2011 Kia Sorento Gardnerville NV
2011 Kia Sorento
2011 Kia Sorento By Alison Lakin, Associate Editor
Anyone unsure of the direction in which Kia has been heading in the last year need only look at the impressive number of smart vehicles they have debuted in these few short months. They’ve launched the quirky Soul , brought us the sleek Forte and most recently have started delivering the Koup (the Forte’s two-door derivative) to dealerships nationwide. While the Sorento name has been around since 2002, the 2011 version is also smart. From a complete exterior and interior redesign – instating the front grille already seen on the Forte – to a suspension component overhaul that dramatically improves the ride quality, the Sorento can’t be said to resemble much of the old Kia in any way. Instead of just a V-6, buyers now have the option of a four-cylinder engine, and extra features like a slick dual-pane sunroof and optional third row of seats make the Sorento a challenger in the crossover segment once again – a formidable statement considering it’s up against Honda’s CR-V and Chevrolet’s Equinox . The Sorento will be the initial vehicle to emerge from Kia’s first-ever U.S. plant, located in West Point, Georgia, and we think it will do the South proud.
What's to Like
An optional third row is a first for the Sorento, helping it bridge the gap between the Sportage and Borrego . The V-6 does a great job of moving the Sorento along, but we’re glad Kia is now offering a budget-friendly four-cylinder. Interior styling is fantastic, especially with the touchscreen in place. You still can’t beat Kia’s 10-year/100,000-mile warranty.
What's Not to Like
Brakes have zero feel to them, and the four-cylinder is a little thin on the power for such a large CUV. The transmission isn’t exactly a quickdraw either. The third row of seats isn’t going to comfortably fit anyone over the age of 10. Hard plastics still make up a lot of the surfaces, though they’re generally disguised by softening patterns.
DriverSide Driving Impressions
As far as compact CUVs go, the Sorento does a great job of handling whatever comes its way. Suspension components smooth over bumps in the road and make the ride supple, but not without feel. The Sorento also corners well considering its hefty curb weight and stays level throughout the ride with minimal pitch and roll. Brake feel, however, is as vague as the dead-center steering is sharp, making it difficult to determine whether the ride is distinguished enough to set it apart from its competition. The two engine choices give drivers a varied ride, with the four-cylinder option being a solid pick for those not interested in excess might. The V-6 has more consistent power delivery, but it’s hampered by the sluggish tr...
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