Kia Sorento

2017 Kia Sorento

The Kia Sorento is a mid-size crossover with an available third-row seat to provide seating for seven, which puts it in a category of just a few vehicles. It was redesigned for the 2016 model year, increasing its wheelbase and length by about three inches to increase cabin space, making it a bit larger than the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

The redesign was total, including a new chassis with stiffer body structure, complete sheetmetal makeover, and new available turbo four-cylinder engine with direct injection. The ride got smoother and interior more sophisticated. The Sorento came out feeling more confident and solid, without gaining weight.

Base engine is a 2.4-liter four-cylinder making 185 horsepower. Other engines include a 3.3-liter V6 making 290 horsepower, and the turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque. A 6-speed automatic transmission is standard, and each powertrain comes with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive with a locking differential that splits the drive 50/50 front/rear.

With 7.3 inches of ground clearance, the Sorento is good in deep snow or sand. Each of the powertrains is capable of towing, but the V6 is best, rated at 5000 pounds.

The Sorento earns top crash test results in all five categories from the IIHS, as well a five stars from the NHTSA. Standard safety equipment includes side airbags and active headrests in front, side as well as curtain airbags with rollover sensor. Extensive active safety features are available.

The base 2.4-liter engines gets an EPA-estimated 21 miles per gallon City, 29 Highway, and 24 Combined. The V6 drops to 17/23/19 mpg, and the new turbo four 20/27/23 mpg. All those specs are with front-wheel drive; all-wheel drive brings the mileage down by one mile per gallon.


2016 Kia Sorento

It appears that Kia just cant stop updating the Sorento. After switching to a unibody structure for the 2010 model year, Kia gave it a major refresh for 2014, adding a new V6 engine, a new platform, and 80 percent new or re-engineered parts. Now Kia gives us yet another new Sorento. A redesigned Sorento arrives as an early 2016 model, and it reflects all the work Kia has put into its midsize crossover over the past half-decade.

The 2016 Kia Sorento is three inches longer than the previous models, placing it squarely in the midsize class, while the last model could be viewed as compact. The increased size adds useful interior space, especially for front- and rear-seat passengers. As in the past, a third-row seat is available, upping seating capacity from five to seven. The third row is best used in emergencies or for children. The Sorento simply isnt big enough for third-row passengers to be comfortable for long hauls.

Front-seat occupants will be comfortable, though, and they will find the interior environment to be attractive and upscale, even in the base model. The top-end model features luxury amenities such as soft Nappa upholstery, a panoramic sunroof, heated and ventilated seats, a heated steering wheel, and a state-of-the-art infotainment system.

That infotainment system, called UVO, is standard on all but the base model, and it offers such features as access to apps through owners smartphones, Siri Eyes Free voice control, geo-fencing and curfew alerts, and satellite services including real-time traffic, stock quotes, sports scores, and more.

The Sorento isnt ahead of the curve in terms of vehicle dynamics, but it is competitive. Greater use of high-strength steel improves torsional rigidity, which aids handling and reduces interior noise. The Sorento also offers some advanced features such as rack-mounted power steering and torque vectoring control for its all-wheel-drive system. On the road, handling is controlled, and the ride is smooth and quiet.

The Sorento is quietest with its smooth and capable 3.3-liter V6. Kia adds a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine for 2016, and it has as much torque as the six, though not quite as much horsepower. Response when accelerating from a standstill is somewhat lacking, but the turbo four is quite capable at highway speeds. We think this new engine offers a fine balance of power and fuel economy, and it would likely be our choice. The base engine is a naturally aspirated four-cylinder that delivers fine fuel economy but little power.

The 2016 Sorento ranges in price from just under $25,000 to the mid $40,000-range. With its three available engines it can serve as a budget-minded purchase for a small family or a fairly luxurious crossover for up to seven. We think the sweet spot is in the middle, around $32,000, for a 2016 Sorento EX with the turbocharged four-cylinder engine. At that price, the Sorento is an attractive and wise choice among midsize crossovers.


2015 Kia Sorento

Kia applies a high standard to its cars. The 2014 Sorento boasted 80 percent new or re-engineered parts and content, including cosmetic changes, a new V6, new chassis, new electric steering, suspension revisions, improved braking, upgraded interior appointments, and new infotainment and telematics. Sorento will be all-new for 2016. So there arent many changes to the 2015 Sorento.

The Kia Sorento comes with Torque Vectoring Control (TVCC), for added stability in corners, and quicker electric power steering, with less than three turns of the steering wheel, lock-to-lock. The steering features an available Flex Steer system that offers drivers a choice of three steering modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport.

The 2015 Sorento was named the Best Family Vehicle by the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA), during the annual Mudfest competition in Snoqualmie, Washington, in which we participated. More than 20 NWAPA automotive journalists evaluated vehicles on an autocross course as well as paved and moderate off-road routes during the two-day event.

The front and rear fascia are fairly low and wide, while the grille is enhanced by either anodized silver or black mesh, depending on the model. The lower valance has been opened to expose a cross-hatched intake, while LED positioning lamps create striking eyebrows over projector-style headlights in clear lenses. Available fog lights on all trim models are upended and pushed to the far corners of the front bumper for better forward and side visibility. Horizontally positioned rear LED combination lamps warmly embrace the turn signal and back-up lights. The Sorento rides on 17-, 18- and available 19-inch wheels.

Like every vehicle in this class, the Sorento is a unibody design, basically front-wheel drive with an all-wheel drive option. Although, because the Sorento is available as a three-row seven-seater, there are precious few cars in its exact class (Mitsubishi Outlander to name one). But in fact, the Sorento is in a class of its own. The Sorentos list of standard and optional features goes well beyond the rest of the compact crossover crowd, and so can its price. But the affordable beauty of the Sorento is the well-equipped LX model.

Although Kia continues to offer the smaller Sportage, Kia places the Sorento in the compact crossover field, where it has a size advantage. The Sorento is substantially bigger and roomier than the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, and Toyota RAV4, none of which offer a third row.

Comparing specs and the feel and quality of the car, wed say the Sorento is most like the Acura RDX: about the same wheelbase, length, weight, second-row legroom, horsepower and torque from a smooth V6, and 6-speed auto transmission. Cost for a fully loaded model is about the same, nearly $40,000, but the big difference is that the Sorento is available in the LX model with fewer luxuries, for about $8000 less than the base Acura RDX.

The Sorentos double-overhead-cam V6 engine made its initial appearance in the 2012 Hyundai Azera sedan. A V6 is a rare option among compact crossovers, although the Outlander too has a V6 available. Kias 3.3-liter V6 uses direction injection to produce 290 horsepower, and 252 pound-feet of torque.

Fuel economy for the 2015 Sorento with 3.3-liter V6 is an EPA-estimated 18/25 mpg City/Highway, 18/24 mpg with all-wheel drive. It comes with a 6-speed automatic. Regular gasoline is recommended for all models, a definite engineering plus, as many direct-injection engines today require Premium fuel. We put 764 miles on a 2015 Sorento SX AWD, and averaged a combined 24.1 mpg, beating the EPA estimate by a good bit.

Only the base Sorento LX comes with a four-cylinder engine, mated to a 6-speed automatic. Its a 2.4-liter with GDI direct injection rated at 191 horsepower, 181 pound-feet of torque. Its EPA rated 20/27 mpg City/Highway, 19/25 mpg with all-wheel drive. Although the V6 option adds $1600 to the bottom line, it doesnt carry much of a fuel economy penalty, especially when all-wheel drive is ordered.

The one-year-old chassis features a subframe supporting the strut front suspension, stiffened front strut towers, larger bushings in the multilink rear suspension, and more high strength steel throughout the shell. Kia engineers cite an 18 percent increase in torsional rigidity, an area of chassis construction where more is always better, contributing to better handling and crashworthiness.

The Sorento has the feel of solid goods, with a goodly list of standard features even in basic LX editions.


2014 Kia Sorento

Kia Sorento benefits from a major update for the 2014 model year. Technically, the 2014 Sorento represents a mid-cycle freshening; the previous generation made its appearance for the 2011 model year. But even though the Kia marketing people refrain from employing the term all-new, the 2014 Sorento rolls into showrooms with a list of revisions that's much more extensive than the usual facelift. All told, Kia reckons the Sorento's new or re-engineered content at 80 percent.

The 2014 Kia Sorento benefits from cosmetic updates front and rear, a new V6 engine option, a chassis sufficiently re-engineered to be characterized as new, a new electric steering system, a number of suspension revisions, improved braking, upgraded interior appointments, and new infotainment and telematics.

Like every vehicle in this class, the Sorento is a unibody design, basically front-wheel drive with an all-wheel drive option.

Although it continues to offer the smaller Sportage, Kia targets the Sorento against the compact crossover crowd, where it has a size advantage. The Kia Sorento is substantially bigger than the Honda CR-V, Ford Escape, Mazda CX-5, and Toyota RAV4. Sorento's larger size pays roominess dividends.

The 2014 Sorento continues to offer the option of a three-row, seven-passenger configuration. However, adding the third row consumes a bit of cargo space and continues to be very snug in terms of third-row leg room. Kia and Mitsubishi are now the only players in this segment to offer a third-row option. We think Sorento is better as a two-row, five-passenger vehicle.

The 2014 Sorento's new V6 engine is a rare option in this class. The Mitsubishi Outlander is the only competitor with a V6 option. Kia's 3.3-liter V6 uses direction injection to produce 290 horsepower, 252 pound-feet. The new 3.3-liter V6 replaces the previous 3.5-liter V6. Fuel economy for the 3.3-liter V6 is an EPA-estimated 18/25 mpg City/Highway, 18/24 mpg with all-wheel drive. It comes with a 6-speed automatic. Regular gasoline is recommended for all models, so no need to buy Premium gas.

Only the base Sorento LX comes with a four-cylinder engine. New for 2012, the 2.4-liter four-cylinder with GDI direct injection is rated at 191 horsepower, 181 pound-feet of torque. (The previous port-injected 2.4-liter four has been dropped.) Fuel economy for the 2014 Sorento LX with 2.4-liter four-cylinder with 6-speed automatic is an EPA rated 20/26 mpg City/Highway, 19/24 mpg with all-wheel drive. Although the V6 option adds $1600 to the bottom line, it doesnt carry much of a fuel economy penalty, especially when all-wheel drive is ordered.

Structural improvements to the 2014 Sorento include what Kia calls an all-new chassis, with a subframe supporting the strut front suspension, stiffened front strut towers, larger bushings in the multilink rear suspension, and a higher percentage of high strength steel throughout the bodyshell. Kia engineers cite an 18 percent increase in torsional rigidity, an area of chassis construction where more is always better, contributing to more precise handling and first rate crashworthiness. Kia expects that the Sorento will once again score top marks in the latter category.

The inner Sorento has also received comprehensive attention, with higher grade materials throughout, a redesigned instrument panel, an electric steering system that affords the option (Flex Steer) of three driver operating presets, and of course enough electronic connectivity to connect with colonies on Mars the minute they're established.

Hyundai and Kia have made huge strides with quality, and the Sorento has the feel of solid goods. And like other products from the two companies, which are joined at the hip, the Sorento comes to market with a goodly list of standard features even in basic LX editions.

 

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