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After getting a total redesign, the off-roading-oriented 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line is ready for adventuring. But as people take the Kia Sorento into the wild, they are noticing a few aspects that don’t exactly line up. 

Is the 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line good for off-roading? 

The 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line is alright for off-roading. The team at Driving Sports TV found a few things that may be a little misleading or disappointing about this off-roading Kia Sorento model. 

For example, the all-wheel drive system relies on a center clutch to send power to the back wheels as needed. But according to the Driver Sports TV team, the Kia site said the Sorento X-Line has a lockable center differential. We did find that listed in the specs here

This is misleading because the Toyota Land Cruiser has a center locking differential and the Sorento has a multi-plate clutch. These are different types of equipment, and the locking differential certainly sounds better. 

Also, the X-Line doesn’t have an off-roading driving mode or undercarriage protection. This can make things a little complicated for going over rocks and steep inclines without the proper protection. 

How does the Sorento X-Line perform? 

The 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line AWD package can be added to the Sorento SX Prestige trim, which starts at about $40,590. It includes unique 20-inch wheels and has a ground clearance of 8.2-inches, which is pretty good for clearing obstacles. 

It comes with a turbocharged 2.5-liter four-cylinder engine with 281 hp and 311 lb-ft of torque. It can tow up to 3,500 lbs, which is fine. We would like to see it tow up to 5,000 lbs to have more flexibility for towing campers. 

On the pavement, the Kia Sorento provides a comfortable ride with limited body roll. The suspension is a little stiff but absorbs impacts well. In sport mode, the Sorento accelerated from 0 to 60 mph in 6.8 seconds. Overall, it provides a fun and sporty experience. 

In the woods, the Sorento still provided a smooth ride, but there were concerns about the dual-clutch overheating. The steering felt a little numb. It was more responsive on the pavement. It was also challenging to maintain a constant speed because the turbo engine experienced some surging. 

The Sorento did an excellent job at climbing over wet rocks without slipping. It didn’t overheat and climbed down inclines at about two mph. The downhill brake control did suddenly jump to five mph, which was concerning and unpredictable. 

Is the Sorento worth buying? 

The 2021 Kia Sorento climbing over rocks
2021 Kia Sorento | Kia

The 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line is pretty comfortable and luxurious. It’s fun and sporty on the pavement and does OK on trails. It will get you to campsites and some trailheads, but the team at Driving Sports TV recommends going for a different type of off-roader if you want something for adventuring. 

It provides plenty of space in each row for passengers with large and supportive seats. You can opt for captain’s chairs in the second row. An 8-inch touchscreen comes standard, but you can upgrade to the 10.3-inch unit. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard. 

Key safety features include forward collision warning, automated emergency braking, lane departure warning, and lane-keeping assistance. You can add blind-spot warning and rear cross-traffic alert. 

The Sorento is a well-rounded family vehicle that can do a little of everything. The X-Line is a light off-roader, but that doesn’t mean it can’t make it to campsites. It should also handle snow and other slippery conditions just fine.


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