• Sep 2, 2010
2011 Kia Sorento SX – Click above for high-res image gallery

Back in March
, Kia debuted a new top-shelf version of its most popular vehicle, the Sorento crossover, dubbed the 'SX.' The announcement included word of a redesigned front clip and more equipment, but we were most interested in the SX's lower ride height and Dual Flow Damper shocks, which Kia says deliver sporty handling without undue ride harshness.

As we would discover after spending a week traversing the Midwest's broken roads with a lesser Sorento EX model, that last bit about ride harshness is particularly important, because while the Sorento had a pleasant highway demeanor and tracked well, it was surprisingly stiff and brittle on potholed roads, acquitting itself more like a body-on-frame vehicle than the unibody CUV that it is. Fortunately, Kia noticed this ride quality issue and decided to take the costlier DFD dampers and employ them not just on the new SX model, but across the model's entire range beginning in the fourth quarter. While Kia officials we spoke with at an Atlanta press event this week stopped short of admitting that the Sorento's ride quality has been an issue, they did note that once engineers sampled the DFD setup on the SX, they liked the ride so much they decided to institute the new units on all Sorentos.

During the event, we had a chance to sample a pair of Sorento SX models, and over some of the city's choppy, unkept stretches of pavement, we noticed a markedly less flinty ride, despite the SX model's large and flashy 18-inch alloy wheels. While we'll wait to drive a DFD-equipped Sorento back on the Midwest's mean streets before we give it a clean bill of health, our backsides were encouraged by what they felt, and we're likewise pleased to see Kia taking quick action to address a sore spot on a new model.

How was the rest of the $32,195 SX? Rather accomplished, actually. We like the SX's new lower fascia and grille (though the standard Sorento's a good-looking proposition as well), and the 276-horsepower, 3.5-liter V6 felt predictably more capable than the merely adequate 2.4-liter four-cylinder we drove recently. Other SX-specific alterations include LED taillamps and a healthy dollop of chrome inside-and-out. The added flash won't be to everyone's tastes, but it's quite tastefully done and we suspect Kia won't have trouble finding buyers.

That said, if you're merely in the market for a new Sorento LX or EX and you live in an area where the roads are less-than-perfect, might we suggest holding on to your current ride until the fourth quarter-builds trickle into your local dealer?

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    • 1 Second Ago
      • 4 Years Ago
      Please Kia, do the same modifications to the Forte. Too stiff riding.
      • 2 Years Ago
      I have one of the first 2011 Sorento. The suspension is as bad as they come. Every one with a early 2011 Sorento with a bad ride needs to report it to http://www.nhtsa.gov so we can get Kia to recall them.
      • 4 Years Ago
      $32K for a Kia? I'd say there are better options in that price range.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You know, you're right KGavar.

        My girlfriend's parents vigorously cross-shopped a crossover SUV when buying their convertible muscle car.

        • 4 Years Ago
        Not with those kinds of options.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I see these things everywhere now. Nice to see the lamps filling the fog light space. Those look great compared to the usual empty black plastic space most Sorentos have.
      • 3 Years Ago
      I purchased one of the first 2011 Sorento's. It has the worst ride a suv could have. It is so rough that my back hurts when I drive it. They need to take care of there customers. They tell me they have no plans of upgrading the old ones. THIS IS NOT RIGHT. John
      • 4 Years Ago
      Will the shock upgrade be available on the Korean made sorento for the Asian market in its LX and EX versions? Would be grateful for any information.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Finally , an article that I have waiting for for a long long time. Kudos !

      I have tested the Sorento and did not notice any problem with the ride comfort for reason that I believe is merely because the test drive were not on rough pavement . After I test drove it , I did a web research and began to see enormous consumer feedback about the noisy stiff ride on slightest road imperfections . This lead me to postpone my purchase of Sorento and I began looking at other crossover RAV, CRV and Forester. Sorento remains my first choice because of its size.

      I have been waiting for Kia to issue an official statement/announcement to address this problem but they tend to play blind to it than be proactive. I have asked dealers about this problem but got a cold shoulder. I could have take my chances but no ! I could if its a $20 commodity, but it a $23,000 piece of machinery. I am glad I did not buy early. But Kia should have issued a recall and fix the problem for free for those early owners.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Dang, $32,000 for a Kia!? Who'da thought...

      A friend of mine has a new Sorento (paid around $25k) and the first thing I noticed when we started going down the road was how the ride was and more like a SUV and not a CUV. Glad Kia fixed the problem.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Now if Hyundai would do the same with the Genesis. . . .
      • 4 Years Ago
      Kia is being proactive.
        • 4 Years Ago
        You are right. I guess I used the wrong word.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Well, they are being proactive in a sense they are addressing the issue now-before it becomes an issue for costumers and hurts sales down the road.
        • 4 Years Ago
        No, they're being reactive. Being proactive would have seen them address the problem before the vehicle went on sale.
      • 4 Years Ago
      Good to see that KIA isn't waiting too long to fix these problems.
      • 4 Years Ago
      I really like the look of the Sorento! But I need a third row....
        • 4 Years Ago
        Opps sorry! I did not know that.

        I didn't see it at a local Kia dealership webpage;
        It's only showing 5 passengers!
        • 4 Years Ago
        The Sorento has a third row.
        • 4 Years Ago
        Why would you even bother with the dealers page unless you are going there for Internet specials???

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