Kia Canada achieves historic record-breaking year in 2021

Kia reported a total of 79,198 units sold in Canada in 2021, making it the brand’s best year ever

• The company finishes 2021 with 7 months of record sales, despite challenging year for the industry

• Kia’s outstanding year includes an all-time record-breaking June, which saw the automaker’s best-ever sales month in their over twenty-year Canadian history

• Top sellers from 2021 include the very popular Seltos, Forte and Sportage

• EV and PHEV sales are on the rise for the brand, in support of Plan S

(Toronto) January 5, 2022 – Kia Canada announces a record shattering 2021 with 79,198 units sold making 2021 the best-ever year on record for the brand. This included 7 months of record sales (February, March, April, May, June, July and September) including their best-ever month in Canadian history, in June with 8,850 units delivered. This 2021 record was a 9.3% increase YoY, with top models Seltos, Forte and Sportage among the best-selling models. Kia was also recognized by J.D. Power as the number one mass market brand in the 2021 Vehicle Dependability Study, three awards, as well as two AJAC category wins for the first-ever Kia K5 sedan in the Best Large Car category and Best Large Utility for the 2nd year in a row for the award-winning Kia Telluride.

“Our success in 2021 can be attributed to our industry leading design, safety and technology, as well as our dedicated dealer network, who remained agile in servicing our customers throughout another pandemic year,” says Elias El-Achhab, Chief Operating Officer at Kia Canada. “As we look forward to 2022, consumer demand remains exceptionally high, leaving us optimistic for the year ahead with new and exciting models like the highly anticipated Kia EV6, set to arrive in dealerships early next year.”

Top Selling Models

Kia’s compact SUV, the Seltos, led model sales in 2021, with a total of 14,436 units sold, closely followed by the brand’s previous top-seller, the Forte, with 13,190 units sold. Sportage, the brand’s most popular mid-size SUV also saw notable sales, with 11,837 units purchased.

With the brand’s focus towards electrification, EV and PHEV sales were also on the rise in 2021. The long-standing Soul EV saw a sales percentage increase of 24% over 2020, and the Niro EV and PHEV saw increases of 152% and 21% respectively. This past year marks the highest sales of PHEV and EV models for the brand, totaling 4,720 units sold.

The success Kia has had is not only limited to new car sales, but extends to Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) models too. With 10 record-breaking months this past year and the brand’s highest CPO sales month ever achieved in June with 779 units sold, 2021 was an extraordinary year across the board. “The strength of Kia’s CPO program reflects the reliability and durability of our products that Canadians can depend on,” says Elias El-Achhab, Chief Operating Officer at Kia Canada.

A New Brand that Inspires

Kia Canada introduced a new logo and brand purpose, ‘Movement that inspires,’ that demonstrates the company’s vision for the future and is supported by the Plan S strategy, introduced back in 2020. With this announcement came a commitment to providing Canadians with 7 all-new plug-in hybrid or dedicated battery electric vehicles by 2025. This past year, Kia Canada introduced the first of these two models, the 2022 Sorento PHEV, which is available now in dealerships and the 2022 Kia EV6, the brand’s first dedicated battery electric vehicle (BEV) arriving at the top of the year.

Closing out 2021, the company launched Kia Communities in Motion, a partnership with Community Foundations of Canada that will see $1.4M donated to community charities over the next four years. This all-new program was developed to support movement in local communities providing charities and the recipients of their efforts, the time, space and funding to find inspiration to move forward.

Kia Canada invests $1.4M to support communities as they move forward

December 9, 2021 – Today, Kia Canada, in partnership with Community Foundations of Canada launched Kia Communities in Motion. This program is inspired by Kia’s brand belief, ‘Movement that inspires.’ Movement is at the core of human development – through movement we see new places, meet new people and have new experiences. It is through this movement that we find inspiration. This all-new program is developed to support movement in local communities providing charities and the recipients of their efforts, the time, space and funding to find inspiration to move forward.

Through Kia Communities in Motion, Kia Canada is investing $1.4M over four years to fund projects in communities that will help build inclusive communities across the country. In the face of rising challenges such as the impacts of COVID-19, and the climate crisis, Kia Communities in Motion will create lasting change over the next four years, supporting people in inspiring and innovative ways.

Many communities, including immigrants, Indigenous communities, racialized communities, individuals living with disabilities and the 2SLGBTQ+ community face unique challenges in creating safe and inclusive spaces. Kia Communities in Motion is supporting moving grassroots efforts forward to create a future where everyone flourishes

Kia and CFC are working with community foundations on the ground to identify projects which will be selected in 2022.


“Kia Canada is thrilled to partner with Community Foundations of Canada on this important and exciting project. We believe in the good work community foundations are doing at a grassroots level across Canada. As Kia Canada moves forward with our new brand and ethos of “Movement that inspires” we saw an opportunity to support organizations seeking a similar mission, be it figurative or literal forms of movement, we can’t wait to see the exciting work organizations are doing to move us all forward.”

Elias El-Achhab, Chief Operating Officer at Kia Canada Inc.

“We are pleased to announce the Kia Communities in Motion program in collaboration with Kia Canada. Throughout the pandemic, we have witnessed the creativity and resourcefulness of the non-profit sector as it works to support communities. This program puts innovation at the heart of its approach and supports the work that is happening on the ground to build a future where everyone belongs.”

Andrea Dicks, President, Community Foundations of Canada

The highly anticipated Kia EV6 set to make its Canadian debut

• Kia Canada releases a portion of the first-production units for a special early reservation opportunity, all vehicles reserved in 25 minutes

• EV6 set to arrive in Canada early 2022

• Estimated up to 480 kms of driving range on select models and available heat pump system for Canada

• Ultra-fast charging on 800V DC charger can supply up to 80% in 18 minutes

• Available Vehicle to Load (V2L) technology turns EV6 into a direct power source for everything from personal electronics, appliances, even another EV

• Spacious crossover with unique exterior styling, LED lighting throughout, flush-door handles (a Kia-first)

• Convenient and minimalist interior with two 12.3-inch displays, thoughtful storage and high-quality recycled materials

• Safety that continues to innovate with Highway Drive Assist II and Remote Smart Parking Assist

(Toronto) October 25, 2021 – Kia’s first dedicated battery electric vehicle, the EV6, is set to arrive in Canada early 2022. The brand released a limited number of initial production units of the 2022 EV6 (optional GT Line package) long-range AWD and customers quickly secured the available units within 25 minutes. The EV6 undoubtedly sets a new standard for Kia’s electrified vehicles with unique design elements, thoughtfully crafted convenience features and ever-evolving technology to enhance both safety and driving experience. Though the reservations were quickly filled, customers can still contact their local dealer to place their order for 2022 delivery.

“The EV6 not only demonstrates Kia’s future in terms of design and technological advancement, but is the embodiment of the company’s new brand and Plan S strategy, as Kia’s first dedicated battery electric vehicle,” says Elias El-Achhab, VP and COO of Kia Canada. “Canadians are clearly eager to get behind the wheel and experience the new era of electrification brought to them by Kia.”

Built for Power Performance, Quick Charging and Long-Lasting Range

Built on the Electric-Global Modular Platform (E-GMP), the EV6 will be offered in RWD and AWD options and is powered by a Lithium-Ion battery, yielding performance to suit any type of driver’s needs and estimated range of up to 480 kilometers on select models i :

• RWD: 58.0 kWh battery with a 125kW rear motor

• RWD: 77.4 kWh battery with a 168kW rear motor

• AWD: 77.4 kWh battery with a 74kW front motor and a 165kW rear motor

• AWD: 77.4 kWh battery with a 160kW front motor and a 270kW rear motor

o This GT model will be available later in 2022

A world-first, the EV6 features a patented multi-charging system capable of ultra-fast-charging at 800V and 400V, without a separate controller:

• 800V DC fast charging can supply nearly 100 kilometers in less than 5 minutes

• RWD: 77.4 kWh battery with a 168kW rear motor

• AWD: 77.4 kWh battery with a 74kW front motor and a 165kW rear motorii

• Up 380 kms of range (10-to-80 percent) added in under 18 minutes

• On-board charger (OBC) for Level 2 recharging from 10-to-100 percent in 7 hours, 10 minutes (240v AC, at 48-amps) for the larger 77.4 kWh battery versions

For the Canadian market specifically, the EV6 will also come with an available heat pump system with waste heat recycling to help maintain the all-electric range event at low temperatures. First integrated into the Soul EV, this next-generation heat pump system on the EV6 uses not only the heat from the external air, but also the waste heat from a variety of other electronic vehicle components resulting in a larger capacity of recycling.

New battery system that powers more than just the vehicle

Innovative and hassle-free, EV6 features available Vehicle-to-Load (V2L), allowing the EV6 to operate as a power source with an output of 1.9kW . This is made possible through the Integrated Charging Control Unit (ICCU), which allows electricity to flow from the battery pack, powering everything from personal electronics like a laptop or phone, a projector during an evening out camping, a generator or home appliances and even another EV in emergency situations.

• 120V power outlet located in the lower centre of the rear seat (indoor V2L, a Kia-first)

• Exterior V2L, located on the rear passenger side of the vehicle, has an output of 1.9kW and can also support Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) charging in case of emergency

Modern exterior and interior: Kia’s first vehicle to utilize ‘Opposites United’ design philosophy

The Opposites United design philosophy makes its debut on EV6, and will inform the design of all future Kia models. EV6’s exterior design is distinguished and striking, with head-turning contours and eye-catching features:

• A new interpretation of the ‘tiger face’ for the digital era

• Daytime running lights with moving light pattern inspired by electronic pixels

• Intake molding at the base of the front bumper provides an emphasized wide stance

• Clamshell style hood incorporated into the entire fender

• Along the side, voluminous silhouette with sharply integrated contours from hood to spoiler

• Side sill garnish that visually connects the side of the vehicle to the tail lamp

• 3 unique wheel designs for a high-tech look

• Auto flush-type door handles, a first for Kia

• Full LED rear lamps with built-in turn signal function, standard on all models

• Rear spoiler and powered charging door that is camouflaged

EV6’s interior sets a new standard of possibilities when it comes to EV technology, improved interior space and interaction:

• Panoramic curved display with two connected 12.3-inch displays (cluster and navigation)

• Start button and dial-type Shift by Wire applied in optimal position

• Lean, minimalist structure across a wide cockpit area that is lightweight, simple and full of character

• Unmatched interior console space featuring armrest and large open tray storage, large capacity lid-type glove box and hangers just behind the two front seats

• Seats are slim, lightweight and contemporary and is comprised of robust fabrics using recycled materials equating to 111 water bottles

Innovative technology, comfort and convenience for an invigorating drive like no other

EV6 is packed with intelligent and thoughtful features to enhance the driver’s experience:

• A Kia first, EV6 integrates available Augmented Reality Head Up Display (AR-HUD) iv that matches driving safety-related warnings and driving information about the road or preceding vehicle

o Turn by turn navigation

o Lane safety information

o Front vehicle indicator and safety information

• Integrated infotainment and air conditioning control keys improve the intuitiveness and luxury of the cockpit design and experience

• Active Sound Design (ASD) offers three types of driving sound sources for a truly differentiated motoring experience

The latest in Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS):

As part of Kia’s overall commitment to safety, the EV6 has a comprehensive list of active Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) including, but not limited to:

• Available Remote Smart Parking Assist (RSPA): remotely park or exit a parking spot from outside of the vehicle

• Available Blind-Spot Avoidance Assist (BCA): Under certain conditions, can detect vehicles traveling in the next lane. When a vehicle is detected in the blind spot, the vehicle brakes the outer wheel under certain conditions to help return the vehicle to its lane

• Driver Attention Warning (DAW) vi : Senses inattentive driving patterns and sends an audible/visual warning to alert the driver

• Forward Collision-Avoidance Assist (FCA): Assists the driver when braking to help prevent a collision or lessen the effects in certain conditions if a vehicle is detected in front. Uses automatic braking to avoid or mitigate an impact

• Other standard iterations of FCA include FCA-Ped (Pedestrian), available FCA-LS (Land-Change Side), available FCA-LO (Lane-Change Oncoming), available FCA-JC (Junction Crossing), FCA-JT (Junction Turning)

• High Beam Assist (HBA): Detects oncoming traffic and automatically switches off the high beam headlights then turns them on once traffic has passed

• Available Highway Driving Assist II (HDA 2) vii : This system is the evolution of HDA and EV6 is the first Kia to have it. This driving convenience system that keeps a set distance from a car in front and centres the vehicle in the lane. HDA2 will additionally assist with lane changes and adjust the lateral position of the car within the lane

• ISLA (Intelligent Speed Limit Assist): Recognizes signs and provides relevant feedback in the cluster and augmented-reality head-up display (AR HUD)

• Navigation Based Smart Cruise Control-Curve (NSCC-C): Leverages the navigation system to lower the vehicle’s speed proactively before upcoming curves in the road

• Available Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (RCCA): Helps detect most approaching cross traffic when in reverse. When approaching cross traffic is detected, the system alerts the driver and applies the brakes

Kia’s First-Ever Sorento Plug-in Hybrid, Available Now in Dealerships

• Two all-new PHEV & HEV powertrain options, a first for Sorento

• Estimated all-electric driving range of up to 51 kilometers on PHEV

• Sorento PHEV Price starting at $44,995 MSRP

• Sorento HEV to arrive in the fall, pricing to be announced

Kia Canada introduces the first-ever Sorento Hybrid and Plug-in Hybrid, the initial product offering out of seven all-new plug-in hybrid and battery electric vehicles under the brand’s Plan S strategy. Two more powertrain options offer Canadians the opportunity to be inspired to take their adventures to new heights utilizing eco-friendlier driving solutions. Kia announced the 4th generation Sorento just last year, which delivered on its promise to be stronger, lighter, roomier and more technologically advanced than previous generations. This ‘greener’ 3-row, SUV with unmatched cargo utility, all-wheel drive and exceptional fuel efficiency is a natural evolution of this longstanding nameplate in Canada.

The Sorento PHEV will officially debut at the Montreal Electric Vehicle show September 17 – 19 and at the Quebec City EV show October 1-3, 2021. Alongside Kia’s other EV models, the Soul EV and Niro EV, attendees will be among the first to see and test drive the brand- new Sorento PHEV. Kia representatives will also be available to provide information about how HEV, PHEVs and EVs can be conveniently integrated into everyday life and will be busting myths and common misconceptions about green vehicle ownership.

“We are thrilled to now offer an HEV/PHEV option of Kia’s best-known model, said Elias El-Achhab, VP & Chief Operating Officer at Kia Canada. “This milestone enhancement to the Sorento comes at the right time in Kia’s transition to providing more sustainable and ‘green’ transportation options, especially on a vehicle that Canadians trust.”

Dynamic Styling, Inside and Out

The exterior of the 2022 Sorento HEV/PHEV maintains its sharp, modern lines, accentuated with high-tech details – elevating the entire Sorento experience beyond a standard SUV.

• Kia’s modernized “tiger face,” with “eyeline” details and a wide and thin front grille extending into the headlight and hood structure

• The hood edge wraps around the body side and integrates into the rear shoulder line, enhancing length and width

• Standard LED headlamps and optional signature LED forward lighting includes daytime running lights. Headlamp and DRL modules are separated for a high-tech look

• Strong side character line emphasizes muscular and athletic profile

• Available split-vertical LED taillights

• Two new wheel designs in 17-inches (LX HEV) and 19-inches (EX HEV + all PHEV trims)

The interior continues the strong, solid and sophisticated modernity of the exterior. Following a credo of “Refined Boldness,” the interior designers instilled the cabin with unexpected materials to cast a striking effect and introduce two new interior colour options:

• Available navy blue leather (SX only)

• Available light grey leather (SX only)

• Unique to HEV/PHEV includes standard Shift by Wire and available ambient lighting

Kia Canada Announces Highest July Sales in Company History

– Brand delivers sixth consecutive monthly sales record
– Best-ever July Certified Pre-Owned sales
– Niro EV sales are on the rise

August 4, 2021 – Kia Canada today announces record July sales of 8,305 units, marking 6 consecutive months of record-breaking year over year sales for the brand. Strong sales were led by Forte at 1,685 units and Sportage at 1,242 units. These results contribute to Kia Canada’s best ever YTD in history, with 49,575 units sold. Kia also continues to see records set in 2021 for CPO sales with a best-ever July, delivering 714 units.

The brand is also celebrating Niro EV’s best-ever sales month in its history with 364 units sold. This milestone is critical for Kia’s recently-announced Plan S strategy, which outlines Kia’s shifting focus to electrification and commitment to diversifying their product offering of eco-friendly mobility services. 

“The new face of Kia has arrived and consumers are taking note,” said Elias El-Achhab, Vice President and COO at Kia Canada. “We look forward to continuing this momentum into the second half of 2021 and beyond, providing Canadians with mobility solutions that are sustainable, meaningful and inspiring.”

Kia recently introduced the EV6 for the first time on Canadian soil in a show stopping performance by award winning artist Fefe Dobson. They came together in an outdoor concert where Dobson and her band plugged into the EV6 to power an electrifying performance broadcast to a crowd of in-person and virtual concert goers on July 27.

Kia Introduces Special Edition Stinger Scorpion

• Stinger Scorpion arrives in Canada this fall

• Receives enhanced appearance package with darkened elements

• Only 120 limited run models to be produced

• Priced at $54,695 and available for pre-order now

July 15, 2021 – Earlier this year, Kia Canada announced an evolutionary change to the Stinger which delivered on refined comfort and exhilarating performance with its product enhancements. Now, the Stinger is packing an even bigger punch with a limited run 2022 Stinger Scorpion. This striking appearance package adds to the fully-loaded GT Elite trim, featuring a 3.3L twin-turbo V6 with 368 hp, all-wheel drive and the latest in safety and convenience features. An exclusive 120 units of this model will be built for Canada and will be equipped with black Nappa leather interior and a choice of three complimentary exterior colour options: Snow White Pearl, Aurora Black and Ghost Grey.

“Since its introduction, Kia Stinger set the bar high for performance-inspired sedans packed with valuable features and head turning design, said Elias El-Achhab, VP & Chief Operating Officer at Kia Canada. “This vehicle has been a pillar in creating excitement and growth for the brand and we’re excited to share this exclusive model to keep changing the game.”

This fully-loaded Kia Stinger Scorpion edition features the following additions to the GT Elite model:

• Distinctive 19-inch black wheels

• Rear spoiler

• Black side mirror caps

• Black fender garnish

• Darkened exhaust tips

• Exclusive carbon fiber pattern trim inside the cockpit

The Kia Stinger Scorpion edition is available for pre-sale now for $54,695 (MSRP) with delivery expected this fall.

Kia Canada Powers Up Buyer Knowledge with All-New EV Experience Centre in Vancouver

The first-of-its-kind by Kia, the Electric Vehicle Experience Centre educates Canadians on the benefit, opportunities and future of electric vehicles

TORONTO, June 08, 2021 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Building on their strategy to make substantial commitments to progress in the green space, Kia Canada is launching it’s first-ever EV Experience Centre, showcasing the brand’s dedication to building a greener future for Canadians.

Located in the heart of Downtown Vancouver, the EV Experience Centre (EVEC) is a place for the public to learn everything they need to know about electric vehicles including the difference between hybrids (HEV), Plug-in-hybrids (PHEV) and Battery Electric Vehicles (BEV), different types of vehicle chargers, government incentives and the many benefits of driving electric.

“Making the transition to an EV can be daunting. A lot of questions surface for the average consumer. The EV Experience Centre serves an important purpose to answer these questions and educate the public about the benefits of electric vehicles,” says Mark Ahnert, Dealer Principal, Vancouver Downtown Kia.

“The future of the automotive industry is electric, and with Kia Canada introducing 7 all-new plug-in hybrid or dedicated electric models by 2025, the EV Experience Centre will offer the public an EV learning opportunity like no other,” said Elias El-Achhab, Chief Operations Officer, Kia Canada. “We thank Downtown Kia for their investment in the EV Experience Centre, as well as our sponsors RBC, BMO and Kia Finance who supported this initiative to demonstrate their commitment to green initiatives in the community.”

The EV Experience Centre
The EV Experience Centre invites consumers into a user-friendly space designed specifically to answer questions about life with an EV. When visitors enter the EV Experience Centre for their pre-booked 90-minute visit, they will be greeted by one of Kia’s EVisors. The EVisor is an experienced EV educator that will guide visitors through the immersive experience.

While on tour, Visitors can expect to walk through the following experiences with their EVisor; The Kia Innovation Story Wall, an opportunity to learn about the history and future of mobility technology, the Chargehub kiosk where they will get to look at the different charger hardware and how to navigate public charging networks and lastly, the Total Cost of Ownership kiosk, where EVisors will outline all associated costs of owning an EV, potential savings and the available Federal and Provincial EV incentives.

With 18 Kia dealers in BC equipped to sell and service EVs, the EVEC is a great place to learn about electric vehicles in an educational environment before heading to their local dealership. Customers interested in an EV can go to to locate one of our EV dealers.

Put Your Knowledge to the Test
At the end of the tour, Visitors are invited to test-drive one of Kia’s 4 green vehicle options. The test drive is an optimized route to showcase the benefits of various EV charging networks, HOV lane access for EVs and preferred parking for EVs.

Source: News Wire

2021 Kia Sorento X-Line Review

The master of reinvention does it again

Kia is no stranger to reinventing itself and its products – even when it’s not explicitly necessary to do so.

While some constants remain, like pricing that usually undercuts the competition by a healthy margin and all kinds of desirable features for the money, the automaker’s ability to pivot has been instrumental in its sales success in recent years. In fact, it finished 2020 ahead of rivals like Nissan, Mazda, Subaru, and Volkswagen – an impressive accomplishment given Kia has only been on the market in Canada since 1999, giving each of those brands a decades-long head start.

The Sorento has been around for the better part of Kia’s Canadian history, launching in 2002 as a crucial step towards what it’s achieved to this point. The first generation wasn’t very good, but it was improved steadily from there before being completely revamped back in 2014. Not only did it look totally different but it was even better than before, delivering a quality product that’s capable of holding its own to this day.

Rather than allowing the ink to dry as it writes the pages of its own history book the brand is at it again, with a significant overhaul to its popular midsize SUV that might not have been necessary but is welcome nonetheless. And once again this right-sized sport utility has taken on a whole new identity, with the 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line in particular built to look about as adventure-ready as they come.

Styling: 9/10

Kia might not enjoy the same rugged reputation as, say, Subaru or Jeep, but this new X-Line trim at least looks the part of an SUV that could bear either one of those badges. It doesn’t add any more cladding to the wheel arches or rocker panels, but this version of the Sorento has slightly more ground clearance than the rest of the lineup to go with unique roof rails and a few other finishes of its own.

While it can be had in a number of hues ranging from a semi-gloss grey to a vibrant blue, it’s the so-called Aruba Stone green of this tester that sets the Sorento X-Line’s look off to perfection. Unfortunately, it’s far more understated inside and Kia decided against including anything unique in this trim. That means an underwhelming cloth upholstery and a few textured plastic panels from the rest of the lineup in what’s a fairly understated space overall.

Comfort: 8/10

Even so, the seats were supportive over the course of testing – somewhat surprising given their lack of contouring and Kia’s reputation for chair comfort (or lack thereof). The rest of the materials inside are a similar about-face from the brand’s usual, with plenty of soft-touch surfaces and improved plastics throughout the cabin.

The ride quality, too, borders on premium-market levels, with the multi-link rear suspension in particular lending a rare kind of composure to this properly proportioned SUV. It’s not often a sub-$50,000 sport utility this size delivers such refinement on all manner of surfaces, managing everything this side of washboard-rutted dirt roads with ease. It’s certainly on the firm side, with a short rebound that’s not quite supple, but it’s nice nonetheless.

Sadly, the insulation from outside interference isn’t on the same level, with lots of wind noise making its way inside – even in calm conditions. Beyond what’s generated by the door mirrors, the lack of sound-deadening means much of what’s happening outside makes its way in.

Driving Feel: 9/10

The intrusion of wind noise is disappointing if only because of how buttoned-down the Sorento is otherwise. Handling is sharp, with impressive responsiveness from the electric power steering system – though there is some noticeable body roll when entering the highway or hustling along a winding country road. It’s certainly tolerable, though, particularly given how controllable the roughly 1,790-kg (3,946-lb) sport-utility is, not to mention the progressive braking feel that brings it to a halt in a hurry.

Power: 7/10

The X-Line is the first step in the Sorento lineup that sees a turbocharged engine stuffed under the hood. Gone is the V6 of old, replaced with a 2.5L four-cylinder that makes substantially more torque than the motor it replaces. That’s the stuff that makes it move, and with the peak 311 lb-ft kicking in at just 1,700 rpm the Sorento is happy to get going once it all hooks up. It does struggle for that to happen in the first place, however, with a couple of bizarre hiccups holding it back from its full potential.

With an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic shuffling torque to the standard all-wheel-drive system, it seems this turbocharged Sorento model suffers the same problem that has plagued this type of transmission since Kia (along with sister brand Hyundai) introduced it. Roll onto the throttle and the powertrain feels bogged down, with a sputtering sensation similar to starting a manual-equipped vehicle in third gear instead of first. Combined with a significant delay in throttle response when the engine’s ignition stop-start system is engaged, and “sluggish” only begins to describe the everyday operation here.

Fuel Economy: 7/10

Such a system leads only to marginal fuel savings – it’s aimed more at reducing unnecessary emissions when idling at a stoplight – and this all-wheel-drive Sorento isn’t especially efficient. Officially, it’s rated at 11.1 L/100 km around town and 8.4 on the highway, according to Natural Resources Canada (NRCan), resulting in a combined average of 9.9 L/100 km. That’s better than the slightly smaller – but more seriously rugged – Jeep Cherokee Trailhawk and either of its available engines, but worse than the Subaru Outback Outdoor XT and its turbo motor.

Real-world testing saw mixed results, with an initial evaluation drive spanning 200 km netting the same 9.1 L/100 km average the Outback is rated for. It’s worth noting, however, that while Subaru’s all-wheel-drive system is full-time in nature, the one fitted to the Sorento is an on-demand type that disconnects the rear wheels when four-wheel traction isn’t required. But just like the Outback (and so many other SUVs like this), the Sorento comes with a terrain mode select system that can tailor the drivetrain to conditions like mud, snow, and sand. The final tally after a week of testing, meanwhile, stood at 10.1 L/100 km over the course of 600 km of mixed driving.

Practicality: 8/10

Even with its raised suspension, the Sorento X-Line lags the Trailhawk version of the Cherokee and every Outback this side of the newly announced Wilderness edition when it comes to ground clearance, standing 209 mm (8.2 in) compared to 220 mm (8.7 in). But then the Sorento delivers far more usable space inside despite a similar overall footprint to both of those SUVs.

The emphasis is on passenger space here, with its 2,815-mm (110.8-in) wheelbase stretching longer than those of both rivals. With three rows of seating, there’s ample room for six occupants inside – the maximum given this X-Line trim’s second-row captain’s chairs. Both also slide on rails to provide more legroom for those using the rearmost seats, and this 6-foot-3 author was able to easily divvy up the space to get comfortable in either back row without feeling cramped.

Unlike the Mazda CX-9, this is much more than an oversized two-row, and the Sorento is genuinely used to accommodate more than a family of four. Of course, just like any SUV, up to and including massive entries like the Cadillac Escalade ESV, the second-row is best enjoyed without anyone behind it. That’s how the kids can take advantage of the maximum 1,060 mm (41.7 in) of legroom that’s barely off the mark of that long-wheelbase Escalade. (No, seriously – at 1,067 mm (42 in), there’s not even a noticeable difference.)

It’s also how to get a decent 1,090 L of cargo room to work with – closer to that of a smaller Honda CR-V than a proper three-row SUV like the Kia Telluride, but still more than enough for a family of four to fit its stuff inside. It’s the 357 L with the third row upright that’s rather cramped and narrow, rendering it all but useless for a road trip’s worth of gear.

User Friendliness: 8/10

Whether in that grocery-getter format or with the cargo area opened up entirely (with both rear rows folded, there’s 2,139 L available), the tailgate opening is wide and the liftover height reasonably low. The rear doors open nearly 90 degrees, revealing wide frames that make it easy to climb aboard or help a little one into a car seat. What’s more, all four doors extend all the way to the bottoms of the rocker panels, keeping road grime off of pant legs when climbing in and out.

It’s easy to pick up on the Sorento’s right-sized vibe from the driver’s seat, with outstanding outward visibility in all directions and a good sense of control when reaching for features or functions. The eight-inch touchscreen mounted high atop the dash is flanked by physical controls, while the HVAC system below it is easy to see at a glance.

The wireless Apple CarPlay connection wasn’t perfect during testing either, routinely claiming the phone wasn’t responding and reverting to the infotainment home screen – though Apple Music continued to stream through the speakers, and a simple tap of an icon would bring the interface back up on the display.

Features: 8/10

Both wireless CarPlay and Android Auto connections are included in the Sorento X-Line but satellite radio isn’t; it only comes in the EX trim and higher. The bigger disappointment is the absence of a power tailgate – a feature that really should be included for this model’s pre-tax price of $41,345 including freight. There’s also no sunroof. The front seats and steering wheel are heated, however, while there’s a wireless phone charger up front, eight USB ports peppered throughout the cabin, and quick-release buttons to stow the second-row seats from the cargo area.

Safety: 8/10

This trim includes a decent assortment of advanced safety features, too, like automatic high-beam headlights, forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, and lane-keep assist with a lane-follow function. But the latter makes the absence of adaptive cruise control especially strange. As a point of reference, competitors such as the Outback or Toyota RAV4 Trail include adaptive cruise.

The fourth-gen Sorento performed well in crash testing conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), with top marks across the board and a Top Safety Pick rating overall. It’s only the headlights that held it back, with the basic ones here earning a rating of “Poor.” The Sorento comes equipped with six airbags throughout the cabin, as well as a government-mandated backup camera and automatic lightning, while the X-Line adds rear parking sensors absent from cheaper trims.

Value: 9/10

The Sorento’s in-between sizing makes it tough to compare pound-for-pound with other entries on the market. Its closest competitor in terms of size and space might well be the GMC Acadia, which also comes with three rows of seats – though its off-road-inspired AT4 trim is substantially more expensive than the Sorento X-Line and starts at $50,298 before tax. In the same vein, there’s the Cherokee Trailhawk that does without a third row but costs at least a few thousand dollars more (and, it should be noted, is much more capable off the beaten path).

The Subaru Outback Outdoor XT also skips a third row of seats but has a similar look and feel to the Sorento X-Line – and it’s priced within $200 of this Kia, coming in at $41,170 before tax. The same goes with the Toyota RAV4 Trail, which rings in at $41,230, though its TRD Off-Road package pushes that price to at least $44,750 before any specialty paints are applied. As tested, this version of the X-Line rang in at $41,695 before tax, including a $250 charge for the green paint.

The Verdict

The biggest price advantage the 2021 Sorento brings to the table, X-Line or otherwise, is its size for the money. While there’s a lot to like about a larger three-row like the Telluride, the Sorento is stuffed with all kinds of practicality without taking up any more space in the driveway than a Subaru Outback. Add in its pseudo-adventurous persona, and Kia has served up yet another winner.

The 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line also happens to look cool, too. Anyone shopping in the mid-size segment would do well to place this sport utility at the top of their shortlist.

Source: AutoTrader