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Kia Sorento a solid crossover
More horsepower and handling surprises
Published Friday, August 10, 2012 9:57 am
by Winfred B. Cross


Kiaís Sorento is building a reputation as a great alternative to better-known crossovers from its bigger competitors.

Kia's Sorento offers a solid crossover experience with a direct injection four-cylinder engine that delivers 32 miles per gallon on the highway, 22 in the city.

Kia is also proving that better-known isnít always better.

The Sorento does everything about right. Ride comfort is good, Handling, good. Driving dynamics? Surprisingly good. Maybe because itís between small and midsize. Itís bigger than a Toyota RAV4 and Hondaís CRV. Itís also a tad less expensive than both. The Sorento is a smartly-sized crossover that can easily hold five people in great comfort and seven in relative comfort, depending on the size of those last two people. The third row is best for children but adults shouldnít complain too much. Its interior is nicely done, thanks to a great makeover last year. The front seats are ventilated and stain resistant if you get the cloth.

The biggest intro on the 2012 is the direct injection four-cylinder engine. At 191 horses, itís far better than the base and it gets better gas mileage. You can average 32 mpg on the highway but still have better passing power and less noise when you hit the gas. On the highway the Sorento is quite and feels quick. The six-speed transmission is nearly flawless and the ride is comfortable without being cushy. Some may find it too firm but I think itís a nice balance. It also feels well planted in curves. Thereís a touch of body roll, but not more than youíd expect in a crossover.

The Sorento does not disappoint in town, either. Twenty-two miles per gallon isnít hybrid territory but itís far better than larger crossovers and the tweener size lets you park in regular spaces.

The Sorento EX also feels rock solid. The doors shut with a thunk. The switches and knobs feel upscale and the interior has caught up its Japanese competitors. Even the entertainment system has some thump.

My test car started at $25,950 but had lots of goodies, many of which were included in a package. The engine, panoramic sunroof, leather interior, navigation and backup camera were nice touches. Throw that in with standard equipment such as traction control, ABS, air, satellite radio (Sirius), Bluetooth, iPod connectivity and six-speed transmission and the Sorento EX was nearly loaded. It was also nearly $30,000.

Years ago most would scoff at such a price for a KIA, but no oneís laughing now. Kia is becoming a lot of folks first choice on shopping lists from compacts to SUVs. The 2013 is already available Ė and even better than this. If you are looking for a better deal, the 2012 maybe your ticket.



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