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2012 Kia Sorento SX V6 Review & Test Drive

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Filed under Automotive, Featured, Kia, SUV, Test Drives

‘NOW PLAYING ON THE SAME FIELD AS THE COMPETITION’

First introduced in 2011, the new 2012 Kia Sorento adds new high-tech features such as Kia’s new UVO powered by Microsoft voice-activated infotainment, and a new, high-tech, 2.4 liter, 191hp, GDI (gas-direct injected) 4-cylinder engine that returns an outstanding 31mpg/highway. I didn’t get a chance to test the new engine as my test model came with the 3.5, all-aluminum, V6 pumping out a class leading 276hp that gave me an excellent 20mpg/city and 26mpg/highway.

The third engine in the lineup is the standard and more affordable, 2.4liter multi-port fuel injected, 4-cylinder engine that makes 175hp.  All three engines are mated to a six-speed automatic transmission with Sportmatic shifting control.  You can order the Kia Sorento with either front-or-all-wheel drive configurations, the latter coming with a locking center differential to evenly distribute power to all wheels while operating the vehicle at low speeds during more severe weather or road conditions.

The new Sorento presents crossover sport utility enthusiasts with a well-equipped, well-appointed CUV with impressive power, fuel efficiency and handling suited for the fun, dynamic and discerning driver, and offers a generous list of standard comfort and convenience features as well as an array of safety equipment.  The 2011 Sorrento was so well received in 2011 that it became the first Kia vehicle to surpass sales of 100,000 units in a single model year, and for good reason.

Sorento employs a unibody design with the ability to comfortably seat up to seven passengers, and represents a modern compact CUV that is just the right size for today’s consumers with an overall length of 183.9in. and overall width of 74.2in.  Sorrento occupants a spacious yet comfortable ride in a relatively compact exterior size.  Prominently displaying the signature grille and wraparound headlamps exhibited on all new Kia models, Sorento SX offers an aggressive stance and sleek profile.  Sorrento features swept-back lines and dynamic presence with an angled window line, full wrap-around chrome strip, large flared-back headlamp clusters, prominent foglamps, and rounded nose, while the view from the rear offers the same forceful attitude with the rounded back and tail lamps set powerfully within the rear liftgate.

Available in LX, EX and SX trim levels, the popular CUV begins at $23,150.00 for the LX trim, offering standard convenience features including A/C, a tilt/telescoping steering wheel, Sirius XM satellite radio capabilities MP3 connectivity and Bluetooth wireless technology with steering wheel mounted audio controls.  Also coming standard are 17X7in. alloy wheels wrapped with 235/65R17in. all-season tires and wheel moldings and bodycolor, heated outside mirrors with integrated LED turn signal indicators.  The EX trim offers newly redesigned 18X7.5in. five-spoke hyper finish wheels wrapped with larger 235/60R18in. all-season tires, plus foglamps, roof rails, and a rear spoiler.  The new SX trim adds mirror-finish 18X8in. alloy wheels, dual chrome-tipped exhaust, body-color wheel-well molding, stainless steel under bumper trim accents, aluminum kick plate, sleeker body-color front and rear bumpers and LED tail lamps for a decidedly more aggressive and upscale appearance.  New for 2012 across the model line includes options such as power-folding side mirrors, a heated wood and leather-wrapped steering wheel, memory for two drivers, a power adjustable passenger seat and a cool ventilated driver’s seat.

The Sorento provides a feeling of spaciousness with both five and seven-passenger seating configurations (third-row optional), making the Sorento more versatile than most of its compact CUV competitors.  With 42.5cu.ft. of interior volume when equipped with five seats or 149.4cu.ft. with seven, Sorento is spacious with generous head and legroom.  In the five-passenger configuration, the CUV offers 37cu.ft. of cargo space to accommodate both passenger and cargo needs for cruising around town as easily as weekends camping in the mountains.

Also a full slate of technology features come standard including an AM-FM-CD-MP3-Satillite audio system with Sirius XM radio, auxiliary and USB audio input jacks and 120-volt connection.  Also standard across the lineup are push button start/stop ignition with Smart Key, rear sonar backup sensors, a rear view back-up camera and air ionization purification technology complete the modern and high-tech driving experience.  Moving to the SX trim offers standard voice-activated navigation system with Sirius Traffic and an upgraded Infinity surround sound system with 10-speakers for superior listening enjoyment.

Standard comfort features can found throughout including A/C, tilt/telescoping steering wheel with integrated audio controls, variable speed wipers/washer, rear wiper/washer, cruise control, grab handles above each door, dual map lights, sunglass holder, dual cupholders and storage bin up front, storage slots in each door, trip computer, easy-to-see instrument cluster, rear map pockets, automatic up/down driver’s window, illuminated vanity mirrors, EcoMinder Indicator to assist with fuel-efficient driving habits and a second-row armrest with dual cupholders.

Progressing to the EX trim level adds updated interior accent illumination, dual automatic temperature control, rear A/C (V6 models only) and a leather-wrapped steering wheel and shift knob.  SX trim add touches of sophistication with an automatic dimming rearview mirror with Homelink memory driver’s seat, leather seat trim for the first/second rows, stainless steel pedals and stainless steel front kick plates with illuminated scuff trim.  Also coming standard on SX trimmed Sorento’s are cloth-covered A-pillars and a heated, wood-trimmed steering wheel.

The ride is smooth and controlled thanks to a fully independent suspension featuring MacPherson struts, coil springs stabilizer bar and DFD dual path shocks up front and an independent multi-link setup in the rear featuring DFD dual path shocks coil springs and a stabilizer bar.  With the standard power-assisted, hydraulic rack & pinion steering system you get excellent response to your inputs at high-speed on the freeways and when challenging curving roads.

Quickly slowing the new Sorento SX down from speed are standard 4-wheel power-assisted steel disc brakes.  Up front 11.8in. vented discs clamped with dual-piston calipers and 11.9in. solid discs in the rear clamped with single-piston calipers.  Standard ABS and electronic stability control, traction, downhill brake/hill start-assist all help you maintain control on slick or wet pavement.

Standard safety features include dual front airbags, front seat-mounted airbags, side curtain airbags, front active head restraints, tire pressure monitor, front/rear crush zones, 3-point safety belts for all seating positions including front load limiters and pretensioners.

The new 2012 Kia Sorento with the SX trim level of standard and optional features brings this new entry from Kia on par with all of the great, new crossover utility vehicles-perfect for active singles, coupes and growing families looking for the best all-around driving comfort and versatility that a CUV comes with.

COPYRIGHT: 2012:HARVEY SCHWARTZ

SPECIFICATIONS

  • Price: Base Sorento LX $23,150.00 / Base Sorento SX V6 FWD $33,150
  • Engine: 3.5-liter DOHC 24-valve V6 276 horsepower @ 6300 rpm/248 ft-lbs. torque @ 5000 rpm
  • Wheelbase: 106.3in.
  • Track: f/r-63.7/63.8in.
  • Length: 183.9in.
  • Width: 74.2in.
  • Height: 67.3in.
  • Ground clearance: 7.5in.
  • Approach/departure angle: 28/23
  • Headroom: f/m/r-39.2/39.2/36.7in.
  • Legroom: f/m/r-41.3/37.6/31.3in.
  • Cargo volume: all rows up-9.1/3rd. row down-37/all rows down-72.5cu.ft.
  • Towing: 3,500lbs.
  • Curb weight: 3,781lbs.
  • EPA mileage: 20mpg/city, 26mpg/highway

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