When the midsize Kia Sorento first appeared, it featured a traditional, trucklike (body-on-frame) design that provided a level of ruggedness not typically found on crossover SUVs. Blessed with above-average off-roading and towing abilities, the V6-powered first-generation Sorento won our respect for its practical nature. It also boasted impressive value, offering the dimensions of a midsize SUV at a compact-crossover price point.
But the original Sorento was clearly out of sync with the crossover craze. Nowadays, most consumers want the more fuel-efficient and better handling qualities that carlike (unibody) architecture provides. So Kia provided precisely that with its second- and third-generation Sorento models. These newer Sorentos are among the best picks for a small or midsize crossover SUV thanks to their choice of four-cylinder or V6 power, roomy interiors, available third-row seat and extensive warranty coverage.
Current Kia Sorento
For 2014, the Kia Sorento enters its third generation. Although the styling is essentially carried over apart from minor front and rear end updates, the latest Sorento features a new chassis, a redesigned cabin and a new V6 engine. The stiffer chassis and revised suspension combine to improve handling and ride comfort compared to the second-generation version.
The Sorento's base 2.4-liter four-cylinder generates 191 horsepower and 181 pound-feet of torque, while the uplevel engine, a 3.3-liter V6, makes 290 hp and 252 lb-ft of torque. Both are matched to a six-speed automatic transmission, and there is a choice of standard front-wheel drive or optional all-wheel drive.
A redesigned cabin offers an optional navigation system with 8-inch touchscreen that also interfaces with UVO eServices, Kia's name for its suite of smartphone-enabled apps. A premium Infinity audio system is available, as are a power liftgate (with height adjustment), a panoramic sunroof, ventilated front seats and a blind-spot monitoring system, the first such system available on any Kia model. Trim levels include LX, EX, SX and SXL.
In reviews, we've been impressed by the Sorento's intuitive controls and user-friendly voice-command system. Seat comfort in the first and second rows is solid, although the third row is best left for kids. On the road, the Sorento feels a bit underpowered with the four-cylinder engine. Considering the mere 1 mpg (combined estimate) difference between the two, the notably better-performing V6 is well worth the added cost. The Sorento is exceptionally quiet and the suspension soaks up bumps with ease. The Kia's handling and steering are far from sporty, but it's certainly sure-footed enough for a family vehicle. In city traffic and parking lots the Sorento feels smaller than it really is and in general is more maneuverable than larger seven-passenger SUVs. Poor rearward visibility can make backing into a tight space seem daunting, but the available rearview camera and parking sensors make the task much easier.
Read the most recent 2015 Kia Sorento review.
If you are looking for older years, visit our used Kia Sorento page.