There’s no market more hotly contested right now than the mid-size crossover segment, and with popular models like the Ford Edge, Nissan Murano, and Toyota Highlander all recently being new, Kia’s upping its game.
For 2016 the Sorento is new, but is it good enough for your family?
The Sorento's new look is evolutionary, but that’s not a bad thing. It's a little more smoothly rounded than the last Sorento, with a more prominent grille. It’s cleanly drawn, with some nice details such as these available LED fog lights and LED taillights.
Inside is where you’re going to easily spot the redesign. This interior is dramatically updated, and frankly, easier on the eyes. There’s a horizontal logic to the design. Materials and trim are top-notch, and there’s quite a bit of soft-touch material here.
The luxury-vehicle ambiance applies to the seats, too. The front buckets are tremendously improved compared to the previous models with some trim levels offering extendable thigh support.
Back in the second row it’s a different story. While getting in is easy, the seats feel very low and close to the floor, along with being short and firm in their lower cushions. The Nissan Murano has a more comfortable rear seat.
Move back here to the third row, and, well, frankly it’s surprisingly good given how short the Sorento is compared to, say, the Toyota Highlander. You aren’t going to want to take a road trip back here, but for a short trip around town, an adult will be fine.
Three powertrains are available in the Sorento: A 185-horsepower 2.4-liter four-cylinder, a 290-horsepower 3.3-liter V-6, and our tester's 240-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder. No matter which engine you opt for power is sent to either the front- or all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. No hybrid model is offered.
Fuel economy rings in as high as 29 mpg highway with the front-wheel-drive four-cylinder. That drops as low as 23 mpg highway if you opt for the V-6 and all-wheel drive.
While the V-6 has more horsepower, the turbocharged 2.0-liter in our tester actually feels a bit perkier. Now, even in this turbocharged model, don’t let the presence of Sport mode get you too excited, this isn’t a particularly sporty or edgy vehicle to drive. In some situations, the throttle feels a bit touchy, but the steering is a lot better than the previous model. Overall the Sorento feels more confident on the road than ever before.
The Sorento is available with more safety equipment than ever before, including an available forward-collision warning system, smart cruise control, a lane-departure warning system, even surround-view cameras. That said, it didn’t earn a Top Safety Pick+ rating from the IIHS despite all the updates.
The Sorento starts from about $25,000, but that base model is really built to a price point, omitting UVO audio, roof rails, and acoustic glass entirely. Get crazy and load it up like our tester and you'll pay close to $46,000. For that price, you’re getting navigation with an eight-inch touchscreen, heated and ventilated front seats, and large panoramic roof.
So what’s the bottom line with the 2016 Kia Sorento? It’s grown up a lot since we last drove it, and it holds its own in a segment ripe with some great crossover SUVs.
For more information be sure to read our full review of the 2016 Kia Sorento.