2006 Kia Sorento SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2006 Kia Sorento SUV

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Kia Sorento Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Four Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 192 hp @ 5500 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 13/18 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats Yes

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.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (14 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

"killed in action!"

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

I hate to think i spent all that money on a car i worry about more than my physical health after a roll over that almost took my life at age 27. Kia on the west side of Olympia have been more of a problem then the car. Check engine light (they cleared without fixing), wheel bearing x2 in the shop yesterday & it's my fault at 60k, pulls, shakes, squeaks, break light countless times has been replaced, how it rides scares me to death. I worry about a new problem more then the price of gas. I promise I will tell 1,000 if not more people that this car is the "biggest waste of time & money ever spent." I hate this car! My lifted 04 Rubicon is safer, even after it rolled x5 at 70 mph!

Great suv

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

We've owned our Sorento for 3-1/2 years and have been pleasantly surprised. We had never owned a Kia or knew anyone who owned one and were worried about the quality as a result. It has over 30k miles on it and we've never had a single problem, issue, or bug with it. We mostly use it for short trips around town, but it has performed well in all sorts of conditions (snowy mountain, rural desert roads, regular big city driving with constant breaking and fast accelerating). We've gotten the oil changed regularly and done the recommended maintenance, but other than that, it's required no trips to the dealer or shop.

A disappointing surprise

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

Needed a new engine when 11 months old. Clock ran 10 min fast. Headlights needed replacing every year. With 60,000 miles on the new engine it needed new coils for $1800 and was dripping oil in the garage. Lots of noise recently--needed new manifold pipes. Traded it for a Honda CRV last week. Truly a disappointment. A 10-year warranty did not cover anything but the new engine.

Wish i would've never purchased

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

Although, the car drives fine. It has so many problems its rediculous. I purchased new in 06. If it is windy outside and you are driving- be prepared for an annoying LOUD whistle. The wind hits the windshield at the top and makes a horrible noise. I guess its the way its made. The cd player already quit working. I didnt even use it much. The heater comes and goes as it pleases. The dome light also comes and goes as it pleases. Also, the 4x4 light comes off and on. Overall the car does get me where I need to go, but all of these "little" things have ruined it for me. Can't wait to get a different car!

I need to brag

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

I need to brag about my Sorento. Purchased in Sept. 06, I travel alot. I currently have 158,690 miles on it. The only issue was needing to replace the transfer case ($700 on Ebay). Tires, brakes and oil changes have been my only real purchases. As I looked at getting a replacement vehicle, I had to ask why. There is not a squeak or rattle. It handles the way it did on day one, and I can still tow my 4-wheeler to northern Maine (250 miles one way) without a problem. If you can deal with "not great" fuel economy, buy one. It is the best purchase I have ever made.

Book by its cover

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

If it ran all the time, this would be the best small SUV on the market. It's well appointed. It drives beautifully. It's powerful and not to bad on gas. All in all, I'd say Kia is on the right track. There's only one drawback. It must have been built by a drunken monkey on Monday morning after a long weekend. The headlights burn out in pairs every 3-4 months. I'm on transmission number 3 and the radio needed to be replaced after 9 months. The most aggravating thing is the alarm system which has a mind of it's own. It's been 2 years and it still triggers whenever it feels like it (2AM in the garage or on the highway at 65 MPH) leaving you stranded until a tow truck takes it home to KIA.

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.

Talk About The 2006 Sorento

Gas Mileage


  • 13
  • cty
  • 18
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs