I may have driven from Crested Butte, Colo., back to Portland in a Kia Stinger, but that's not how I got to the snow-encrusted mountain town wedged deep in the middle of the Rockies. Nope, I got there the "quick" way via Dog Friendly Airlines, a two-hour stop in San Francisco, a landing at Montrose airport and a two-hour drive in the 2019 Kia Sorento. That, plus a brief jaunt around Crested Butte would be the extent of my seat time in the revised-for-2019 family crossover, but it was enough to shine a light on what's changed (not a lot) and remind that this is still a worthwhile alternative to a pair of midsize SUV segments. Ah, they actually changed it? Sure did! It takes looking quite closely at side-by-side photos, but lo-and-behold, there were subtle styling changes made for the 2019 Sorento. The headlight clusters were rearranged so that the LED turn signal strip is now below the headlight elements rather than above them. Below, there are still four LED running lights (still found on select trim levels), but they are now smaller and no longer look removed from an operating theatre. They reside in a shapelier lower bumper housing. Meanwhile, the grille insert has been changed to include differently shaped dot elements. The lower rear bumper was also given a nip-and-tuck, while the taillight elements are now redder throughout. In total, typical mid-life refresh stuff. Changes to the interior are even more subtle, but were even less necessary, as the 2019 Sorento continues to boast a handsome, well-made cabin that in top trims is quite luxurious. Admittedly, I'm curious to experience one of the lower trims to see how much of the premium vibe they share, as I've only experienced the top SX-L trim, both with the 2019 in Colorado and when the current generation was launched back in 2016. A sprinkling of new features Now, those updates include a new steering wheel (no complaints, quite comfy), a new shifter head (change for change sake) and improved graphics for the instrument cluster (if they say so). The SX-L does come with a new Terracotta interior color, which is quite classy, as you can see in the photos. Tech updates include a 7-inch touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto now standard on all trim levels (a non-touch color display used to be standard on L and LX trims), and a wireless charging pad added as standard equipment to the SX and SX-L. Lane-keeping assist was added to the safety tech ledger, enhancing the lane-departure warning system already found on the SX and SX-L. Unfortunately, only those top two trim levels can be graced with accident avoidance tech, unlike the crossovers from Honda and Toyota. Regardless of trim level, the SX and SX-L's driver inattention and fatigue monitor would be a stand-out feature among non-luxury SUVs. I would assume it would be less prone to crying wolf than the comparable system found in the Stinger where it didn't seem …
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