The Kia Sorento is a midsize SUV that’s available with front- or all-wheel drive. The Sorento offers room for five or seven, and was first introduced for the 2003 model year.
2016 to Present: Kia Sorento
The third-generation Kia Sorento made its debut for the 2016 model year. This model offers standard front-wheel drive and available all-wheel drive. Interior layout options include two rows for seating five people or three rows for seating seven people.
The Sorento is available in L, LX, EX, SX and SX Limited trims. A 185-horsepower, 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard. A turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 240 horsepower and a 3.3-liter V6 with 290 horsepower are available.
The Kia Sorento’s exterior is sleek and polished. The front fascia is marked by a tiger nose upper grille, a narrow headlight design and LED accents. The lower intake and the fog lamp embrasures give this model a sporty presentation.
Strong shoulders, upright pillars, unique profile lines and body sculpting mark the Sorento’s side profile. Alloy wheels are standard and a panoramic sunroof is available. From the rear, this model has a spoiler, wraparound tail lamps with LED accents, reflectors and a single exhaust port.
Inside, the Kia Sorento provides excellent room for five. A third-row seat is available, but space becomes tight when it is added as legroom is very limited. Storage space measures just 11 cubic feet behind the third-row seat. Folding the third row opens up a more useful 38.8 cubic feet of cargo space, and there’s 73.5 cubic feet of storage capacity with the second and third rows folded.
The latest Sorento offers an upscale interior with premium materials used throughout. Bucket seats are up front and the second row is composed of a 40-20-40 split-folding bench seat. The available third row has a 50-50 split-folding seat. Cloth seats are standard and leather upholstery is available.
Standard technology features include Bluetooth, satellite radio and a USB port. Technology upgrades include an 8-inch touch screen, navigation and a backup camera. Optional driver assistance technologies include a surround view monitor, adaptive cruise control, blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert.
Competing models to consider include two-row SUVs like the Ford Edge, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Nissan Murano. Three-row competitors include the Ford Explorer, Honda Pilot, Nissan Pathfinder, Toyota Highlander and Chevrolet Traverse.
Earlier Kia Sorento Models
The first-generation Kia Sorento was produced from 2003 to 2009 and is based on a traditional truck platform with rear- and four-wheel drive configurations available. Initially, Kia offered two trim levels, LX and EX, and powered all models with a 3.5-liter V6 engine making 192 horsepower. A four-speed automatic transmission was the lone transmission for the first year, with a five-speed manual becoming available for the second model year. Maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.
Beginning in 2007, Kia added a base trim level and upgraded the engine to a 3.8 liter V6 that produces 262 horsepower. The sole transmission was a five-speed automatic. In 2008, Kia added a second V6 engine, this one displacing 3.3 liters and making 242 horsepower. Also paired with a five-speed automatic, the smaller V6 was offered with the base and LX editions. All SX models were outfitted with the larger engine and included such amenities as leather and simulated wood trim, and a 10-speaker audio system. Towing capacity came in at up to 5,000 pounds for models with the larger engine.
The second-generation Kia Sorento was produced from 2011 to 2015. No 2010 model was offered. It assumed a more carlike crossover design with front-wheel drive standard and all-wheel drive available. Two- and three-row seating options were introduced, with room for five or seven.
Initially, the second-generation model was offered in base, LX, EX and SX trim levels. All models, except for the SX, offer a standard 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine making 175 horsepower. This engine is paired with a six-speed manual or a six-speed automatic transmission. A 276-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 engine and a six-speed automatic transmission are standard on the SX and available elsewhere except with the base model. The V6-powered Sorento has a 3,500-pound towing capacity.
Standard equipment includes a tilt-and-telescopic steering column, Bluetooth connectivity, satellite radio, 12-volt outlets, a USB port and an auxiliary input jack. Navigation, a 10-speaker audio system and heated seats and side mirrors were upgrades.
For 2014, Kia refreshed the Sorento and introduced an all-new SX Limited trim level. A redesigned instrument panel, new center stack and expanded alloy wheel choices became available. The refresh also made available Kia’s new voice-activated infotainment system. Kia also replaced the 3.5-liter engine with a 3.3-liter V6 making 290 horsepower.