2016 Kia Sorento: One word: Wow!

9 Jan 2016 | 1,185 views | No Comment
By Don Hammonds Driving the 2016 Kia Sorento was a real shocker. The good kind of shocker. It is such a good product that we rank it among the best SUVs--of any size-- on the market. No kidding.  The ride is solid and controlled in most settings.  You would have to hit quite the pothole or rocky road before things get unsettled a bit. The interior is sumptuous, tailored looking, with an excellent presentation that thankfully, at least in the SX-L model we tested, did not include any of that awful fake wood you see in some top line vehicles. [caption id="attachment_7965" align="alignnone" width="650"]All-new 2016 Sorento 3.3-liter V6 SXL All-new 2016 Sorento 3.3-liter V6 SXL[/caption]   Another thing that separates the Sorento from others are thoughtful little touches that seem to be everywhere. A discreet little chime sounds when you go into reverse. A little sign notifies you when your steering wheel is not aligned straight for easier parking and pulling out of spaces. The panoramic roof truly goes to the rear of the car to give even third rowers a nice slice of glass to look at over head. To enjoy the view in some other cars from panoramic roofs, you have to lean forward and really crane your neck to see. Our test car was  a 2016 Kia Sorento SX-L, equipped with so many standard and optional features it is impossible to list them all here. List price was around $45,000, but the Sorento base prices run between $24,900 and $43,100, so that's a spread wide enough to draw quite a few customers. Let's talk about styling for a little it.  Kia made some pretty substantial changes that include round wheel openings in the back that give it a sporty, yet elegant look, and the front grille has a much richer looking texture to it. Seen from the side, the profile looks more balanced ad less stubbiness, compared to the previous model, thanks to stretching wheelbase and overall  length  by three inches.   That gives two inches of additional legroom for the second row, and adding to the comfort level in the third row. You can get your Sorento in an almost bewildering number of styles and configurations. This  midsize SUV can be purchased in  five- and seven-passenger configurations. From bottom to top, the five trim levels are:: L, LX, EX, SX and SXL. The base 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine is standard on the L and LX trim levels. A 3.3-liter V6 is an option on the LX, standard on the SX and one of two available engines on the EX and SXL. The other available engine is a new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. If you want a V6, you will get seven passenger seat configurations as well. But it turbo power, this sportier powertrain means you will be limited to five seats only.  The L model also is a five passenger model. Fortunately, shoppers at the lower end of the Sorento price scale who have four cylinder engines in mind can get either six or seven seats in the LX trim version. And you won't have to buy an upper line model if you want all-wheel drive. You can order it on all trim models. The entry level L provides standard equipment such as alloy wheels, LED running lights, stain-resistant fabric, satellite radio, a USB/iPod interface and Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity. Problems were relatively minor--a transmission that occasionally had some  roughness, and some straining   up hills. But neither of those two really happened often enough to really annoy us. The LX trim adds a few extras like an acoustic windshield for a quieter cabin, two rapid-charge USB ports, a rearview camera, a 4.3-inch touchscreen and UVO eServices (Siri hands-free, numerous smartphone apps and secondary driver security functions like geo-fencing and speed warning). Next up is the EX. This mid line model brings you within a hair's length of a luxury SUV, with its standard bigger wheels, additional interior sound-deadening, dual-zone climate control, leather seating and steering wheel, and heated power seats. The SX brings you right  to the top of the hill, with  standard features like a panoramic sunroof, push-button start, navigation, 10-speaker Infinity sound system, second-row sunscreens and power liftgate (with proximity hands-free opening) are optional. The SX and SXL essentially add power-adjustable driver thigh support and a variety of exterior and interior trim upgrades, while the SXL gets you the Tech package that includes adaptive cruise control, lane-departure and collision warning systems, and an "around-view" multi-angle parking camera. Though it is supposed to be a mid-sized SUV, what makes the Sorento a bit tough to peg in a market segment is that in upper trim versions especially, it looks like a much more expensive SUV than it actually is. It has the room and the looks to go up against all but the most expensive SUVs--by that we mean the Cadillacs, BMWs and others! It is that good a product, make no mistake about it.

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