Interior / Exterior » 8
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STYLING | 8 out of 10
When it comes to Kia's recent design direction, sharp, geometric shapes and creases are the name of the game, especially noticeable in the case of the Sorento as the eye is drawn to the vehicle's deeply chiseled window sills and rocker panels.
Though vaguely reminiscent of the Mitsubishi Outlander, it's nonetheless a creased, well-proportioned and confident step away from the anonymity of the outgoing Sorento.
The Sorento’s cabin has a nice mix of textures and a handsome, logical design.
Car and Driver
Inside, the Sorento's dashboard is simple but sleek, and the subtle faux-wood trim piece that bisects it is a welcome upscale touch. The plastics are all hard, but they look good and are certainly class-competitive.
Although the materials are on par with competitors, Kia hasn't perfected the finer details of texture, graining, and finishes. There's an abundance of matte black plastic where other automakers would inject a touch of style.
Attractive styling has drawn lots of new shoppers to the Kia lineup, and the Sorento was one of the first vehicles of the new generation to wear the themes penned by head designer Peter Schreyer. Lower, longer, and more balanced than the first-generation SUV, this latest Sorento wears Schreyer's signature front end, with a wide arc of headlamps and grille integrated tightly into a deeply wedged nose. From the side, the Sorento can look aeronautic. It's all tied together well with a tall greenhouse and a blunt tail that does a great job summing up the new look and its minimal use of detail.
Inside, the Sorento's cabin greets drivers with a large dash punctuated by three big oval gauges, marked in clear, large type. The center stack is topped by a big LCD screen, which is itself flanked by large air vents and sits atop knobby climate controls--the big, round kind that are easy to operate without staring at the controls instead of the road. The simple look only is dulled by lots of hard plastic. Most of it looks good, even the woodgrain trim that bisects the dash horizontally, but there's very little of the soft-touch plastic we've grown more used to, even in less expensive vehicles.Kia’s assembly quality reached global standards a few years ago, and the Georgia-built Sorento is no exception. For its price, the hard plastic on the dash and doors is understandable, and it’s all pieced together with above-average fit and finish.
The 2012 Kia Sorento is pleasantly good-looking, not too authentically SUV, not too station-wagony.