2011 Kia Sorento: The power to surprise, indeed

8 Nov 2010 | 3,311 views | No Comment
We hope you like surprises. We think you may be in for one when you visit a Kia showroom and take a look at the all-new 2011 Kia Sorento.  Right-sized, comfortable, beautifully styled, and in Limited form, quite luxurious, the Sorento has all it takes to be a class leader. The challenge--and it's a nice one-- is that because it's larger than competitors in the comopact SUV class, and not much smaller than some mid sized models, the Sorento could be justifiably targeted at any number of products. It certainly has the equipment. Consider its standard features list: Downhill brake control. Hill Assist Control. Electronic stability control. Traction control. Satellite radio. Full complement of power accessories. Cruise Control. Leather wrapped steering wheel and shift knob. Tilt and Telescopic steering column. Dual Zone automatic temperature control. Cruise Control. And the list goes on and on. And it's certainly got looks too.  It's elegant and contemporary, with the trademark Kia grille, hints of bulges over the tires, and a square shouldered profile. It can easily be mistaken for a far more expensive brand, as we found out when we nearly got into a 2010 Acura MDX that had a similar color to our test model and similar roof likne and charavter lines as well. Power for the Sorento comes from a 2.4 liter, 175 horsepower four with a fuel economy rating of 21/29 miles per gallon in city and highway driving respectively for the front wheel drive model. For an all-wheel drive Sorento with a four cylinder engine, look for around 21/27. Or you can get a 276 horsepower, 3.5 liter V-6 with mileage ratings of 20/26 for the front wheel drive Sorento or 19/25 for all wheel drive. The 2011 Kia Sorento is a crossover SUV offered in three trim levels: base, LX and EX.  If you need it, you can get a third row, 50/50 split-folding seat that can handle two adults. It's standard on the EXV6, but optional on the LX and four-cylinder EX, and standard on the EX V6. Our test model was a 2011 EX, with a suggested base price of $24,795. To that we added the Limited Package that has navi and a Sirius traffic update feature, Infinity Audio system with ten speakers, and a leather seat Premium package, and the bottom line was $29,340. Among our favorite features on the Sorento are an incredibly intuitive audio system and navigation system that you can actually easily operate without consulting an owners manual. The graphics are excellent, and its esasy to tell what steps yo ned to take to perate both systems.       We also loved the solid, comfortable, quiet ride on the Sorento-possibly among the best in class, and clearly as good as some luxury crossovers we've driven. Owners reponding to Edmunds.com said they loved the Sorento's "sexy interior," as one owner put it, the gas mileage, the navigation and audio system, and the design of the steering column mounted controls. But they disliked some balky shifting from the six speed automatic,   the operation of second and third row access features, and a few other things. We found the Sorento to be a pretty nice crossdover that would be welcome in any of our driveways at Automobile Journal.com  any time.

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