Saturday Road Test – Kia Sorento

 

 

 

 

2015 Sorento

2016 Sorento

All-new 2016 Sorento 3.3-liter V6 SXL

All-new 2016 Sorento 3.3-liter V6 SXL

2016 Kia Sorento

A Hot Item in a Hot Market

By Ron Amadon

DAMASCUS, MD. – In a land where families once favored large (fake) wood sided cars called “Station Wagons” tastes have changed. Now the hottest market is for midsize crossovers with wood making a more tasteful move to the interior on upscale models.

Kia is a key player in this realm, and keeps the heat on the competition by redesigning its Sorento for the new model year. In addition to a crisp new look outside, the interior moves upscale trim wise, and the wheelbase grows three inches to 109.4 inches for additional cargo space and improved ride quality.

A 2.0-liter, 240 horsepower turbo four is now included in the engine lineup and the base 2.4 liter four carries over with its 185 horsepower. The test Sorento had the more powerful 3.3-liter V6 with 290 ponies and 252 lb-ft of torque. I recommend it.

Matched with a six speed automatic the combination is rated at 18 to 26 miles per gallon with 21 mpg combined. I came in at 22 mpg in a week’s worth of driving.

With the six, Kia said the Sorento can tow up to 5,000 pounds, a not insignificant gain of 1,500 pounds from the previous model.

Finding one that fits your option desires and budget should be easy given that Kia offers the Sorento in eight different trim levels from “L” on up to “Limited V6.” The test vehicle was outfitted in EX trim – smack dab in the middle of the list.

It came well equipped with standard dual zone automatic climate control, rear camera display, satellite radio, Bluetooth, leather seat trim, 50/50 split folding third row seats, and heated outside mirrors among other items.

A $2,500 EX “Premium Package” added push button start, power folding exterior mirrors, Blindspot Detection and Cross-Traffic Alert, among other items. A nice touch entering after dark was the “Smart Welcome Door Illumination.” One option that teens might hate and parents might love is curfew alert.

One must move up to the V6 to get the third row seats with overall room for seven, otherwise there are two rows with room for five.

The second row gains a half inch of legroom for the new year with very versatile seats that slide back and forth, recline and fold flat when cargo hauling is included in weekend chores. The third row is best reserved for the younger members of the dynasty but the Kia is hardly alone here.

In the nifty features department was a liftgate that will open itself if you stand near it for a few seconds with the key fob in your purse or pocket. Handy when you’ve had an intense visit to the farmer’s market.

If you look at the price sticker and wonder what “Driver Mode Select” is, it allows the operator to choose different transmission shift points and steering effort. My guess is most will leave it in Normal, but Dad might select Sport when he is alone on back roads, where the Sorento performed rather well for this type of vehicle. Frugal operators might keep it in Eco.

The ride was neither too soft nor too hard with the all wheel drive EX performing admirably on a semi-washed out mountain topping dirt road. But one would do well to limit off road expeditions, in that this is not what the vehicle was designed for.

Base price is $24,900 for what Kia calls its “perfect getaway vehicle.” With transportation included, the test Kia came to $37,045 – more than reasonable in today’s market.

With its attractive new exterior design, more upscale interior, driver friendly controls, easy cargo loading, and Kia’s well known long list of standard features, this should be, I believe, your first choice to test drive if you are looking for a midsize crossover. And there is that 10 year, 100,000 mile limited powertrain warranty.

 

 

 

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