Does The Kia Sorento Have All Wheel Drive?

Are you planning to purchase a Kia Sorento, and you wanted to know which of the different trims has an all-wheel-drive drivetrain? You came to the right place for we researched this question, combing through numerous Sorento technical data from the second generation to the present, to bring you the answer.

The second-generation Kia Sorento launched some trims with 4-wheel drive as an option to the regular front-wheel drive. Starting in 2011, the 4-wheel drive was replaced with an all-wheel drive, and some trims offered it as an option up to the present models.

Find out exactly which trims have the AWD in the sections below. Additionally, we will briefly discuss the difference between an AWD and a 4WD. Read on!

Does The Kia Sorento Have All Wheel Drive?

Which Kia Sorento trims have all-wheel drive?

Here is a look at the different Kia Sorento trims from the present down to the launch of the second generation in 2009 all the way to 2007.

Kia Sorento 2022 and 2021

Kia Sorento had five different trims available in 2021. Three of the five trims -LX, S, and EX- have an AWD drivetrain available as an option.

The AWD option is paired with a dual-clutch 8-speed automatic transmission and a 2.5-liter turbocharged four-cylinder direct-injection engine that can generate 191 horsepower at 6,100 rpm and 181 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm.

The two trims without an available AWD are both hybrids that feature a 6-speed automatic transmission and a 1.6-liter turbocharged hybrid engine.

Kia increased the number of available trims for the Kia Sorento in 2022. From only five available trims in 2021 to a whopping 12 trims in 2022!

Four of the twelve trims in 2022 have AWD as an option. This time, the two hybrid trims—Hybrid EX and Hybrid S—offer AWD.

Additionally, an additional five trims are exclusively available only in the AWD drivetrain, including two new hybrid trims: Kia Sorento Plug-in Hybrid SX and Plug-in Hybrid SX Prestige. The other three trims are X-Line EX, X-Line SX Prestige, and X-Line S.

 Kia Sorento 2020 and the fourth generation

Kia Sorento had only six trims available when it launched the fourth generation in 2020. Five of these trims have AWD available as an optional drivetrain upgrade to the standard FWD.

Four of these trims paired the AWD with an 8-speed automatic transmission and a 3.3-liter V6 regular unleaded engine. This engine can produce 290 horsepower at 6,400 rpm and 252 lb-ft of torque at 5,200 rpm.

The Kia Sorento LX is the only trim with AWD that is paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission and a 2.4-liter inline-4 regular unleaded engine. This smaller engine can produce up to 185 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 178 lb-ft of torque at 4,000 rpm.

Kia Sorento 2019

The Kia Sorento offered eight trims in 2019. Seven of these eight trims offered an optional AWD in addition to the standard FWD.

Six of the trims with AWD used the same 3.3-liter V6 regular unleaded engine that they used for the fourth-generation release:

  • SX Limited V6
  • SX V6
  • EX V6
  • S V6
  • EX Sport V6
  • LX V6

Only the Kia Sorento LX used the same 2.4-liter inline-4 regular unleaded engine with its AWD.

Fourth-generation improvements for Kia Sorento

The new body featured an extended wheelbase that is 1.4 inches longer than the previous generation. Additionally, the overall length was extended by 10 mm.

Kia Sorento 2017 to 2018

There were seven trims available for the Kia Sorento in 2017 and 2018. Only the Kia Sorento L did not offer an AWD.

2018 marked the last time that Kia used the 2.0-liter regular unleaded inter-cooled turbo I-4 engine for a Kia Sorento trim. This engine was installed in the Kia Sorento EX and was paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission that can produce 240 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque at 1,450 rpm.

Kia Sorento 2016

Kia offered eight trims for Kia Sorento in 2016. Only the Kia Sorento L did not offer an optional AWD.

There were two trims with AWD that still used the 2.0-liter regular unleaded inter-cooled turbo I-4 engine. The Kia Sorento SX Limited also used this engine paired with a 6-speed automatic transmission.

Kia Sorento 2013 to 2015

A 2015 Kia Sorento displayed at a car show

There were only five trims available between 2013 and 2015. All five trims offered an optional AWD drivetrain. These are the only years Kia Sorento offered AWD on all its trims.

The third-generation Kia Sorento was released in 2015. Among the major changes in the third-generation body design is the increased seating capacity from the regular five to seven seats.

A red colored Kia Sorento trekking on the small river path

Kia Sorento 2011 and 2012

The year 2011 marked the first time that an AWD option became available for Kia Sorento trims. The AWD system replaced the 4WD system that was available as an option in models before 2011.

Kia Sorento had six trims in 2011 and 2012. Only five of the six trims offered an AWD option.

Three trims with the AWD option were equipped with the 3.5-liter V6 gasoline engine and a 6-speed automatic transmission. The engine can produce 272 horsepower at 6,300 rpm and 248 lb-ft of torque at 5,000 rpm.

The other two trims with AWD—the LX and EX—were equipped with the 2.4-liter inline-4 gasoline engine that produced 175 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 169 lb-ft of torque at 3,750 rpm.

Kia Sorento 2007 to 2010

Kia Sorento had only three trims available between 2007 and 2010. During this period, Kia Sorento offered 4WD instead of an AWD system.

The Kia Sorento EX paired its 4WD with a 5-speed automatic transmission. Additionally, it was equipped with a 3.8-liter V6 gasoline engine that can produce 262 horsepower at 6,000 rpm and 260 lb-ft of torque at 4,500 rpm.

The other two trims -LX and base- were equipped with the same 5-speed automatic transmission. They were also equipped with a smaller 3.3-liter V6 gasoline engine. These used the larger 3.8-liter V6 gasoline engine until 2007.

What is the difference between 4WD and AWD?

Some people think that these are the same and that they’re simply a different way to market the same thing. We shall lift the veil over the mystery of the difference between an AWD and 4WD in the sections below.

What is an AWD?

An AWD drivetrain allows the engine to provide power to all the wheels. The strength of an AWD system is that it needs no input from the driver to function. It is always active.

Thus, in an emergency situation where there is a sudden need for power on all the wheels, an AWD drivetrain is more reliable than a 4WD.

However, the strength of the AWD is also its weakness. Since it is always on, it consumes more fuel to bring power to all of the wheels even when there is no need for power on all of them. So, an AWD vehicle consumes more fuel than a vehicle with a FWD or RWD drivetrain.

What is a 4WD?

A 4WD is like the AWD because it can send torque to all four wheels of a vehicle to maximize traction where it is needed. Unlike AWD, however, a 4WD vehicle can be enabled or disabled by the driver through a lever or switch near the shifter or the steering wheel.

A 4WD system is also made to be more robust than an AWD drivetrain. Thus, vehicles with 4WD can tow and haul heavier loads than a vehicle with AWD.

4WD systems are equipped with a front, rear, and center differential in addition to a two-speed transfer case. The transfer case also gives the driver the option to choose between 4H or 4L gearing.

What is 4H gearing?

A 4H or four-wheel drive, high range gearing is useful for wet or icy roads where it functions as a regular AWD system. This mode can also be used for terrains like firm sand, dirt road, and gravel tracks.

What is 4L gearing?

4L is also known as four-wheel drive, low range. This type of 4WD gearing provides the maximum traction needed for difficult off-road situations.

A low gear ratio is used to drive more power to all four wheels. Your wheels turn more slowly in this mode compared to 4H.

This mode is useful for terrains like soft sand, sand dunes, deep mud, steep hills, steep declines, deep snow, and slow-going rock-crawling.


A white Kia Sorento moving along the highway

The Kia Sorento had many trims that offered AWD. Some trims offered 4WD before Kia started using an AWD drivetrain for Kia Sorento trims.

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