2019 Kia Sorento crossover aims to be a much cooler ‘Family Truckster’

The modern crossover utility vehicle has become the default choice for many families. Many models offer three rows of seats like a minivan, coupled with the car-like driving dynamics of a station wagon — but unlike wagons and minivans, parents aren’t embarrassed to be seen in them. That makes vehicles like the 2019 Kia Sorento very important for both car shoppers and automakers’ bottom lines.

Kia launched a refreshed version of the Sorento at the 2017 Los Angeles Auto Show. Stopping short of a full redesign, Kia made some strategic tweaks including revised exterior styling, a new eight-speed automatic transmission, and more tech features. Will that be enough to keep the Sorento in the fight against the likes of the Honda Pilot, Toyota Highlander, and Ford Explorer?

On the outside, Kia tweaked the headlights, fog lights and grille at the front, and the rear bumper, taillights, and exhaust tip at the back. You’d be hard pressed to tell the difference unless you parked the 2019 Sorento next to last year’s model, but this Kia was already pretty good looking, so that isn’t much of a problem.

Under the skin, buyers can choose from two engines that carry over from last year. The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder produces 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque, and the 3.3-liter V6 produces 290 hp and 252 lb-ft. The 2.4-liter engine is mated to a six-speed automatic transmission, while the V6 gets a new-for-2019 eight-speed automatic pulled from the Kia Cadenza sedan. Front-wheel drive is standard, with all-wheel drive optional.

Kia is dropping the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder previously available on midlevel models, but will replace it with a new diesel engine at some point in the near future. Even with the fallout from the Volkswagen emissions scandal, some automakers still believe diesels are a good way to increase fuel efficiency.

On the tech front, the Sorento gets wireless phone charging (for iPhone 8, iPhone X, and certain Android phones), an optional 10-speaker Harman Kardon audio system with the company’s Quantum Logic surround sound feature. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility is available as well, along with a suite of driver-assist features that includes forward collision warning, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, and a surround-view camera system. Lane-keep assist and a driver-attention warning feature are new for 2019.

The 2019 Kia Sorento will arrive in showrooms sometime in the next few months. Pricing information will be released closer to the release date.

Updated: Added more photos

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Write music with your voice, make homemade cheese

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it sure is fun to gawk!
Product Review

Who needs a Range Rover? BMW’s X7 has better tech and just as much luxury

The 2019 BMW X7 is the German automaker’s long-overdue entry into the full-size luxury SUV segment. Packing three rows of seats and plenty of tech, can the new BMW take on Mercedes-Benz and Land Rover?
Cars

FWD vs. RWD vs. AWD: How the wheels that turn change the way you drive

Let's face it, you've likely heard front-, rear-, and all-wheel drive mentioned before in some context or another. But what do these terms mean, especially in terms of performance? We’ve got the answers.
Cars

2020 Cadillac CT5 luxury sedan gets turbocharged power, chiseled looks

The 2020 Cadillac CT5 replaces the CTS in the General Motors luxury brand's lineup. Cadillac will unveil the CT5 at the 2019 New York Auto Show in April. Until then, it's keeping most details under wraps.
Product Review

The Nissan Rogue is smart, handsome, and practical. What’s not to love?

Year after year, Nissan’s Rogue compact crossover is a consistent best-seller, outpacing Honda’s CR-V, and even Toyota’s mighty RAV4. We looked for the reasons why people love the 2019 Nissan Rogue, and found them.
Cars

Fisker plans sub-$40,000 electric SUV with 300 miles of range for 2021

Fisker Inc. plans to launch an electric SUV with a base price of under $40,000, and a range of around 300 miles in 2021. The unnamed vehicle could compete with the Tesla Model Y, if it ever gets into production.
Cars

Mercedes wants to turn your car into a comfortable shopping mall on wheels

Mercedes-Benz designed its MBUX infotainment system with e-commerce in mind. Motorists can upgrade compatible cars via an over-the-air software updating system, but the brand wants to take this technology to the next level.
Cars

Tesla gives us a cryptic look at its cyberpunk, Blade Runner-inspired pickup

Tesla has started designing its long-promised pickup truck. The yet-unnamed model will come with dual-motor all-wheel drive and lots of torque, plus it will be able to park itself. It could make its debut in 2019.
Cars

Bentley’s 542-horsepower Continental GT V8 is the best kind of downsizing

The Bentley Continental GT V8 has fewer cylinders than its W12 sibling, but Bentley expects it to offer better gas mileage and more agile handling. The V8's top speed of 198 mph is also pretty darn fast.
Emerging Tech

Racing to catch a flight? Robot valet at French airport will park your car

Hate searching for parking at the airport when you need to catch a plane? Startup Stanley Robotics recently unveiled a new outdoor automated robotic valet system. Here's how it works.
Cars

Nvidia’s new simulator brings virtual learning to autonomous vehicle developers

Nvidia introduced a simulator for testing autonomous vehicle technologies. Drive Constellation is a cloud-based platform technology vendors can use to validate systems efficiently, safely, and much faster than with vehicles on real roads.
Cars

Tesla wirelessly gives the Model 3 a 5-percent increase in power

Tesla again showed the potential of its innovative over-the-air software updating system by making the Model 3 five percent more powerful via a firmware update. The Performance model gained 23 horsepower.
Cars

Fiat wants to transform the cheeky 500 city car into an urban Tesla

Fiat is finally preparing a new 500. Scheduled to make its debut in early 2020, the retro-chic city car will go electric in part to comply with looming emissions regulations.
Cars

Say goodbye to Uber for good: Here's how to cut ties with the ridesharing service

If you thought that deleting the Uber app would also delete your account, think again. You'll have to deactivate your account, then wait 30 days in order to do so. Here, we outlined how to delete your Uber account once and for all.