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The Kia Sorento is one of the best values in midsize three-row SUVs. It’s not the biggest, fanciest, or most rugged in its class, but it is one of the most affordable. The frugality is enhanced by its multiple hybrid powertrains available. The 2024 Sorento just got a mid-cycle refresh. Is it faithful to its value-conscious and family-friendly formula, or is this humble SUV trying to be something it’s not?

The 2024 Sorento got the Kia Telluride treament

The new front end is the most noticeable aspect of the 2024 refresh for the Sorento. It has a touch new face with a large, rectangular grille design flanked by a thin, angular light signature. It’s a decidedly more rugged look for the Sorento. It’s a look that reminds us of the bigger, pricier Kia Telluride. It also borrows some design cues from the new Kia EV9.

The Telluride has been a massive hit for Kia since it came out in 2020. The Telluride receives well-deserved praise from the automotive press, but it’s made the Sorento something of a forgotten middle child in Kia’s SUV lineup.

The rugged aesthetic of the updated Sorento is backed up by the new X-Pro trim. The Sorento previously had the X-Line treatment available for a couple of trims, which is little more than an appearance package. However, this is the first-ever Sorento X-Pro with serious off-road upgrades. The X-Pro models of the smaller Sportage and bigger Telluride have impressed us with their balance of off-road chops and on-road comfort, and we expect the Sorento X-Pro to be no different. Upgrades include a center locking differential, all-terrain tires, and redesigned bumpers for optimal approach and departure angles.

Is this a smart design choice?

A grey 2024 Kia Sorento drives across a rapid creek with a mountain in the background
2024 Kia Sorento | Kia

The Kia Telluride changed the perception of Kia SUVs so much that it’s influencing the designs of smaller, more affordable SUVs. The Telluride has become the brand’s flagship SUV, and the Sorento is now a smaller and more budget-friendly alternative. Funny, considering the Sorento has been around since 2003, and the Telluride is still relatively new.

Rugged designs are all the rage in the world of crossover SUVs. In the midsize three-row segment alone, there’s the Honda Pilot TrailSport, Ford Explorer Timberline, Nissan Pathfinder Rock Creek, Volkswagen Atlas Peak Edition, Chevy Traverse Z71, Hyundai Palisade XRT, and Kia’s own Telluride X-Line and X-Pro trims. The Sorento is simply catching up on a trend that’s been spreading through this segment for years.

Surely, Kia knows that nobody will use a Sorento like a Jeep Wrangler or Ford Bronco. The 2024 updates give the appearance of ruggedness with more than enough off-road capability than most of us need.

What other changes did Kia make to the 2024 Sorento?

In addition to the exterior refresh and new X-Pro trim, the Sorento gets some nice interior updates. It has horizontal air vents for a more open feel, and a 12.3-inch screen is the new infotainment system. It’s upgradable to dual panoramic displays, adding a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster with one big display uniting the two screens. The new infotainment system uses Kia’s latest operating system, which has faster processing and better graphics and allows for wireless Android Auto and Apple CarPlay. It also has over-the-air updates.

Other tech updates include a Digital Key feature, smart cruise control with machine learning to match your driving style, and available Highway Driving Assist 2, which can do automatic lane changes.

The updated 2024 Sorento isn’t too ambitious about being an off-roader. It’s just getting a design more aligned with what’s popular in its segment, including in Kia’s own lineup. The tech updates keep Kia on the cutting edge of safety and infotainment technology, and we look forward to trying out the new X-Pro model off-road.