First introduced in 2002, the Kia Sorento welcomes its third generation for 2016. Sporting a more refined exterior, the dapper crossover utility vehicle (CUV) offers more versatility, technology, and value. At the recent launch in Lake Tahoe, it grabbed the road, as well as attention.
Car buyers appreciate choices when car shopping, maximizing bang for the buck. Kia has complied with the new Sorento, offering customers a choice of five trim levels– L, LX, EX, SX and SXL.
Available with seating for five or seven, with two- and three-row configurations respectively, both versions include split seats that can be folded flat. With both rows folded, cargo room expands to 73.5 cubic feet. The new Sorento adds interior volume as well with a wheelbase that’s 3.1 inches longer than the previous model.
Offered with all-wheel drive (AWD) capability, the Sorento includes a choice of three gasoline direct injection (GDI) engines: a 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder, a 3.3-liter V6, and a new 2.0-liter inline-four turbo. The most fuel-efficient of the mix will be the front-wheel drive 2.4-liter with an EPA estimated fuel economy of 21 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.
The V6 produces 290 horses giving it an increased towing capacity of 5,000 lbs. when equipped with the AWD system that automatically routes power to the wheel with the most traction.
All three engines are matched to an electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission featuring Sportmaticsimulated manual shifting. The standard Driver Mode Select allows drivers to choose among sport, normal and eco modes, further improving driving performance on all models.
While standard safety features include traction and electronic stability control, it would be nice if one of the following optional features were also standard: Back-up Warning, Forward Collision Warning, Smart Cruise Control, Blind Spot Detection (BSD), Rear Cross Traffic Alert, and a Around View Monitor.
At the launch in Lake Tahoe, the driving route included slushy weather with snow flurries and rain, but the Sorento held the road with confidence. However, the inclement weather did obstruct the BSD. A warning message in the center screen on the instrument cluster lets drivers know not to rely on the BSD if this happens.
The base model starts with cloth seats treated with Yes Essentials for easier maintenance. Cruise control, air conditioning, an AM/FM stereo with a CD player and MP3 connectivity, Sirius Satellite radio, Bluetooth, steering wheel mounted controls, and fuel economy indicator, are also standard. Available features include a panoramic sunroof, navigation, and Infinity surround sound with ten speakers.
The all-new Kia App Store offers apps that can be downloaded for free from iTunes or Google Play.
Built in the United States at the plant in West Point, Georgia and on sale now, the 2016 Kia Sorento has a starting price of $25,795.