Putting the Updated and Upgraded 2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro to the Ultimate Test: Winter in Colorado

The 2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro got a makeover and now it looks and performs even more the like a rugged SUV. Don't let the luxe details inside fool you.

Kia Sorento X-Pro
The 2025 Kia Sorento PHEV, and the 2024 X-Pro model on the right at the Argo Gold Mill and Tunnel. Photo: Sara Lacey

Yes, It Looks More Capable. But Is it?

When’s the last time you thought, “I’ll just take this Kia Sorento up a rugged, snowy mountain to see what it’s made of”? Probably, never.

But that’s just what Kia wanted us to experience in the redesigned Kia Sorento, inviting us to put the rugged, off-road-ready X-Pro version, the newest addition to the Sorento lineup, to the test.

So, I headed up to the Rocky Mountains for a winter-time test drive this re-thought and updated version of the brand’s mid-size, 3-row SUV.  

Related: Why Brittany Bought a Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid Electric SUV

The Grille Of The 2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro Looks Rugged

The grille of the 2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro looks rugged. Photo: Sara Lacey

Modern Details in the Kia Sorento X-Pro Were a Surprise

For the 2024 makeover, Kia added a bolder front end design giving it clear sibling-ship to other Kia models including the larger, roomier Telluride, the compact Sportage and even the electric EV9. The wide grille is framed by headlights and amber daytime running lights for a more muscular look and feel.

Inside, there are more luxe details and sleek design to make the interior feel as comfortable as it is capable. Now, Sorento has the same single panel of glass for the multimedia system and driver display found in its other new models, as well as a sleeker dash, with the air vents integrated horizontally. And, Kia brought back the lever gear shifter; gone is the dial that it had before.

The Kia Sorento X-Pro falls at the top of the line among Sorentos and it’s well-outfitted. Priced at $49,400 after destination fees, it includes lot of premium features. So that means it has leather seats, standard heated and ventilated front seats, second-row heated captain’s chairs, dual 12.3” screens for driver information and multimedia, wireless charging, wireless Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, LED headlights, a power liftgate, and a panoramic sunroof.

The Sorento X-Pro is essentially the SX-Prestige trim but with a few features that make it capable should you find yourself in some non-traditional driving situations. These include high-utility roof rails, a 115v power outlet, all wheel drive, multiple drive modes, locking differential and 17″ all-terrain tires. The Sorento X-Pro has a 4-cylinder turbo engine that generates 281 HP, the same engine found on all but the two entry-level trim models.

Related: Space, Luxury, and Savings without Compromise in the Kia Sorento Hybrid SUV

Sorento X-Pro In The Rockies

Sorento X-Pro in the Rockies. Photo: Sara Lacey

X-Pro Amps Up the Capability of the Sorento

The X-Pro setup adds 17” matte black wheels and all-terrain tires, Bose premium audio, leather seat trim, heated steering wheel, synthetic suede headliner, leather seating, and a 4,500 lb. towing capacity, 1,000 pounds more than other Sorento models. There is a reinforced skid plate under the front bumper, but to be clear, it’s not a skid plate that extends underneath the car. It’s mostly just to protect the area under the front bumper from getting beat up. So you can go off-pavement or even off-roading, and that portion of the Sorento will be protected. But you’ll want to consider whether rock-crawling is in your best interests, and if you’re in an area with deep ruts, you’re best off staying on top of them. 

2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro Looks Good At All Angles.

2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro looks good at all angles. Photo: Sara Lacey

Bigger (Wheels) Isn’t Always Better

I also remembered how nice it is to ride on 17” wheels and tires, especially in off-pavement circumstances. They are softer and more forgiving than larger wheels and tires with less sidewall (the part of the tire between the pavement and the wheel). I had the opportunity to drive the Sorento off-pavement and it was confident on wet, rocky, dirty roads that alternated with snowpack and ice.

It has Snow mode if you need it, and it is a seamless shift from normal mode to snow mode. It also has a Sport mode and Smart mode. I didn’t get a chance to do any steep, rutted roads or deep, snowy passes, but hopefully we will get a longer test and get a chance to try that out. 

The X-Pro also has a locking differential, which means that you can get maximum grip when you need it in more extreme situations.

Related: You Can Do Hard Things. The Kia Telluride Team Proved It at the 2023 Rebelle Rally

2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro Has Lots Of Luxe-Looking Details

2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro has lots of luxe-looking details. Photo: Sara Lacey

So What About the 2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro was Unexpected? 

The fact that it wasn’t all rubbery and plasticky inside. The X-pro looks very much like the pretty Sorento you know and love, with synthetic wood trim on the dash, silver accents on the vents and door pulls. It has carpeted floor mats and beautiful leather seats. I especially loved the two-toned steering wheel. This is not the car you take camping and then hose it out at the end. It’s more likely the car you drive to that cute, snowed-in cabin in the woods and then spend a little time washing and pampering it when you get home.

2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro Looks Right At Home At Devils Thumb Ranch

The 2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro looks right at home at Devils Thumb Ranch. Photo: Sara Lacey

Great For Daily Life, Too

And whenever you’re not in the woods, it is a great car for day-to-day activities. The 2.5L turbocharged engine gives you plenty of power and pep, even up at high altitudes. Around town you will not be lacking for power. Kia says the Sorento X-Pro will get 20 mpg in the city, 27 mpg on the highway, and a combined 23 mpg. 

2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro Cargo Area With Third Row Up.

The 2024 Kia Sorento X-Pro cargo area with third row up. Photo: Sara Lacey

3 Rows of Cargo or People, and Roof Racks for Both

Space in the Sorento is at a premium if you’re going to be camping and want to bring more than a couple of other people. Fortunately, the Sorento X-pro has a roof rack standard and also the aforementioned towing capacity of 4,500 lbs.

If you have the optional third row and it is folded, you can put skis in the back, extending them lengthwise between the second-row captains chairs, which are standard. You also have room for boot bags. If you are a sports participant or parent, you can carry most other types of equipment bags, but double-check your big hockey gear bags to see if more than one or two will fit.

Kia Thinks You Might Like the Best of Both Worlds

The Sorento X-Pro isn’t going to make you compromise on the experience of having a pretty, well-appointed car. It’s going to get you through some tricky road conditions, and it’s going to do it in style. You’ll get to your more remote cabin or resort or camping spot successfully and in comfort.

Sara Lacey And The 2025 Kia Sorento Hybrid

Sara Lacey and the 2025 Kia Sorento Hybrid. Photo: Jim Fleming

Kia Had Another Sneak Peek Waiting for Us

As an additional surprise, we got a preview we got of the 2025 Kia Sorento Hybrid. The hybrid has more polish on the outside with pretty black and silver wheels and a bit of chrome bling accenting parts of the exterior. Kia says the hybrid will get about 36 miles per gallon (average). If you opt for an all-wheel drive option, it’ll be about 34 miles per gallon. There is no pricing available yet, so keep checking back for all the pertinent details.

2025 Kia Sorento Hybrid Profile Angle.

2025 Kia Sorento Hybrid profile angle. Photo: Sara Lacey

Disclosure: I was Kia’s guest to drive the Sorento X-Pro. Travel and accommodations were paid for by Kia. All impressions are my own.

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Sara has written about cars since 2005. She used to beat them up with her kids and write about... More about Sara Lacey