Crossover & Midsize

Is the 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line Just Playing Dress Up?

The newly revealed Kia Sorento X-Line package boasts awesome exterior styling. It’s no secret that looking like an outdoor adventurer totally adds cool points to the overall package. Because of this, people love off-road warriors like the Jeep Wrangler and the Toyota 4Runner. But a down-and-dirty mudder on a ladder frame can feel a bit clunky on that paved commute to work. Enter the crossover SUV.

2021 Toyota 4Runner on display with new lunar paint color
2021 Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro| Toyota

Crossovers like the Toyota RAV4 and now the Kia Sorento are adding packages that give these favorites what auto critics love to call “off-road chops.” Off-road designated models of crossovers like this get unique drive modes and features that add to their adventurous ability. In addition, off-road trims like the 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line boast exterior styling that gives them a certain “ready-for-anything” appeal.

The 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line––just playing dress up?

New to the Kia crossover and SUV lineup, the 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line package can be added to the brand new SX Prestige version of the popular three-row crossover. An appearance package, standard AWD, a higher ground clearance all give this Kia crossover outdoorsy appeal. But how do we know the Kia Sorento X-Line can actually go the distance?

2021 Sorento X-Line off-roading
2021 Sorento X-Line | Kia

RELATED: The ‘Wicked Wrangler’ Pickup Truck

Sure it looks like a fancy off-road machine, but is AWD and a cool rugged look all the X-Line package has to offer? Sure, we know it’s no Ford Bronco or Jeep Wrangler Rubicon. But maybe this crossover is actually achieving its desired result––the best of both worlds.

a blue 2021 Kia Sorento hybrid crossover SUV driving at speed in the mountains
2021 Kia Sorento | Kia

RELATED: Consumer Reports Says the Kia Sportage Has 1 Major Drawback

Off-road features

This Kia website shares some insight on off-road features that we will see on the all-new 2021 Kia Sorento X-Line. Aggressive bumpers and an increased ground clearance gives the X-Line a more formidable stance. The upgraded mesh grille looks fancy paired with matte black cladding on the lower doors, front fender emblems, and wheel arches. In addition, the roof rack is more prominent––ready for the outdoor gear of your choosing.

RELATED: Once Upon a Toyota Crossover

Plus, according to Car and Driver, the X-Line package––which is only an available option for the range-topping SX Prestige trim––is equipped with standard AWD. The X-Line package is added to a Sorento model with the more powerful 2.5-liter inline-four with 281 horsepower and 311 pound-feet of torque. RoadShow also adds that the new AWD Sorentos will have Snow Mode in addition to the existing drive modes.

a 2021 X-line package dressed for rugged adventure parked by a lake in the mountains
2021 Sorento X-Line

RELATED: Heavy Duty Diesel Truck Standoff: Ram vs. Ford

How tough is the Kia Sorento X-Line?

With AWD and the existing added ground clearance, some more purpose-driven off-road tires could turn the 2021 Kia Sorento into a pretty fun family trail crossover. Again, it doesn’t compete with the likes of a Toyota 4Runner TRD Pro or a Jeep Wrangler Rubicon in terms of serious off-road grit. It’s more in line with the Jeep Cherokee or an AWD Toyota Highlander.

2020 Toyota Highlander three-row crossover SUV driving down the street
2020 Toyota Highlander | Toyota

That said, we have to admit that the appearance lent by the X-Line package is tantalizing. The Kia Sorento X-Line might be playing dress up. But it’s doing a great job. From every angle, the three-row crossover SUV looks ready for adventure. For the most part, that’s the idea.

2021 Kia Sorento Interior
2021 Kia Sorento Interior | Kia

In fact, it better serves with all-terrains as a family crossover. It will do great on weekend camping trips, but also feel nice and comfortable for city driving. It’s not a rock climber, but dirt roads or snow should be a breeze. We think it will shape up to be a great option for active families that want a stylish and well-rounded three-row SUV.