CHATHAM, Mass. – If Goldilocks had ventured into the three bears’ SUV-filled garage, she would have chosen the 2022 Kia Sorento as her ride because, as she said about everything she liked in their home, “It is just right.”

The Kia Sorento X-Line SX-Prestige – the top of the Sorento range – is just the right combination of size, features, capabilities and value, making it a solid choice for those wanting a sport utility (SUV) with room for up to six (in three rows) but an ungainly beast to drive or own.

Dimensionally, the Sorento fits into the smaller end of the mid-size category.  At 189-inches long, it is some 10 inches shorter than a Ford Explorer and a lot smaller than the full-size/large Chevrolet Suburban (226 inches long). It is larger than compact SUVs like the Ford Escape (eight inches).

Within this tidy package (75 inches wide and 70 inches high) there is a very well-appointed, comfortable cabin with approximately 40 inches of headroom. There is more than 70 cubic feet of cargo space with the second and third rows folded; up to 45 with row two erect.

X-Line SX-Prestige package marks the top-of-the line, most rugged Sorento

Last year Kia added the X-Line package to the Sorento range with a bit more off-road aggressiveness. All X-Line versions feature 1.3 inches of additional ground clearance (8.2 inches) when compared to other models; increased approach and departure angles; a move advanced all-wheel-drive (AWD) system; different front and rear fascia treatments, and 20-inch matte-finish alloy wheels.

The suspension system features MacPherson-type struts up front with a multi-link setup in the rear. The braking system’s rotors are ventilated front and rear, with the front’s 12.8 inches, the rear’s 12.0.

Those 20-inch wheels wear 255/45R20 tires.

The X-Line SX-Prestige trim line means this Sorento came with the 2.5-liter four-cylinder turbocharged gasoline direct injection (GDI) engine producing 281 horsepower and 311 pounds-feet of torque.

This power flows through an eight-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission (DCT) into the standard all-wheel-drive system with center locking differential. The system can be driver tuned to match road/environmental conditions through the five drive modes: comfort, sport, eco, smart or snow.

The components combine with the Sorento’s overall size to produce a very rewarding experience. It easily fits into most lifestyles: parking is easy, aided by a 360º-surround-view camera and front/rear parking sensors; maneuvering through traffic a breeze thanks to the engine power and the suspension does its job whether the roads are macadam smooth or rutted dirt.

A comprehensive roster of advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS)

Kia calls its advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) Drive Wise and the 2022 Sorento X-Line SX-Prestige package includes all of them:

-Smart Cruise Control with Stop and Go
-Rear Occupant Alert with sensor (ROA)
-Blind-Spot Collision Avoidance Assist – Rear (BCA-R) and Parallel Exit
-Rear Cross-Traffic Collision Avoidance Assist (RCCA)
-Parking Distance Warning – Forward and Reverse (PDW-F&R)
-Parking Collision Avoidance – Rear (PCA-R)
-Safe Exit Assist (SEA)
-Intelligent Speed Limit Assist (ISLA)
-Forward Collision Avoidance Assist; Fusion Type: Car, Pedestrian and Cyclist
-Forward Collision Avoidance Assist, Junction Assist
-Surround View Monitor (SVM)
-Blind View Monitor (BVM)
-Driver Attention Warning (DAW)
-Lane Keep Assist System (LKAS)
-Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS)
-Lane Following Assist (LFA)
-Highway Driving Assist (HDA)
-Electronic Parking Brake (EPB)
-High Beam Assist (HBA)

2022 Sorento SX

Comfort, convenience and technology fill the interior

Open the door of this Sorento and you are met by a modern, high-tech interior complete with multiple screens (12.3-inch customizable cluster facing the driver; 10.5-inch infotainment/navigation touch screen at the top/center of the dashboard); leather upholstered buckets in front, captain’s chairs in the middle and a 50/50-split third row, and a panoramic moonroof overhead.

The front seats are heated, ventilated and power adjustable, the driver’s with power thigh extension. The second row thrones are heated.

The dash features an unusual vent setup. Below the full-size vents, two at the ends, two in the middle, are a smaller, second set allowing for air flow to be more precisely controlled and directed for passenger comfort. The climate-control system is multi-zone and automatic.

The infotainment system, with sound pumped through a 12-speaker Bose surround-sound audio system with amplifier, includes Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio and Bluetooth audio streaming.

The total package

The 2022 Kia Sorento X-Line SX-Prestige will answer many of the questions SUV shoppers pose. It provides three-row room for up to six persons; plenty of space for cargo; off-road capabilities; a manageable size – both for the road and the garage, and is very reasonable in terms of value and economy.

Fuel-economy wise, the Sorento eked out 25.9 miles per gallon while in my hands, which compares favorably to the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s 24 mpg combined rating (22 city, 27 highway).

Value is in the eyes of the buyer, but the $45,120 bottom line (including $1,175 inland freight and handling charge) makes it very competitive with other members of the mid-size SUV segment – and with more features than many offer.

Goldilocks would never have stopped for a nap if she had found this Sorento in the three bears’ garage. Instead, we would have heard her calling out, “this SUV is just right and I’m off” as she drove away.

Next week TBR Drives the all new 2022 Hyundai Kona electric.