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2022 Kia Sorento X-Line Toughens Up

There was a time when automakers did everything possible to make their truck-based SUVs seem more carlike.  Now, they seem to want their car-based crossovers to seem more trucklike.  It’s a trail that’s brought us fortified faux-roaders like the Subaru Forester Wilderness, GMC Terrain AT4, Toyota RAV4 TRD, and the amped wagon we have here:  The 2022 Kia Sorento X-Line.

The tough guy accoutrement definitely buffs up the exterior.  Kia’s trademark tiger tooth grille is amped up with dark inserts flanked by menacing LED headlamps.  Look close at the side and you might notice a 1” higher ride over 20” dark matte finish alloy wheels with grippier tires.  X-Line logos, dark window trim, roof rails, and enhanced facias tell the neighbors you’re open to adventure even if you ultimately stay in the city.

Same is true of the X-Line’s luscious cabin, dressed in diamond-stamped saddle colored leather, matte woodgrain trim, black piano finish on the console, and a panoramic sunroof to let in all the daylight (or moonlight if you prefer).  The twin-panel displays echo Mercedes, but provide clear access to vital gauges and infotainment systems connected to Bose audio.

Comforts equal the fashion.  Heated and ventilated front seats, heated steering wheel, heated second row captain’s chairs, and fold-flat third row seats provide soothing options.  Devices easily connect to Apple CarPlay and Android Auto.  Bluetooth and wireless phone charging plus USBs for rear passengers keep everybody connected and happy no matter how long the journey.

Especially over the last few years, Kia has stepped up as a leader in automotive safety.  Automatic emergency braking, adaptive cruise, blind spot warning, lane keep assist, and rear cross path protection provide a good foundation.  Going further, the Sorento is equipped with Kia’s Safe Exit Assist system that uses blind spot detectors to prevent occupants from stepping into fast traffic.  Rear seat occupants are monitored with advanced ultrasonic sensors so no kid is ever left behind.

I’ve driven the Sorento Hybrid and liked it very much, but the X-Line comes stoked with a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder churning out 281 horsepower and 311 lb.-ft. of torque.  It routes to the all-wheel-drive system through an eight-speed dual clutch automatic transmission that click-clicks through the gears to keep the turbo humming.  When the going gets tough, a center locking differential and drive mode selector with snow mode should help.  Driven reasonably, expect 22/27-MPG city/highway.

So, what’s it like to drive?  Well, if you think you’re going to chase Jeeps and Land Rovers through muck and dell, this is probably not your ride.  That said, it should get almost anybody to the trail head or through deep winter snow without concern.  On the highway, the Sorento provides a comfortable ride while acceleration feels peppier than the official numbers indicate.  I found the turbo gets up to speed quickly and carries the three-row wagon over hills with complete competence.

With the Sorento X-Line, Kia delivered a stylish family-friendy crossover that enhances its off-road credibility while losing nothing in luxury or on-road performance.  It’s a credible alternative to much more expensive rides from Europe.  Sorentos start at just $29,590, but came to a still reasonable $45,120 with virtually every option checked.

Storm Forward!

– Send comments to Casey at AutoCasey@aol.com; follow him on YouTube @AutoCasey.

2022 Kia Sorento X-Line

Seven-passenger, AWD Crossover

Powertrain: 2.5-liter T4, 8-spd trans

Output:  281hp/311 lb.-ft. torque

Suspension f/r: Ind/Ind

Wheels f/r: 20”/20” alloy

Brakes f/r: disc/disc

Must-have features: Style, Capability

Towing: 2,000 lbs.

Fuel economy: 12/27 mpg city/hwy

Assembly: West Point, GA

Base/As-tested price: $29,590/$45,120