Saturday, September 25, 2010

2011 Kia Sorento review

The 2011 Kia Sorento straddles the line between compact and midsize SUVs. Though the Sorento can cost more than $29,000 if you opt for the highest trim, a modestly equipped base model is quite a good value. Kia estimates the new Sorento’s base fuel economy at 21/29 mpg city/highway. So far, test drivers say the all-new Sorento has few faults. Just remember that you won’t be getting the Sorento’s excellent warranty coverage.

Since the Sorento can be compared to both compact and midsize SUVs, buyers should shop both classes. Since the RAV4 and Sorento are so similar, it’s best to test drive them both.

It’s technically a midsize SUV, but it actually starts at almost $2,000 less than the Sorento.

The 2011 "Kia Sorento" is a crossover SUV offered in three trim levels: base, LX and EX. A third-row 50/50-split-folding seat with room for two is optional on the LX and four-cylinder EX, and standard on the EX V6.

A rear-seat DVD entertainment system is available on EX V6 models without the sunroof.

All Sorento trim levels come standard with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 175 horsepower and 169 pound-feet of torque. The base model has a six-speed manual transmission, while the others get a six-speed automatic. Front-wheel drive is standard across the board, while LX and EX models are eligible for all-wheel drive. EPA-estimated fuel economy is 21 mpg city/29 mpg highway and 24 mpg combined with front-wheel drive and the automatic. Fuel economy stands at 20/26/22 with front-wheel drive and 19/25/21 with all-wheel drive.

The 2011 Kia Sorento comes standard with antilock disc brakes, stability control, hill-start assist, hill descent control, front seat side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and front active head restraints.

It doesn't slide fore and aft without the optional third-row seat (standard on EX V6), meaning the Sorento's not quite as versatile as an Equinox, CR-V or RAV4.

Like the RAV4, the 2011 Kia Sorento is a tale of two engines. At highway speeds, the Sorento's cabin remains impressively isolated from both road and wind noise. We're also fond of the Sorento's handling ability, as this crossover responds directly to steering inputs.

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