Car and Driver and Consumer Reports Disagree on the 2022 Kia Sorento

Most critics agree the newly redesigned Kia Sorento is a big improvement. For the 2021 model year, the midsize crossover SUV got a larger cargo capacity, an optional turbo-four engine, and even two hybrid powertrains. You could even argue the Sorento is now a worthy rival for its best-selling Telluride sibling.

But Consumer Reports seems to disagree, putting the Kia Sorento at the bottom of its three-row midsize SUV ratings. However, Car and Driver gives the Sorento an Editors’ Choice badge and an overall score of 8.5 out of 10. So, which respected car review site should we trust?

2022 Kia Sorento pros and cons, according to Car and Driver

2022 Kia Sorento X-Line, Consumer Reports review
2022 Kia Sorento X-Line | Kia

C/D appreciates the Kia Sorento’s plentiful engine options. The base engine is a four-cylinder with 191 hp on tap, while the turbo-four makes 281 hp. They pair with a standard or a dual-clutch eight-speed automatic transmission, respectively. C/D says the Sorento with the turbo-four provides excellent handling and a quiet ride.

The base engine in the regular hybrid and PHEV model is a 227-hp turbo-four, paired with an electric motor. Higher trim levels pack a larger electric motor with an upgraded output of 261 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. Both come with a six-speed automatic, and the more powerful setup can be paired only with all-wheel drive. The hybrid models also predictably get the best gas mileage, up to 39/35 mpg city/highway.

C/D praises the Kia Sorento’s exterior appearance for its rugged styling, and the interior is also pleasing to behold. Testers appreciate the intricate stitching details throughout the cabin and all the available tech features. A panoramic sunroof and optional second-row captain’s chairs make this SUV feel fancy.

Though C/D says the Sorento’s interior is relatively comfortable, the third row isn’t suitable for most adults. Also, with the third-row seats upright, you get only about 13 cubic feet of cargo space. And the larger 12-inch touchscreen infotainment system doesn’t support wireless smartphone integration, a feature you can find in many rivals.

Why Consumer Reports dislikes the Kia Sorento

Despite its abysmal overall rating of 46 out of 100, the Kia Sorento scores surprisingly high on its Consumer Reports road test. However, annoying caveats ruin many of the SUV’s strengths.

For example, the infotainment controls are easy to use, but you can’t operate the audio or Bluetooth functions from the steering wheel. Wireless Apple CarPlay on the base trim is a plus, but CR testers say it’s challenging to set up.

CR’s reviewers appreciate the optional turbo-four engine’s quick acceleration and feel the eight-speed dual-clutch is quite responsive. However, the engine suffers from turbo lag, and power delivery from the gearbox is sometimes uneven. There’s also notable engine vibration when driving at lower speeds.

And though the handling is fine, the ride feels jittery, and the steering lacks any enjoyable feedback. For those reasons, CR predicts that owner satisfaction will only be average. The site also gives the 2022 Kia Sorento the lowest predicted reliability score (1 out of 5) for potential body and transmission problems.

Is the Ford Explorer a better alternative?

According to Consumer Reports’ list of SUV ratings, the Ford Explorer scores one point higher than the Kia Sorento. Analyzing owner surveys, CR thinks drivers will be more satisfied with the Explorer. Consumers typically find the interior more comfortable and have a better driving experience.

However, the Ford Explorer is just as unreliable as the Kia Sorento from a critical standpoint. CR testers found the Explorer’s interior to be more spacious, but they disliked the overall ride quality. The Sorento proved faster and with a classier interior on higher trims.

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