Entry price: $26,690

Price as tested: $43,550

This week, we review the 2020 Kia Sorento in top-class SX trim with AWD mechanicals. Sorento is a popular midsize SUV that arrives with room for seven passengers, a great-looking exterior with its tiger-nose front grille and a standard 7-inch display with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto also standard on all trims.

As we move into the new year, corporate Kia is surely celebrating, as overall November sales of 50,504 units equals a 12 percent increase over the same period last year, with year-to-date sales up 4 percent on all Kia vehicles. November also marked a very strong Sorento sales month, as sales were up 11 percent over last November.

Not surprisingly, Kia continues to deliver consumers the vehicles they desire at excellent entry price points. Just announced is Motor Trend Magazine’s 2020 SUV of the Year award, which goes to its all-new full-size Telluride, which we expect to test drive soon.

Awards like this didn’t come Kia’s way years ago, as a few decades ago the Kia nameplate garnered little if any respect. Back then Kia vehicles were cheaply built, not as reliable as today and were low cost, daily transportation alternatives.

Historically, South Korea-based Kia dates back to 1944 as a manufacturer of chassis parts for bicycles. In 1951, Kia began building its own bicycles and by 1957 partnered with Honda to build small engine-powered bikes. Then in 1962, Kia ventured into the small truck market and built trucks for Mazda before finally building its own cars in 1974 in a combo share plan assembly plant utilized by Italian brand Fiat and French builder Peugeot. Due to political situations, car assembly ceased in 1981 and Kia again built only light-duty trucks.

In 1986, Kia signed a contract to build Ford’s Fiesta and Aspire, both very small cars. Finally in 1992, Kia Motors America was formed and the very first official Kia plated vehicle was sold in 1994 from a dealership in Portland, Oregon. Although its cars were not retail successes by any means, sales did improve as Kia promoted its low cost advantages versus the more expensive competitors.

Following financial troubles in 1997, Kia’s corporate savior and geographical South Korean neighbor Hyundai came to the rescue by purchasing 51 percent of the struggling company. Through the years, Hyundai and Kia have taken the auto markets by storm both abroad and in the states thanks to quality built cars with excellent reliability and the still heralded 100,000-mile, 10-year limited powertrain warranty.

Most notable is the year 2010, when Kia opened a manufacturing plant in the U.S. called Kia Motors Manufacturing in West Point, Georgia. This success followed 16 years of steady growth in U.S. markets and today an American workforce builds Hyundai and Kia vehicles daily.

OK. Enough history. Back to the Sorento.

Sorento for ’20 comes in five trims of L, LX, SV6, EX and SX. The L and LX entry models are fitted with 185-horse 2.4-liter four-cylinder engines with EPA ratings of 22 city and 29 highway. If you want a four-cylinder with AWD, fuel mileage drops a bit to 21 and 26. The SV6, EX and SX all receive a fuel injected 290-horse 3.3-liter V6 that delivers 18 city and 24 highway with the 4x4 and 19 and 26 in front drive build. If you want the 4x4 option, add $1,800 more.

The V6 Sorento relies on an enhanced eight-speed automatic and the AWD versions come with full-time 4x4 systems featuring locking center differentials. SX models ride on quality 19-inch tires on beautiful chrome alloys that really stand out. Four-cylinder Sorentos come with six-speed automatics and are now seven-passenger units unlike prior Sorento four-cylinders that were five-passenger designs.

Our top-line AWD SX Sorento started at a base price of $39,900 and features just about every bell and whistle as standard fare. However, we stress to readers that the entry level seven-passenger Sorento L starts at $26,690 and comes well-equipped sans some upper level amenities and higher tech safety equipment. Underneath, all Kia trims feature four-wheel independent suspensions that result in comfortable rides and surprisingly good handling. Five Star government safety crash ratings are also notable.

Our 3.3-liter V6 powered SX delivers acceptable but not the best of EPA numbers (the aforementioned 18/24), although the 4x4 tow capacity is very good at 5,000 lbs. In addition to a special snow white pearl paint for $395 (very nice), our review SX featured a few other options ala mud guards for $115, seven seat floor mat package for $195, and a wheel lock package for $60. This pushed the final tally to $43,550 retail with $1,045 delivery included.

The best ingredient of top line Sorento SX is that all the high tech safety items are standard. Included are smart cruise, lane departure warning, forward collision avoidance with pedestrian detection, blind spot collision warning, lane keep assist correction, rear cross traffic, and more. (Your dealer will fully explain all trims and options.)

Notable standard luxury features include a Harmon Kardon 10-speaker surround sound stereo with SiriusXM, voice command navigation, heated and ventilated seats, push button start, heated steering wheel, rear camera display, premium Nappa leather seating, panoramic sunroof and power liftgate. There are over 30 other standard features awaiting your inspection on the SX models.

Important numbers include a 109.4-inch wheelbase, 4,343 lb. curb weight, 7.3-inch ground clearance, from 11.3 to 73.0 cu. ft. of cargo space and an 18.8 gallon fuel tank.

In summary, Kia Sorento features a good-looking, seven-passenger design that makes for a great midsize choice be it brand new, leftover or a certified used model. Check with your Kia dealer for new and leftover incentives.

Likes: Roomy interior, 100,000-mile warranty, attractive overall design.

Dislikes: V6 fuel mileage, not much else worthy of mention.

Greg Zyla writes weekly on cars for More Content Now and Gannett Co.