2016 KIA SORENTO SXL
On the road, at least in urban areas, we see roads flooded with SUVs, trucks, CUVs and crossovers. For someone who enjoys the driving experience it's hard to fathom why these are so popular. Enter the Kia Sorento, new for 2016. The looks seem pseudo upscale but safe, it's not going to turn heads but it certainly won't attract negative attention. When the door opens it has this feeling of upscale solidity done better than most of the high volume manufacturers and luxury brands. The question was simple, is this all a facade?
Did they just tart up the vehicle to get the driver in?
The short answer is no. Mechanically, the 3.3L V6 is solid and makes peak power at higher RPM making it more fun to smash the throttle. The 6SP auto and gearing allows the Sorento to take off and pull but is the least refined part of the drive train. Upshifts were often rough, and on cold starts below 45F the trans was way over eager to downshift at 1/4 throttle to redline. Some odd programming here on the tester. The best part of the Sorento however was the steering and chassis. It drives like a sportier mid size sedan. The damping is excellent and for a larger vehicle those who enjoy driving won't feel like this is sow on the street.
Most everything makes sense on the interior aside from the white leather which after two years in the Midwest will look like used toilet paper without upkeep. Ergonomics, comfort and overall layout are top notch. Storage is good and this model has three rows of seating. It's no mini van however, those backseats are a pain to use. However, customers ask for it, they got it.
Infotainment is average at best because of touch UI, but Infinity Sound System was extremely enjoyable, had good highs and EQ did more than just go from less flat to more flat.
Overall the chassis is nothing high tech with strut based front, no use of aluminum. The weight is 4000lbs yet the Sorento manages some of the better handling and interior ergonomics out there. Driving enjoyment was high, give it a run and see.