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The stylish Kia Sorento has been one of Kia's best-selling vehicles since the recently updated 2011 model arrived in January 2010, and that trend is likely to continue, especially now that a new 2.4-liter four-cylinder with gasoline direct injection (GDI) is available. The Sorento's new engine option improves fuel economy by 1/3 mpg city/highway over the base engine -- an important factor for consumers shopping the competitive crossover segment.
5 star crash safety rating
Sirius satellite radio
Aside from its stylish looks and great value, another reason the Sorento continues to be a top-seller is because of its safetyratings. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named it a 2010 Top Safety Pick. With improved fuel efficiency, sleeker look, and impressive safety ratings, the Sorento proves to be a decent choice for families, or for those who simply want a reliable and sophisticated-looking mid-size crossover.... Expand full summary
The 2012 Kia Sorento's new four-banger is also more powerful. It's rated at 191-hp and 181 lb-ft as opposed to the base 2.4-liter I-4, which puts out 175 hp and 169 lb-ft. If you're looking for even more power, the Sorento has it in the form of its optional, 276-horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6; all three use a six-speed automatic (a six-speed manual is available for the base model). All-wheeldrive is optional on the LX, EX, and SX trims. The small third row is optional on lower trim levels, while it comes standard in SX models.
Body style: Crossover SUV
Engines: 2.4 I-4; 2.4L I-4 (GDI); 3.5L V-6
Transmissions: 6-speed automatic
Models: Base, LX, EX, SX
The 2012 Kia Sorento gets a host of improvements after its 2011 refresh. The big news is the new, optional direct-injection 2.4-liter four-cylinder that adds 16 more horses over the base engine. Kia notes that FWD models with the new engine get 22/32 mpg city/highway, which is very competitive for the midsize crossover class. Sorento EXs get the UVO entertainment system as standard equipment, but LX V-6 models lose the standard third row. SX models now come standard with rear-back up sensors.
Sorento LX models come standard with 17-inch alloy wheels; EX and LX models get 18-inch wheels, but the wheels that come on EX models get a new design. Previously exclusive to the EX V-6, EX models now get a stainless steel step pad for easier ingress and egress. Standard on all models are body-colored side mirrors that are heated and have integrated LED turn signals, and rear spoilers come on EX models and above.
Black wood grain trim is standard on all 2012 Kia Sorento models, as is a 60/40 split second row. The bare-bones LX gets all the necessities such as steeringwheel-mountedcontrols, Sirius satellite radio, auxiliary and USB jacks, auto-up and down driver window, and tilt and telescopic steering column. The 50/50 split third row comes standard on EX V-6 and SX models and is optional for lower trim levels. Heated front seats are standard on the SX, as are air-cooled driver seats, and EX models get Kia's sync-like Microsoft-UVO system.
Performance & Handling
During Motor Trend testing of a front-drive Sorento with the base, 172-hp 2.4-liter engine, we found the six-speed transmission shifts smooth, but the engine sounds quicker than it is, with a pedestrian 9.6-second 0-60-mph time. Motor Trend also tested the Sorento's optional 273 horsepower, 3.5-liter V-6 with all-wheel-drive and performance was much better at 7.6 seconds to 60 mph. Braking was solid at 119 feet for the four-cylinder, and 121 feet in the V-6. Overall, the Sorento's ride proved comfortable, although wind noise was pretty noticeable at times.
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) named the Kia Sorento a 2010 Top Safety Pick. Driver and passenger front airbags are standard, along with front seat-mounted side airbags and two-row sidecurtainairbags. Also standard: four-wheel anti-lock brakes (ABS), electronic brake distribution (EBD), stability control, hill-start assist control, and downhill brake control. A rollover sensor is also included.