Kia Sorento Named Best SUV Under $25,000 By New England Motor Press Association

IRVINE, Calif., March 24 -- After this difficult winter, no one knows more about hazardous driving conditions than the New England Press Association (NEMPA). That is one reason Kia is proud to announce that its all-new Kia Sorento midsize SUV has won a top award from NEMPA in the organization's annual Official Winter Vehicle of New England competition. The Sorento was voted "Best SUV Under $25,000" by 25 members of the automotive media based in New England.

"We are gratified to accept this award from the members of the New England Motor Press Association, because it confirms our belief that the Sorento SUV represents exceptional value," said Peter M. Butterfield, Kia's president and chief executive officer. "The Sorento is a stand-out vehicle for Kia and a great choice for consumers looking for styling, content and performance at an affordable price."

Each year NEMPA members gather in January to perform cold-weather testing on a variety of vehicles that are purported to be good in bad weather. The group tested dozens of vehicles, from sports cars to trucks to SUVs and picked a winner in each category.

According to NEMPA, the Sorento was a standout in the midsize category because of its performance, features, warranty and price. The association's members agreed that the Sorento was the best value in the "under $25,000" category.

"It's not just about performance," said Craig Fitzgerald, NEMPA president. "It's also about utility, not just cars that are capable of holding the road but also of holding all the gear an average family has to haul when the snow falls."

At 179.8 inches long and 74.2 (EX) inches wide, the five-passenger Sorento features a powerful DOHC, 24-valve, 3.5-liter V6 engine that generates 192 horsepower and is coupled to an electronically controlled four-speed automatic transmission with overdrive. The model is available in both two-wheel and four-wheel drive configurations. In the two-wheel-drive version, power is directed to the rear wheels, while the 4x4 offerings include a part-time or a Torque-on-Demand(TM) automatic full-time 4x4 drive system.

To address the varied needs of its buyers, the Sorento is available in two trim levels, LX and EX. The LX is a full-featured vehicle offering only a handful of options. Standard comfort and convenience features include air conditioning, power windows/door locks/heated mirrors, cruise control, eight-speaker CD sound system, full overhead console with sunglass storage, map lights and garage door opener pocket, four 12 volt power outlets, 8-way adjustable driver's seat and 60/40 split flip-and-fold rear seats. Standard safety features include dual front airbags and front and rear side-curtain airbags, front pretensioners, front force-limiters and five three-point seatbelts and headrests to accommodate all occupants.

The upscale EX model adds alloy wheels, two-tone body cladding, power sunroof, fog lights, eight-way power driver's seat, HomeLink(R) programmable remote system, a Delphi premium AM/FM/CD/cassette audio system with 10 speakers and steering wheel mounted audio controls, remote keyless entry system, which operates the doors, rear flip open glass and panic alarm and a multi-meter including outside temperature gauge, compass, altimeter and barometer to the overhead console.

For those who yearn for even more comfort and convenience, the Sorento offers an available EX Luxury Package, which includes chrome exterior trim, a Delphi 280-watt six disc-in-dash CD player, automatic climate control, auto headlights, leather wrapped/wood grain steering wheel, leather seats and available Torque-on-Demand(TM) system. Because of its high-content level, the Sorento offers only a few free-standing options, including four-wheel drive and antilock brakes and rear spoiler.

Like all Kia models, the Sorento is covered by Kia's comprehensive warranty program, which offers unprecedented consumer protection. Included in the package are a 10-year or 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty, a five-year or 60,000-mile limited basic warranty and a five-year or 100,000-mile anti-perforation warranty. A five-year/unlimited mileage roadside assistance plan is also part of the comprehensive coverage program.

Kia Motors America is the U.S. sales, marketing and service arm of Kia Motors Corp. in Seoul, South Korea.

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