2004 Sorento New Car Test Drive
The Kia Sorento is a mid-size SUV that packs a big V6 engine. It seats five with lots of elbow room. It's built like a truck, with a separate truck-style frame. It will go most anywhere its rivals can off road. Yet the Sorento maintains a civil attitude on the pavement. On the road or off, it is nimble and comfortable. Its long wheelbase and wide stance give it stability at high speeds and in corners.
What sets the Sorento apart is its price: $5,000 to $6,000 less than comparable SUVs. Yet it comes loaded with standard features.
For 2004, Kia has made the Sorento more appealing to enthusiast drivers. A manual transmission is now available and a new Sport Package adds Michelin tires, alloy wheels, fog lights, step bars, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a roof rack, and remote keyless entry.
The 2004 Kia Sorento is available in two trim levels: LX ($18,995) and EX ($23,050), also available in LX 4WD ($20,800) and EX 4WD ($24,850).
All Sorentos are powered by a 3.5-liter, 24-valve, double overhead-cam V6 rated 192 horsepower. All come with dual front airbags and dual side-curtain airbags in the front and rear.
The base LX comes with air conditioning, cloth upholstery, an eight-way manually adjustable driver's seat, central locking, power windows, dual heated power mirrors, cruise control, tilt steering, AM/FM/CD audio with eight speakers, a rear cargo cover, tow hooks and skid plates. Many of these features cost extra on other SUVs.
LX comes standard with a five-speed manual transmission. An electronically controlled four-speed automatic is optional for the LX 2WD ($1,755) and LX 4WD ($1,850). The price of the automatic is high because it includes a roof rack and an upgrade from 16-inch steel to 16-inch aluminum wheels. A new Sport Package ($1,200) for LX with manual transmission includes Michelin all-season tires, alloy wheels, fog lights, step bars, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, a roof rack, and remote keyless entry.
EX comes standard with the automatic transmission, roof rack, and aluminum wheels. EX also adds a power tilt-and-slide sunroof; velour upholstery; eight-way power driver's seat; leather-wrapped steering wheel; remote keyless entry; auto-dimming rear-view mirror; a compass, outside temperature gauge, barometer and altimeter in the overhead console; 10-speaker Delphi stereo; and all-season Michelin tires. EX also comes with a different variable-effort power steering system. On the LX, steering effort is tied to engine speed; while the EX uses a more sophisticated electronic unit that senses vehicle speed. Leather upholstery is available as a stand alone option ($900) on EX only.
A Luxury Package ($1,500) for the EX 2WD adds leather seating, heated front seats, automatic air conditioning, automatic headlamps, a six-disc in-dash CD changer, and more chrome. The same package for the EX 4WD ($2,000) also includes a sophisticated Torque on Demand full-time all-wheel drive system with a true low range for serious off-road driving. A self-leveling rear suspension ($510) is also available for the EX.
Four-wheel anti-lock brakes ($595) are an extra-cost option on all models.
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