2012 Kia Sorento SUV Review | Edmunds.com

2012 Kia Sorento SUV

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Kia Sorento Features and Specs

Features & Specs

  • Engine 3.5 L V 6-cylinder
  • Drivetrain Front Wheel Drive
  • Transmission 6-speed Automatic
  • Horse Power 276 hp @ 6300 rpm
  • Fuel Economy 20/26 mpg
  • Bluetooth Yes
  • Navigation Yes
  • Heated Seats Yes

Review of the 2012 Kia Sorento

  • No longer simply just a good value, the 2012 Kia Sorento is now an excellent pick for a small or midsize crossover SUV.

  • Safety
  • Pros

    Plentiful standard features; decent-size third-row seat, sporty handling; optional fuel-efficient four-cylinder; optional punchy V6; long warranty.

  • Cons

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

  • What's New for 2012

    Fresh from last year's redesign, the Kia Sorento gains a few more upgrades for 2012. Topping the list is a new, optional four-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection for more power and better fuel economy. Also new are a ventilated driver seat, stain-resistant seat fabric and Kia's "Uvo" voice-activated control interface.

What Others Are Saying

Customer Reviews


7 of 7 people found this review helpful

Love it !!!

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Kia Sorento SX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I love everything about this car. I just purchased the 2012 SX V6 dark cherry two weeks ago for my wife. It's fully loaded with all the whistles and bells you could want, its certainly a head turner and conversation starter when people see it. She drives it mostly during the week to work, so I look forward to the weekends so I can drive it. I know several people have complained about the gas mileage, but we haven't had that experience.




Love this car. read why.

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Kia Sorento SX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I have had the Sorento SX V6 for a year now and I have not done anything but change the oil. I love the front seat adjustability and the Heated and Air Conditioned drivers seat. Fast for it's size and handles good. Stereo sounds great, bluetooth works good, the a/c control in the back is very welcomed as is the heated steering wheel. I love this car more than any other I have owned except for maybe my first car as a kid, a 1964 Ford Galaxie LTD. I have had Mercedes 420, VW Jetta Sportwagon TDI, Jeep Grand Cherokee, MIsc vans and sports cars but the KIA is the best value!



1 of 1 people found this review helpful

2012 kia sorento looks nice

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Kia Sorento SX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

About a month after purchasing my new 2012 Sorento Ex with the optional V6 engine I noticed a loud thud almost everytime I started up my suv. I brought the vehicle into the local Kia dealership and they did some updates to the Sorento's computer which did get rid the problem. Also, my Bluetooth doesn't work so I cannot use my samsung phone in the vehicle. Flash forward one year and now I'm experiencing a noticeable lag in acceleration. I told the Kia service manager about the problem and he said to add a bottle of gas treatment. Did that and the problem still exists. I'll be trading in my Kia soon for a more reliable vehicle.



6 of 6 people found this review helpful

10,000 miles and loving it

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Kia Sorento SX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I have previously owned five Chrysler Town and Country minivans and was ready to downsize. I did a great deal of research and decided to buy the Sorento SX over the Chevy Equinox due to the tremendous warranty difference and that it is made in the US. I now have 10,000 miles on this car, purchased on October of 2011, and love it. It's fun and comfortable to drive, I am getting the gas mileage promised-about 20 around town and close to 30 on the highway-with the V6. The ride is firm and fun, very responsive. I have had NO problems with this car and really love it. I highly recommend it and have not had any issues with the dealership at all ,they have been excellent.



14 of 61 people found this review helpful

Sorento sx delivers

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Kia Sorento SX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

I am more than pleased with my new Sorento SX. More than anything, I am surprised at the total performance and delivery of this vehicle. More than I ever imagined. Can't wait to try it out on long trips to the beach. I previously owned a Ford Explorer and pretty much always been a fan of Ford. Since I have taken ownership of this vehicle I couldn't be happier with my purchase. After months of research and comparisons I feel like I have made an excellent decision with this purchase.



8 of 8 people found this review helpful

2012 sorento owner

by on
Vehicle: 2012 Kia Sorento SX 4dr SUV (3.5L 6cyl 6A)

Purchased our Sorento SX with all the bells and whistles over the internet through the Kia Depot in Santa Ana Ca. I challenged many regional dealers online for best price but the Kia Depot (Kai Ascencio) came in early with the lowest pricing with no pressure or attitude. We purchased the vehicle with little problems but I noticed a door ding (very minor) and inquired what the solution would be. Dealer said 2 days to fix. I said OK what do we do for 2 days without a car since we traded our primary car away. We settled on a free $400 car alarm instead of fix. I was very satisfied with the deal.



Gas Mileage

EPA-Rated MPG

  • 20
  • cty
/
  • 26
  • highway
Calculate Yearly Fuel Costs

Full 2012 Kia Sorento Review

What's New for 2012

Fresh from last year's redesign, the Kia Sorento gains a few more upgrades for 2012. Topping the list is a new, optional four-cylinder engine with direct fuel injection for more power and better fuel economy. Also new are a ventilated driver seat, stain-resistant seat fabric and Kia's "Uvo" voice-activated control interface.

Introduction

The redesign of the Kia Sorento last year signaled the automaker's intent to take on the big nameplates with its crossover SUV. Starting with a switch to carlike unibody construction, the Sorento delivered the ride and comforts that Americans have come to expect from crossover utility vehicles. With the 2012 Sorento, Kia continues its determined effort with an impressive starting price that pits the Sorento squarely against crossover all-stars like the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4.

The Sorento's most obvious advantage is its near-midsize dimensions, since it's actually long enough for a third-row seat that adults can use. In comparison, the RAV4's third row is strictly for kids and the CR-V doesn't even offer one. It's worth noting that the vast majority of buyers typically move up to a vehicle larger than this if they really need a crossover with a functional third row. But if you want something that's still modest in size, the Kia Sorento works out nicely.

Like a lot of its competition, the 2012 Kia Sorento comes with a choice of four- or six-cylinder power. The base four-cylinder is merely adequate, tasked as it is with moving 3,600 pounds of crossover with just 175 horsepower. For the 2012 Sorento, though, Kia offers an additional choice in the form of a new direct-injection four-cylinder good for 191 hp. Fuel economy is also up with this engine, and it's capable of delivering an impressive EPA-rated 30 mpg on the highway. Meanwhile, the 3.5-liter V6 continues on, a better choice for drivers who carry kids, pets and stuff on a daily basis.

Overall, the 2012 Kia Sorento is an impressive effort. Thanks to its engine lineup and enhanced feature content, it competes with its more familiar rivals on performance, not just price. Nevertheless, we suggest shopping around, since the Chevrolet Equinox, Dodge Journey and Subaru Forester are all worth a look, as are the Honda CR-V and Toyota RAV4, which are the traditional favorites. But we recommend the 2012 Kia Sorento without hesitation; it's a testament to how far this automaker has come in just a few years.

Body Styles, Trim Levels, and Options

The 2012 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, cruise control, a tilt-and-telescoping multifunction steering wheel, a trip computer, Bluetooth connectivity and a CD sound system with satellite radio, an iPod adapter and an auxiliary audio jack.

Moving up to the LX nets a six-speed automatic transmission, body-colored heated outside mirrors with integrated LED turn signals and a second-row armrest. Optional for the LX is the Convenience package, which includes the more powerful four-cylinder engine for front-wheel-drive models, foglamps, roof rails, rear parking sensors, heated front seats and a back-up camera with a rearview-mirror-mounted display. The Convenience package for LX V6 models includes the third-row seat.

The EX starts with the LX's equipment and adds 18-inch alloy wheels, keyless ignition/entry, rear parking sensors, dual-zone automatic climate control (with rear air-conditioning on V6 models), a power driver seat (with power lumber support), a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob and Kia's Uvo voice-activated electronics interface (it's similar to Ford's Sync).

For the EX, opting for the Premium Plus package gets you power-folding outside mirrors, leather seating, heated front seats, a power front passenger seat, a hard-drive-based navigation system, a rearview camera and a 10-speaker Infinity surround-sound audio system with digital music storage. For the EX V6, this equipment is pretty much split up between the Premium and Limited packages. A panoramic sunroof and a ventilated driver seat also come with these optional packages.

The SX is similar to the EX V6 fitted with the Premium and Limited packages. It comes with more aggressive exterior styling details, a sport-tuned suspension and unique metallic interior trim. The panoramic sunroof is optional.

Powertrains and Performance

A 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 175 hp and 169 pound-feet of torque comes standard on base and LX trim levels. A direct-injected version of the same engine is rated at 191 hp and 181 lb-ft, and it's optional on the LX and standard on the EX. The base model has a six-speed manual transmission, while all others come with a six-speed automatic.

Front-wheel drive is standard across the board, while LX and EX models can be had with all-wheel drive. The AWD system also offers an available locking center differential to improve low-speed traction in icy or off-road situations.

In Edmunds performance testing, the base four-cylinder accelerates from zero to 60 mph in 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. All-wheel-drive models drop fuel economy to 20/26/22. Fuel economy for the direct-injected four-cylinder is rated at 21/30/24 with front-wheel drive, and 21/27/23 with all-wheel drive.

Optional on LX and EX models and standard on the SX is a 3.5-liter V6 rated at 276 hp and 248 lb-ft of torque. It's offered only with the six-speed automatic and gets the Sorento from zero to 60 mph in an impressive 7.4 seconds, one of the quicker times in the class. Fuel economy with front-wheel drive is 20/26/22, while all-wheel drive gets 18/24/20.

Safety

The 2012 Kia Sorento comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, hill-start assist, hill descent control, front active head restraints, front-seat side airbags and side curtain airbags that cover only the first and second rows. In Edmunds brake testing, both four- and six-cylinder Sorentos stopped from 60 mph in 120 feet, a very good result for this class.

In government safety testing, the Sorento earned four stars (out of a possible five) for overall protection, with a four-star rating being awarded for both frontal and side-impact protection. The Sorento also earned the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety's top score of "Good" for frontal-offset, side-impact and roof-strength crash tests.

Interior Design and Special Features

The design and materials quality of the Sorento's interior competes with the best in its class, with a restrained but sophisticated look. Dashboard plastics, though hard to the touch, look good, while audio and climate controls and the rest of the switchgear are intuitive and feel substantial. Kia's new Uvo also works very well. Based on the same technology as Ford's Sync system, it allows drivers to control various functions by voice command, including their MP3 players and cell phones.

The front seats provide plenty of comfort for long trips and provide the type of commanding view of the road that crossover buyers want. The second-row seat accommodates two with ease and three in a pinch. It doesn't slide fore or aft without the optional third-row seat, making the Sorento less versatile than the Equinox, CR-V or RAV4. But the third-row seat does feature 50/50-split-folding seatbacks and enough room for taller passengers. 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

The 2012 Kia Sorento's base 2.4-liter engine feels punchy enough around town and with light loads, but struggles a bit with extra passengers and cargo. The extra power generated from the new direct-injected four-cylinder helps, and we suspect the majority of buyers will be happy with this midlevel choice. Buyers who regularly ferry passengers and cargo are better served by the strong and smooth 3.5-liter V6.

At highway speed, the Sorento's cabin remains impressively isolated from both road and wind noise. We're also impressed with the Sorento's handling ability and its direct response to steering inputs; this is one of the more enjoyable small family crossovers to drive. The ride quality should suit most folks, but we've found it gets harsh when the Sorento is driven over potholes or similarly broken pavement.

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