2009 Kia Sorento Review

Pros & Cons

  • Long list of standard features, solid construction, high-quality materials, decent off-road capabilities, long warranty.
  • So-so fuel economy, rough ride over broken pavement, mediocre braking performance in demanding situations, disappointing IIHS side-impact crash results.
List Price Estimate
$3,491 - $5,250

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Edmunds' Expert Review

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.

Vehicle overview

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.

2009 Kia Sorento models

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.

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2009 Highlights

The 2009 Kia Sorento remains unchanged from last year.

Performance & mpg

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.

Safety

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."

Driving

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.

Interior

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.


Consumer reviews

Read what other owners think about the Used 2009 Kia Sorento.

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Most helpful consumer reviews

Nice for the price
hinkyjinky,09/13/2010
LX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
Vehicle is not a luxury SUV its utility. the gf traded hers in after 7 months for a tahoe ls 2007 because she wants bigger. shame. i like the drive even though it is bumpy and stiff but that is due to its design (it's not a caddy or Lincoln) i get great gas mileage almost 425 to a full tank. it has not failed me yet! solid build. love the 4wd so far but have not pushed it except for our big winter storm this past year and it worked flawlessly for me drive 50 miles a day in snow and ice. dealership has been GREAT! cant say it enough! thank you for the deal and serivce Kia of Turnersville nj!!! :)
very good vehicle
lisa burns,12/28/2015
EX 4dr SUV (3.8L 6cyl 5A)
I bought my kia sorento new in 2009. When I first bought it after awhile having it they had to replace the driveshaft, transmission but now it is a very good vehicle. I would suggest to anyone that wants to buy one to do it over all it is a very nice and roomy and comfy vehicle. I still have my kia and love it everyday. it is very reliable. it is now 2021 and I still have my kia it now has 165 thousand on it and runs like a new one.. Such a good running vehicle love it everyday....i also went and bought another kia sorento in 2020 it is a 2019. Very happy with it to
Just starting
Pocahontous,02/09/2010
LX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
First driving this, I thought it sounded like a jet ski vs. a merc: loud but no guts. I have only given it cursory trials but am growing to love it. It is not a luxury vehicle but very functional and easy to drive. The Interior instruments all make sense and operation isn't distracting when you are driving. Exterior is pretty except a few undercarriage parts that hang down below the silhouette. 4WD has gotten me out of snow issues with ease.
Worst car ever
Chris,02/27/2017
LX 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5A)
This is the worst car i have owned. Bought it two years ago with 56,000 miles on it. In two years have had to replace ac clutch and compressor. Both valve cover pan gaskets. Then the rear differential went out. After having that fixed today the alternater went out. If I didnt owe more than its worth would trade it in tomarrow.

Safety

NHTSA Overall Rating

The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration offers independent analysis.
  • Frontal Barrier Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Side Crash Rating
    OverallNot Rated
  • Side Barrier Rating
    OverallNot Rated
    Driver5 / 5
    Passenger5 / 5
  • Combined Side Barrier & Pole Ratings
    Front SeatNot Rated
    Back SeatNot Rated
  • Rollover
    Rollover3 / 5
    Dynamic Test ResultNo Tip
    Risk Of RolloverNot Rated
IIHS Rating
The Insurance Institute of Highway Safety uses extensive crash tests to determine car safety.
  • Side Impact Test
    Not Tested
  • Roof Strength Test
    Not Tested
  • Rear Crash Protection / Head Restraint
    Poor
  • IIHS Small Overlap Front Test
    Not Tested
  • Moderate Overlap Front Test
    Acceptable

More about the 2009 Kia Sorento

Used 2009 Kia Sorento Overview

The Used 2009 Kia Sorento is offered in the following submodels: Sorento SUV. Available styles include LX 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5A), LX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.3L 6cyl 5A), EX 4dr SUV 4WD (3.8L 6cyl 5A), EX 4dr SUV (3.8L 6cyl 5A), and 4dr SUV (3.3L 6cyl 5A). Pre-owned Kia Sorento models are available with a 3.3 L-liter gas engine or a 3.8 L-liter gas engine, with output up to 262 hp, depending on engine type. The Used 2009 Kia Sorento comes with rear wheel drive, and four wheel drive. Available transmissions include: 5-speed shiftable automatic. The Used 2009 Kia Sorento comes with a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. basic warranty, a 5 yr./ 60000 mi. roadside warranty, and a 10 yr./ 100000 mi. powertrain warranty.

What's a good price on a Used 2009 Kia Sorento?

Shop with Edmunds for perks and special offers on used cars, trucks, and SUVs near Ashburn, VA. Doing so could save you hundreds or thousands of dollars. Edmunds also provides consumer-driven dealership sales and service reviews to help you make informed decisions about what cars to buy and where to buy them.

Which used 2009 Kia Sorentos are available in my area?

Shop Edmunds' car, SUV, and truck listings of over 6 million vehicles to find a cheap new, used, or certified pre-owned (CPO) 2009 Kia Sorento for sale near. Simply research the type of car you're interested in and then select a used car from our massive database to find cheap prew-owned vehicles for sale near you. Once you have identified a used vehicle you're interested in, check the AutoCheck vehicle history reports, read dealer reviews, and find out what other owners paid for the Used 2009 Kia Sorento.

Can't find a used 2009 Kia Sorentos you want in your area? Consider a broader search.

Find a used Kia Sorento for sale - 9 great deals out of 16 listings starting at $12,754.

Find a used Kia for sale - 4 great deals out of 17 listings starting at $25,414.

Find a used certified pre-owned Kia Sorento for sale - 4 great deals out of 13 listings starting at $13,148.

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Should I lease or buy a 2009 Kia Sorento?

Is it better to lease or buy a car? Ask most people and they'll probably tell you that car buying is the way to go. And from a financial perspective, it's true, provided you're willing to make higher monthly payments, pay off the loan in full and keep the car for a few years. Leasing, on the other hand, can be a less expensive option on a month-to-month basis. It's also good if you're someone who likes to drive a new car every three years or so.

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