2017 Kia Sorento EX AWD 2.0T Review

The mid-level in the lineup might hit the sweet spot

Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief

Positives: Ample space in the 5-seater trim, ergonomically excellent interior, good seats all around, decent pep from the turbocharged 4-cylinder engine, great infotainment system.
Negatives: Poor headlight ratings, steering is on the light side, 2.0T gas mileage isn't all that great.
Bottom Line: Shoppers of mid-size crossovers should take a serious look at the Sorento due to its attractive styling inside and out, good driving manners, build quality and technology set. It's a solid buy, and the various trims offer a solid selection.
 View Our 2017 Kia Sorento Overview
The Sorento is Kia's version of Hyundai's Santa Fe. It rides on the same platform but is shorn in different sheetmetal. Along with the Santa Fe, it offers a ton of standard features and fits in the mid-to-large crossover segment, depending on whether you order it with 5 or 7-passenger capacity. This year, it gets some upgrades that sweeten the pot. We drove the mid-grade EX with AWD and the 2.0T engine for a week to see if it's worth your hard-earned dollars. Read on for our full review.

Driving Experience



No one expects sports car-like dynamics, but the Sorento does well. It feels more put together and more sophisticated, and the Koreans are clearly making serious headway against the more expensive Europeans in this area. It's a pleasure to drive and lacks the numbness of some competitors.

Ride Quality: It rides better than most mid-size crossovers at this price. Compliant and comfortable.

Acceleration: Driver Mode Select, which features three modes (Normal, Sport and Eco), provides a bit more responsiveness in Sport mode. The engine can sound a bit loud when pushed, but it moves the Sorento decently, taking about 8 seconds to get to 60 mph.

Braking: Brakes are progressive with good pedal feel.

Steering: Steering is on the light side but decently precise. It doesn't improve much when in Sport mode, unfortunately.

Handling: The Sorento has good body roll control and manages turns well.




We constantly laud Kia for great technology and controls, and the Sorento is no different. Everything looks and operates extremely well.

Infotainment System: The UVO system is excellent, and the 7-inch touchscreen has great visibility, and intuitive menus. Now, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard.

Controls: Easy to work knobs and buttons for climate and infotainment make for low distractino factors. They also look and feel good to the touch.

Bluetooth Pairing: Quick and seamless Bluetooth pairing with no issues.

Voice Call Quality: Voice calls were conducted with no problem. Loud and clear.




We're not sure why the Sorento doesn't get more attention. It's one of the better looking mid-size crossovers around.

Front: The tiger-nose grille is wide and not overly tall, mating nicely with the angled headlights. There's a lot of metal-like trim in front, but it's tastefully done.

Rear: The back end looks a bit crossover generic to us, but it's clean. The taillights could use a bit more drama.

Profile: The side view of the Sorento is well-proportioned. We just don't like the huge black plastic trim around the wheel wells and rocker panel.

Cabin: The interior is well-styled and clean. In a world where carmakers are overdoing it, the Sorento is tastefully conservative with good materials. Our tester with two-tone trim looked dowright opulent.




The Sorento does a fine job of providing room and comfort for all occupants (third row models can be a bit tight in the back). It's clear that Kia took the time to make the Sorento right for families.

Front Seats: Front seats are comfortable and supportive. The Stone Beige leather is very nice.

Rear Seats: Ample second-row legroom makes this an excellent road trip vehicle. Outboard seats are nicely contoured.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Increased sound deadening in the glass aids the quietness of the Sorento. It's a quite vehicle with no vibrations.

Visibility: Good seating position in the Sorento but thick rear pillars make it hard to see out the back. The rearview camera is a must.

Climate: The HVAC system works well, heating and cooling with no issues. Seat heaters were quick and controls easy to find.




The Sorento is a very safe vehicle in crash tests, getting top marks. It's only demerit is bad headlights. New available safety features include adaptive headlights and automatic emergency braking.

IIHS Rating: The Sorento gets the Top Safety Pick rating but misses the very top score for the 2017 year because of poor headlights. Kia has corrected this for 2018.

NHTSA Rating: It earned the 5-Star Crash Safety Rating, the top mark.

Standard Tech: Aside from ABS, traction control, stability control, tire pressure monitoring and full length side curtain airbags, the Sorento EX comes with Hill Start Assist Control, which applies the brakes for two seconds when transitioning from the brake to the gas on an incline.

Optional Tech: The EX Advanced Touring package comes with a strong set of safety equipment that includes autonomous emergency braking, forward collision warning system, and lane departure warning system.




The Sorento 5-passenger strikes a good note when it comes to storage and cargo capacity. It's big enough for most families but isn't as big as the new Honda CR-V or, shockingly, the Subaru Forester when it comes to maximum available cargo space.

Storage Space: The armrest compartment and console binnacle have ample room for small gear and keeps them hidden from curious eyes. We also like the convenient tray just behind the shifter and cupholders. It's deep enough to keep change and keys without letting them fly out in turns.

Cargo Room: 38.8 feet of cargo space with both rows in place and 73 feet with seats folded flat, slightly larger than the Jeep Grand Cherokee but a bit smaller than the Ford Edge.

Fuel Economy



We thought we'd squeeze out more mpgs from the 2.0T engine in our tester, but the numbers were definitely lower than the EPA estimates.

Observed: 18.4 mpg

Distance Driven: 138 miles

Driving Factors: We drove in Sport mode 100% of the time, which was a contributing factor in our low mileage numbers, but because 50% of it was highway driving, we thought we'd see better.




The EX 2.0T doesn't come with a premium sound system, nor is an upgrade available to the SX/SXL's 10-Speaker Infinity sound system, but the stock audio is pretty good all on its own. Good clarity with no detectable distortion. It just needs a bit more fullness.

Final Thoughts

Most shoppers expect a near-full spec mid-size SUV to cost around $40K, so the Sorento EX AWD 2.0T hits that price point at a hair above. It's got more than enough features to satisfy most folks without having to go for the bigger and pricier V6, and some creature comforts like navigation and surround view monitor. What the EX trim offers is excellent comfort, premium looks, and some nice optional safety measures. It's a solid buy, and one we'd recommend to any family in search of a well-made, attractive and practical mid-size SUV.
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