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2016 Kia Sorento 3.3L SXL AWD Review by John Heilig

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2016 Kia Sorento 3.3L SXL AWD

MODEL: 2016 Kia Sorento 3.3L SXL AWD
ENGINE: 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4
TRANSMISSION: 6-speed automatic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 240 hp @ 6,000 rpm/260 lb.-ft. @ 1,450-3,500 rpm
WHEELBASE: 109.4 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 187.4 x 74.4 x 66.5 in.
TIRES: P235/55R19
CARGO: 11.3/38.0/73.0 cu. ft. (behind 3rd row/3rd row seats down/3rd and 2nd row seats down)
ECONOMY: 19 mpg city/25 mpg highway/17.9 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 18.8 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 4101 Lbs.
STICKER: $45,095 (includes $895 delivery, $2,500 options)

BOTTOM LINE: As usual, Kia has come up with a solid crossover/small SUV with the Sorento. It has good manners and all sorts of features.

The Kia Sorento is classified as a small SUV, but it’s right on the cusp between a SUV and a 2-row minivan, despite its three rows. It might even fit into the station wagon segment.

Back in the day, a sport utility was generally truck-based and the emphasis was more on the utility than the sport. Today, SUVs are generally stand-alone vehicles, and even the crossovers have their own chassis/platforms. The Sorento , while it may have siblings in the Kia stable that it shares parts with, is comfortable in its own skin.

The Sorento is a comfortable driver. While it doesn’t shine on rougher roads (and usually the first road I drive on is a neighborhood roughie), ride quality is very good on decent road surfaces.

Under the hood is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four that delivers a healthy 240 horsepower and powers either the front wheels (normally) or all wheels through a 6-speed automatic transmission. This is decent power. We had no trouble accelerating as quickly as I wanted, whether entering highways or driving on them. There are three selectable drive modes – normal, eco and sport.

Overall handling is good. We tried the Sorento on our favorite hillclimb course. There was some lean in tight corners, but it wasn’t bad. On normal curves and turns, I felt in complete control.

Front seats are comfortable. They are firm, with an adjustable lumbar support. The front seats themselves don’t have a lot of side support, but the center console/arm rest is comfortable and helps keep you in your seat.

Unusual in a small SUV, the rear seats have good leg and knee room. In addition, the floor is flat with a minimal center hump for any center passenger. Entry and egress are easy in the back.

A power rear hatch leads to a very good cargo area. With the third row seats up, the cargo area is cozy at 11.3 cubic feet, but lower those seats and there are a very good 38 cubic feet. As many constant readers may have surmised, I’m not a big fan of squeezing three rows in a small SUV, so if I was an owner, I’d probably keep the third row folded all the time. In addition, there is a small storage area under the cargo floor that is ideal for grocery bags. I addition to capacity, there are four tie downs and a 12-volt outlet in back.

Instruments are clear, with a large central speedometer, a tachometer off to the left, and fuel and water gauges to the right. There is a clear central screen with audio and navigation information. The navigation system is easy to program. I only made one mistake.

As part of the $2,500 Technology Package, you get a lane departure warning system, forward collision warning system, surround view monitor and smart cruise control. A blind spot monitor is standard. Besides a rear view camera in back-up mode, there is an “overhead” view that shows both sides of the car as well as the front. There were times when I would have wanted this option in drive, too.

While the Kia Sorento has a lot of great features, it is competing in a crowded segment. It can compete in the segment, but the $45,000 sticker will scare away a lot of potential buyers.

2015 The Auto Page Syndicate