearview camera,a 4.3-inch touchscreen interface and two rapid-charge USB ports.
Optional on LX is the Convenience package, which adds Uvo eServices with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration, rear parking sensors, an eight-way power driver seat (plus two-way power lumbar), heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. When the V6 engine is specified, the Convenience package also includes a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert. The third-row seat can be added to the Convenience package on the four-cylinder LX (it comes standard on LX V6).
The LX’s optional Advanced Technology package adds an upgraded instrument cluster with a 7-inch driver information display, a forward collision mitigation system with automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, lane departure warning and an electronic parking brake.
The Sorento EX comes standard with the LX’s Convenience package (except the blind-spot monitor), 18-inch wheels, sound-reducing front side glass, keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles (2.0T engine only) and second-row manual side sunshades. The EX Premium package adds the blind-spot monitor, a 110-volt household-style plug, an adjustable-height hands-free power liftgate, power-folding mirrors and the upgraded instrument cluster. The Advanced Touring package can be added to the Premium package and includes a panoramic sunroof, LED interior lighting and the safety components of the LX’s Advanced Technology package.
When you go with the Sorento SX you get the Premium and Advanced Touring package equipment (minus the safety components of the LX’s Advanced Technology package) and adds upgraded steering, 19-inch wheels, LED running lights and taillights, special exterior trim, a 10-way power driver seat (plus four-way power lumbar), driver memory settings, an 8-inch touchscreen interface with a navigation system and a 10-speaker Infinity sound system with Clari-Fi digital music improvement technology. Optional on SX is an Advanced Technology package that adds adaptive xenon headlights, a heated steering wheel, ventilated front seats and the safety components of the LX’s Advanced Technology package.
Finally, there’s the SX Limited with the full contents of the SX’s Advanced Technology package plus chrome-clad 19-inch wheels, LED foglights, upgraded leather upholstery, a leather-and-wood-trimmed steering wheel and heated second-row outboard seats.
Every 2017 Kia Sorento comes standard with antilock brakes, traction and stability control, front side airbags, and front- and second-row side curtain airbags. All but the LX come standard with a rearview camera. Optional on LX and standard on EX, SX and SX Limited are rear parking sensors and Uvo eServices (geo-fencing, speed alert and curfew alert for secondary drivers). Other available safety technologies include a blind-spot monitor with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure warning and a forward collision mitigation system with automatic emergency braking.
In Edmunds brake testing, an SX V6 needed 121 feet to stop from 60 mph, which is about average.
In government crash tests, the 2017 Sorento received the top five-star rating for overall crash protection, with five stars for total front-impact protection and five stars for total side-impact protection. Likewise, the independent Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2017 Sorento the best possible score of “Good” in the small-overlap frontal-offset, moderate-overlap frontal offset, side-impact and roof-strength tests. The Sorento’s seat and head restraint design was also rated “Good” for whiplash protection in rear impacts.