A few months ago, KIA sent me a 2021 Sorento. It wasn’t my first week with one; I had a Sorento back in 2019 and it was okay, sort of underwhelming but did the job. The 2021 was the first of fourth generation of the midsized SUV and was a hybrid.
Now I’m over the fact that soon all we will be left with is hybrids and all-electric vehicles as we wrestle with trying to appease Mother Earth in hopes she won’t turn the heat up and kill us all by melting our faces off. I liked the Sorento hybrid. It was nice, had plenty of power and at the end of the week I thought it was good offering from the Korean company.
Perhaps I angered someone in Seoul or maybe they wanted to prove something, but they decided to send me another 2021 Sorento for a recent week. This one was the top-of-the-line-biggest-engine-in-the-fleet SX Prestige X-Line. And it’s not just good, it’s very good.
Since I only recently went over the line, I need only remind you that the 2021 redesigned Sorento is offered in LX, S, EX, SX, and SX Prestige variants with my latest tester falling at the top of that lineup.
While the hybrid was the EX, and well equipped, the SX Prestige X-Line is like a Sorento on steroids. Not only does it get a digital gauge cluster, there’s also an auto-dimming rearview mirror, leather seating surfaces, ventilated front seats a heated steering wheel an upgraded 12-speaker Bose audio system, rear automatic braking, a 360-degree camera, and a blind spot mirror.
But wait, there’s more.
With the X-Line additions this Sorento can do what I’ve always felt all SUVs do, and that’s play in the dirt. The All-Wheel Drive is standard; there’s 8.3 inches of ground clearance (as opposed to 6.9 inches) and the drive selector has a snow mode. There’s also a locking center differential and hill-descent control, black 20-inch wheels, a roof rack and model specific front and rear bumpers. My tester was clad with the X-Line specific “Aruba Green” which c’mon, to a retired Army guy like me really is just OD Green, but does look nice paired with optional brown leather interior.
Inside, the leather smell, which was nice, gave the X-Line cabin a more upscale feel, and the 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster was an upgrade from the hybrid (the rest of the line has 10.3 inch). I still think the third-row seats are mainly useless unless needed for a family emergency, but when folded down, as a I suspect they will be most of the time, there is a great deal of cargo room (45 cubic feet, 75 if you put the second row down as well).
Sure, it might not be able to rock crawl like say a Wrangler or Gladiator or the Colorado ZR2 I had recently, but it’s nice to know an SUV has a dirty disposition if needed.
Under the hood the X-Line has a 2.5 liter turbocharged I-4 delivers 281 horses and 311-foot pounds of torque through an 8-speed transmission. There was plenty of power on the road, and though I’m old and sometimes can’t remember why I walked in the kitchen, I don’t seem to remember too much of a difference between the hybrid and this recent non-hybrid (for the record the 1.6 4-cylinder with the hybrid engine puts out 227 horses and 258-foot pounds of torque). The biggest difference on the road I found was the addition of the 2 extra gears (the hybrid had a 6-speed automatic). And that’s a very good thing. Because this Sorento has proven it’s a very good SUV. Hybrid or not. And something KIA is famous for; this top of the line has an MSRP of $44,285, which makes it quite affordable (the hybrid had an MSRP of $38,205).
I just sort of, kind of wish they offered the top-of-the-line Sorento with a hybrid. After all, if we are indeed trying to appease Mother Earth, it won’t be long before the only fully gasoline powered vehicles we see will be in the Smithsonian.
But wait, there’s more.
Turns out KIA will release a plug-in hybrid version of the Sorento later this year. It too will have the 1.6-liter gas engine, a 66.9-kW electric motor, and a larger battery, but unlike my hybrid from a couple of months ago, the hybrid will be not only a hybrid, but a plug-in and an AWD equipped similarly to the X-Line.
So we went from a good thing, to a very good thing, and end up with a very good thing indeed. And that’s alright by me.
The 2011 KIA Sorento SX Prestige X-Line
MSRP (as tested): $48,285
Engine: 2.5 liter turbocharged I-4 281 hp @5800 rpm, 311 ft-lbs. torque @1700 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 21 city, 28 highway 24 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested mixed conditions): 26 mpg
Base Curb Weight: 4120 lbs.
Exterior Dimensions (inches)
Width, without mirrors: 74.8
Minimum Ground Clearance: 8.2
Passenger / Seating Capacity: 6
Front Head Room (inches): 40.3
Front Leg Room (inches): 41.4
Front Shoulder Room (inches): 59
Front Hip Room (inches): 55.6
Second Row Head Room (inches): 39.1
Second Row Leg Room (inches): 41.7
Second Row Shoulder Room (inches): 58.1
Second Row Hip Room (inches): 55.1
Third Row Head Room (inches): 36.8
Third Row Leg Room (inches): 29.6
Third Row Shoulder Room (inches): 53
Third Row Hip Room (inches): 42.5
Cargo Space/Area Length Behind First Row (cubic feet): 75
Cargo Space/Area Length Behind Second Row (cubic feet): 45
Cargo Space/Area Length Behind Third Row (cubic feet): 12.6
Warranty – Basic (mths/miles) 60/60,000
Warrranty – Powertrain (mths/miles) 120/100,000
Warranty – Corrosion perforation (mths/miles) 60/100,000
Warranty – Roadside assistance (mths/miles) 60/60,000
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