I bought a 2004 Sorento EX Luxury from a private seller with 75,000 miles. Vehicle was in immaculate condition, but was plagued with issues in the beginning. Had to replace the drive shaft, throttle position sensor, spark plugs and brakes - but after all repairs were done and a thorough fuel injection cleaning service, it drives like brand new.
This is truly a remarkable SUV. I'm a law student and wanted a comfortable vehicle to last me for a few years, and even though I had those repair issues, I have no regrets. It's good-looking, spacious, super comfortable and has more than enough power. Shifts are buttery smooth and engine performance is really impressive for an 8 year old vehicle.
I love all the luxury features! I only paid $6000, but got heated leather seats, a sunroof, 6-disc 10-speaker surround sound system and 4WD. Mine is black with the beige cladding and it looks BEAUTIFUL! Parked next to an '08 Highlander today, and it looked just as big and just as good. Gas mileage is respectable, 18 MPG average, since I have a really light foot. The heated seats are SUPER nice for these winter temperatures. A/C is ice cold and heater is blazing hot. LOTS of torque on the bottom end, so quick and swift acceleration. Sunroof is huge and makes the cabin feel very open and airy. Highway cruising is amazing. I'm very happy and look forward to driving this SUV for many years.
Kia has come a long way, so I have no suggestions. Mechanical integrity is certainly an issue with these early year-models, but otherwise, I'm very pleased. The suspension provides a very comfortable and controlled ride quality - bumps and potholes are swallowed up quite well. Sound system is really great and has good channel separation. I especially love how ROOMY this vehicle is! It drives like a smaller SUV, but it has acres of space inside. Controls are very simple and easy-to-use, which I really appreciate. I just LOVE the woodgrain throughout the dashboard and cabin. The design is still really good-looking and this Sorento holds it's own amongst all the newer SUV's on the road today.