Microsoft’s Steve Ballmer knew what was important to his company. At a conference, he repeatedly chanted “Developers!” to the audience to rile them up. If he were an automotive executive these days, he’d be chanting “crossovers!” They are growing in popularity as sales of sedans start to decline, so we thought we’d get behind the wheel of Kia’s Sorento to see what the fuss is about.
The Sorento is the company’s largest crossover offering, with 3 usable rows of seats. It’s targeted at families, but the Sorento has an air of luxury about it that you don’t find in other vehicles in this segment.
In fact, one of our Twitter followers even suggested that if you squint your eyes a little bit, it resembles an Audi on the inside. That’s definitely a complement, and the interior is one of our favorite things about the new Sorento. It just so happens that it is also where you spend the most of your time, so it’s a win in our books.
Powering our fully-loaded SXL tester is a 290 horsepower V6 generating 252 lb-ft of torque. That power is sent to an all-wheel drive system via a 6-speed automatic transmission.
The EPA fuel economy ratings for the version we tested was 17 miles-per-gallon in the city, 23 miles-per-gallon on the highway, or 19 miles-per-gallon combined. We were able to exceed those numbers during our time with the vehicle and during our regular fuel economy test run. On that run the computer indicated a 30.8 mpg number, far exceeding our expectations.
The SXL package includes many features you’d expect on a premium luxury vehicle. Of course there’s blind spot monitoring with rear traffic alert. There’s full-stop adaptive cruise control and autonomous emergency braking. There’s a lane keeping system. There are curve-adaptive HID headlights with high beam assistance. The infotainment system even includes support for Apple Car Play and Android Auto.
Everything inside has a premium feel to it, including all the touch points. The switches and buttons are solid. The leather seats are supportive and comfortable. If there’s any interior complaint, it’s the amount of rear seat space afforded to the third-row passengers, but none of the vehicles in this segment are going to toss full-size adults back there anyway.
On the road the Sorento drives well with nothing alarming or surprising. Cabin noise is kept to a minimum, and the before-mentioned driver’s assistance systems make long commutes a breeze.
It’s no sports car, even though there is a “Sport” mode. Skip it. You’re not going to go canyon carving in this thing, nor does it feel like the setting does much to the rest of the vehicle.
We’d say the Sorento is a handsome-ish looking vehicle. There are no design elements that really stand out, but that also means there’s nothing particularly ugly about it either. The most controversial styling, if you’d even call it that, is the four-LED design of the fog lights.
The SXL has no options when you get one, because you get everything. With the all-wheel drive, which adds $1,800 to the price, you end up with a MSRP of $47,190, which includes destination and handling.
If you’re in the market for a premium crossover that has loads of technology, a great warranty, and a premium feel you should definitely give the Sorento a drive and a look.