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Roseville, Calif. – Driving from the much more weather-subdued foothills – where rain, wind and fog are the only winter obstacles – to mountainous Lake Tahoe on a snowy weekend can be a challenging undertaking.

Slick roads can be both snowy and icy on the interstate and anywhere in the Tahoe region, which produces storms that sometimes have one seeing large snowflakes in their dreams. Several storms dropped 2 to 4 feet on this March weekend, making driving a bit treacherous.


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Despite some stressful times behind the wheel, making the driving situation much less tense was having the all-wheel drive Kia Sorento. The midsize crossover sport utility vehicle flips into all-wheel drive mode with the push of a button and really handles well in the snow.

The 2016 Kia Sorento offers an improved ride that is quiet and doesn’t seem to be bothered by bumps or uneven surfaces. Every Sorento comes with the Driver Mode Select that features three modes (Normal, Sport and Eco). They were all utilized on the Lake Tahoe trip.

The Kia Sorento increased in price for 2016 (starting at around $25,000), but thanks to a substantial redesign, it also comes with more sophistication and overall appeal. Note that the test-driven Sorento SXL was fully loaded and lists at around $43,000.

2016 Kia Sorento

  • Performance: 2.4-liter, four-cylinder, 185 horsepower; turbocharged 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, 202 horsepower; 3.3-liter, V6, 290 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 21-29 mpg; 21-27 mpg; 17-23 mpg
  • Price: $24,900 to $43,100
  • Warranty: 5 years/60,000 miles; drivetrain 10 years/100,000 miles; roadside assistance 5 years/60,000

Among the significant changes this year are a turbocharged four-cylinder engine has been added to the lineup, along with an upgraded suspension and improved steering. The styling is also better inside and out.

Four years ago, Kia transformed the Sorento from a truck-based model to a car-like crossover SUV. The result: the Sorento began delivering a comfortable ride, which is what the majority of midsize SUV owners desire.

The Sorento has three rows of seating and can carry up to seven people. It competes primarily against the Toyota Highlander, Hyundai Santa Fe, Ford Edge, and Jeep Grand Cherokee.

One certainly notices a difference in this year’s Sorento when seated inside. It now has more soft-touch surfaces and the two-tone color scheme makes it quite an attractive design. The interior has user-friendly controls and overall is very intuitive, so the learning curve is minimal.

The Sorento’s second row is a little larger and has the versatility to slide, recline or simply fold flat for additional cargo area. The storage area behind the third row is larger (11 cubic feet) this year. With the third row down, the cargo area enlarges to 38.8 cubic feet and has a maximum storage of 73.5 cubic feet.

There are three different engines with the 2016 Sorento. The turbo model is an impressive 2.0-liter, four-cylinder that produces 240 horsepower and 260 pound-feet of torque, and goes 0-60 mph in 8.7 seconds. Gas mileage is 21-27 mpg; just a little shy of the other four-cylinder engine.

The base model Kia engine is a 2.4-liter, four-cylinder that generates 185 horsepower and 178 pound-feet of torque. The mileage is 21-29 mph.

The third option, available in three of the model trims including the SXL, is a powerful 3.3-liter, V6 with 290 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque. It’s been clocked going 0-60 mph in 7.6 seconds and the mileage is 17-23 mpg.

Kia has produced a redesigned crossover with many nice improvements. Interior room, gas mileage, and attractive exterior are all a plus with the 2016 Sorento.