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2015 Car Review: Kia Sorento By Larry Nutson

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2015 Kia Sorento
A Georgia peach of an SUV

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor, Chicago Bureau Chief
The Auto Channel

SUVs are the ticket to have, or so it seems, and compact SUVs are even hotter. This year each month about 8000 new vehicle buyers chose Kia’s Sorento. Through October around 84,000 new Sorentos have been sold.

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The 2015 Kia Sorento is not changed much compared to the 2014 model. In late 2012 a significantly redesigned Sorento CUV debuted at the 2012 Los Angeles Auto Show. An all-new chassis, a new Gasoline Direct Injected (GDI) V6 engine, a restyled interior, a next-generation infotainment system and Kia’s first-ever Blind Spot Detection system were among the major changes.

For 2015, the Sorento is available in four trims, LX, EX, SX and SX Limited. Buyers are offered a choice of an all-aluminum 290 HP 3.3-liter GDI V6, or a more fuel efficient 191 HP 2.4-liter GDI four-cylinder engine. Power is routed to either the front wheels or as an option to all four using an enhanced Torque On Demand all-wheel drive system that directs power to the tire with the most traction and now includes Torque Vectoring Cornering Control (TVCC) for added stability under certain driving conditions.

Regardless of engine or driveline choice, the 2015 Sorento comes standard with a six-speed automatic transmission. Also standard is Electric Motor Driven Power Steering for improved efficiency that also features an available Flex Steer system that offers drivers a choice of three steering modes: Comfort, Normal and Sport.

EPA fuel economy test ratings for the front-drive V6 Sorento are 21 mpg combined, or 4.8 gallons per 100 miles. The EPA city test rating is 18 mpg and the highway test rating is 25 mpg. The 4-cylinder is EPA test rated at 23 mpg combined, and 20 mpg city and 27 mpg highway. A-W-D models suffer by one or two mpg in their EPA test ratings.

Although I didn’t drive the 4-cylinder, given the not very large difference in fuel consumption compared to the V6, I would definitely be a V6 buyer if I carried lots of people and stuff very frequently or lived in hill country.

The 2015 Sorento is priced starting at $24,300 for the 4-cylinder, front drive LX model. The top of the line SX-L with the V6 and AWD rings up at $41,700.

I spent a week behind the wheel of a V6 powered SX-L with front wheel drive and seating for seven. The base MSRP on this vehicle was $39,900, and then there’s the $895 freight and handling charge. By the way, the Sorento can be had as a 5-seater or a 7-seater.

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I found the Sorento very big-city urban friendly. Its 184.4 inch length is not unwieldy. A strong point of the Sorento is the availability of seating for seven. Not many SUVs with this compact of an exterior offer that. At the same time, cargo volume is very roomy with about 37 cuft behind the second row, and a very spacious 72.5 cuft with both seat rows folded. With the three rows filled with passengers there is only 9 cuft behind the third row, but that is probably enough for a couple backpacks. By the way the rear sear is a 50/50 split fold and the second row is a 40/20/40 split fold. Lots of versatility here.

I can see the Sorento fitting well into a four-person household that once and a while needs to car-pool neighborhood young ones to sports practice or class field trip.

Kia does a nice job of including what you might consider to be luxury features. The Sorento has one of my favorite big-city features, that is, power-fold outside mirrors as an option. Another nice-to-have big-city feature is a rear view camera and rear park sensors that will save from rear fascia dings. Also offered are heated and ventilated front seats, heated second row outboard seats, heated and leather wrapped steering wheel, and dual zone climate control and rear air conditioning.

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And on the inside there is lots of infotainment, including a Navigation system, a 10-speaker Infinity surround sound and leather seating. The 2015 Sorento has a large touch screen. Diagonally spanning eight inches, the optional screen integrates navigation, SiriusXM Trafficwith real-time road information updates, the premium Infinityaudio system, SiruisXM Satellite Radios,Bluetooth hands-free connectivity, vehicle settings and UVO eServices. I found all of this easy to use.

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On the road the Sorento is very comfortable with a nice command of the road. It’s quiet, plenty powerful with the V6, and feels very solid. Ride and handling is very appropriate and well engineered for a family SUV. The V6-powered Sorento is rated to tow up to 3500 pounds.

If you would like to compare the Kia Sorento to other compact or midsize SUVs, you can do that right here on If you would like more information and detailed specifications and to view all the standard features as well as options on the entire 2015 Kia Sorento model line they can be found a mouse click away at

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In May the 2015 Kia Sorento was named Best Family Vehicle by the Northwest Automotive Press Association (NWAPA) during the annual “Mudfest” competition in Snoqualmie, Washington. More than 20 NWAPA automotive journalists evaluated vehicles on an autocross course as well as paved and moderate off-road routes during the two-day event and selected winners in five categories.

The Sorento is built in the United States at Kia’s assembly plant in Georgia, the Peach State.

Kia recently announced that they will debut the all-new 2016 Sorento CUV at the upcoming Los Angeles Auto Show. They say its been redesigned inside and out. Also, the 2016 Sorento will be larger than the previous generation and still offer up to three rows of seating.It will be available in L, LX, EX, SX and SXL trim levels. Stay tuned here for The Auto Channel's LA Auto Show Press Pass Coverage, where you can read our teams impressions and watch the complete 2016 Kia Sorento Press Presentation, but first here is a preview of the third gen Sorento from KIA.

Larry Nutson