Quick Spin

Predictable is good | 2017 Kia Sorento Quick Spin

We find comfort in a traditional V6-powered crossover.

  • Image Credit: Kia
  • Trim
  • Engine
    3.3L V6
  • Power
    290 HP / 252 LB-FT
  • Transmission
    6-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrain
  • Engine Placement
  • Curb Weight
    4,343 LBS
  • Towing
    5,000 LBS
  • Seating
    7 passengers
  • Cargo
    73 CU-FT
  • MPG
    17 City / 23 HWY
  • Base Price
  • As Tested Price
It's been a while since we've tested the latest Kia Sorento, and we've never reviewed the V6 model. That's a shame. It's comfortable, drives well, and offers a lot of features. It's one of Kia's best-sellers, though sales have slipped as competitors roll out fresher models. Still, with consumers flocking to crossovers, the Sorento remains a critical vehicle for Kia.

We spent a couple of days running around metro Detroit in the top trim SXL V6 model, which starts at $46,595. With optional Snow White Pearl paint ($395) our tester comes in at $46,990. It's loaded, with the 3.3-liter V6, all-wheel drive, 19-inch chrome alloy wheels, HID headlights, and LED fog and taillights.

The interior has heated and vented seats, a heated leather steering wheel, Kia's UVO infotainment, satellite radio, and Infinity surround sound audio. Safety features include an auto emergency braking system, lane departure warning, surround view monitor, and rear traffic alert.

Put simply, it's a really nice crossover. Here's our impressions.
  • We were immediately impressed with the V6, which pumps out 290 horsepower and 252 pound-feet of torque. It offers strong, even acceleration. We took off from a stoplight, revved to 6,000 rpm, and shot past a line of traffic cued up to the left. The Sorento feels a little bit like a sleeper.
  • It's strong on the expressway. We had no trouble merging or maneuvering through plodding traffic. Reaching cruising speeds of 75 or 80 miles per hour isn't a chore. We occasionally floored it to stretch things out and weren't disappointed. Response is very acceptable for this segment.
  • We noticed the sound of the V6 is basic, and not sporty. Just six cylinders doing their thing.
  • Teamed with a six-speed automatic transmission, the V6 was refreshing. So many crossovers come with turbo and/or naturally-aspirated four-cylinders (the Sorento offers both). But a competent engine moving us forward in a linear fashion is kind of nice. Traditional even.
  • Yes, the industry is moving toward downsized displacement, and that's a smart tactic. But a turbocharged engine — they all have some degree of lag — is a strange dynamic for some consumers. Add in a dual-clutch or an eight- or nine-speed gearbox, and everyday vehicles can start to feel weird. Accelerate quickly in a turbo crossover with a non-enthusiast and they're not going to like it. The point: the traditional powertrain in the Sorento delivers.
  • Once we're cruising, we noticed a little bit of road and wind noise. Conversation is easy.
  • The cabin is pretty nice. Lots of plastics and leather. Most of the materials are black, and they're accented by silver trim. There are three gauges right in front of us. The navigation is easy to use. It's an intuitive setup.
  • The second row was fine, as we expected. But the third row offers a surprising amount of leg room. Our knees were snug, but not jammed. Our head bumped the top thanks to the sloping roofline. It's a tradeoff for the crossover's aesthetically pleasing silhouette. From the back seats, the panoramic sunroof offers a nice view. Should you find yourself back there, look up.
  • The Sorento is good looking. Shapely. There are chrome-colored materials for the greenhouse, door handles, grille, and other accents. It's all tasteful. One complaint: the fog lamps, which have a cube design, look weird.
  • We feel some bumps, but it's generally a comfortable suspension setup, as we'd expect.
Pretty comfy, familiar. That sums up the Sorento. It's a nice vehicle, as it should be for nearly $47,000, but as usual Kia offers a lot of value for the price. It's fundamentally sound in all areas, premium in many. We liked the back-to-basics feel of the V6/six-speed combo. Believe it or not, everything isn't autonomous and electric, or even turbocharged.

If you need a decent-sized crossover with all-wheel drive, this Sorento offers a lot of value. Simple, nice. Traditional even. Sometimes, that's enough.

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