The verdict: Kia redesigned the smaller of its three-row people-movers for 2021, and the new Sorento grows in size and adds updated technology along with new engines — including a hybrid option. For this Car Seat Check, we tested a top-level SX Prestige X-Line with all-wheel drive and second-row captain’s chairs. We found much to like, from its accessible lower Latch anchors to its roomy second row.
Does it fit three car seats? No, but we tested a model with captain’s chairs. A second-row bench seat is also available, but we have not yet tested that model.
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- Latch: In the second row, the two sets of lower anchors are exposed for easy access and connection. The top tether anchors on the seatback are also easy to find and use.
- Infant seat: Installation of this seat was easy in the second row, and a 5-foot-6-inch front passenger had plenty of legroom with the seat installed behind them.
- Rear-facing convertible: As with the infant seat, the rear-facing convertible was easy to install, and we had no room issues.
- Forward-facing convertible: We did not need to raise the second-row head restraint to situate the forward-facing convertible flush against the seat. If you need to raise the convertible’s back to accommodate a taller child, however, you will likely need to raise the head restraint before installing the car seat. Connection to both the lower anchors and top tether anchor was easy.
- Booster: After raising the second-row head restraint, the booster fit well. The Sorento has floppy buckles, but we still gave booster accommodations an A grade because the buckles are held up and connected to the seat, so they should be easy for kids to use independently.
- Third-row Latch: The two sets of anchors are exposed for easy access and connection. The two top tether anchors sit halfway down the seatback, and they’re also clearly marked and exposed.
- Third-row forward-facing convertible: The third row’s fixed head restraints don’t interfere with how the forward-facing convertible fits against the seatback. But if you need to raise the convertible’s back to accommodate a taller child, the fixed head restraint might prevent it from sitting flush against the seatback — as it should.
- Third-row access: A one-touch button easily slides and collapses the seat forward to access to the third row. It can’t be done when car seats are installed, however; that’s a provision offered in some other cars. The opening is also on the small side. Passengers can also use the small pass-through between the second row seats to access the third row, but it’s narrow.
- Third-row booster: The third row’s fixed head restraints only flop down when the seat is folded, and they aren’t otherwise adjustable. They push the booster’s back off of the seatback slightly; it should sit flush against the seatback. What’s more, the third row’s floppy buckles will likely be tough for kids to use independently.
A: Plenty of room for the car seat and the child; doesn’t impact driver or front passenger legroom. Easy to find and connect to Latch and tether anchors. No fit issues involving head restraint or seat contouring. Easy access to the third row.
B: One room, fit or connection issue. Some problems accessing the third row when available.
C: Marginal room plus one fit or connection issue. Difficult to access the third row when available.
D: Insufficient room, plus multiple fit or connection issues.
F: Does not fit or is unsafe.
About Cars.com’s Car Seat Checks
Editors Jennifer Geiger and Jennifer Newman are certified child safety seat installation technicians.
For the Car Seat Check, we use a Chicco KeyFit 30 infant-safety seat, a Graco Contender 65 convertible seat and Graco TurboBooster seat. The front seats are adjusted for a 6-foot driver and a shorter passenger. The three child seats are installed in the second row. The booster seat sits behind the driver’s seat, and the infant and convertible seats are installed behind the front passenger seat.
We also install the forward-facing convertible in the second row’s middle seat with the booster and infant seat in the outboard seats to see if three car seats will fit; a child sitting in the booster seat must be able to reach the seat belt buckle. If there’s a third row, we install the booster seat and a forward-facing convertible. Learn more about how we conduct our Car Seat Checks.
Parents should also remember that they can use the Latch system or a seat belt to install a car seat, and that Latch anchors have a weight limit of 65 pounds, including the weight of the child and the weight of the seat itself.
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