2011 Kia Sorento SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2011 Kia Sorento SUV

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Kia Sorento Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 2.4 L Inline 4-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Manual
  • Horse Power 175 hp @ 6000 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/27 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation No
  • Heated Seats No

Review of the 2011 Kia Sorento

  • The 2011 Kia Sorento crossover SUV hits almost all the right notes, and it does so with the affordability you'd expect.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Plentiful standard features; decent-sized third-row seat; sporty handling; punchy optional V6; long warranty.

  • Cons

    Suspension tuning is a bit too firm; five-passenger model lacks a sliding second-row seat.

  • What's New for 2011

    The 2011 Kia Sorento has been fully redesigned. Major changes include a switch to carlike unibody construction, more powerful engines and a new third-row seat.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews

  Average Consumer Rating (13 total reviews)  |  Write a Review

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Almost 40 k on the

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Sorento 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6M)

I have the car three years already, on some trips no problem the machine is reliable. Some minor issues: the transmission ( manual) was changed because of a small "click" sound. the mechanic got lazy and after complaining several times (since he said: " the sound is normal") they put a new transmission and when they finished the sound was still there. Took it to another place it was a minor issue ( 30$ for repairing).Just changed the rear pads. hope to keep the car a few years more.

1 of 6 people found this review helpful

Unreliable car.

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Sorento 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6M)

"I have Kia Sorrento for 4 months only and it was in repairs twice already! 4000 miles on the car. Last month was an oil leak.This month - the transmission stopped shiffting and I couldnot stop the car! Unreliable! I always bought american cars and had them for 10-11 years, with regular wear and tear. This is the first time that I decided to buy non-american car, and let me tell you, you get what you pay for! GARBAGE!!! For $ 6000 more you can buy Ford or Jeep and have no problems! Do not buy this car, unless you want to have a big problem in a couple of months."

2 of 4 people found this review helpful

2011 kia sorento - base

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Vehicle: 2011 Kia Sorento 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6M)

I bought my 2011 Kia Sorento (base model with manual transmission) in February, 2011. So far I love it. However, there is one glitch that maybe other Kia owners have noticed. It is with Kia's automatic locking system. Never ever leave your keys in the ignition for any period of time when leaving! Kia automatically locks you out after a short period of time. It has happened to me twice so far. I asked the Kia owner about this and he said it has happened to him twice, so beware..... I have been locked out twice.

Transmission went kapoof at 25k

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Sorento 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6M)

Car: 2011 base model, 4cyl. Transmission went kapoof at 25k miles. I rolled it into a stop sign then suddenly, loud grinding sound and the car won't move anymore. The engine still runs but car won't move. Towed it to the dealer and they replaced the transmission (for free) under warranty. It took them 4 days to fix. No loaner/rental car was provided..."it is not in KIA's policy" The car was never driven hard. I hope a recall would be issued regarding the transmission problem that people are having. When that warranty runs out....watch out $$$ One of the tire pressure sensor keeps leaking air. The seal on the valve is crap. Fix: replaced it with a traditional non-tps valve.

Good looking car for the

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Sorento 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6M)

This is our first cross over vehicle. When I friend suggested I take a peek at the Kia's I thought 'not'. But, I did and I'm glad. I really like how the car looks. It has a sporty high end look that will appeal to most high end buyers. However, I think more attention should be given to the interior. The seats are not comfertable and as another reviewer stated the console is hard! It's also a little sluggish when changing gears. It's also easy to engage the blue tooth on the steering wheel. Overall a good car. I think Kia will tweak the 2012's and that will be 'the one'.

Best car ever owned

by on
Vehicle: 2011 Kia Sorento 4dr SUV (2.4L 4cyl 6M)

6-Speed is awesome! Great gas mileage, just drove from Pittsburgh to Kitty Hawk, NC and it was THE most comfortable ride I have ever had. I love the features and the overall look (SNOW WHITE PEARL). So much room in the back cargo area, and my kids love the large amount of space in the backseats, as well as the air vents. Best vehicle I have ever purchased. I have owned Honda, Saturn, VW, and a Pontiac, this is my forever car. I feel like I bought an expensive car. I am always getting stopped by people inquiring about it.

Full 2011 Kia Sorento Review

What's New for 2011

The 2011 Kia Sorento has been fully redesigned. Major changes include a switch to carlike unibody construction, more powerful engines and a new third-row seat.


It seems like just yesterday that Kia was fielding quirky offerings like, well, the previous-generation Sorento, a traditional body-on-frame SUV that never really caught on in America. But this company learns quickly. The all-new 2011 Kia Sorento boasts the carlike unibody construction (and the subsequent carlike ride) that Americans crave, and it's got most of the other bases covered, too. Perhaps most impressively, it starts at around $20,000, pitting it squarely against perennial compact-crossover all-stars like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

The Sorento's most obvious advantage over these models is its near-midsize dimensions. Longer than both rivals, the Sorento capitalizes with an optional third-row seat that's actually inhabitable by adults for short trips; the 2011 Toyota RAV4's third row, conversely, is strictly for kids, and the 2011 Honda CR-V doesn't even offer one. The Sorento also features a choice of four- and six-cylinder engines, just like the Toyota, while the Honda is four-cylinder only.

The base four-cylinder, however, is merely adequate, which isn't surprising given that its 175 horses are tasked with moving more than 3,600 pounds of crossover. It's punchy enough around town, but sounds somewhat strained at higher rpm, and it's not as good on gas as the thriftiest fours in this segment. Another mild demerit goes to the second-row seat, which doesn't slide fore and aft like those of the Sorento's main competitors.

Overall, though, the Sorento is a highly impressive effort. Whereas past Kias have tended to be purchased primarily because of value, the Sorento is a legitimate contender that just happens to have an affordable price. In addition to the aforementioned Honda and Toyota, we'd recommend the 2011 Chevrolet Equinox, 2011 Mazda CX-7 and 2011 Subaru Forester, as well as Kia's smaller Sportage. But we wouldn't hesitate to recommend the 2011 Kia Sorento. It's a rolling exhibit of how far this automaker has come in recent years.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2011 Kia Sorento is a crossover SUV offered in four trim levels: base, LX, EX and the sporty SX. A third-row 50/50-split-folding seat with room for two is optional on the LX and four-cylinder EX, and standard on the EX V6 and SX.

The base model comes standard with a six-speed manual transmission, 17-inch alloy wheels, full power accessories, air-conditioning, a tilt-and-telescoping multifunction steering wheel, a trip computer, Bluetooth connectivity and a CD/MP3 audio system with satellite radio and a USB audio jack.

Moving up to the LX nets a six-speed automatic transmission, body-color heated outside mirrors with integrated LED turn signals, a second-row armrest with cupholder, as well as the option of adding the Convenience package, which includes foglamps, roof rails, rear parking sensors, heated front seats and a back-up camera with a rearview-mirror-mounted display.

The EX starts with the LX's equipment and adds 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition/entry, dual-zone automatic climate control (with rear air-conditioning on V6 models) and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. The SX spices things up with more aggressive exterior styling details, a sport-tuned suspension, leather upholstery, heated front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, unique metallic interior trim, a rearview camera and a 10-speaker Infinity sound system.

The SX's additional features (excluding the exterior styling elements) are available on the EX trim as part of the Premium and Limited option packages. An optional panoramic sunroof and voice-activated navigation with real-time traffic and mood lighting are bundled into those packages as well (you can also get them on the SX). A rear-seat DVD entertainment system is available on EX V6 models without the sunroof.

Powertrains and Performance

All Sorento trim levels come standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 175 horsepower and 169 pound-feet of torque. The base model has a six-speed manual transmission, while the others come with a six-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard across the board, while LX and EX models are eligible for all-wheel drive. The AWD system comes with a locking center differential to improve low-speed traction in icy or off-road situations.

In our performance testing, the four-cylinder brought a Sorento EX from zero to 60 mph in a leisurely 9.9 seconds -- one of the slower times in the class. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined with the front-wheel-drive automatic. It is 21/27/23 with AWD.

Optional is a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque; it comes only with the six-speed automatic and gets the Sorento from zero to 60 mph in an impressive 7.4 seconds, which is one of the quicker times in the class. Fuel economy stands at 20/26/22 with front-wheel drive and 19/25/21 with AWD.


The 2011 Kia Sorento comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, hill-start assist, hill descent control, front-seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front active head restraints. In Edmunds brake testing, both four- and six-cylinder Sorentos came to a stop from 60 mph in 120 feet, which is very good for this class.

In the government's new, more strenuous crash testing for 2011, the Sorento earned an overall rating of four stars out of a possible five, with four stars for overall frontal crash protection and four stars for overall side crash protection. The Sorento earned a top score of "Good" for its performance in the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The Sorento's interior is class-competitive in both design and materials, with a look that is restrained but sophisticated. Dashboard plastics are hard to the touch but look good. The audio and climate controls (whether manual or automatic) are intuitive and have a substantial feel, as does the rest of the switchgear.

The front seats are comfortable on long trips and provide the commanding view of the road that crossover buyers love. The inviting second-row seat accommodates two with ease and three in a pinch. It doesn't slide fore and aft without the optional third-row seat (standard on EX V6), meaning the Sorento's not quite as versatile as the Equinox, CR-V or RAV4. And speaking of that third-row seat, it features 50/50-split-folding seatbacks and enough room for even taller-than-average adults, provided the trip is brief. With the rear seats folded, the Sorento can carry up to 72.5 cubic feet of cargo -- about as much as a RAV4 or CR-V.

Driving Impressions

As with the RAV4, the 2011 Kia Sorento is a tale of two engines. The base 2.4-liter four feels punchy enough around town and with light loads, but it struggles a bit with extra passengers and cargo. The 3.5-liter V6, on the other hand, is strong and smooth, and its fuel economy deficit isn't huge; too bad it's only available on the top-of-the-line EX.

At highway speeds, the Sorento's cabin remains impressively isolated from both road and wind noise. We're also fond of the Sorento's handling ability, as this crossover responds directly to steering inputs. This is indeed one of the more enjoyable small family crossovers to drive. The ride quality should be OK for most folks, but we've found that it gets overly harsh when the Sorento is driven over potholes and similarly broken pavement.

Talk About The 2011 Sorento

Read more about the 2011 Kia Sorento

Gas Mileage


  • 20
  • cty
  • 27
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs