Offering the versatility of a minivan, the crossover utility vehicle (CUV) gives shoppers a jazzier option for the family vehicle. First introduced in 2002, the Sorento represents Kia’s larger entry in this segment. On a recent test drive for Latino Traffic Report, I drove the newly redesigned 2016 model, specifically the Kia Sorento SX. Sporting a more refined exterior, the dapper CUV provides more versatility, technology, and value.
With a choice of five trim levels—L, LX, EX, SX and SXL, the third generation Sorento maximizes bang for the buck, starting with a nicely equipped base model. Driving the model just shy of the top-of-the-line SXL offered even more stuff.
Families will appreciate the choice of seating for five or seven, with two- and three-row configurations respectively; both versions include split seats that can be folded flat, expanding cargo room to 73.5 cubic feet.
The test model came with the available all-wheel drive (AWD) system and the 3.3-liter V6. According to EPA estimates, the V6 should achieve 17 miles per gallon (mpg) in the city and 23 mpg on the highway. I averaged 21.8 mpg.
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.
Two other engine options include and a new 2.0-liter inline-four turbo and a gasoline direct injection (GDI) 2.4-liter inline four-cylinder. The most fuel-efficient of the mix will be the front-wheel drive 2.4-liter with an EPA estimated fuel economy of 21 mpg in the city and 29 mpg on the highway.
All three engines are matched to an electronically controlled six-speed automatic transmission featuring Sportmatic simulated manual shifting. The standard Driver Mode Select allows drivers to choose among sport, normal, and eco modes, further improving driving performance on all models. I gravitate toward eco just to enhance fuel economy but a quick flick to sport does add oomph.
While standard safety features include traction and electronic stability control, the SX model did come with the optional rear-parking sensor, rear cross traffic alert, and blind spot detection. Happily, the Sorento received the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) 5-star overall safety rating.
While the base model starts with cloth seats treated with Yes Essentials for easier maintenance, the SX included leather seating and heated seats for the driver and front passenger. Cruise control, air conditioning, an AM/FM stereo with a CD player and MP3 connectivity, Sirius Satellite radio, Bluetooth, steering wheel mounted controls, and a fuel economy indicator, are also standard.
The SX added dual-zone air conditioning, push button start, a panoramic sunroof, navigation with an eight-inch display screen, and a smart, hands-free power liftgate.
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. The as-tested price came to $40,595.
Sí: The Sorento is an elegant CUV from Kia with a good list of standard features.
No: Safety features like lane departure warning, and forward collision warning should be available on more than just the top-of-the-line model.