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Kia Sorento: A Benchmark of Safety in the Midsize Crossover Segment

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The Sorento is the proud entry of Korean car manufacturer Kia in the midsize crossover segment. It has seen three generations since its introduction in 2002, with the latest model update introduced earlier in 2019. It is marketed as a “rugged and roomy” vehicle with similar underpinnings as the Sedona minivan. There are currently seven trims available for the Sorento, namely L, LX, LX V6, S V6, EX V6, SX, and SXL. Two engine options are available; a 2.4L for the L and LX, and a 3.3L V6 for the higher variants.

As a subcategory, crossovers share the limelight with SUVs, which are currently the top selling vehicle type in the United States according to sources like Statista. One of the biggest advantages of SUVs is that it is perceived to be much safer than sedans. Kia was fully aware of this which is why it introduced the updated Sorento by highlighting how it was much safer than any midsize crossover in the market. The claim would not be unfounded as the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) awarded it with its highest recognition known as the Top Safety Pick+.

The Kia Sorento was recognized as the Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), which lends evidence that it is safer than any midsize crossover in the market.

If a Top Safety Pick+ award is not enough to convince you, here’s a list of the Kia Sorento’s most notable safety features.

Rollover Sensor

Due to contributing factors like gravity, balance, and speed taller vehicles are prone to rollovers. Car manufacturers dealt with this by tweaking the structural design of the body. Kia equipped their Sorento with a Rollover Sensor which works hand-in-hand with the airbag system of the vehicle. As soon as the Sorento senses a possible rollover, the system deploys the airbags and engages seatbelt pretensioners to protect the driver and passengers.

Vehicle Stability Management (VSM)

This feature intervenes when the Sorento senses that the driver is about to lose control. Sudden steering inputs, which upsets the vehicle’s balance or initiates a slide, will trigger the VSM to provide the driver an opportunity to regain control. VSM is an active safety feature standard across all Sorento variants.

Rear-Cross-Traffic Alert and Blind Spot Monitoring

Rear-cross-traffic alert works best when backing out of blind parking slots. The system works with the backing cameras and warns the driver with visual and audio alerts if any object or vehicle is obstructing or crossing the car’s path while in reverse. The blind spot monitoring system, on the other hand, sends out audio and visual warnings when it senses vehicles approaching from the blind spot of the Sorento. A flashing yellow alert appears in the rearview mirror that warns the driver not to change lanes.

Smart Cruise Control (SCC)

Much like the cruise control we all know and use, adaptive cruise control uses radar technology that automatically adjusts the Sorento’s speed to keep a safe distance from the vehicle in front. Set the SCC at 70-MPH and it will keep cruising at that speed. The SCC will automatically apply the brakes as soon as it senses that the car in front is slowing down or when a car suddenly cuts you. Though it can detect other vehicle movements around the Sorento (for as long as your hands are on the wheel), the SCC is not a replacement for the driver. This feature is available on the Sorento EX variant and up.

Forward Collision Warning

Available on the higher trims starting from the EX, the forward collision warning system calculates the speed and distance of the Sorento from the vehicle or object in its path. If it senses that the Sorento is approaching a car too fast, it will signal the driver with audible and visual warnings to brake.

Automatic Emergency Braking with Pedestrian Detection

Also found on the higher trims, Kia’s Automatic Emergency Braking feature with Pedestrian Detection System prevents frontal collisions by automatically engaging the brakes even without the driver’s input. If the system senses pedestrians or pets crossing the path of the Sorento, it applies the brakes in case the accelerator is accidentally pressed.

Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist

Part of the 2019 upgrade, the Lane Departure Warning and Lane Keeping Assist are driver-assistance systems that senses and corrects sudden lane changes as a result of drowsiness or distracted driving. The system analyzes the driver’s driving behavior with the help of lane detecting sensors and can steer the car gently back into its lane. The system also alerts drivers if they try to change lanes without using the turning signals.

Driver Attention Alert (DAA)

First seen in premium vehicles, this safety system uses infrared sensors and a camera in the instrument cluster to monitor the driver’s level of attentiveness to the road. It can track the driver’s eyes and analyzes its movement patterns. When it senses that the driver isn’t paying close attention to the road or starting to doze off, the system sends out audible and visual warnings promoting the driver to take a break or to stop texting.


Do note that majority of the standard safety features are found across the 2019 Sorento variants. Advanced safety features like adaptive cruise control, lane keeping assist, and driver attention alert are features exclusive to higher trims. Safety features, such as the ones mentioned above, contribute to the driver and passengers’ peace of mind, as well as the safety of other drivers, pedestrians, and pets who share the road. Though these do not stand in place of good driving habits they should be able to assist you in becoming a safer driver.

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In the Garage with CarParts.com is an online blog dedicated to bringing DIYers and devoted car enthusiasts up to date with topical automotive news and lifestyle content. Our writers live and breathe automotive, taking the guess work out of car repairs with how-to content that helps owners get back on the road and keep driving.

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