Base Price: $26,005
Price as Tested: $45,390
Engine: 2-liter, 191-horsepower four-cylinder
Mileage: 19 city/25 highway
Curb Weight: 3,704 pounds
Larger, more elegant and much more sophisticated, the all-new 2016 Kia Sorento is a good-looking minivan alternative that offers a lot of bang for your buck and comes with one of the best warranties in the industry. Kia’s 10-year, 100,000-mile limited powertrain warranty is matched by few automakers and is a main selling point for the midsize SUV. But with its tiny 2-liter, 191-horsepower four-cylinder engine, it means you forgo that highly coveted third-row seating. However, a V6 option that includes the third row is available. A 2-liter turbo-charged four-cylinder that pumps out 240 horsepower is another option.
Kia is no longer the anonymous brand sought after by subprime buyers looking for a low monthly payment. Years of quality design work and craftsmanship backed by that all-important warranty has turn Kia into a household name with refinement and aspiration. And the 2016 Sorento continues that momentum with tremendous style. With an upscale look that makes luxury SUV makers shake in their boots, Sorento offers beautiful sweeping lines and a bold, powerful-looking grill. Adding three more inches of total overall length gives Sorento the same feeling of other luxury crossovers while adding more leg room than Toyota Highlander for that third row – a feature the Jeep Grand Cherokee and Lexus RX don’t even offer.
But while Kia Sorento won’t be challenging German automakers for power or handling any time soon, it’s certainly giving luxury automakers a run for their money when it comes to interior features and design. Sorento’s all-new interior is prize worthy with a strong foundation for the premium textures and high-quality materials found throughout the cabin. The Kia app connector is now available for partnership with the content community for downloading apps such as Yelp, while Soundhound, Pandora and iHeart Radio come preloaded. Many more new technologies for comfort and convenience are featured in the new system, including Siri “Eyes Free” and Local Search – powered by Google – for finding locations, addresses and points of interest. It all comes together in a well-placed eight-inch touchscreen infotainment center with intuitive, user-friendly menus.
Safety has also taken center stage at Kia. In the past, the automaker known for producing affordable cars has never ranked high on government safety tests, but that has all changed in the last decade. And the Kia Sorento has benefitted from the company working hard to change its perception. Standard safety features include dual front seat-mounted side-impact airbags and side curtain airbags for the first and middle rows, a surround birds-eye-view camera, blind-spot detection, and rear cross-traffic alert.
A USB/auxiliary input jack is standard, as are up to four 12-volt power outlets. There are also two available USB 2.1 charger ports and a 110-volt power inverter for the top trim levels. The crossover SUV also offered decent fuel efficiency. A government-rated 19 mpg on city streets and 25 mpg on the highway was spot on. I averaged about 24 mpg with about 70 percent highway driving.
A base Sorento starts around $26,000 but adding important features, such as that V6 in order to get the third row or Kia’s SXL Technology Package can send the price through the roof. The test Sorento SXL with all-wheel drive rang in at $45,390 and that didn’t include