Category Archives: Sorento Articles

Ratings and Review: Change your attitude about Kia, and you’ll find the 2017 Sorento to be just about perfect

Source: New York Daily News by Liz Kim – October 19, 2016

It’s so unfair. Almost a quarter of a century has passed since Kia made its inauspicious debut to the U.S. market with a tiny econo-box called the Sephia, and yet it still struggles with negative brand association. Especially lately, the company is creating alluring, high-quality vehicles with just as much style and refinement as models from other automakers, but this appears to be lost in terms of American car culture.

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As a recent case in point, Kia was the punch line to a joke on Saturday Night Live. How is any car buyer, save for the few people whose egos are composed of carbon fiber, supposed to ignore this? How does someone justify spending $46,565 on a midsize crossover SUV equipped with a Kia badge? After all, that’s a big chunk of change in a segment full of choices, many of which are excellent vehicles and some of which wear a luxury nameplate.

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Cover up that Kia badge, and the 2017 Sorento SXL could be mistaken for a luxury SUV.

(Christian Wardlaw)

Thus, the stage is set for my review of a 2017 Kia Sorento, equipped with the top-of-the-line SXL trim level and all-wheel drive. For a week, I used the Sorento to shuttle kids to school, to run suburban errands, and to zoom from one end of the metropolitan Los Angeles area to the other. Could this be the Kia that can change hearts and minds and allow the company to credibly occupy the upper price ranges of mainstream vehicles? Could a loaded 2017 Sorento overcome that distinctive whiff of inferiority that automatically accompanies mentions of Kia?

Let’s find out.

Design: 8.5 rating

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Kia nails every one of the Sorento’s exterior design elements, creating one of the best-looking SUVs regardless of price.

(Christian Wardlaw)

While some car companies have adopted more angular and jarring design languages (read: polarizing), Kia sticks with rounded edges and mellifluous curves. Some may call the Sorento handsome, others might see it as bland, but few will deem it unattractive.

Slip inside the Sorento’s cabin and prepare to be dazzled by perforated, diamond-quilted, premium leather with trendy exposed stitching. Especially in my test car’s Ivory color, the upholstery is at once impressively luxurious and dismayingly impractical, as any parent knows that an off-white interior color combined with children equates to a depressingly dingy environment thanks to grimy, sticky little hands and filthy, flailing feet.

Still, in terms of scent and appearance, this upscale leather makes a clear statement that a Sorento SXL is not a cheap vehicle.

My only quibbles with the Sorento’s interior are the unbroken expanses of black dominating the carpets, the headliner, and especially the dashboard. While silver accent trim helps to lift the mood, the dashboard needs a contrasting strip of material for improved visual interest.

Comfort: 7.0 rating

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The Sorento SXL’s front seats are quite comfortable and include heating and cooling.

(Christian Wardlaw)

Pleasingly plump, the Sorento’s front seats deliver good thigh support and decent bolstering. In the SXL, the driver’s seat supplies 14-way power adjustment while the passenger receives 8-way adjustment, and both seats are heated and cooled.

Should you seat three people in the second row, shoulder space is tight. Also, while the second-row seat reclines and slides forward and back on tracks, it may still prove cramped for taller people with long legs. My SXL test vehicle included heated outboard seating positions, retractable sunshades, a useful 115-volt three-prong power outlet, and a USB port to quell battery-life anxiety. A panoramic sunroof bathed the cabin in natural light.

The Sorento may boast a third-row seat, but bear in mind that it should be deployed only in emergencies, and then only for the small of stature. It’s nearly impossible for adults to squeeze between the second-row seat and roof pillar in order to get back there, and restricted room will likely bug anyone of greater than average height.

Before you try to squeeze your kids in, note how close the rear hatch glass is to the head restraints, and then fervently whisper a few Hail Marys that the Sorento doesn’t get rear-ended during the trip.

Controls: 9.0 rating

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Simple design and controls that adhere to long-standing conventions make the Sorento’s dashboard a delight to reference and use.

(Christian Wardlaw)

Simple trumps complicated, and Kia obviously kept this in mind when designing the Sorento’s dashboard.

Let’s celebrate knobs. Kia supplies them for increasing stereo volume, tuning between radio station, and for adjusting cabin temperature, providing the Sorento’s driver with the ideal solution for making such changes without taking his or her eyes off the road.

Let’s celebrate buttons. Kia supplies them for accessing the main infotainment system menus, selecting climate system functions, and activating the heated and cooled seats and the heated steering wheel. Large and equipped with intuitive markings, these buttons provide clear and quick reference while driving.

Let’s celebrate switches and stalks, too, the kind that operate exactly as you expect them to. And I can’t forget to mention the Sorento’s transmission shifter, a solid tool exuding quality, and one that works in traditional fashion. Even the manual shift gate is intuitive, the driver logically shifting up for an upshift and down for a downshift.

To say that you’ll instantly feel at home in a Sorento is an understatement.

Utility: 7.5 rating

NYDN_2017-Kia-Sorento-SXL-Cargo-Area

Cargo space behind the third-row seat is tight, but with it folded down there is plenty of room for a family.

(Christian Wardlaw)

Kia touts the Sorento as a midsize crossover SUV, and it qualifies, but just barely. Feeling narrower and snugger than some direct competitors, the Sorento also has more cramped cargo space.

Remember how I mentioned that this seat is positioned close to the rear liftgate? That’s reflected in the numbers; with the third-row seat in use, the trunk measures just 11.3 cubic feet. That’s tiny by small car standards, let alone a midsize crossover.

Fold the third-row seat down and you’ll have 38 cubic feet of volume, which is better aligned with the reason you’re buying a crossover in the first place. With the second-row seats folded, you’ll get 73 cubic feet of narrow but tall space. This number is barely larger than a Honda CR-V or Toyota RAV4, and is smaller than almost every midsize crossover on the market.

Technology: 9.5 rating

NYDN_2017-Kia-Sorento-SXL-UVO-Infotainment-System

Kia’s UVO infotainment system is easy to use, and rich in features.

(Christian Wardlaw)

Accessing entertainment and information is easy in the 2017 Sorento, because Kia’s excellent UVO infotainment system requires a short and shallow learning curve.

Pairing a smartphone is easy, and for 2017, the Sorento adds Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration technology to make it simple and intuitive to use the more popular apps on your device. Primary menu buttons provide quick access to the system’s full functionality, allowing owners to set the Sorento up to specific preferences.

Beyond the usual cadre of satellite radio and connectivity features, UVO eServices provides free access to a number of connected services. Simply pair or connect your smartphone to the system, and through your data plan it provides Google Send-To-Car navigation instructions, 911 Connect emergency services, and a Parking Minder and Find my Car feature to help you to remotely locate the Sorento.

Furthermore, parents can squash youthful bad judgment with the Sorento’s programmable geographic boundary, speed and curfew alerts, while worrywarts can rely on maintenance reminders and an automatic vehicle diagnostics review to set their minds at ease.

Safety: 10 rating

NYDN_2017-Kia-Sorento-SXL-Ivory-Nappa-Leather-Rear-Seats

The Kia Sorento is an exceptionally safe SUV, and this second-row seat is roomy enough for three of your children.

(Christian Wardlaw)

From both crash avoidance and crash protection standpoints, the 2017 Kia Sorento is a veritable fortress on wheels.

Safety-related technologies that help drivers to avoid accidents include blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, lane departure monitoring and a forward collision warning system with automatic emergency braking. Together, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors and a surround-view camera feature that knits together an image to present a top-down view of your immediate surroundings can keep your Sorento free from parking lot mishaps.

Should a collision prove unavoidable, you should know that the 2017 Sorento is a rock star in the crash-testing department. It earns a 5-Star rating from National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and a “Good” rating in all parameters of Insurance Institute for Highway Safety testing which, in combination with its forward collision prevention systems, translates into a “Top Safety Pick+” designation.

Rest assured that you’re putting the people you love the most into one of the safest vehicles in the midsize crossover SUV class.

Power and Performance: 8.0 rating

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For plenty of power and performance, choose the Sorento’s 3.3-liter V-6 engine.

(Christian Wardlaw)

Under the Sorento’s hood, a 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V-6 supplies smooth, quiet, muscular power while a 6-speed automatic transmission feeds the energy to the SUV’s front wheels. An all-wheel-drive system is optionally available and towing capacity measures 5,000 pounds, which is more than many competitors.

Despite riding regular surges of copious acceleration, my test vehicle got 19.4 mpg on my test loop and returned 20.8 mpg during a week heavy with highway driving. This compares favorably to the EPA’s ratings of 17 mpg in the city, 23 mpg on the highway, and 19 mpg in combined driving.

Ride and Handling: 8.0 rating

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Dynamically, the Sorento exhibits a soothing ride and sophisticated handling.

(Christian Wardlaw)

If you placed masking tape on the Sorento’s steering wheel Kia badge and took this SUV for a spin around town, you would swear you were driving a more modern version of my sister’s first-generation Lexus RX. The Sorento has the same refined suppleness and soft, quilted ride quality that soaks up bumps before they can reach the cabin, despite the big 19-inch wheels that come standard with the SXL trim level.

That plushness comes at some cost when it comes to cornering, however, as the Sorento exhibits lean and wallow when pushed into a set of curves with too much speed. Still, with excellent brakes, heavy but mostly precise steering and tires that provide a good level of grip, the Sorento provides predictable, easily controlled handling.

Our Recommendation

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You’re looking at one of the better midsize crossover SUVs your money can buy.

(Christian Wardlaw)

In the 2017 Sorento, Kia builds a stylish midsize crossover, a practical SUV, and an undeniably safe family hauler. Combine these traits with the SXL’s upscale detailing, the reliability reflected in the best warranty you can get, and the value that comes with regularly discounted prices and car loan terms, and there is genuine value to be found in a Kia Sorento.

Still, other people can be judgmental dimwits, can’t they? If you can get past what it used to mean to be a Kia owner, you can thumb your nose at the people looking down theirs while you stroke the fine perforated Nappa leather upholstery of your sumptuous Sorento SXL.

Total Vehicle Score:168/200 points

Overall Vehicle Rating: 8.4

Kia BUZZ: “Kia Motors takes fourth consecutive ‘International Car of the Year’ title

Kia BUZZ blog – Nov 20, 2015 | Source: http://kia-buzz.com/kia-motors-2015-icoty/

Road & Travel Magazine (RTM) has once again awarded Kia Motors with the International Car of the Year (ICOTY) award! This year marked the 20th anniversary of RTM’s annual ICOTY awards and our very own 2016 Optima and 2016 Sorento were bestowed with the highest honors.

2016-kia-optima-ICOTY

The 2016 Optima was named International Car of the Year

Each year, the winner is selected by a jury consisting of renowned automobile journalists. This year, the jurors praised the Optimafor its bold design, wide range of impressive technological options and great value. The Sorento garnered acclaim for its premium interior and safety features and powerful all-wheel drive capability.

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The 2016 Sorento was awarded International SUV of the Year

About this outstanding recognition, Michael Sprague, Chief Operating Officer and EVP of Kia Motors America, said, “The Optima and Sorento are two of Kia’s best-selling vehicles and both were instrumental in the transformation of the brand. To win the prestigious ICOTY award four years in a row, with two models winning their categories this year, is a clear indication that our products continue to offer a world-class balance of design, amenities, craftsmanship, safety and value for today’s savvy consumers.”
2015 marks the fourth consecutive year for Kia Motors in being awarded the prestigious title, with the K900 luxury sedan being honored last year and the Cadenza and third generation Optima in 2013. This year, Kia has made history by being the first brand to win four years running.

optima-sorento-ICOTY-award

This accolade demonstrates the progress that Kia has made in raising the bar as an automobile manufacturer. Upholding our customer promise – the Power to Surprise – Kia Motors will use this great recognition as momentum to continue forward in bringing our worldwide fans and supporters extraordinary vehicles with great style, comfort and performance.

2016 Sorento: Hide the badge and Kia could charge $10K more!

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS
Thursday, October 8, 2015, 3:59 PM
Almost fully-loaded, equipped with the optional 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V-6 and all-wheel-drive, this Sorento had a price firmly fixed in the mid-$40K range. GREG JAREM

Almost fully-loaded, equipped with the optional 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V-6 and all-wheel-drive, this Sorento had a price firmly fixed in the mid-$40K range.

The 2016 model year is officially in full swing and one of the stand-out of all these new cars and trucks comes from an unlikely source. That’s because, despite years of strong sales and a range of vehicles seismically different from when the brand first arrived in the U.S. market in the mid-1990s, South Korea’s Kia Motors still has something of an image problem.

Go ahead, close your eyes and think of three things that come to mind when I say “Kia,” or “Kia sport-utility.” Now, what immediately sprang to mind?

Maybe it was value, or fuel economy, or even a strong warranty (Kia has one of the best in the business). Chances are good, however, that one of the words that crept into you head was “cheap.” Am I right?

When it comes to the 2016 Kia Sorento SXL sport-utility I recently tested, cheap was the last thing that came to my mind. Part of the reason is because this Kia is many things, but cheap it ain’t. Almost fully-loaded, equipped with the optional 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V-6 and all-wheel-drive, this Sorento had a price firmly fixed in the mid-$40K range.

This alone might cause some readers to head for the hills, or abandon all hope of taking the new Sorento for a meaningful test drive. It shouldn’t, and here’s why.

The base 2016 Sorento starts at a much more affordable $24,900. GREG JAREM

The base 2016 Sorento starts at a much more affordable $24,900.

When it comes to test vehicles, car companies love to load them with every available option. Part of the reason is to spoil auto journalists, I’m sure. But one very real and helpful reason is because ‘Automaker X’ wants to show off the latest gadgets, luxury touches, and safety features available in its newest car or truck.

Well, maybe Kia didn’t want me testing the airbags or traction control in the Sorento. Though it’s safe to say the company wanted me to at least know they are there, if needed. And remember, minus any options, the base 2016 Sorento starts at a much more affordable $24,900.

Even a range-topping version like this one represents an excellent value when you consider how much is included in the Sorento. The cabin is spacious, quiet, and extremely comfortable during all types of driving situations. German luxury brands get all the credit for having world class dashboards and precise layout of all controls. Let me tell you, this Kia is running them very close!

I especially loved the heated and cooled front seats, the matte-finish soft touch plastic covering the dash, along with the absolutely massive panoramic glass roof. The high seating position gives a commanding view of the road, yet the Sorento doesn’t feel or behave like it’s a lumbering road-hog of an SUV. The only interior strike against the Sorento is the snugness of the third row seating. It’s not a nice place to be, plain and simple.

The cabin is spacious, quiet, and extremely comfortable during all types of driving situations. Kia

The cabin is spacious, quiet, and extremely comfortable during all types of driving situations.

When talking about the driving dynamics of the Sorento, I’d tell you it’s much more along the lines of a Buick, Lincoln, or Lexus. Think hushed cabin, cosseting ride, and a stress-free driving atmosphere.

A BMW X5 M it’s not – and would you expect it to be? It’s also not as nimble and edgy as the Infiniti QX70 I recently drove. That’s absolutely fine, especially because not everyone aspires for their SUV to be a racecar-on-stilts.

This is one very relaxed ride, and it’s an SUV that left me astounded at the quality and refinement offered by a Kia product, especially one that doesn’t need to wear a fire-sale price tag to lure you in.

The V-6 engine delivers smooth and linear power when you need it. A turbocharged 4-cylinder is also available, as is standard front-wheel-drive if you want to save a few bucks. I could live with slightly less power with the 4-banger, though I’m always reluctant to recommend an SUV and not tell the prospective car shopper to add AWD. After all, isn’t that go-anywhere grip kind of the point of any SUV?

From its LED front lamps (that cluster of four lights in each corner is so cool looking!) to its crisply tailored tail, the 2016 Sorento looks really, really good. GREG JAREM

From its LED front lamps (that cluster of four lights in each corner is so cool looking!) to its crisply tailored tail, the 2016 Sorento looks really, really good.

This is also one of those rare vehicles where I left the available Sport driving mode pretty much alone and turned off. Okay, I pressed it on occasion and the steering gained the artificial, electronically-induced heft that so many automakers confuse for “sport” handling. No, the Sorento is better when you steer around NYC traffic with your fingertips, not manhandle the thing like you’re wrestling alligators.

Speaking of swamp creatures, the new Sorento thankfully doesn’t look like one! I know, weak transition, but I wanted to keep the reptilian theme going.

In fact, from its LED front lamps (that cluster of four lights in each corner is so cool looking!) to its crisply tailored tail, the 2016 Sorento looks really, really good. I’ll go relatively easy on the adjectives because, lucky me, I get to drive some incredibly pretty cars with this job. But let me give credit where credit is due, Kia did a fantastic job of making the Sorento a class act in the SUV segment. There is some real heft and presence to the exterior, I like it a lot.

And if you’ve read this far, you’ll know that I like the rest of this Kia a whole lot, too. The ride and handling still earns a B rating – it’s fine, but there is always some room for improvement with pretty much any new vehicle. That still places the Sorento right in the thick of the field, and it’s definitely on par with a number of models carrying prestigious luxury badges (and even higher prices).

What’s exciting is that Kia has maintained its core values while upping it’s game in so many other departments. The value and economy is still there. So is safety, thanks to superb crash test ratings, along with Kia’s stout 5 year/60,000 mile limited warranty and 10 year/100,000 mile powertrain warranty.

Quite frankly, you’re getting a ton of truck for the money, no matter how wild you go with the options or your preference of powertrain.

2016 Kia Sorento Platinum CRDi AWD REVIEW – Kia Gets Serious About Its Seven Seat SUV

Kia Sorento

The skinny: Kia’s new Sorento takes the leap from “family-friendly”, to “family first”, with a bigger interior, better noise insulation, and increased safety. This Sorento Platinum, at the top of Kia’s Sorrento range, not only features one of the best diesels in the segment, but also comes equipped with plenty of added safety and comfort items.

At nearly $60k on-road, it’s pressing into premium-brand territory. But, for what it offers, compared to its closest competitors from Japan, the Sorento Platinum diesel represents pretty impressive value, shaving some 10 grand or more off the top-tier seven-seat SUV competition.

Vehicle Style: Large SUV
Price: $55,990 (plus on-roads)
Engine/trans: 147kW/441Nm 2.2 4cyl turbo diesel | 6spd automatic
Fuel Economy claimed: 7.8 l/100km | tested: 8.1 l/100km

OVERVIEW

At this point, other car makers with large seven-seat SUVs should be feeling a little nervous. Kia’s Sorento may not be a new nameplate, but this latest version plays hardball in the family-friendly SUV sector.

While it wears a fresh new look externally, it’s on the inside that really counts, and Kia has served up a high quality, flexible, and contemporary interior.

There are plenty of premium features packed into the top-spec Platinum model, plus a diesel engine, which is something that Kluger, Pathfinder, and CX-9 are all unable to match.

 

THE INTERIOR (Rating 4/5 Stars)

Quality: From fine-grade plastics to solid-feeling switchgear, everything has taken a move upmarket in the new Sorento.

There’s a liberal application of metallic highlights, and broad swathes of glossy woodgrain, giving a very Euro-centric look and feel.

Fit and finish is top notch, panel gaps throughout the interior are extremely precise and tight fitting, which is very reassuring.

Kia Sorento

Comfort: Platinum buyers are treated to leather seats throughout, with front and outboard middle row seats heated – and the steering wheel as well.

Those front chairs also come with cooling and power adjustment, so comfort gets a big thumbs up.

For those interested in the third row, it’ll fit most teenage lumps without a hassle, although the aspiring basketballers of the family might want to sit further forward once they pass about 170cm in height.

Kia Sorento

The second row can be slid fore and aft, and reclined for extra comfort, or for extra cargo as required. There’s no tumble-forward rear seat access though, so loading could be easier.

Equipment: All Sorento models come with seven seats, cruise control, multi-function steering wheel with audio controls, 7-inch touchscreen infotainment, satellite navigation, Bluetooth connectivity, six-way powered driver’s seat, front and rear parking sensors, and dual zone climate control with third-row fan control.

Ante up to the Platinum and you’ll also get heated front and second row outer seats, ventilated front seats, ten-way driver and eight-way passenger powered seat adjustment, leather trim, hands free powered tailgate, rear privacy glass, powered panoramic roof, 7-inch TFT instrument cluster, illuminated front scuff plates, rear door sunshades and ten-speaker premium Infinity audio.

Kia Sorento

Storage: With all three rows in place there’s 142 litres of cargo space; drop the third row and that grows to 605 litres. Leave only the front seats in place and carrying capacity grows to 1662 litres.

In the cabin the glovebox and centre console are huge, there’s plenty of room, including bottle holders in the door pockets, and the console and centre stack offer plenty of smaller places for odds and ends.

Kia Sorento

Driveability: Kia’s 2.2 litre diesel engine is the same as appears in the Hyundai Santa Fe, but in this application manages a slightly stronger 147kW at 3800rpm and 441Nm between 1750 and 2750rpm.

For running around town, the Sorento has more than enough urge to move off cleanly, and ample underfoot to whistle down a freeway on-ramp to safely merge with fast moving traffic.

Kia Sorento

Thanks to the all-wheel-drive system, there’s no torque steer or kickback through the wheel when accelerating hard. Put the foot down in slippery conditions, and power is directed away from the front wheels to the rear-axle, without a loss of traction.

Away from town, the Sorento will tackle highway miles without breaking a sweat. Over hilly terrain the gearbox rarely kicks down to a lower gear, relying instead on the strong torque of the diesel.

Prod the throttle to overtake, and despite the low rev ceiling, the Sorento springs to life with surprising urgency.

Kia Sorento

As the sole powertrain offered in the Platinum model, the all-wheel-drive and diesel combo works incredibly well (V6 petrol, and front-wheel-drive are available in lesser models), and fits the vehicle’s persona perfectly.

Refinement: Not every diesel SUV can claim to be as eerily quiet and smooth as the Sorento. Be it idling, or pulling a full load up a hill, there’s so little disruption inside that cabin that you can barely pick it as a diesel.

Wind and road noise are well-suppressed also, making for easy conversation between all three rows.

Kia Sorento

The six-speed auto is as smooth as silk too, with soft up- and down-shifts. And, riding the engine’s broad torque curve means there’s little need for the box to hunt for the right ratio.

Ride and Handling: Kia has tuned the ride and handling to suit Australia’s roads, and the needs of its customers. Out on the open road it floats along with a gentle serenity that’s hard to beat – that’s despite the big 19-inch rollers underneath.

Handling is well-controlled through bends, but there’s a bit of lean into corners and some early understeer. Nothing too troubling though, and just right for such a big, comfy SUV.

Kia Sorento

Braking: There’s no hiding the amount of weight being pulled up and at times the Sorento felt a little slow to pull up, particularly when loaded. That aside, the brakes are easy to control and in an emergency stop they do bite down with proper urgency.

SAFETY (Rating 5/5 Stars)

Safety features: All Sorento models come with six airbags (dual front, front side, and full length curtain) plus ABS brakes with brake assist and electronic brakeforce distribution, stability and traction control, hill start assist and emergency stop signal.

All seats feature three-point seatbelts and adjustable head restraints. Front seats feature height adjustable belts with load-limiting pretensioners. Front and rear park sensers and a reverse camera are also included.

Platinum models also feature blind detection, lane change assist, lane departure warning and rear cross traffic assist.

WARRANTY AND SERVICING

Warranty: Seven years/unlimited kilometres

Service costs: Kia’s capped price servicing extends for seven years, with service intervals set every 12 months or 15,000km. The total program cost is $3487 while individual services vary between $400 up to $661 for the most expensive four year/60,000km service.

 

HOW IT COMPARES | VALUE FOR MONEY (Rating 4.5/5 Stars)

Hyundai Santa Fe Highlander ($53,240) – Hyundai’s Santa Fe is mechanically similar, and offers sharp looks. On the inside the centre stack is a little more fussy, but overall it is just as family friendly inside. (see Santa Fe reviews)

Toyota Kluger Grande AWD ($67,990) – On price the Kluger GXL is a closer match, but for features you have to look to the Grande. The Kluger feels immense, both inside and out, and the user friendly interior is impressive. (see Kluger reviews)

Nissan Pathfinder Ti 4WD ($65,090) – Like the Kluger, a lesser Pathfinder will put you back in reach of the Sorento’s price, but not its features. On the road the Pathfinder feels incredibly civilised and doesn’t sacrifice any space either. (see Pathfinder reviews)

Kia Sorento

Toyota Kluger Grande

Note: all prices are Manufacturer’s List Price and do not include dealer delivery or on-road costs.

TMR VERDICT | OVERALL (Rating 4/5 Stars)

The Sorento delivers another step forward for Kia. Inside, the Sorento is one of the most civilised and well-finished products Kia has delivered yet, with world-class levels of refinement that make hours at the wheel a breeze.

The cabin is ready and willing to absorb family and friends, and even third-row riders will find little to complain about.

Kia Sorento

Compared to the petrol-powered competition, the frugal diesel Sorento is far cheaper to run, but feels every bit as strong behind the wheel.

The Sorento is a definite winner for Kia, and will make a definite winner for Aussie families too.

 

Video Review: With the Sorento, Kia Moves to the Top Shelf

JUNE 10, 2015

REMEMBER when Kia was all about cheap generic economy cars? Today, its design team is led by former Audi and Cadillac rock stars (Peter Schreyer and Tom Kearns ), and among its most popular vehicles are the family-size Optima and Sorento.

Kia has tested its upward mobility with the Cadenza and the K900, perhaps aiming too high. The third-generation Sorento squarely hits its target market. Front-drive versions can be had for as little as $25,795. Budget buyers shouldn’t test-drive the higher-end SX Limited model. Dialing back to lesser models once the luxury touches are experienced will be tough. An all-wheel-drive edition with the Technology Package is a significant bump at over $45,000.

If that seems steep, the math works out when comparing the Ford Edge, Nissan Murano and Toyota Venza. An SXL with Technology Package includes a huge panoramic roof, vented seats up front, radar-assisted cruise control and an around-view camera system that simulates a small helicopter hovering over your car (without the fuss and paranoia of a real one). Kia’s iPad-like user interface can teach a thing or two to the luxury brands.

Pay twice as much and you won’t get better design. Neighbors shouted from across the street, “Whoa, fancy car!” One morning in a neighborhood littered with Lexus and Mercedes, a robe-clad woman burst out of her house determined to find out what the “beautiful car was.”

If she test-drives a Sorento, she will find a very comfortable and quiet vehicle with room for five passengers (a third row is available on V6 models). The cabin is richly trimmed and cargo space is generous, but the back pillar creates a blind spot the size of LeBron James. Spirited maneuvers summon some body roll, but it’s a crossover, not a Porsche Cayman.

Kia has added steering feel, something the outgoing model desperately needed. The Sorento’s size slots in nicely between a CR-V and a Highlander, perfect for parents who want room but not a bus.

The Sorento offers three engine options and comes with a refined 6-speed automatic. The naturally aspirated 4-cylinder with 185 horsepower seems anemic on paper. The V6 with 290 horsepower is the tow champ, tugging up to 5,000 pounds. I’m driving the 2-liter turbocharged 4-cylinder that pumps out 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A sprint from zero to 60 m.p.h. in 8 seconds is punchy enough for many drivers. The government rates the all-wheel-drive turbo model at 19 miles per gallon city, 25 highway. That is right in the middle of the other two engines, though I’m seeing 19 m.p.g. in mixed driving.

Equipped with all-wheel drive, the Sorento will venture into places that, quite frankly, most owners will never go. For daily commutes involving boulders, deep water and locusts, buy a Jeep Grand Cherokee.

Kia is no longer about bargain-basement pricing, and the Sorento has value and design that sure look good.

A version of this article appears in print on June 12, 2015, on page B6 of the New York edition with the headline: With the Sorento, Kia Moves to the Top Shelf. 

2016 Kia Sorento V-6 AWD

2016 Kia Sorento V-6 AWD

Audi meets Lexus in the reduced aisle.

INSTRUMENTED TEST

Few brands have ascended from near oblivion as convincingly as has Kia. Run your eyes down the flanks of the resculpted 2016 Sorento and it’s hard to envision products that were once bait for subprime buyers shopping for low monthly payments. Kia’s 10-year/100,000-mile powertrain warranty introduced more than a decade ago helped erase some memories of bottom-of-the-barrel quality and subpar resale values in preceding years. But the advent of Peter Schreyer’s design put a face on the rapid improvements to driving dynamics, feature content, and build quality that really started coming together in the 2011 Sorento. Suddenly Kia products transitioned from used-car stand-ins with good bang-for-buck value into something a bit more refined and aspirational.

The 2016 Sorento continues that trend. The tiger nostrils in the crossover’s grille flare more widely now on what is the third-bestselling Kia behind the Optima sedan and Soul hatchback. The look is decidedly upscale with elegance and balanced proportions inside and out and a preponderance of premium-look and -feel materials cheering the cabin that—we’ll just say it—would do an Audi or Lexus crossover proud. A three-inch stretch in overall length this year takes the Sorento to roughly the same size nose-to-tail as the 2015 Lexus RX350. But the Sorento offers three rows of seats (standard on V-6 models) to the RX350’s two. Certainly, the aft chairs of the Kia are for wee folk, yet the Sorento manages to offer four more inches of third-row legroom than the 3.7-inch-longer Toyota Highlander.

In addition to the base 185-hp 2.4-liter four-cylinder and a 290-hp 3.3-liter V-6 for upper trim levels, Kia offers a new 2.0-liter turbo four with 240 horsepower on tap and 260 lb-ft of torque in a broad swath starting at 1450 rpm. The turbo four likely will replace the V-6 in future iterations as Kia moves to meet tougher fuel-economy targets. But for now the direct-injected 3.3-liter V-6 is the best choice for all-around performance and drivability, especially in the all-wheel-drive 4313-pound SX model we tested. It’s also a good match for the Sorento’s smooth personality. It has ample torque, a pleasing sound, and pulls enthusiastically to its 6500-rpm redline. The six-speed automatic offers clean, crisp shifts.

This crossover is no slouch, either. Our $40,595 Sorento V-6 AWD test vehicle reeled off a 7.2-second zero-to-60 time, edging out both a Jeep Grand Cherokee 3.6-liter V-6 4×4 and a Toyota Highlander 3.5-liter V-6 AWD we’d previously tested. And even though the Sorento prioritizes ride comfort over high-limit handling, the Kia’s 0.80 g of lateral grip was far stickier than the Grand Cherokee’s 0.73 g. Shod with 235/55-19 Michelin Premier LTX all-season rubber, the Sorento stopped from 70 mph in 179 feet, 6 feet shorter than a 2016 Acura MDX, 7 shorter than the Highlander, and 12 shorter than the Grand Cherokee.

That said, the 2016 Sorento—in V-6, turbo four, or any other guise—won’t be challenging the Germans for fast-lane or twisty-road domination. Rather, the made-in-the-U.S.A. 2016 Kia Sorento is a crossover that’s very comfortable in its own skin. Despite employing column-mounted electric-steering boost, the Sorento is still not quite as talkative as the best German systems, although weighting is now quite good. But the Korean is quiet, very well appointed inside, has comfortable and supportive front seats, is stable and composed at speed, and feels very solid. While the base L and mid-level LX and EX trims deliver a lot of standard equipment for the dollar, the SX and Limited dip more than a toe into premium territory—for thousands of dollars less than premium-brand entries. We’d call that a winner.

Road Tests

2016 Kia Sorento

By: http://www.motorweek.org/

The 1st generation Kia Sorento was a true, body-on-frame sport utility vehicle. And while it was a little rough around the edges, it quickly garnered a big following. 2nd generation saw Sorento follow the crossover crowd, losing the frame but gaining more features. Now, Sorento’s gen 3 redesign expands on that in both size and premium content. So let’s see if Sorento is making the right moves.

The all-new 2016 Kia Sorento is clearly not a major departure from its previous generation. Still, the redesign’s improvements all appear aimed at making Kia’s 3-row crossover a more family friendly and capable adventure vehicle. A familiar exterior design still manages to convey “larger Sorento”. And with that, it promises more interior room. Kia has also thrown the word “bolder” into the mix, and we agree it has more presence going down the road.

With that, a bigger grille dons the frontend; part of Kia’s new face that is taller, flatter, and much less pointy. Body side sculpting is smoothed out, the belt line moves higher, fitting a Sorento that is now 3-inches longer in both wheelbase and overall length.

Heading aft, there are more angles and more aggression. Taillights are larger, the bumper reflectors are now horizontal, and of course there’s a spoiler up top. 17-inch alloy wheels are standard; upper trim levels are equipped with 18s and beefy 19s.

All-in-all it’s an appealing design; smooth and classy. Still, it’s hard to miss the resemblance to Kia’s Sedona minivan.

The last gen’s interior was a big step up, but this gen is an even bigger leap forward; with a smoother dash design, a much more premium feel, intuitive touchscreen interface, and some of the best steering wheel controls out there. Premium safety systems have also trickled down from the flagship K900.

Uvo continues to add features and is available on LX models and above, a backup camera is standard on all but base L trim, and 8-inch touchscreen navigation is available on EX models and up. An optional 630-watt, 12-speaker Infinity sound system features a new Clari-Fi feature that squeezes a little more fidelity out of compressed audio files.

All gauges happily remain analog. On upper trims a 7-inch LCD info screen sits in the middle of the central speedometer. Front seats are Euro-firm and very comfortable; and yes, thanks to the added wheelbase and length, all seating positions gain room, with improved access to the 3rd row.

The cargo bay grows too. There’s now 11.0 cubic-ft. behind the optional 3rd row, 39.0 behind the 2nd row, and 74.0 total with all seats folded. That’s a gain of 1½ cubic-ft.  Seats fold easily and there are very few gaps for stuff to get lost in.

Even more notable is the fit and finish of the cargo area. Partially-carpeted side panels should help keep things from getting all scratched up. An available smart power lift gate allows gives hands and foot free opening.

But, the upgrade that we like most, is the new Sorento’s greatly improved ride quality. Now bordering on excellent, it feels incredibly well-built and is very quiet.

In addition to that longer wheelbase, the front suspension has a new H-shaped sub-frame design and Hydraulic Rebound Stopper shock absorbers. In back, a lengthened rear cross-member, with longer control arms, allows for more wheel travel.

Standard Drive Mode Select, with settings for Normal, Eco, and Sport; adjusts steering feel and transmission shift points.

There’s a trio of available engines. Base engine is a slightly improved version of last year’s, 2.4-liter I4, now with 185-horsepower and 178 lb-ft. of torque. Also carryover is the 3.3-liter V6 with 290-horsepower and 252 lb-ft. of torque that now tows 5,000-pounds.

Slotting in between, is a new option; the Optima’s 2.0-liter I4 turbo, here with 240-horsepower and 260 lb-ft. of torque. We estimate a 0 to 60 of 7.0 seconds. All Sorentos are equipped with 6-speed automatic transmissions.

All-wheel-drive is available with any engine. It’s the same basic automatic system, with logic that tries to predict wheel slip rather than just react to it. A lock mode splits torque front to rear 50/50 for speeds up to 20 miles-per-hour, and Torque Vectoring Curve Control aids handling even on dry pavement.

Government Fuel Economy Ratings for the new 2.0-liter all-wheel-drive are 19-City, 25-Highway, and 22-Combined. We averaged a good 22.4 miles-per-gallon of Regular. Resulting in a fair to middling Energy Impact Score of 15.0-barrels of oil annually and CO2 emissions of 6.9–tons.

Pricing starts at $25,795 for a base L model. And with more options than ever the spread grows, with the top tier SX-L beginning at $40,795. Tack on $1,800 more for all-wheel-drive.

So, yes, Kia has done a fine job of growing the 2016 Sorento into a more capable and family-oriented crossover, successfully tending to the things that needed improving along the way. The last generation Sorento was a key vehicle for Kia, proving that they were fully capable of competing with the best in the segment. This one just might take them to the top.

2016 Kia Sorento – Driving.ca by David Booth

MONT-TREMBLANT, QC — This may seem like a shot out of left field, but I’m beginning to believe that Kia might have ambitions on Mercedes. Or, if not Mercedes, then perhaps Lexus. OK, maybe just Infiniti or Acura. Whatever the case, methinks the era of Kia as the most bargain basement of brands is rapidly coming to a end. Indeed, I would not be surprised if, deep in Kia’s South Korean headquarters, they’re hatching a plan to launch an in-house boutique suite of luxury bolides.

The reason for this sudden insight is not, as you might be thinking, the company’s recently-released K900 uber-sedan with its obvious luxury pretensions. Nope, what’s got me talking about Kia in the same breath as Mercedes and Lexus is the comparatively modest Sorento CUV. Newly re-engineered for 2016, the Sorento shares a common exterior design motif with the rest of the Kia lineup restyled by ex-Audi chief designer Peter Schreyer. It’s bold where the previous iteration was timid, sporty rather than placid and generally just a little more in your face than the outgoing crossover.

Sorento

But flamboyant fender flares do not a Mercedes competitor make. For that, you need all manner of interior hedonism, technological gadgets out the ying-yang and then, just for that last bit of hedonistic credibility, a few key convenience features that surprise and delight. Which is, almost to a T, the very description of the new Sorento’s interior.

The Nappa leather, part of the SX+ package, is simply as soft as glove leather gets. The entire dashboard — and most of its controls — is also pleasing to the touch. The trim is classy piano black, the switchgear uncomplicated and the infotainment system one of the nicest in the biz. Kia even took the time to engineer a superior lower door seal, the better to prevent salt getting onto the carpet or soiling the hem of that expensive Loro Piana cashmere coat that you wear on those rare occasions when presentation is as important as purpose. Kia’s build quality may not yet be to Audi’s standards but Mercedes wishes its GLK were so opulent.

Sorento

Nor is the Sorento’s interior long on style and short on function. The gauge set’s informational display — fuel economy, car setup, odometer readings, etc. — is simply the most intuitive I have ever tested. Automakers have dumped so much data into their displays that accessing their information has become a Windows Vista nightmare. Not in the Sorento: one little “text page” button on the steering wheel scrolls the major data categories horizontally across the screen and, then, should you want to delve deeper into that particular field, there’s a small wheel right below it that toggles vertically through the specific information. It’s elegant and simple, everything you could want from a digital display; regardless of price, it’s the best such system I’ve yet tested.

Nor is this the only nifty trick the new Sorento has up its sleeve. The top-of-the-line SX model, for instance, has a smart rear hatch opener. Like all SUVs/minivans with power liftgates, you can Open Sesame by holding the keyfob button a few seconds. But, what if the key is deep in pocket or purse and/or your arms are stuffed with groceries and kids? Well, then, just stand within a metre of the rear bumper for three seconds and, after a few beeps and taillight flashes, presto, the rear hatch magically opens itself. Really, no fumbling for key, none of that stupid Ford waving-the-foot-under-the-rear-bumper hokum; just stand there and the Sorento’s trunk will open all by its own self. And, no, just walking by doesn’t have it popping open inadvertently.

Sorento

There’s more. There is, for instance, a household 110-volt electrical outlet in the rear seat area so my MacBook Pro was always charged, the rear seats (if you’ve opted for the seven-passenger V6 model) fold completely flat and it is worth noting that the Sorento’s all-wheel-drive system offers a Subaru-like “locking” function for the centre differential. The mid-sized Kia is one of the most comprehensively equipped sport utes on the market today.

Nor does the goodness diminish when you’re actually behind the wheel of the Sorento. We didn’t get to test the $27,495 base version’s 185 horsepower, newly direct-injected, 2.4-litre four-cylinder, but both the 2.0-litre turbo four and 3.3-litre V6 that power the upscale versions are stellar. In fact, the only surprise in the powertrain department is that it is the two-litre turbo, ostensibly the mid-range option in the Sorento lineup, that is the star of the show. Oh, the V6 is fairly smooth and boasts more horsepower — 290-hp for the V6 versus 240 for the 2.0-litre T-GDI — but it is the turbocharged four that is torquier (260 pound-feet versus 252 lb.-ft. for the V6). It feels noticeably punchier and confident about passing; said maximum torque is produced at a lower rpm — an incredibly grunty 1,450 rpm for the 2.0T versus a needs-to-be-spun-hard 5,300 rpm for the V6. It’s also smoother. Indeed, on the open road, the 2.0T proves more responsive, the Sorento’s (roughly) 1,875 kilogram curb weight seemingly no hindrance to the little blown four. Noise, vibration and harshness are reduced compared with the V6 and, because it is so powerful at low rpm, the 2.0T also feels less “busy” than the V6, the engine revving less and there being less hunting of gears by the automatic transmission.

Indeed, the only notable downside to the Sorento’s powertrain is Kia’s choice of said transmissions. For one thing, there’s only six forward gears available. With seven, eight and even nine-speed automatics becoming commonplace and the Sorento otherwise bristling with the most modern technology Kia could throw at it, the absence of the latest in transmissions stands out.

Furthermore, for some reason the 2.0L’s six-speed tranny is different from that of the V6, the latter being the more robust of the two. That means the V6 has a greater towing capacity — 5,000 pounds versus the 2.0-litre’s 3,500 lbs. — despite having less torque, the usual determinant of towing capacity. Indeed, I suspect that the only reason that the 2.0 T-GDI is not being marketed at the top of the Sorento range — again, it really is superior to the V6 in every regard — is that advertising the 2.0 Turbo as the topflight engine choice while then admitting it had a lower towing capacity than the V6 might prove confusing to consumers. My recommendation to Kia would be to either upgrade the 2.0-litre four’s transmission so that the turbo was the top engine of the three or just eliminate the V6 altogether; with the 2.0L Turbo-GDI’s stellar performance mated to a suitable transmission, the V6 isn’t really necessary.

The problem this bass-ackwards engine hierarchy creates is that the best engine — the 2.0-litre turbo — is not available in the topflight Sorento, the all singing, all dancing $46,695 SX+ with seven-passenger seating. Indeed, only the V6 can be had in the seven-passenger versions of the Sorento.

Nonetheless, that does mean that, if you happen to be shopping a five-passenger CUV, one with something of a luxury bent, the SX Turbo AWD Sorento should be at the top of your list. Indeed, it may be the best SUV that $42,095 can buy. And, yes, that includes Mercedes-Benz, BMW or any other nameplate you might want to compare.

Kia’s new Sorento impresses with a new design and some classy interior upgrades

National Post – 6 Mar 2015, By David Booth.

The 2016 Kia Sorento looks a little more in-your-face than the timid outgoing version

This may seem like a shot out of left field, but I’m beginning to believe that Kia might have ambitions on Mercedes. Or, if not Mercedes, then perhaps Lexus. OK, maybe just Infiniti or Acura.

What’s got me talking about Kia in the same breath as Mercedes and Lexus is the Sorento CUV. Newly re-engineered for 2016, the Sorento shares a common exterior design motif with the rest of the Kia lineup restyled by ex-Audi chief designer Peter Schreyer. It’s bold where the previous iteration was timid, sporty rather than placid and generally just a little more in your face than the outgoing crossover.

But flamboyant fender flares do not a Mercedes competitor make. For that, you need all manner of interior hedonism, technological gadgets out the yingyang and then, just for that last bit of hedonistic credibility, a few key convenience features that surprise and delight. Which is, almost to a T, the very description of the new Sorento’s interior.

The Nappa leather, part of the SX+ package, is simply as soft as glove leather gets. The entire dashboard is also pleasing to the touch. The trim is classy piano black, the switchgear uncomplicated and the infotainment system one of the nicest in the biz. Kia even took the time to engineer a superior lower door seal to prevent salt getting onto the carpet. Kia’s build quality may not yet be to Audi’s standards, but Mercedes wishes its GLK were so opulent.

making_strides

Nor is the Sorento’s interior long on style and short on function. The gauge set’s informational display — fuel economy, car setup, odometer readings, etc. — is simply the most intuitive I have ever tested. Automakers have dumped so much data into their displays that accessing their information has become a Windows Vista nightmare. Not in the Sorento: one little “text page” button on the steering wheel scrolls the major data categories horizontally across the screen and, then, should you want to delve deeper into that particular field, there’s a small wheel right below it that toggles vertically through the specific information. It’s elegant and simple, everything you could want from a digital display; regardless of price, it’s the best such system I’ve yet tested.

Nor is this the only nifty trick the new Sorento has up its sleeve. The top-of-the-line SX model, for instance, has a smart rear hatch opener. Got the key deep in your pocket or purse and your arms are stuffed with groceries and kids? Well, then, just stand within a metre of the rear bumper for three seconds and, after a few beeps and tail light flashes, presto, the rear hatch magically opens itself. And, no, just walking by doesn’t have it popping open.

making_strides-2

There’s more. There is, for instance, a household 110-volt electrical outlet in the rear seat area so my MacBook Pro was always charged, the rear seats (if you’ve opted for the seven-passenger V6 model) fold completely flat and it is worth noting that the Sorento’s all-wheel-drive system offers a Subaru-like “locking” function for the centre differential. The mid-sized Kia is one of the most comprehensively equipped sport-utes on the market today.

Nor does the goodness diminish when you’re actually behind the wheel of the Sorento. We didn’t get to test the $27,495 base version’s 185 horsepower, newly direct-injected, 2.4-litre fourcylinder, but both the 2.0-litre turbo four and 3.3-litre V6 that power the upscale versions are stellar. In fact, the only surprise in the powertrain department is that it is the two-litre turbo, ostensibly the mid-range option in the Sorento lineup, that is the star of the show. Oh, the V6 is fairly smooth and boasts more horsepower — 290-hp for the V6 versus 240 for the 2.0-litre T-GDI — but it is the turbocharged four that is torquier (260 pound-feet versus 252 lb-ft for the V6). It feels noticeably punchier and confident about passing; said maximum torque is produced at a lower r.p.m. — an incredibly grunty 1,450 rpm for the 2.0T versus a needs-to-be-spun-hard 5,300 rpm for the V6. It’s also smoother. Noise, vibration and harshness are reduced compared with the V6 and, because it is so powerful at low rpm, the 2.0T also feels less “busy” than the V6, the engine revving less and there being less hunting of gears by the automatic transmission.

Indeed, the only notable downside to the Sorento’s powertrain is Kia’s choice of said transmissions. For one thing, there’s only six forward gears available. With seven, eight and even nine-speed automatics becoming commonplace and the Sorento otherwise bristling with the most modern technology Kia could throw at it, the absence of the latest in transmissions stands out.

Furthermore, for some reason the 2.0L’s six-speed tranny is different from that of the V6, the latter being the more robust of the two. That means the V6 has a greater towing capacity — 5,000 pounds versus the 2.0-litre’s 3,500 lbs. — despite having less torque, the usual determinant of towing capacity. Indeed, I suspect that the only reason that the 2.0 TGDI is not being marketed at the top of the Sorento range — again, it really is superior to the V6 in every regard — is that advertising the 2.0 Turbo as the top-flight engine choice while then admitting it had a lower towing capacity than the V6 might prove confusing to consumers. My recommendation to Kia would be to either upgrade the 2.0-litre four’s transmission so that the turbo was the top engine of the three or just eliminate the V6 altogether; with the 2.0L Turbo-GDI’s stellar performance mated to a suitable transmission, the V6 isn’t really necessary.

The problem this bassackwards engine hierarchy creates is that the best engine — the 2.0-litre turbo — is not available in the top-flight Sorento, the all-singing, alldancing $46,695 SX+ with seven-passenger seating. Indeed, only the V6 can be had in the seven-passenger versions of the Sorento.

Nonetheless, that does mean that, if you happen to be shopping a five-passenger CUV, one with something of a luxury bent, the SX Turbo AWD Sorento should be at the top of your list. Indeed, it may be the best SUV that $42,095 can buy. And, yes, that includes Mercedes-Benz, BMW or any other nameplate you might want to compare.

2016 Kia Sorento aims to hit sweet spot with size

JEREMY CATO, MT. TREMBLANT, QUE. — Special to The Globe and Mail (Published Saturday, Mar. 07 2015).
The ideas behind 2016 Kia Sorento sport-utility vehicle are genius, a foolish gamble or insanity. Regardless, the execution is superb.

Who’s gonna buy it? Goldilocks? Kia’s hope is the genius behind its “just right” rig will answer the prayers of families who find the five-passenger Ford Escape and Nissan Rogue too small and seven-passenger Hyundai Santa Fe XL and Honda Pilot too big.

Certainly it’s a gamble. The car market is not often a place for hard-to-classify products. Kia’s strategy: Canadians bought 400,000 compact SUVs last year and another 157,000 mid-sizers. Why not play in both places?

I mean, all SUV types want four/all-wheel drive, value and reliability. That’s all here and more. For an extra $2,000, you can turn a base $27,495 front-drive Sorento into an AWD mudder. As for value, we compared five uniformly equipped rigs and found the Sorento had from a $2,200-$7,400 price advantage over the Pilot, Santa Fe XL, Mazda CX-9 and Toyota Highlander.

gd-2016sorento

For reliability, Consumer Reports’ brand report card has Kia ranked ninth-best over all, ahead of BMW and 19 others. Kia is making solid vehicles, period.

This Sorento is the perfect illustration. From that in-your-face grille to sculpted sides, chrome door handles and rear spoiler, it looks expensive. On some models, you can get LED lightbar taillights, 360-degree camera monitoring, quad LED fog lights and even 19-inch polished alloy wheels.

Inside, the Sorento has more space, though not as much as the Santa Fe XL, Ford Edge, Nissan Murano and Highlander. The differences are marginal. What the Sorento lacks in room is more than made up for by the sophisticated cabin.

You won’t struggle to decipher the infotainment system and the seats are comfortable for hours. Five-passenger versions have a clever under-floor organizer in the big cargo bay. At high speeds, the silence is deafening.

Yes, Kia’s suspension engineers need to catch up with the best, but ride quality is all right. If you care about precise steering, pay extra for the rack-mounted power steering. The best compromise for power and fuel economy is the 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder engine (240 hp/260 ft-lbs torque) over the base 2.0-litre four (185 hp) and the 3.3-litre V-6 (290 hp).

The third-generation Sorento is good. Now Kia must overcome the brand’s still-downmarket image. This rig will help.

TECH SPECS

Base price: $27,495
Engines: 2.4-litre four-cylinder, 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged, 3.3-litre V-6.
Transmission: six-speed automatic.
Fuel economy (litres/100 km) for AWD versions: 11.4 city/9.2 highway for the 2.4; 12.3 city/9.3 highway for the 2.0-litre turbo; 13.4 city/9.4 highway for the 3.3-litre, all using regular fuel.
Alternatives: Toyota Highlander, Chevrolet Equinox/GMC Terrain, Mazda CX-9, Honda Pilot, Ford Explorer, Kia Sorento, Hyundai Santa Fe Sport/XL, Dodge Journey, Ford Edge, Nissan Pathfinder, Jeep Grand Cherokee, Ford Flex, Dodge Durango, Mitsubishi Outlander, Ford Explorer, Chevrolet Traverse, GMC Acadia, Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Toyota RAV4, Mazda CX-5, Nissan Rogue, Subaru Outback and Forester and Volkswagen Tiguan.

RATINGS

Looks: This Sorento looks the part of a pricier SUV and is a huge leap from the first-generation (2003) version.
Interior: Cabin space is not as great as key rivals, but on the key points of headroom, legroom and hiproom, the Sorento holds its own.
Performance: The most effortless power comes from the V-6, but the best compromise for power and fuel economy is the turbo four.
Technology: Quad LED fog lights, available? Check. A 360-degree camera? Check. Smart power rear liftgage? Check. And smart cruise control, advanced infotainment, 115-V rear charging ports and air cooled front seats? Check, check, check, check.
Cargo: More space than Murano and Edge, less than Santa Fe XL and Highlander.

The Verdict

8.5

The Sorento looks good, does what it should, should be dependable and you get more features for the money than key rivals.