2017 Kia Sorento – A Clever, Configurable Crossover

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The Sorento is a flexible mid-sized crossover from Kia. It’s flexible in that it can be configured with a range of engines and either five or seven passenger trim levels. Depending on what a customer wants, they can choose a cloth seated, fuel saving kid hauler, or a dolled up, leather upholstered luxury SUV.

The press car’s black leather interior looks and feels like quality. The front seats are well bolstered and are both heated and cooled. An eight inch UVO touch screen in the middle of the dash relays information about the navigation and Infinity sound system. Apple Carplay and Android Auto make connecting with your phone a breeze. I especially like the surround view monitor that gives drivers a bird’s eye perspective of the car when backing up and parking.

The second row seating has room for adults and the third row has surprisingly good head and leg room. A panoramic sunroof really brightens up the interior and affords passengers a nice view of the sky above. Power ports are tucked away all over the cabin, including a 110 volt inverter. Depending on what trim package customers choose, this car can be configured for five or seven passengers. The SXL I tested had the 50/50 split rear bench.

From the outside the Sorento looks good. The HID headlights sweep up and back from Kia’s corporate grill (which reminds me of beaver teeth). The arching side windows are reminiscent of the Honda CRV. And the rear liftgate has an uncluttered design. The bottom of the opening does seem a bit high off the ground. The press car was equipped with fog lights at additional cost. If I were buying a Sorento this is an option I would skip. They look like an afterthought. 19″ chrome alloy wheels fill the wheel arches admirably and lend an aesthetic of quality.

Power from the 290 horse, 3.3 liter V6 is sent to all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. A locking center differential will come in handy to get out of slippery situations. Autonomous braking offers the piece of mind that the car is watching out even if the driver gets distracted. There’s also lane departure warning and smart cruise control. At night the headlights turn with the wheel. I never tired of watching the lights scan around a turn.

The steering feels artificially light and offers limited feedback, otherwise the brakes and accelerator felt fine. The ride is comfortable and quiet. Surprisingly, the AWD model is rated to tow 5,000 pounds.

Prices for the Sorento start at 25k which still gets you a handful of nice features and a fuel sipping four cylinder. The SXL model with all the bells and whistles will set you back 46k, almost twice as much.

While Kia has definitely stepped up its game, and the current Sorento offers a lot of luxury for it’s price range,I  wonder how the resale is going to be on the latest generation of classy Korean cars. The American market is used to their South Korean imports being cheap, basic, and with an outrageously good warranty. You might take less of a hit when it comes time to sell by opting for a trim level with fewer options.

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