Kia Sorento test Drive

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I think the new Sorento looks fine. But a bit more generic than the previous version was when it came out.
Sure, next to a toyota Highlander, it looks fantastic.

I guess they just went a little bit conservative on this one.
Especially when compared to the really good looking new Sportage.


The interior is very well put together. It looks good, if a bit generic.
But most of the plastics are pretty hard to the touch.
Which would be OK on the base model, but my loaded SX AWD model was almost $36 000.

The seats are comfortable and roomy. Although access to the 3rd row wasn’t very easy, and it is pretty small once back there.
I guess this is where you would put the smallest members of the family.
And they would end up really close to the rear hatch. Not where I would want to keep small kids.
And, like most 7 seater crossovers, you have to make a choice between people or stuff.
Once all the seats are full, there is almost no room left in the trunk.

The stereo sounded very good. But again, the iPod has to be exposed when plugged in.



The ride, in my opinion, is the biggest problem of the car.
Instead of feeling sporty, it ends up feeling a bit too harsh. Almost all the time.
Unless the road is perfect.

I don’t mind a sporty ride, like the one in the Sportage. But this goes along more like a luxury car.
So the roughness really doesn’t belong here.

the steering is the usual “light and accurate”.
It has less of a Nintendo feel than the one in the Sportage. And it is just fine for family duty.

The 3.5 Liter V6 is amazingly smooth and quiet.
And there is always plenty of power.
It matches the best from anywhere.

The V6 AWD is rated at 19 City and 25 Hwy.

While I got about 16 to 17 only in the city ( the average for the class), I was able to achieve about 27 on the freeway.
Not great, but pretty much was everything else is getting.


The new Sorento is a fine SUV.
And a big success for Kia. They just sold over 100 000 this year.

Comparing it to the competition, a similar Highlander is about $1000 more. Which isn’t a big difference.
But an EX V6 model with everything is about $33 000.
I would actually choose a loaded EX instead of the SX I tested.

And the cheaper 2.4 Liter version might also just be fine for many people.

Even though my favorite in the class is still the Mazda CX-9, I think the Sorento should be on the shopping list of anyone looking for a family SUV. And it can be cheaper than the Mazda.

The Sorento is also made in the US. Which, I think, is always a good thing.

Conversation 10 comments

  1. Vince, I've driven two Sorentos for extended periods of time and I've always walked away VERY impressed. Why would anyone spend more money on a Pilot or a garbage Highlander (interior plastics are attrocious) is beyond me. I loved the EX V6 that I had, and the four cylinder LX was decent as well.

    I would without a doubt buy one with my own money.

    I do agree that the CX-9 is still the leader of this class though. It seems to do EVERYTHING well and it is very refined.

  2. Kia/Hyundai is FINALLY doing some well-designed product. This is as good as anything Dodge, Ford, GM or Nissan and well ahead of anything Honda or Toyota (the current kings of Fugly). DESIGN-wise. QUALITY can't be determined from a quick test-drive; let alone a few photos. But consesus seems to be that Kia ia second only to Ford & GM on quality/safety/resale (which currently puts them just ahead of the ever-fugly Honda & even Mutsubishi but lightyears ahead of Toyota, The Indians & The myrad of Chinese upstarts.

    Not really "made in the USA" as much as "final-assembled in the US with all labor-intensive parts made elsewhere; and with gross profits and majority of all Use Taxes going to Korea"– to be accurate.

    A decent car; nonetheless. And assuming it's priced less than Ford, Dodge, GM or Jeep– an excellent all-around value for the price.

  3. This SUV is a joke, regardless of what badge is on the grille. But a $30k-plus Kia is laughable. This vehicle shows that Kia isn't quite there yet.

  4. I happen to really like this vehicle. It goes like stink, and I've actually been able to… drift one.

    It also has a great warranty, and great value. I don't find the interior materials too plasticky, but I do find the fake wood trim to be atrocious.

    I love the super thick leather wrapped steering wheel, and the AWD system is excellent, as well as the sound system in the higher end models.

    The only thing I can fault this truck on is fuel economy… it simply sucks up way too much.

    I think the CX-9 isn't terribly great – it looks nice, but if that's all you're buying a vehicle on then you have your first problem right there.

    I happen to think the Sorento looks better then a CX-9 too actually haha.

  5. "I happen to really like this vehicle. It goes like stink, and I've actually been able to… drift one."

    I really can't take you seriously. Drift one? Are you thirteen?

    I've taken a CX-9 around the Lime Rock racetrack. LR uses these to take people around the course before letting them loose in their own cars. I would never dare take a Kia up to the same speeds as we had the CX9. I didn't, however, drift the Mazda. The goal is to keep all the wheels planted on the ground.

    Anyway, the Sorrento is a dinosaur. It's an outdated design that should just go away. There are too many better options.

  6. "Anyway, the Sorrento is a dinosaur. It's an outdated design that should just go away. There are too many better options."

    How many better options in it's class are we talking about?
    You talk as if it's decades behind and there's dozens of SUV's in the class better then it. It's really in the middle of the pack. For a less expensive SUV it does very well.

  7. Rear 3/4 looks like the latest Lexus 470. door panels are pretty good. Dash is Typical 1980's Japan — not so good.

    A nice design at $26,000. Better than RAV, or CRV(isn't everything?) but not up to the standards of 2011 Terrain, Equinox, Edge, Journey, etc.

    Not nice enough to warrant $36k

  8. OMG, did i read this right? Someone is saying a Dodge Journey which is the biggest piece of crap on wheels is better than this KIA? Let's not forget this Sorrento is based on the Santa Fe which is a very capable and well received SUV.

    Pull your heads out of your asses and let go of the KIA stigma people. The Koreas have learned to make good cars in a shorter time that it took the Japanese. Watch out for China next. As for American brands, it's just sad to see the with the many many years of experience building cars, they stuff is still bottom of the barrel junk.

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