Kia Sorento – 2007 Review: Kia’s midsize SUV is the proverbial horse of a different color: Cloaked in a body that looks more like a crossover lives a real, four-wheel drive truck. With 260 horsepower and 262 lb.-ft. of torque, it matches or exceeds its closest SUV competitors. While it’s not quite as pure an off-road vehicle, it’s no wimp. With 8.2 inches of ground clearance, it’s only an inch shorter than the 2007 Jeep Liberty. Inside, design and quality ensure mundane driving is as comfortable and enjoyable as commuting gets. The Sorento has what it takes to be a mule, but wears a prettier face. While the nearly $30,000 price tag might make some people blanch, the Kia is a worthy vehicle for money.
What We Drove
Kia sent us a four-wheel drive Sorento EX equipped with the Luxury Package. Standard features include the 3.8-liter V-6 motor, five-speed automatic transmission, four-wheel drive with low range, front, side and driver’s knee airbags, antilock brakes, stability control, traction control, tire-pressure monitoring system, eight-way power driver’s seat, keyless entry, auto-dimming rearview mirror, underbody skid plates, trailer wiring connector, roof rack and fog lamps. Base price is $26,865, including $670 destination charge. The $3,000 Luxury Package includes full time Torque on Demand 4WD, premium sound system, sunroof, leather, heated front seats, automatic dual zone climate control and automatic headlights.
With 262 horsepower and 260 lb.-ft. of torque, the V-6 does a good job of moving the roughly 4,400-pound Sorento off the line, but you know the weight is there. The 3.8-liter engine is mated to a five-speed transmission, which is nice and smooth in automatic mode. It held steady on a long climb without any hunting. The manual shift mode offers more performance, but the electronics upshift if the driver doesn’t, sometimes sooner than what’s ideal. In either mode, the engine had plenty of power on the freeway. Kia’s Torque on Demand automatic 4WD system had no trouble with moderate off-pavement terrain. Unfortunately, all this power drains the gas tank. We averaged 14.6 mpg in city, highway and off-road driving.