Here are some tips for test driving a used Kia Sorento. Feel the transmission shift to make sure they are smooth. If you buy the car, don't drive it too hard. My transmission needed to be replaced after 5 years around 100,000 miles. After allowing the engine to warm up check for coolant leaks or faint amounts of steam coming out of the engine block. At 150,000 miles, mine has a leak that causes the cabin to smell like a sweet burning oil/coolant, but you may be able to get rid of the smell by recirculating the AC. As long as the coolant doesn't leak as a liquid onto the pavement it should be small enough to ignore. Feel the suspension, power steering and braking to insure that they feel normal for a car of this age. Spongy brakes are common if the brake fluid has not been flush. Lack of power steering may also be a result of poor maintenance. Make sure that you have the fluids flushed out and replaced properly. If the engine light is on and the code is for a low range switch you should be able to get away without repairing it. that code has been on my car for 5 years no problems. Any major or minor repairs are done at the best price if you go to the dealership, even if the warrenty expired. Kia dealerships have the best repair prices. I got 14 mpg driving in the city on regular gas.
I just purchased an 04 Sorento EX w/ 105k on it. After reading about fuel mileage, we almost took our other vehicle on our day trip Saturday. 309 miles, mostly highway, cruise control at 75, w/ several stops, I still managed to get 20.5 mpgs. So, while 2 mpgs aren't much, I am sure that I could have got 22-23 had I kept speed at 65-70. Way better then the 18 from review.
I bought a 2004 Sorento EX Luxury from a private seller with 75,000 miles. Vehicle was in immaculate condition, but was plagued with issues in the beginning. Had to replace the drive shaft, throttle position sensor, spark plugs and brakes - but after all repairs were done and a thorough fuel injection cleaning service, it drives like brand new.
This is truly a remarkable SUV. I'm a law student and wanted a comfortable vehicle to last me for a few years, and even though I had those repair issues, I have no regrets. It's good-looking, spacious, super comfortable and has more than enough power. Shifts are buttery smooth and engine performance is really impressive for an 8 year old vehicle.
I love all the luxury features! I only paid $6000, but got heated leather seats, a sunroof, 6-disc 10-speaker surround sound system and 4WD. Mine is black with the beige cladding and it looks BEAUTIFUL! Parked next to an '08 Highlander today, and it looked just as big and just as good. Gas mileage is respectable, 18 MPG average, since I have a really light foot. The heated seats are SUPER nice for these winter temperatures. A/C is ice cold and heater is blazing hot. LOTS of torque on the bottom end, so quick and swift acceleration. Sunroof is huge and makes the cabin feel very open and airy. Highway cruising is amazing. I'm very happy and look forward to driving this SUV for many years.
Kia has come a long way, so I have no suggestions. Mechanical integrity is certainly an issue with these early year-models, but otherwise, I'm very pleased. The suspension provides a very comfortable and controlled ride quality - bumps and potholes are swallowed up quite well. Sound system is really great and has good channel separation. I especially love how ROOMY this vehicle is! It drives like a smaller SUV, but it has acres of space inside. Controls are very simple and easy-to-use, which I really appreciate. I just LOVE the woodgrain throughout the dashboard and cabin. The design is still really good-looking and this Sorento holds it's own amongst all the newer SUV's on the road today.