2011 Kia Sorento EX AWD Review


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2011 Kia Sorento

THE AUTO PAGE
By JOHN HEILIG

SPECIFICATIONS

Model: 2011 Kia Sorento EX AWD
Engine: 3.5-liter V6
Horsepower/Torque: 276 hp @ 6,000 rpm/248 lb.-ft. @ 5,000 rpm
Transmission: 6-speed automatic with manual mode
Wheelbase: 1063 in.
Length/Width/Height: 183.9 x 74.2 x 67.3 in.
Tires: P235/60R18
Cargo volume: 9.1/37.0/72.5 cu. ft. (behind third row/behind second row/behind first row)
Fuel economy: 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway/16.6 mpg test
Fuel capacity: 18.0 gal
Curb weight: 3,896 lbs.
Sticker: $29,095 base plus $795 destination

The Bottom Line: The 2011 Kia Sorento SUV is a nice package with good size, versatility and plenty of power and amenities. It compares well with the competition (RAV4, 4Runner, CR-V, etc), and brings Kia’s long warranty to the table.

Okay, I realize time flies when you get older, but what ever happened to 2010? As far as the Kia Sorento is concerned, it never happened. Kia bounced from 2009 to 2011 and never offered a 2010 version of its popular SUV.

The wait was worth it.

Completely redesigned from the ground up, the Sorento has been restyled, yet is still recognizable as a sport utility. A major change to the Sorento is its basic construction – now unibody rather than body-on-frame. This results in a 400-pound saving in body weight, which is down to 3,896 pounds.

In addition, alongside the standard four-cylinder engine, there is a new 3.5-liter V6 that delivers a healthy 276 horsepower, making the Sorento a hot vehicle. The V6 is hooked to a 6-speed automatic transmission that also has a manual shifter that’s essentially useless. I can’t think of many circumstances where manually shifting an SUV is advantageous.

The new Sorento has three rows of seating. Seating in the third row is tight and best for small children, although it’s not impossible for adults. Most of the time we drove the Sorento we kept the third row safely stowed in its compartment in the floor, jut to take advantage of the added cargo capacity ( from 9 to 37 cubic feet). However, there was one time when we had to lower the second row seats as well when we had extra cargo to carry.

To get to the third row seating you have to fold and tilt the riht-hand second row seat. Getting to the third row is still difficult.

The jack is located in the floor of the cargo area behind the third row, as well as a small hidden storage area.

Second row leg and knee room is good, so most normal sized people can ride there in comfort.

The front seats are comfortable with some side support.

The instrument panel consists of a large centrally mounted speedometer, a smaller tachometer on the left and a combination water temperature and fuel level gauge on the right.

I liked the addition of a soft red light in the doors so it’s possible to see the window switches as well as the mirror controls. It’s an elegant solution to a common problem.

I also liked the labeling of the seat belt receivers in the back. This way, you know where the belt clip is intended to go. I always mess this up when I’m installing child seats.

All four doors have water bottle holders, and there are cup holders for passengers in all three rows.

The audio system includes a standard navigation system, as well as AM/FM/Sirius XM/CD and AUX. The AUX and iPod inputs are located in a cubby at the base of the center stack. The center console is deep enough to hold the earphones for the rear seat entertainment system.

The Sorento has true keyless operation with a pushbutton start/stop and keyless door unlock. The door pulls have bottoms, which make them a convenient place to store either the keys or a cell phone.

Park Assist consists of a rearview television camera so you have no excuse if you run over your neighbor’s dog. There’s also a “beep” when you shift into reverse.

Overall, the 2011 Kia Sorento is nice looking and has very good performance. I would have hoped for better fuel economy, but the majority of the miles we drove were local, cutting the final economy figures a bit.

2010 The Auto Page Syndicate

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