2006 Kia Sorento SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Kia Sorento SUV

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Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) is a category of used car. Often late-model vehicles, they have been inspected, refurbished, if necessary, and are under warranty by the manufacturer.
Kia Sorento Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 192 hp @ 5500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 15/19 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2006 Kia Sorento

  • Good-looking, comfortable, rugged and well equipped, the 2006 Kia Sorento remains a solid buy among small and midsize SUVs, especially if you're looking for one with true off-road capability.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Great value, long list of standard features, high-quality interior materials, solid construction, true off-road capability, lengthy warranty coverage.

  • Cons

    Mediocre fuel economy, harsh ride over sharp bumps.

  • What's New for 2006

    For 2006, alloy wheels are now standard on all Sorento models.

Full 2006 Kia Sorento Review

What's New for 2006

For 2006, alloy wheels are now standard on all Sorento models.


Named after a city in Italy, the Kia Sorento has set a new standard for value among small and midsize SUVs since its introduction in 2003. For the price of a mini-SUV, you get a crisply styled midsize sport-ute with spacious accommodations for four adults. Taking a page from the Honda playbook, Kia offers the Sorento SUV in two well-equipped trim levels: LX and EX. The LX supplies the basics -- those being air conditioning, a CD player, cruise control and power windows, mirrors and locks. The EX adds would-be-nice features like keyless entry, a power driver seat, a sunroof and an auto-dimming rearview mirror. A luxury package for the EX provides upscale items like leather upholstery, automatic climate control and a six-disc CD changer.

A 192-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 propels every Kia Sorento, and buyers have their choice of two-wheel drive (rear-wheel drive, that is) and four-wheel drive. The standard 4WD system is an off-road-oriented part-time system, but those who opt for a luxury package-equipped EX model get the automatic Torque-On-Demand 4WD system. A five-speed automatic transmission is standard, though Kia offers a manual gearbox as an option. However you equip it, the Sorento has adequate power in most situations, though with a curb weight of over 4,200 pounds in 4WD form, don't be surprised if it feels a bit taxed when you load up the family for a road trip. Fuel economy is rated at just 15 mpg in the city.

Unlike some of its competitors which are based on cars, the Kia Sorento employs rugged body-on-frame construction, and this, along with the low-range transfer case in 4WD models, gives it greater off-road capability than most buyers will ever need. Of course, this means that its ride and handling characteristics aren't as refined as the Honda CR-V's, but its road manners surpass the Jeep Liberty's. Overall, the 2006 Kia Sorento is a well-rounded effort that, apart from its thirst for fuel, has a lot going for it. Perhaps the greatest compliment we can give a particular vehicle is to say that we'd seriously consider buying one if we were shopping in that market segment. This Kia SUV has earned that accolade.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The four-door Kia Sorento SUV is offered in two trim levels, LX and EX. Standard equipment on the LX includes 16-inch alloy wheels (with a full-size spare tire); air conditioning; power windows, mirrors and locks; cruise control; a 60/40-split rear seat; a CD player; and an overhead console with multiple 12-volt outlets. The EX adds two-tone cladding, body-color exterior trim, foglights, keyless entry, a power sunroof, a power driver seat, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, an upgraded sound system, brushed metal and chrome interior trim and a cargo net. The EX is available with a luxury package that adds an in-dash CD changer, automatic climate control, automatic headlights, leather seats (heated in front), a leather-wrapped steering wheel and an automatic 4WD system. A sport package for manual-shift LX includes a side step bars, blacked-out headlamps, a roof rack and keyless entry.

Powertrains and Performance

Powering all Kia Sorento models is a 3.5-liter V6 that cranks out 192 horsepower. LX models can be had with a five-speed manual or five-speed automatic transmission, while EX models are automatic only. Both two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive are available. Most Sorentos get part-time 4WD, while the EX with luxury package gets full-time 4WD. Both systems include low-range gearing for off-roading. Towing capacity (just 3,500 pounds) is unimpressive given the Sorento's body-on-frame construction.


Four-wheel disc brakes are standard, and ABS is optional. Also standard are front and rear side curtain airbags, and three-point belts and headrests in all seating positions. In government crash tests, the Kia Sorento earned four stars out of five for driver and front-passenger protection in frontal impacts. The Kia SUV earned a perfect five stars for front- and rear-occupant protection in side impacts. In frontal-offset crash testing by the IIHS, the Sorento earned a rating of "Acceptable," the second highest.

Interior Design and Special Features

Inside the cabin, soft-touch surfaces abound on the dash and door panels, and the front-passenger airbag is seamlessly integrated into the dash, giving the cabin an upscale feel. The rear seat is wide enough for three adults in a pinch, though knee and toe room are tight. Cargo space is on par with other midsize SUVs with the rear seat up (31.4 cubic feet), but when it's folded, the resulting space measures only 66.4 cubes, about the same as the compact Kia Sportage.

Driving Impressions

Though acceleration at freeway speeds tapers off to just adequate, the 2006 Kia Sorento will cruise happily at 75 mph all day long. Driven on pavement, the Sorento's independent front and solid axle rear suspension design provide a firm, mostly agreeable ride, though sharp impacts can intrude into the cabin. Accurate, well-weighted steering and a minimum of body roll keep the Kia well planted around corners. With body-on-frame architecture, a low-range transfer case on 4WD models and meaty 16-inch tires, the Sorento can easily take on off-road trails of moderate difficulty.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

Would buy 5!!!

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Sorento LX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I love this car! It I has been my favorite! I bought it used, with 16500 miles on it. For an 06 I bought in 07, the one thing I have replaced on it and right now it's 2014, is a battery! Knock on wood... Gas isn't really good but I put better gas in it rather than unleaded, that raises it almost double. I put injection cleaner in all the time! Keep it clean, all fluids good all the time. Best kinds, to make sure runs tip top! I could not ask for a better car.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Don't make a mistake

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Sorento EX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Had to replace headlights frequently and out of nowhere it started clicking in the motor. We called the local Kia dealer in Lufkin and they told us that sometimes a lifter gets stuck and just to put in "SeaFoam" oil. We did and the sound just got louder, we called again, the car had only 73000 miles and they repeated that there was nothing to worry about and just to "rev" the motor and it would work its way loose. One week later the car was still clicking and we called again, the mechanic said we would have to just give the oil time to work. We did just what they said and the motor froze up. Then we found out they would not honor the warranty because we were not the original owners.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

Would not recomend

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Sorento LX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.5L 6cyl 5M)

I bought a 2006 Kia Sorento LX in 2010 and since then I've had nothing but problems! I replaced the crank shaft sensor, cam shaft sensor and the AC. With labor and parts that cost me about 1,600. I have only put 20,000mi on it since I bought it! Therefore, I would NOT recommend a Kia to anyone!! My first experience as a Kia owner was nothing but a headache!

Not so sure...

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Sorento LX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5M)

I just bought my Kia less than a week ago and these reviews are scaring me. Probably should have looked at reviews before I bought... Anyway, I really like everything about the car so far except today I turned on the head lights for the first time, and the dome and map lights come on with the head lights and so far I can't get them to turn off while the headlights are on. I really don't want to drive at night with all the lights on inside the car. Shucks. I hope this wasn't a bad choice.

2 of 10 people found this review helpful

Decent car

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Sorento EX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

I've had our Sorento now for about 4 weeks! Since then, I've replaced the same brake light 2x. I guess there is a recall out for the switch but need to take it in sometime. Also, heard that LED bulbs will fix the problem since they take such low voltage to work. The airbag light has been on and I guess it could be an issue with the sensor in the seat or seatbelts. Take it to a reliable autobody place! They can solve most of the issues that the KIA dealer will SCREW you over. I'm about 6' tall and feel like the sorento is a "chick" car. the seats sit up high and don't really adjust so I need to scrunch down to see out the window under the mirror. It does handle well and has power.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Worth checking out

by on
Vehicle: 2006 Kia Sorento EX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 5A)

Bought my 2006 Sorento in 2009 with only 15,000 miles on it. If you'd have asked me 5 years ago if I'd buy a Kia, I'd have told you no. This one had all the bells and whistles I wanted (heated leather seats, moon roof, etc). Being the 2nd owner, I still had 45K miles left on the bumper to bumper warranty when I purchased it and, here I am at 57,000+ miles and still thrilled. Is it a BMW? No, but I knew that going in. After 2 years of ZERO issues, I'm pretty happy. Oh, it does tend to need headlight and tail lights changed frequently but whatever.... even me, a girl, was able to do that myself and for cheap. Would I recommend, yes, definitely.

Talk About The 2006 Sorento

2006 Kia Sorento Discussions See all Started By

How reliable is the recent Sorento 2006? I am considering buying light SUV. I might get Sorento 2007....

Vivo en Venezuela y poseo una KIA Sorento 2006 XS, actualmente esta presentando problemas con la suspensión, específicamente la trasera, la camioneta rebota mucho cada vez que paso por algún obstáculo...

I knew it..... thanks to whoever set up this site! I am a careful lady driver and cherish my car. My Kia Sorento 2006 model (purchased in Oct' 2005) is currently in the dealer for assessment/repair....

Gas Mileage


  • 15
  • cty
  • 19
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs
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