With the midsize SUV segment booming in the current market scenario, people would love to welcome another one especially from a renowned manufacturer like Kia. Festering on the ideology of a compact exterior yet spacious interior, the Sorento from Kia is here to give you the best of your money. It is large on the inside and still easy to live within city limits - something that its rivals lack. However, in order to do that, it has lost its stature as a boxy SUV and doesn't have much road presence now. But that's okay, as, with just a small compromise, the Sorento shines in other departments.
The 2020 Kia Sorento bridges the gap between the smaller Sportage and the humungous Telluride in terms of pricing. On a keen observation, you'll realize that it borrows a lot of styling cues from the two as well. Featuring two different powerhouses under the hood, the Sorento is spread over a wide span of price range. The Sorento has been christened with some segment-defining features that set it apart from the segment. Its top-notch build quality further adds more essence to its character.
Let's move ahead and find out if the Kia Sorento still has what it needs to overpower the likes of some bigger rivals such as the Volkswagen Atlas, Honda Pilot, and Subaru Ascent.
7.7/10 Engine and Performance
2020 Kia Sorento Features
Kia Sorento is available in six trim configurations. There are two engine options – L and LX trims have the 2.4 L inline-four engine and 6-speed automatic transmission while the LX V6 and above get the 3.3 L V6 engine and 8-speed transmission. The pricing for the base L trim starts at $25,990 and it offers standard Apple Carplay and Android Auto, cloth upholstery and seats 3 people in the second row and 2 in the third row. The LX trim brings in safety features like Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning and Blind Spot Monitoring.
The LX V6 trim costs $5,300 more than the base L trim but it offers a powerful V6 engine which suits a three-row crossover better. EX V6, SX V6, and SXL V6 bring in more premium features with increments in the price. The top-spec SXL V6 commands a price tag of $44,690 and puts the Sorento in the league of luxury crossovers.
7" touch screen, Apple CarPlay & Android Auto
2.4L Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI)
Includes or deletes features from L plus:
Includes or deletes features from LX plus:
Includes or deletes features from LX plus:
Includes or deletes features from EX plus:
Includes or deletes features from SX plus:
Acoustic sound-reducing glass (windshield)
3.3L Gasoline Direct Injection (GDI) V6 engine*
Acoustic sound-reducing glass (windshield, front side windows)
Panoramic sunroof w/power sunshade
19" tires w/chrome wheels
Blind Spot Collision Warning w/Lane Change Assist
Projection fog lights
Wireless phone charger
Nappa leather seat trim
Projection headlights w/LED positioning lights
Rear Cross Traffic Collision Warning
Dynamax fully active AWD w/up to 5,000-lb. towing capacity * (V6 only)
Unless budget is a major issue, we would recommend buyers to choose the LX V6 trim. This trim costs $31,290 in FWD configuration but brings a decent list of safety features. And costs lesser than most mid-spec three-row crossovers.
2020 Kia Sorento Engine and Performance
“The V6 engine is unchanged, but a more fuel-efficient eight-speed supplants the old six-speed transmission. The new gearbox shifts smoothly but lacks kickdown response in certain modes and could be the reason the Sorento's pace has slowed a bit. Steering, handling and braking all remain agreeable.”-Edmunds
Kia Sorento is powered by a 3.3-liter V6 engine for LX V6 and above trims. This engine is rated for 290 horsepower this figure puts the Sorento along with the segment leaders. The base four-cylinder engine on offer underperforms for a three-row vehicle. The transmission duties on the V6 powered Sorento is done by an 8-speed transmission. The newly introduced 8-speed takes gear shifting to ultra-smooth levels and also improves fuel efficiency by a margin of 1 mpg.
When it comes to daily driving, the combination of the V6 engine and 8-speed transmission works well in urban conditions. On the highway, the powertrain has exceptionally low noise vibrations. This combination makes for a capable machine for longer journeys.
3.5-liter Ti-VCT V6
2.4-liter turbocharged Subaru Boxer 4-cylinder
290 hp @ 6,400 rpm
235 hp @ 4,500 rpm
227 hp @ 5,000 rpm
295 hp @ 6600
280hp @ 6000
288 @ 6500
260 hp @ 5,600
258 lb-ft @ 1,600 rpm
310 lb-ft @ 2,000 rpm
263 lb.-ft. @ 4700 rpm
262 lb.-ft. @ 4700 rpm
254 lb.-ft. @ 4000 rpm
277 lb-ft. @ 2,000 rpm
On paper, the Sorento takes its place with the segment leaders. The power output is second only to Highlander’s 295 hp that too by a margin of 5 hp. Torque output is lowest in the segment at 252 lb-ft and this might be the reason for Sorento’s sluggish behavior with a full load of passenger and cargo.
Kia Sorento tips the scale at 3968 lbs. for the LX V6 engine trim. 2020 Kia Sorento reaches 60 mph within 7.1 seconds and the quarter mile is achieved in 15.7 seconds. There is enough power on tap for daily driving scenarios. Merging with traffic wouldn’t be an issue with the V6 engine.
3.3 L V6
2.0 L I4
2.5 L I4
3.5 L V6
3.5 L V6
3.5 L V6
2.4 L H4
Sorento is right there with the competition with its sub-7-second figure. Kia has dropped the turbocharged four-cylinder engine for the 2020 model owing to less demand as most buyers in this segment prefer the V6 engine. The Volkswagen Atlas in its base configuration uses a 2.0-liter turbocharged engine that manages to pull off a 7.2-second naught to sixty run.
Ride and Handling
The Kia Sorento offers good all-round visibility and well-implemented driving position. The 2020 Sorento doesn’t take well to sharp inputs from the driver. The Sorento follows a well-laid driving dynamics for a midsize three-row crossover. The steering is light to use but it is devoid of good feedback from the front wheels.
If you seek to maximize the Sorento’s reaction then select the Sport mode. The transmission holds the gears longer and the steering weighs up decently but don’t mistake the Sorento for a sporty crossover. If you enter the corners aggressively, prepare for a considerable amount of body roll accompanied by screeching from the tires.
The Sorento is exceptionally good at providing a comfortable ride. The suspension has been tuned for comfort and there is good insulation from exterior noise. Sorento will easily level out the shock from road undulations and only the worst of the impacts would be filtered into the cabin.
Kia Sorento performs averagely for its size, it comes to halt from 60 mph in 125 feet. It is equipped with four-wheel antilock disc brakes but the stopping power is not up to the mark. With a full load of passengers and cargo, you need to be more careful with those brakes.
Brake Front (in.)
Brake Rear (in.)
Curb Weight (lbs.)
60-0 MPH (ft.)
108 (With optional tires)
When it comes to the competition, heavier three-row crossovers like Ford Explorer and Subaru Ascent manage to perform a similar braking maneuver while covering lesser ground than the Kia Sorento.
Kia Sorento, when equipped with the V6 engine, can tow 3500 lbs. in FWD configuration and 5000 lbs. in AWD configuration. Most of the people don’t use their crossovers for heavy-duty towing. Even 3500 lbs. of towing capacity would be sufficient. If you want the maximum towing capacity then you can opt for AWD at an additional expense of $1800.
2.0 L I4
2.5 L I4
3.5 L V6
3.5 L V6
3.5 L V6
2.4 L H4
2020 Kia Sorento Fuel Economy
Sorento offers a combined mpg of 22. Considering the V6 engine’s 290 hp output, these figures aren’t bad. Kia can make the three-row Sorento more frugal by adding a start-stop function and cylinder deactivation technology.
2020 Kia Sorento Interior
“Climb inside this Kia and enjoy the attractive, well-built cabin. Premium materials line most surfaces, especially in higher trims, creating an upscale feel that few rivals can match.”-Cars.USnews
Seating and Comfort
Kia has equipped the Sorento crossover to take on the larger competition. The Sorento offers a passenger volume of 154.2 cu-ft. The features have been distributed well across the trim levels. The quality levels of the interior are on the higher side. Kia has used soft-touch materials across the cabin. The prominent spaces like the upper dashboard, door handles, and the center console have been finished in premium material.
The center stack is sorted and Kia has followed separate layouts for the infotainment and climate control. The controls are organized and fall naturally to the hand. The cabin has ample storage space(s) for your miscellaneous items.
The doors close with a strong thud, exhibiting a superior build quality. Dimensionally, the Kia Sorento is smaller than most three-row crossovers in the market. The first and second row have decent room for the passengers and the third row is better suited for kids but if you are traveling for shorter distance then adults can sit there for a while.
Front (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)
41.3/ 61.5/ 41.5
Second (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)
40.4/ 60.8/ 37.6
40/ 60.3/ 38.6
Third (Head/Shoulder/Leg) (In.)
38.3/ 54.9/ 33.7
The prime competitors like the Volkswagen Atlas and Honda Pilot offer more interior space. The Sorento is available in a 7 seater configuration. If interior space is high on your list then there are better options available in the segment.
When it comes to the infotainment system, the Kia UVO system is one of the best in the business. The icons are large and the system is user-friendly. Apple Carplay and Android Auto is standard across all trims. The lower trims come with a 7-inch screen while the SX and SXL trims come with an 8-inch screen with Harmon Kardon premium sound system.
Kia Sorento has a decent list of interior features. Some of these features have been mentioned below:
Front Bucket Seats with 8-way manual driver’s seat
4-Way Passenger Seat with Manual Recline and Fore with Aft Movement
40-20-40 Folding Split-Bench Front Facing Manual Reclining Fold Forward Seatback Rear Seat with Manual Fore/Aft
Power Rear Windows and Fixed 3rd Row Windows
Fixed 50-50 Split-Bench YES Essentials Premium Cloth 3rd Row Seat Front, Manual Fold Into Floor and 2 Fixed Head Restraints
Kia Sorento offers the lowest in segment rear cargo capacity of 11.3 cu-ft. Sorento sacrifices rear cargo space for bringing in the third row ( new for 2020 model). With the third row folded, it offers 38 cu-ft. of space and with all the rows folded, the cargo capacity increases to 73 cu-ft.
Cargo Volume (cu-ft.)
2020 Kia Sorento Exterior
“This year, the Sorento’s styling has been updated—but so subtly that it hardly renders the outgoing version yesterday’s news. The smooth, well-detailed design looks especially good in higher trim levels with their bold LED fog lights up front and alloy wheels that grow from 17 inches in base models up to 18- and 19-inchers on EX and higher trim levels.”-TheCarConnection
Dimensions and Weight
The 2020 Kia Sorento has received minor design changes. The Sorento’s mature design blends into the crossover SUV segment. The 2020 model represents the third generation, it has standard LED headlights across all the trim levels. Kia has used considerable amount of chrome in the front fascia. The changes make the Sorento look more premium.
Curb weight (lbs.)
Ground clearance (in)
Track width (in) F/R
Sorento carves out a niche category, Kia has strategically placed the Sorento between two-row and three-row crossovers. The smaller dimensions bring help to make the Sorento more maneuverable than its competition. When it comes to dimensions, the Sorento doesn’t score well in comparison to other three-crossovers like Volkswagen Atlas and Honda Pilot.
2020 Kia Sorento Safety
Kia has taken special care of safety. The Sorento comes equipped with a good list of standard safety features. Some of these features are mentioned below:
Electronic Stability Control (ESC) And Roll Stability Control (RSC)
ABS And Driveline Traction Control
Side Impact Beams
Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Seat-Mounted Side Airbags
Tire Specific Low Tire Pressure Warning
Dual Stage Driver And Passenger Front Airbags
Curtain 1st And 2nd Row Airbags
Rear Child Safety Locks
2020 Kia Sorento Competition
Kia Sorento vs Volkswagen Atlas
Volkswagen has entered the three-row crossover market with a good product. The Atlas is immensely spacious inside with a third row that’s easily amongst the most spacious in the segment. On top of that, the cabin is impressively quiet even at high speeds and rides of supple suspension. The VW Atlas isn’t impressive when it comes to the powertrain department. The V6 does not pack enough punch and is not particularly efficient either. Also, the base 2.0L TSI engine is unavailable with AWD.
Kia Sorento vs Mazda CX-9
The Mazda offers a well-built class-leading interior, plush ride and a well-engineered inline-four engine that puts the CX-9’s among the better driving crossovers in the market. Like the Sorento, the CX-9 lacks a bit when we talk about third-row space. The Mazda CX-9 is one of those crossovers that will have you grinning ear to ear every time you get behind the wheel. At $32,280, the CX-9 is dearer to the Sorento by almost $7000.
Mazda CX-9 vs Honda Pilot
Honda Pilot produces 280 horsepower from its V6 engine. The base variant of the Honda Pilot is priced at $31,450. The 2020 Honda Pilot has incorporated many changes. Honda has a very intuitive infotainment system on offer and Sorento’s infotainment feels a bit dated. Pilot’s cabin feels more premium. The Pilot scores well on utility as it offers electrically operated second-row seats for convenient third-row access and if you need to seat 8 people then look towards the Pilot.
2020 Kia Sorento Final Verdict
Kia Sorento is equipped with a 3.3-liter V6 engine that produces 290 horsepower. The power output puts the Sorento with the segment leaders. 2020 Kia Sorento benefits from highly competitive pricing. Even mid-spec models undercut the competition by thousands of dollars. The pricing for the Sorento starts at $25,990.
If you need to seat 7 adult passengers on a regular basis, then the Sorento isn’t equipped to handle the task. It doesn’t score high on utility due to a third-row seating that is suitable for kids. The Sorento is a dedicated commuting vehicle and it doesn’t score high on driving dynamics. If you are seeking a little more fun from your family crossover, then you need to look elsewhere.
Sorento should be on top of your list if you are looking for a pleasant driving vehicle with high reliability and a relatively inexpensive price tag than the competition. To make things even better, the Sorento comes with segment-leading powertrain warranty of 10 years/100,000 miles.