2009 Kia Sorento SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2009 Kia Sorento SUV

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Kia Sorento Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.3 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Rear Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 5-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 242 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 16/22 mpg
  • Bluetooth No
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2009 Kia Sorento

  • The 2009 Kia Sorento satisfactorily blends city-oriented comfort with off-road capability, but we think most buyers will prefer an SUV that favors either street or trail driving more heavily.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Long list of standard features, solid construction, high-quality materials, decent off-road capabilities, long warranty.

  • Cons

    So-so fuel economy, rough ride over broken pavement, mediocre braking performance in demanding situations, disappointing IIHS side-impact crash results.

  • What's New for 2009

    The 2009 Kia Sorento remains unchanged from last year.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (42 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

100,000 miles in and all's

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Sorento

Now that I've written this review everything's probably going to go the heck. I purchased this brand new, off the lot, with less than 100 miles on the clock. It now has over 100K. This car has been a solid work horse for me. I've had to have it in for just one service that I wouldn't be considered wear and tear, and that was when a sensor went out at about 4mon and essentially meant the gas pedal wouldn't work. Apart from that, it's been the usual things that happen to a 6 year old car that has 100k on the clock.

Gas cap - escape light

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Sorento

Bought the 2008 Sorrento used about 6 weeks ago. Check engine light/escape light has started coming on and vehicle will not run over 20 miles per hr. I have bought a gas cap and it still has not fixed the problem for more than a day. This is described in the book as a reason the check engine light to come on. A mechanic said the vents that vent the gas vapors can collapse. That is the next thing to have checked. I was looking online to see if any recalls but did not find any. Surely, this is not an isolated problem.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

A lemon

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Sorento

I bought a 2008 Kia Sorento brand new. After 6 months i had to take back to dealer and the rotors had to be resurfaced so $150 later I had to take it back a couple of months later the throttle sensor went out. From there was every sensor in the car. I had to take it back to the dealersip every 3 months for a year, It has been 1 problem after another with this car. I started haveing a problem with the car when I would crank it of a morning it sounded like the motor was gonna come out of the car. I took it to the dealership and they told me it wsa just over due for an oil change (not) then they put some oil additavies in the car told me to drive it for a week and it would be fine (not) took

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Kia will not fix the

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Sorento

At first everything was going fine, but then we started having trouble with our transmission. The SUV would stall and get stuck in 3rd gear. I took it to Kia several times and they could not find anything wrong, however, other places machines was showing a problem with the transmission. After several times of taking it to Kia..they finally found the problem and so called fixed it. They did not fix it...it is still doing the same thing and NOW they can not find ANYTHING wrong......

Wish i had read the

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Sorento

I bought a used Sorento with low miles a little less than a year ago. The car has been in the shop for a faulty transmission sensor 3 times without much of an explanation from the service department (the positive is all repairs have been covered under warranty). I wish I had read the reviews before purchasing, as the HARD shift and the passenger air bag comments would have alerted me I might not be happy with the choice. I have lost my faith in this car due to the transmission issues, and am looking at trading it in.

3 of 3 people found this review helpful

This vehicle has been great

by on
Vehicle: 2008 Kia Sorento

Okay the problems that people have been stating are easily solved. The rattling in the trunk, its the jack in the back, simply put a towl back there with it, the back seat trim is just to cover the hinges on the seat. They are not that important, and the airbag sensor in the passenger seat is working the way it should be, you just have to sit in the seat the correct way. Now to the car its self. It has been great 70k and no troubles at all. I do have to say though the transmission does shift hard sometimes but its not that big of a deal. Great power from the engine, it does suck up the gas though. Overal it is an excelent reliable car to have.

Full 2009 Kia Sorento Review

What's New for 2009

The 2009 Kia Sorento remains unchanged from last year.


Long ago, sport-utility vehicles replaced the station wagon as the quintessential family hauler. In the beginning, truck-based, body-on-frame SUVs were all there was. But car shoppers' desire for a more mild-mannered city SUV eventually gave birth to the crossover -- an SUV based on a passenger car. Nowadays, it seems like crossovers will eventually inherit the Earth. But one vehicle that has kept in touch with its traditional SUV roots is the five-passenger 2009 Kia Sorento.

The Sorento, like most traditional truck-based SUVs, is built on a sturdy body-on-frame chassis and has a solid rear axle suspension. This allows it to tow up to 5,000 pounds when properly equipped, about 1,500 pounds more than most other small and midsize crossovers can handle. Opting for the four-wheel-drive model gives the Sorento a decent amount of off-road ability, too, thanks to its low-range gearing. This is still a modern Kia, though, with a choice of two capable V6 engines, an impressive list of standard features, attractive styling and substantial warranty coverage.

Alas, this old-school approach leaves the 2009 Sorento somewhat outclassed in terms of all-around polish. Its lackluster fuel economy, less-than-stellar brakes and trucklike ride make it seem out of touch with what most people want out of a small or midsize SUV these days. While the Sorento is a capable alternative to the similar-in-concept Jeep Liberty, we think you'll probably be happier with a dedicated on-road crossover like the Honda CR-V, Mitsubishi Outlander or Toyota RAV4. And if you really do seek an old-world SUV with substantial off-road prowess, we think the Nissan Xterra and Toyota FJ Cruiser are better and more desirable choices.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2009 Kia Sorento is a midsize SUV offered in two trim levels: LX and EX. The Sorento LX comes standard with 16-inch alloy wheels, cruise control, air-conditioning, full power accessories, cloth seats and a 10-speaker sound system with a CD/MP3 player. The more powerful EX tacks on foglamps, heated side mirrors, leather seating, a power driver seat and wood-grain interior accents.

Options are conveniently bundled in two packages. The LX Value Package includes a sunroof, 16-inch alloy wheels and leather upholstery. The EX Luxury Package includes a sunroof, automatic 4WD if so equipped, heated front seats, an in-dash six-CD changer, automatic dual-zone climate control, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and automatic headlights. Stand-alone options for the EX include 17-inch alloy wheels and a rear spoiler.

Powertrains and Performance

The 2009 Kia Sorento is available with two engine choices. The base model and LX are powered by a 3.3-liter V6 that produces 242 horsepower and 228 pound-feet of torque. The EX receives a 3.8-liter V6 with 262 hp and 260 lb-ft of torque. Properly equipped, the LX can tow up to 3,500 pounds while the EX can lug up to 5,000 pounds. All Sorentos feature a five-speed automatic transmission with manual shift control.

The base model is offered only with two-wheel drive, while the LX and EX can be had in either two- or four-wheel-drive configurations. The Luxury package-equipped EX model features an automatic "Torque-On-Demand" 4WD system that can automatically engage the front wheels for improved all-weather performance.

Regardless of which engine and two- or four-wheel-drive combination is selected, the EPA estimates virtually identical fuel economy across the entire Sorento line. A two-wheel-drive model with the 3.3-liter V6 should return 16 mpg city/22 mpg highway and 18 mpg in combined driving, while the 3.8-liter V6 is rated at 15/21/17 mpg. Opting for 4WD versions drops mileage by about 1 mpg.


All 2009 Kia Sorentos, regardless of trim level, feature antilock disc brakes, full-length side curtain airbags, stability control, traction control and driver knee airbags. In government crash testing, the Kia Sorento was awarded the highest possible score of five out of five stars for frontal and side impact protection for all occupants. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the Sorento its highest rating of "Good" for frontal-offset crashworthiness, but in side-impact testing, the Sorento received the IIHS's worst possible rating of "Poor."

Interior Design and Special Features

Despite its modest pricing, the 2009 Kia Sorento exhibits solid build quality with decent interior materials. The front seats are comfortable and controls are simple enough, but the overall look and design of the interior falls a bit behind the times. The rear bench is wide enough to accommodate three adults, but taller passengers may find legroom lacking. The versatile 60/40 split rear seats fold flat for about 66 cubic feet of cargo space, which is a bit less than what's offered by top crossover competitors.

Driving Impressions

With either V6 under the hood, the 2009 Kia Sorento has plenty of power for both city traffic and swift highway cruising. The suspension provides a pleasant ride and adequate handling on smooth pavement, but when the road gets rough, the ride gets bouncy, with a good deal of the bumps transmitted directly into the cabin. The Sorento's brakes might also be a cause for concern; in previous testing, we noticed significant brake fade after just two panic stops from 60 mph. Drivers who plan on any traversing of mountainous roads should keep this in mind.

The Sorento's steering feel, however, is satisfying and there's a minimum of body roll when cornering. Thanks to the Sorento's low-range transfer case and truck-based origins, off-road excursions can be tackled with relative ease, but the Sorento's capabilities still fall short of those possessed by more competent vehicles like the Xterra and FJ Cruiser.

Talk About The 2009 Sorento

Gas Mileage


  • 16
  • cty
  • 22
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs