A great Kia SUV with all the bells and whistles.
Review and photos by Tom Sedens
Pricing: 2017 Kia Sorento
Base price (SX+ V6 trim): $47,095
Options: $200 paint charge
A/C tax: $100
Price as tested: $49,135
Now while not many will say the Sorento is an exciting vehicle to look at, it is a very nice-looking cleanly-styled SUV. The latest generation got some mild updates, and it now appears a little more low-slung and aggressive. The grille looks great and those HID xenon headlights are bright. Kia does some nifty things with LED lighting – I loved the lightbar tail lights, and the “Ice Cube” LED fog lights. The SX-trim specific 19-inch rims look fantastic and wear some big boots – 235/55s to be precise.
The Sorento benefits from a nice cabin design with a “wide” layout of the dash – much like the exterior, it’s neat and clean. You’ll find a nice selection of materials with soft touch surfaces nearly everywhere, and enhanced touches like stitching on the door panels and dash.
I enjoyed the red backlighting for the instruments and buttons throughout the interior – it looks great at night. The rest of the cabin is lit by bright, white LEDs which work very well. The heated steering wheel feels good in hand, and the very comfortable heated and cooled seats are upholstered in Nappa leather.
The central 8-inch touchscreen handles your phone, navigation and the fantastic Infinity sound system. We loved the enormous panoramic sunroof overhead.
This trim level gets the Sorento driver a ton of driver assistance technology, all of which worked well for us. There was a 360-degree camera with rear parking sensors, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane departure warning, front collision warning and autonomous emergency braking, adaptive headlights and adaptive cruise control.
Second and Third Row Seats
The two outboard seats in the second row are heated, and we found a good amount of head and leg room. They are adjustable too – you can slide fore and aft and recline. An added bonus – the middle position is actually usable and not totally uncomfortable. Second row passengers will have no problems powering and charging their devices – they get USB, 12V and 115V household plugs – pretty awesome! If you need to secure child seats, there are two sets of LATCH anchors and because that huge sunroof goes back past your head, it feels very airy in the second row. There are manual sunshades too.
Getting to the third row is easiest on the curb side, as there is an easy-access handle that allows the second row to slide forward and out of the way. With that said, it’s still not easy to get into either of the two third row seats for an adult. And frankly, once you’re back there, there is no joy to be found. I’m 5’10” and I did not have enough head room, nor was there enough leg room sitting behind the second row. It worked for two of our kids, but adults will not fit back there for anything longer than a quick emergency trip. Third row passengers do get cupholders and interestingly, a rear climate fan control knob.
Kia definitely takes their charging seriously, as there are seemingly endless options for this around the cabin.
The lidded bin at the front of the centre console has two 12V plugs, as well as USB and auxiliary plugs and a wireless charging mat. The carpeted bin under the armrest lid (which is also covered in Nappa leather, by the way) houses another charging USB plug.
The Sorento’s power liftgate opens to a relatively small 320L trunk – if your third row is in use. You can fold those seats flat into the floor (they split 50/50), to increase cargo space to 1077L. If you’re moving an entire dorm room, you can also fold the second row out of the way (it splits 60/40) and net yourself 2066L which should swallow most anything.
Under the Hood
Kia’s 3.3L V6 puts out a stout 290 HP and 252 lb.ft of torque. They rate it at a sobering 14 L/100 km in town and 10.1 L/100 km on the highway. We averaged 13 L/100 km during our week with it, which isn’t great but probably right in the mix for naturally-aspirated V6-powered 3-row SUVs.
The V6 provides lots of power off the line and around town. If you’re making an acceleration run and staying on the gas, you’ll notice it running out of steam a bit once you’re at speed, but there’s absolutely no lack of power in any normal driving situation. The powertrain is also notable for its smoothness, and the interaction between the engine, 6-speed transmission and all-wheel drive system is hard to fault.
Kia gives the Sorento three driving modes – Normal, Eco and Sport – these affect throttle response and transmission programming. The Sorento rides very nicely. The SUV’s handling is fine. The steering is not very engaging and yes, there is a lot of body roll but it does grip the road competently and predictably and that’s all you can ask from most vehicles in this class.
We found the Sorento to be very quiet – even at highway speeds. The V6 Sorentos can tow up to 5,000 pounds, a capacity that puts it ahead of some of the competition.
WAF (Wife Approval Factor) was quite high. She really liked the exterior styling and said it was easy to drive and felt luxurious.
The Sorento has been a great competitor and it continues to be a well-designed, well-equipped three-row mid-size SUV. This top-trim pricing is not as competitive as it used to be, as it doesn’t really undercut similarly equipped Toyota Highlanders and Honda Pilots by much.
Disclosure: Vehicle was provided by Kia Canada.
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