Kia Sorento

The Kia Sorento is powered by one of two engines, both connected to a 6-speed automatic and optional all-wheel drive. The base model gets a 2.4L 4-cylinder engine making 191 horsepower. With this engine, the Sorento averages 20 mpg in the city and 26 mpg on the highway. All other models are powered by a new 3.3L V6, good for 290 horsepower, enough to make the Sorento feel quite spry. Even with the bigger engine, the Sorento still manages to average 18 mpg in the city and 25 mpg on the highway.

The Sorento is available in four different trim levels, that progressively ramp up the features until the Sorento is more than capable of facing off with various luxury vehicles on the market.

The base trim is dubbed the LX and basic though it may be it still comes with plenty of amenities. Notable features on the LX include keyless entry, Bluetooth connectivity, steering wheel mounted audio and phone controls, heated mirrors with turn signals, 17-inch alloy wheels and a USB input jack for the stereo.

The next step up is the EX, a trim level that makes significant strides towards taking the Sorento into luxury vehicle territory. The Sorento EX upgrades the engine to the V6 unit but also adds heated front seats, second row sunshades, pushbutton start, automatic headlights, front fog lights, 18-inch alloy wheels, a digital instrument cluster, a rearview backup camera, dual-zone climate control, an electronic automatically dimming rearview mirror, interior accent lighting, leather seats a leather steering wheel and a leather shift knob.

Upscale SX models get power folding rearview mirrors, a panoramic sunroof with sunshade, LED rear taillights, 19-inch alloy wheels, an Infinity premium sound system, vented front seats, a navigation system with an 8-inch screen, a blind spot detection system, a power liftgate, a power adjustable front passenger seat and some upgraded trim along the doors.

The top of the line model is dubbed the Limited. The Sorento Limited is even more polished than the already luxurious SX. Upgrades include chrome 19-inch wheels, Napa leather seating surfaces, heated second row seats, HID headlights and a heated and wood-trimmed steering wheel.

Safety features across the Sorento line include anti-lock brakes, traction control, electronic brake distribution, a rollover sensor, front, side and side curtain airbags, active headrests and hill start control. A backup camera is available as an option on the LX, but comes standard across all other trims.

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Editors' First Take

Kia's trusty Sorento SUV has been around since 2002, but hot diggity, it's a real peach now. The 2021 Sorento offers sleek styling and tons of innovative tech, plus there's a new hybrid powertrain, too.

The Sorento Hybrid pairs a 1.6-liter turbo I4 engine with a 44-kilowatt electric motor. Total power output is rated at 228 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, which is more than what you get in a Toyota Highlander Hybrid, but less than what's offered in the Ford Explorer Hybrid with its 3.3-liter V6. Front-wheel drive is standard and all-wheel drive isn't available, and a six-speed automatic transmission handles shifting duties.

This powertrain combination offers plenty of get-up-and-go and I never feel like I'm lacking power when piloting the Sorento up steep hills or merging onto the highway. On top of that, the Sorento Hybrid is actually at its best when driven in Eco mode, because it doesn't mute the throttle or alter the transmission programming enough so as to be annoying. Switching to Comfort, Smart or Sport modes doesn't seem to provide a noticeable change to the Sorento's demeanor, either.

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