The Kia Sorento has always been generously sized for a compact crossover, and the latest redesign pushes it even further toward midsize. Given its seven-passenger capacity and available V6, the new Sorento can be a legitimate alternative to larger vehicles costing thousands more.
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2016 Kia Sorento Overview
What's New for 2016
The Kia Sorento has been completely redesigned.
Choosing Your Kia Sorento
The Sorento enjoys a more sophisticated look and feel this year, thanks in large part to upgraded interior materials and a stronger body structure. The second row slides and reclines for the right mix of passenger and cargo room. Third-row seating is standard with the V6 but unavailable on four-cylinder models. With all rows folded, the Sorento can handle up to 74 cubic feet of cargo, enough space to be competitive with midsize crossovers.
- The engine roster starts with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder that produces 185 horsepower.
- The newly available turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder offers a boost to 240 horsepower, an increase that should be really noticeable in everyday driving.
- The top choice is a 3.3-liter V6 that achieves 290 horsepower.
|Trim||185-hp 2.4||240-hp 2.0||290-hp 3.3|
|L||Standard||Not Available||Not Available|
|SX||Not Available||Not Available||Standard|
All engines run with a six-speed automatic transmission and can be paired with all-wheel drive. Selectable driving modes (Sport, Normal, Eco) allow the driver to tweak transmission performance and steering effort. It's worth noting that a V6 Sorento with all-wheel drive can tow up to 5,000 pounds, capability that no compact crossover can match.
While all-wheel drive is available on all models, the engine and seating configuration of your Sorento will be determined by the trim level:
There's a substantial $16,000 spread between base MSRPs for an L and a Limited V6 -- if you want space for seven and lively acceleration, we recommend splitting the difference with a carefully optioned EX V6.
2016 Kia Sorento Review
We've always considered the Kia Sorento to be an easy compromise for buyers who can't decide between a compact and midsize crossover. This year's full redesign pushes it even further toward to the senior end of its class. By offering such a deep range of models, Kia has positioned the new Sorento as both a typical compact and a credible alternative to slightly larger, premium-branded vehicles.
Pricing and Equipment
The Sorento covers acres of market territory with five trim levels that start with the $24,900 L and top out with the $41,300 SXL.
You'll still have to pay $1,200 for third-row seating on the $25,234 LX, but that's included as standard equipment, along with a bigger engine, if you upgrade to the $28,300 LX V6.
The mid-level $31,100 EX is where most buyers will find the right mix of price and features. It comes with a turbocharged 2-liter four-cylinder, and also offers six-cylinder power in the $31,700 EX V6. With either, you'll get standard leather upholstery and an upgraded climate control system.
It's a big price leap to the $37,900 SX V6, the turbocharged $39,900 SXL, and the SXL V6, but all are equipped like true luxury SUVs.
All-wheel-drive is available for about $1,800 on all trims except the base L. If you want seven-passenger seating, you'll need to choose a V6 model, where it's standard, or the LX, where it's optional; it can't be ordered at all on other four-cylinder Sorentos.
The 2.4-liter four-cylinder makes 185 horsepower, which is actually above average for a base engine in this class. With 240 horsepower on tap, the 2-liter turbo (new this year) is fully capable of moving the Sorento smartly, even under full load. The 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V6 provides snappier pickup off the line, but otherwise doesn't affect performance much. All engines are paired with a six-speed automatic transmission. Selectable driving modes (Sport, Normal, Eco) allow the driver to tweak transmission performance and steering effort.
Performance highlights include:
- Steering/handling: With this year's updated suspension and firmer body structure, the Sorento's road manners are even more poised and confident than we expected.
- Turbo power: The new 2-liter turbo provides quick bursts of power with a minimum of disruption.
- Towing: A V6 Sorento with all-wheel drive can pull up to 5,000 pounds, tops among all compact crossovers.
- Although all models have a Sport driving mode, the Sorento doesn't offer much in the way of driving enjoyment.
- You would expect the V6 to offer smoother performance, but transmission downshifts can be jarring with this engine.
- The Sorento looks and feels far more sophisticated inside thanks to top-notch materials and a reimagined dashboard.
- You get up to 74 cubic feet of cargo space, enough to make the Sorento fully competitive with midsize crossovers.
- The second sits rather low, not at all what we expect in a family-style crossover.
- The optional third row is clearly intended for children, and you might need a shoehorn to get them out once puberty hits.
The Most Pleasant Surprise
The upper-trim interiors are not only refined but downright elegant. Pry the Kia emblem off the steering wheel, and a leather-appointed Sorento could easily pass for an Acura.
The Least Pleasant Surprise
All of the Sorento's social climbing comes at a price. You have to spend more than $30,000 to move off the base engine, and we could forgive anyone who busted out laughing at the sticker on loaded V6 model.
The Bottom Line
The Sorento isn't the crossover it used to be, which is a terrific thing in all aspects except price.
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