A year ago the Kia Sorento redesign transformed this midsize sport utility vehicle from a truck-based model to a car-like body. The result: The Sorento now delivers a comfortable ride, which is what the majority of midsize SUV owners desire.
Like many offerings in the Kia lineup, the Sorento has distanced itself from its modest beginnings when the Korean automaker produced mainly affordable cars that often came with a “cheap” tagline. That’s no longer the case. Kia vehicles are well respected and are giving both Honda and Toyota some major competition.
Despite last year’s redesign, the Sorento comes with a few more notable changes for 2012. A new base four-cylinder model joins the Sorento lineup that adds both improved performance and gas mileage. There are also several options that can be added to this SUV that seats between 5-7 people.
2012 Kia Sorento
- Performance: 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, 191 horsepower or 3.5-liter, V6, 276 horsepower
- Mileage estimate: 20-32 mpg
- Price: $21,250 to $33,150
- Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain 10 years/100,000 miles; corrosion 5 years/100,000; roadside assistance 5 years/60,000
There aren’t many solid SUVs that one can drive off the lot for around $20,000. Yet that can be done with the Sorento, which offers its base model at an appealing $21,250. Three of the four trim models can be purchased for under $26,000 and they all come with Kia’s terrific drivetrain warranty of 10 years or 100,000 miles.
This SUV offers some serious competition for the Toyota Highlander, Dodge Journey, Honda CRV, Chevrolet Equinox and the Hyundai Santa Fe, which is produced by Kia’s parent company.
The Sorento is offered in four-cylinder and V6 engines with a lot of variety, depending on your desires. Although the Sorento offers third-row seating, it’s not that spacious, but is a little more tolerable for its occupants than similar SUVs.
The Sorento features a stylish grille and newly designed headlights. Also new is the punch that a Sorento can provide. Three of the four models feature a 3.5, V6 with 276 horsepower and 248 pound-feet of torque that is capable of going 0-60 mph in 7.4 seconds.
The base model, which we tested on some mountainous terrain in Colorado and Wyoming, has some pep as well with a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder that has 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque.
All four models feature enviable handling for a modestly priced crossover. If there is a complaint, it’s the Sorento feels the bumps and uneven pavement a bit too much at higher speeds.
The Sorento cabin is well thought out and provides easy-to-master climate and audio controls. This crossover is also a good one for short or long trips for passengers in the first two rows, while the cargo room is ample. A downside with the Sorento interior is too much hard plastic.
Like many of Kia vehicles, the Sorento has a lot of positives – gas mileage, low sticker price, solid performance and seating versatility. It definitely warrants a serious look when shopping for a midsize SUV.