2011 Sorento New Car Test Drive
The 2011 Kia Sorento is an all-new crossover utility vehicle, completely redesigned from the ground up with a totally new structure. The 2011 Sorento is much more like a car than before. While the previous-generation Sorento was built on a rugged but clunky body-on-frame truck chassis, the 2011 Sorento uses tight, lightweight, rattle-free unibody construction.
During our test drive, we found the all-new 2011 Sorento quiet, its rigid new structure providing an impressive feeling of sturdiness. The new suspension is nicely tuned to muffle rough pavement. On smooth curves when driving a bit more aggressively, it feels decently agile and easy to control with perfect steering feel.
Larger in every way than prior models, the 2011 Sorento can be ordered as a three-row crossover seating seven. The new Sorento also has 15-percent greater cargo volume than its predecessor. One walk around this stylish new Sorento makes clear that it means to compete toe to toe with the premier midsize crossovers, Chevrolet Equinox, Toyota Highlander, Ford Edge, and Honda Pilot.
The exterior styling of the Kia Sorento is crisp, freshly contemporary. And looking over its uniformly accurate body-panel gaps confirms that Kia is paying close attention to the industry's ever-higher build-quality standards.
Most models come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. It delivers adequate performance and adequate fuel economy, achieving an EPA-estimated 21/27 mpg City/Highway for Sorento 4WD with 6-speed automatic. The top-line V6 delivers spirited performance, putting the Sorento at or near the front of its class.
While not intended as an off-road vehicle, a four-wheel-drive Sorento with its 7.2-inch ground clearance would be happy to head out over open desert with no thought of turning back. Furthermore, if you live in vertical country, hill start-assist control and downhill brake control, standard across the Sorento line, will make life easier.
Inside is a roomy cabin with a rich inventory of occupant-convenience technologies, including voice-actuated navigation. Its interior uses quality materials throughout. Attractive design themes, handsome interior color schemes and available leather upholstery declare that this is a quality family vehicle.
For back-seat riders, Sorento offers separate front and rear air conditioning controls and an available rear DVD player with an overhead screen and headphones. To keep the front-row proprietors amused, the well appointed Sorento features an AM/FM/satellite/CD/MP3 (or add available high-power 10-speaker Infinity audio), Bluetooth connectivity, USB audio input jacks, steering wheel-mounted audio controls and either an available rearview mirror with backup display or a full-on rearview backup camera.
All in all, the 2011 Kia Sorento is a fully equipped contemporary family crossover. It will compete with the best mid-size crossovers from Japan and Detroit, and give you the goods at a somewhat lighter price than the rest.
The 2011 Kia Sorento comes in four variants: Sorento, LX, and EX come with a 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine. Sorento comes standard with a 6-speed manual transmission, LX and EX come with 6-speed automatic. Sorento EX V6 is powered by a 3.5-liter V6 engine and 6-speed automatic.
Sorento ($19,995) comes standard with cloth upholstery, air conditioning, AM/FM/CD/MP3/Sirius Satellite radio, auxiliary and USB audio input jacks, Bluetooth connectivity, tilt and telescope steering wheel, steering wheel-mounted audio controls, trip computer, 17-inch alloy wheels.
Sorento LX ($22,395) and LX 4WD ($24,095) add body-color heated outside mirrors with turn signal indicators, auto-up and down driver window, illuminated vanity mirror, second-row armrest with cupholder. Convenience Package for LX ($1000) includes roof rails, rear parking sensor, rearview mirror with backup display, heated front seats, fog lamps.
Sorento EX ($24,595) and EX 4WD ($26,296) upgrade with automatic dual-zone climate control with ionized air purification, fabric/leatherette seats, eight-way power driver seat with lumbar controls, fog lights, automatic headlights, rear spoiler, leather-wrapped steering wheel, push-button start, 18-inch alloy wheels. Premium Package for EX ($1500) includes roof rails, leather seats, heated front seats, rearview backup camera. Limited Package for EX models ($2000) includes navigation system with real-time traffic, Infinity 10-speaker audio, 18-inch chrome wheels, interior mood illumination, and high-style leather trim.
Sorento EX V6 ($27,195) and EX V6 4WD ($28,895) come with rear air conditioning. Premium Package for EX V6 ($2700) includes roof rails, leather seats, heated front seats, rearview backup camera, panoramic sunroof. DVD Entertainment System Package ($1000) for EX V6 (requires sunroof delete) includes DVD entertainment with overhead screen and headphones.
Third-Row Seating Package ($700) includes 50/50 split-folding third-row seats.
Safety features include the mandated dual front airbags plus side-curtain airbags for head protection and front-seat side-impact airbags for torso protection. Active safety features include anti-lock brakes, electronic stability control, electronic brake-force distribution, hill start-assist control, downhill brake control. Optional safety features include rearview camera, four-wheel drive.